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Exciting changes to Scripps News' website, mobile and streaming apps

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 12:27


Starting today, our Scripps News website, mobile apps, and streaming apps have a brand-new look and feel.

 You'll still get all the latest national stories, in-depth investigations and documentaries from the news source you know and trust, but in a new package.

We've spent months talking with readers and viewers like you to understand what's most important. Our new website, mobile apps and streaming apps are a direct result of your feedback. Our new design brings a bold, fresh focus to the biggest news of the day.

New Mobile App

Our mobile app has a new "Watch" tab where Scripps News is streaming any time you want to watch.

Whether it's our 24/7 streaming channel, or video on-demand clips, you're in control over what you want to watch, and when you want to watch it.

Your Preference for News Updates

Our mobile app users told us that being able to choose how they read the news is a top priority.

A new menu at the top of the mobile app's home screen gives you more control over how you read the news, and makes it easier to find other news sections in our app.

Choose "Top News" to read news stories curated by our Scripps News team as the most important news of the day or choose "Most Recent" to read news stories published most recently.

New Streaming Apps

Our new streaming apps on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV also bring a fresh new focus to our 24/7 live stream and easier access to our video on demand clips. 

Not only have we redesigned our website, mobile apps and streaming apps, we've also rebuilt the code of our apps from scratch. What does this mean for you? Our apps will load faster and you'll get news updates quicker.

Download the New App Updates

Download our new mobile apps on the Apple and Google Play app stores.

Download our new streaming apps on the Roku, Amazon FireTV, Apple TV, and Android TV app stores.

iOS, tvOS

Android, Android TV


Amazon FireTV 

Aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan heads to Senate for final approval

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 12:20


The Senate is returning to Washington on Tuesday to vote on $95 billion in war aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, taking the final steps in Congress to send the legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk after months of delays and contentious internal debate over how involved the United States should be abroad.

The $61 billion for Ukraine comes as the war-torn country desperately needs new firepower and as Russian President Vladimir Putin has stepped up his attacks. Soldiers have struggled to hold the front lines as Russia has seized the momentum on the battlefield and forced Ukraine to cede significant territory.

President Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday the U.S. will soon send badly needed air defense weaponry. The House approved the package Saturday in a series of four votes, sending it back to the Senate for final approval.

“The President has assured me that the package will be approved quickly and that it will be powerful, strengthening our air defense as well as long-range and artillery capabilities,” Zelenskyy said in a post on X.

SEE MORE: Where did all the US aid to Ukraine go?

The legislation also would send $26 billion in wartime assistance to Israel and humanitarian relief to citizens of Gaza, and $8 billion to counter China in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific. In an effort to gain more votes, Republicans in the House majority also added a bill to the package that could ban the social media app TikTok in the U.S. if its Chinese owners do not sell their stake within a year. The foreign aid portion of the bill is similar to what the Senate passed in February with some minor changes and additions, including the TikTok bill and a stipulation that $9 billion of the economic assistance to Ukraine is in the form of “forgivable loans.”

The package has had broad congressional support since President Biden first requested the money last summer. But congressional leaders had to navigate strong opposition from a growing number of conservatives who question U.S. involvement in foreign wars and argue that Congress should be focused instead on the surge of migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The growing fault line in the GOP between those conservatives who are skeptical of the aid and the more traditional, “Reagan-era” Republicans who strongly support it may prove to be career-defining for the two top Republican leaders. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, who has made the Ukraine aid a top priority, said last month that he would step down from leadership after becoming increasingly distanced from many in his conference on the issue and others. House Speaker Mike Johnson, who put the bills on the floor after praying for guidance, faces threats of an ouster after a majority of Republicans voted against them.

SEE MORE: Exploring the impact and history of US foreign aid

McConnell has made clear that stopping Putin is important enough for him to stake his political capital.

“The national security of the United States depends on the willingness of its leaders to build, sustain, and exercise hard power,” McConnell said after House passage Saturday, adding, “I make no apology for taking these linked threats seriously or for urging the Biden administration and my colleagues in Congress to do the same.”

Johnson said after House passage that “we did our work here, and I think history will judge it well."

The Senate could pass the aid package, now combined back into one bill, as soon as Tuesday afternoon if senators are able to agree on the timing for a vote. If Republicans who oppose the legislation decide to protest and draw out the process, final votes would likely be Wednesday.

The legislation was first passed by the Senate in February on a sweeping 70-29 vote, and it could get even more votes this time after the House added in the loan provisions. The idea for a loan started with former President Donald Trump, who had been opposed to the aid.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a longtime GOP hawk who voted against it in February because it wasn’t paired with legislation to stem migration at the border, praised Johnson after the vote and indicated he will vote for it this time. “The idea that the United States will be safer if we pull the plug on our friends and allies overseas is wrong,” he said on X.

