In the green idyll of Wallowa-Whitman National Park in Oregon, more than 90,000 marijuana plants were discovered earlier this month. Park officials now have to cope with the cleanup of the site — and the toxicity caused by an extensive camp of pot farmers and the fertilizers they used. Melissa Block speaks with park ranger Ken Gebhardt about the job ahead.
The Obama administration and auto industry executives are starting talks over new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, which are to be announced in September. Sources say the administration is pushing for the average fuel economy for each carmaker's fleet to rise to 56 mpg by 2025. The companies want something closer to 47 mpg. The heavyweight in these negotiations could turn out to be California, which plans to set its own standard if the federal government doesn't go high enough.
"The Associated Press and the North Korean state news agency have signed a series of agreements, including one for the opening of a comprehensive AP news bureau in Pyongyang," the AP announced today.
The wire service says it will be "the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the North Korean capital." Currently, AP Television News has an office in North Korea that distributes video news.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) went to Syria on a "fact-finding mission," earlier this week. He said the trip came about at the request of his constituents. But yesterday, after the congressman met with President Bashar Assad, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported that Kucinich praised Assad.
Formerly illegal fireworks are making up more than half of all sales this year, fireworks stand owners say. Will O’Neil, owner of Tennessee Ted’s for the past seven years, is specifically advertising the roman candles, firecrackers and bottle rockets that became legal in Kentucky about three weeks ago. While customers are pleased about the change in the law, some fire officials aren't. “From a personal standpoint, I’m not in favor of making the fireworks laws more lax because of the exorbitant number of fires and injuries across the state that we experience,” Frankfort Fire Chief Wallace Possich said.
A group of nearly 50 from educational associations, school districts and legislators both state and federal met Monday at Shelbyville's Collins High School to begin the discussion of the relationship of the future of education in Kentucky with federal standards. The Kentucky Leads The Nation group, started by the Shelbyville-based Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, is trying to get out in front of the reform and reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind.
The Kentucky Office for the Blind in the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet seeks public input on the needs of Kentuckians with visual disabilities at two focus group meetings in July. One meeting will be held July 11 in Louisville with the second the next day in Lexington.
"In the first ruling by a federal appeals court on President Obama's health care overhaul, a judicial panel in Cincinnati on Wednesday affirmed an earlier ruling that Congress can require Americans to have minimum insurance coverage," The Associated Press reports.
But, as the wire service notes, "more than 30 legal challenges have been filed over the health care overhaul. The case is expected to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court."
The United Kingdom will face a strike of as many as 750,000 public sector employees, tomorrow. The Independent calls it the biggest strike in five years and is expected to cause "huge disruption" in schools, courts and travel.