SEE MORE: The long history of US support for Israel

The revised House package also included several Republican priorities that were acceptable to Democrats to get the bill passed. Those include proposals that allow the U.S. to seize frozen Russian central bank assets to rebuild Ukraine; impose sanctions on Iran, Russia, China and criminal organizations that traffic fentanyl; and could eventually ban TikTok in the U.S. if the owner, ByteDance Ltd., doesn’t sell. That bill has wide bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

Opponents in the Senate, like the House, are likely to include some left-wing senators who are opposed to aiding Israel as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has bombarded Gaza and killed thousands of civilians. Vermont Sens. Bernie Sanders, an independent, and Peter Welch, a Democrat, both voted against the package in February.

“This bill provides Netanyahu $10 billion more in unrestricted military aid for his horrific war against the Palestinian people,” Sanders said on X just before that vote. “That is unconscionable.”

5 died crossing English Channel hours after UK passed deportation bill

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 12:13


At least 5 people have died while crossing the English Channel, according to French media, hours after the U.K. approved the migrant deportation bill.

The Voix du Nord newspaper said the bodies were discovered at the Wimereaux beach in northern France on Tuesday. The rescue operation is ongoing and helicopters and boats have been deployed, according to the regional newspaper.

About 100 migrants have been rescued and placed aboard a French navy ship. They will be taken to the port of Boulogne, the paper said.

This came only hours after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's latest effort to send some migrants on a one-way ticket to Rwanda finally won approval from Parliament. The U.K. government plans to deport some of those who enter the country illegally as a deterrent to migrants who risk their lives in leaky, inflatable boats in hopes that they will be able to claim asylum once they reach Britain.

Human rights groups have described the legislation as inhumane and cruel. Both the United Nations refugee agency and the Council of Europe called on the U.K. Tuesday to rethink its plans for fears they could damage international cooperation on tackling the global migrant crisis.

Migrants trying to cross the busy English Channel face drownings and sinking among other deadly incidents, often aboard crowded boats.

An estimated 30,000 people made the crossing in 2023, according to U.K. government figures.

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 12:04


Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday as some of the most prestigious U.S. universities sought to defuse campus tensions over Israel's war with Hamas.

More than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who had camped out on Columbia’s green were arrested last week, and similar encampments have sprouted up at universities around the country as schools struggle with where to draw the line between allowing free expression while maintaining safe and inclusive campuses.

At New York University, an encampment set up by students swelled to hundreds of protesters throughout the day Monday. The school said it warned the crowd to leave, then called in the police after the scene became disorderly and the university said it learned of reports of “intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents.” Shortly after 8:30 p.m., officers began making arrests.

“It’s a really outrageous crackdown by the university to allow the police to arrest students on our own campus," said New York University law student Byul Yoon.

“Antisemitism is never OK. That’s absolutely not what we stand for and that’s why there are so many Jewish comrades that are here with us today,” Yoon said

SEE MORE: Columbia University goes virtual amid pro-Palestinian protests

The protests have pitted students against one another, with pro-Palestinian students demanding that their schools condemn Israel's assault on Gaza and divest from companies that sell weapons to Israel. Some Jewish students, meanwhile, say much of the criticism of Israel has veered into antisemitism and made them feel unsafe, and they point out that Hamas is still holding hostages taken during the group's Oct. 7 invasion.

Tensions remained high Monday at Columbia, where the campus gates were locked to anyone without a school ID and where protests broke out both on campus and outside.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning, a Democrat from North Carolina who was visiting Columbia with three other Jewish members of Congress, told reporters after meeting with students from the Jewish Law Students Association that there was “an enormous encampment of people” who had taken up about a third of the green.

“We saw signs indicating that Israel should be destroyed,” she said after leaving the Morningside Heights campus. Columbia announced Monday that courses at the Morningside campus will offer virtual options for students when possible, citing safety as their top priority.

A woman inside the campus gates led about two dozen protesters on the street outside in a chant of, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” — a charged phrase that can mean vastly different things to different groups. A small group of pro-Israel counter demonstrators protested nearby.

University President Minouche Shafik said in a message to the school community Monday that she was “deeply saddened” by what was happening on campus.

“To deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps, I am announcing that all classes will be held virtually on Monday,” Shafik wrote, noting that students who don’t live on campus should stay away.

Protests have roiled many college campuses since Hamas’ deadly attack on southern Israel, when militants killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took roughly 250 hostages. During the ensuing war, Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to the local health ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and non-combatants but says at least two-thirds of the dead are children and women.

On Sunday, Elie Buechler, a rabbi for the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiative at Columbia, sent a WhatsApp message to nearly 300 Jewish students recommending they go home until it’s safer for them on campus.

The latest developments came ahead of the Monday evening start of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Nicholas Baum, a 19-year-old Jewish freshman who lives in a Jewish theological seminary building two blocks from Columbia's campus, said protesters over the weekend were "calling for Hamas to blow away Tel Aviv and Israel.” He said some of the protesters shouting antisemitic slurs were not students.

“Jews are scared at Columbia. It’s as simple as that," he said. “There’s been so much vilification of Zionism, and it has spilled over into the vilification of Judaism.”

Mistrial in case of Arizona rancher accused of killing migrant

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 11:53


An Arizona judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

The decision came after jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision after more than two full days of deliberation in trial of George Alan Kelly, 75, who was charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 30, 2023, shooting of Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea.

“Based upon the jury's inability to reach a verdict on any count,” Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink said, “This case is in mistrial.”

The Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office can still decide whether to retry Kelly for any charge, or drop the case all together.

A status hearing was scheduled for next Monday afternoon, when prosecutors could inform the judge if they plan to refile the case. Prosecutors did not immediately respond to emailed requests for additional comment.

Kelly was charged with second-degree murder in killing of Cuen-Buitimea, 48, who lived just south of the border in Nogales, Mexico.

SEE MORE: A day on a ranch along the US-Mexico border

Prosecutors said Kelly recklessly fired nine shots from an AK-47 rifle toward a group of men, including Cuen-Buitimea, about 100 yards away on his cattle ranch. Kelly has said he fired warning shots in the air, but he didn’t shoot directly at anyone.

Court officials took jurors to Kelly’s ranch as well as a section of the border. Fink denied news media requests to tag along.

After Monday's ruling, Consul General Marcos Moreno Baez of the Mexican consulate in Nogales, Arizona, said he would wait with Cuen-Buitimea’s two adult daughters on Monday evening to meet with prosecutors from Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office to learn about the implications of a mistrial.

“Mexico will continue to follow the case and continue to accompany the family, which wants justice." said Moreno. "We hope for a very fair outcome.”

Kelly's defense attorney Brenna Larkin did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment after the ruling was issued. Larkin had asked Fink to have jurors keep deliberating another day.

Kelly had earlier rejected an agreement with prosecutors that would have reduced the charge to one count of negligent homicide if he pleaded guilty.

SEE MORE: How and why do migrants risk their lives to come to the US?

Kelly was also charged with aggravated assault that day against another person in the group of about eight people, including a man from Honduras who was living in Mexico and who testified during the trial that he had gone into the U.S. that day seeking work.

The other migrants weren’t injured and they all made it back to Mexico.

Cuen-Buitimea lived just south of the border in Nogales, Mexico. He had previously entered the U.S. illegally several times and was deported, most recently in 2016, court records show.

The nearly monthlong trial coincided with a presidential election year that has drawn widespread interest in border security.

Fink had told jurors that if they could not reach a verdict on the second-degree murder charge, they could try for a unanimous decision on a lesser charge of reckless manslaughter or negligent homicide. A second-degree murder conviction would have brought a minimum prison sentence of 10 years.

The jury got the case Thursday afternoon, deliberated briefly that day and then all of Friday and Monday.

Judge to decide whether to hold Trump in contempt

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 11:41


Former President Donald Trump's New York hush money trial continues on Tuesday as former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker again takes the witness stand. 

But Pecker's testimony could easily be overshadowed by a hearing taking place outside the presence of the jury. 

Judge Juan Merchan will also hear arguments on whether Trump violated a gag order. Prosecutors claim Trump violated an order by Merchan that limits what Trump can say about the case, including potential witnesses, jurors, and the family of the judge.

In a court filing, prosecutors say Trump violated the gag order multiple times by posting disparaging comments involving potential witness Michael Cohen, who served as a former attorney for Trump. 

"A serial perjurer will try to prove an old misdemeanor against Trump in an embarrassment for the New York legal system," Trump wrote on Truth Social with a link to a New York Post story that had a photo of Cohen, prosecutors said.

The Trump presidential campaign website also had a similar post about Cohen, the filing said.

"Defendant violated those restrictions by making or directing to be made the social media posts and posts on the campaign website described above," the prosecutor's filings said. "The posts unquestionably relate to known witnesses and prospective jurors in this criminal trial. "

SEE MORE: 1 in 3 Americans think Trump acted illegally in hush money case

Trump has claimed that the gag order violates his free speech rights. 

“The gag order has to come off. People are allowed to speak about me, and I have a gag order, just to show you how much more unfair it is," Trump said. 

If Merchan finds that Trump has violated the gag order, he can issue a $1,000 fine per violation. If Merchan says that Trump willfully violated the order, he can put Trump in jail for up to 30 days. 

The gag order hearing will be held before Pecker testifies. His testimony on Monday was cut short after 20 minutes as court adjourned by 12:30 p.m. ET. 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges Trump tried to conceal an "illegal scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election" by trying to cover up extramarital affairs. Bragg claims Trump falsified records to hide payments to Cohen that were meant for porn actress Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, as well as a former a former doorman at Trump Towner.

Prosecutors have alleged that Pecker was involved in the alleged scheme by performing "catch and kill" on stories that could have damaged Trump's reputation. 

Prosecutors said Trump used Cohen to buy the McDougal story from National Enquirer's publisher AMI. Prosecutors say the Trump Organization then paid Cohen in monthly installments and a year-end bonus check. 

Trump faces 34 felony counts for falsifying business records.

Starbucks takes on the federal labor agency before the Supreme Court

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 11:21


After Starbucks fired seven workers who were trying to unionize their Tennessee store, a U.S. government agency obtained a court order forcing the company to rehire them. Now, Starbucks wants the Supreme Court to curb the government's power in such cases.

On Tuesday, justices are scheduled to hear Starbucks' case against the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that protects the right of employees to organize. If the court sides with Starbucks, it could make it tougher for the NLRB to step in when it alleges corporate interference in unionization efforts.

The hearing comes even as the animosity between Starbucks and Workers United, the union organizing its workers, has begun to fade. The two sides announced in February that they would restart talks with the aim of reaching contract agreements this year. Starbucks and union representatives planned to meet Tuesday for their first bargaining session in nearly a year.

Workers at 420 company-owned U.S. Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since late 2021, but none of those stores has secured a labor agreement with Starbucks.

The case before the Supreme Court began in February 2022, when Starbucks fired seven employees who were leading a unionization effort in Memphis, Tennessee. Starbucks argued the employees had violated policy by reopening the store after closing time and inviting non-employees — including a television news crew — to come inside.

The National Labor Relations Board determined the firings constituted an illegal interference with workers' right to organize. The agency found that Starbucks had routinely allowed off-duty employees and non-employees to remain in the store after hours to make drinks or collect belongings.

The NLRB asked a federal district court to intervene and require Starbucks to rehire the workers while the case wound its way through the agency's administrative proceedings. A district court judge agreed with the NLRB and issued a temporary injunction ordering Starbucks to rehire the workers in August 2022. After the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, Starbucks appealed to the Supreme Court.

Five of the seven workers are still employed at the Memphis store, while the other two remain involved with the organizing effort, according to Workers United. The Memphis store voted to unionize in June 2022.

Starbucks said the Supreme Court should intervene because federal appeals courts don't agree on the standards the NLRB must meet when it requests a temporary injunction against a company. Starbucks says temporary injunctions can be a major burden for companies, since the NLRB's administrative process can take years.

Since 1947, the National Labor Relations Act — the law that governs the agency — has allowed courts to grant temporary injunctions requested by the NLRB if it finds them "just and proper." In its review of what transpired at the Starbucks store in Memphis, the Sixth Circuit required the NLRB to establish two things: that it had reasonable cause to believe unfair labor practices occurred and that a restraining order would be a "just and proper" solution.

But other federal appeals courts have required the NLRB to meet a four-factor test when seeking restraining orders, including showing it was likely to prevail in the administrative case and employees would suffer irreparable harm without an injunction.

Starbucks has asked the Supreme Court to establish the four-factor test as the standard all courts must follow when considering NLRB injunction cases.

"This court's intervention is urgently needed," Starbucks wrote in an October court filing. "National employers like Starbucks must defend themselves against years-long injunctions under materially different tests depending on where alleged unfair labor practices occur or where employers reside."

The NLRB says it already considers its likelihood of success before taking a case to court, making whether courts apply two factors or four largely irrelevant. The agency notes that it rarely asks courts for temporary injunctions; in its 2023 fiscal year, it received 19,869 charges of unfair labor practices and authorized the filing of 14 cases seeking temporary injunctions.

"The two-part inquiry undertaken by the Sixth Circuit and other courts ... subjects board petitions to meaningful scrutiny, and does not call for courts merely to 'rubber-stamp' agency requests," the NLRB argued in a filing last month.

Addressing the planet's ocean plastics problem

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 02:41


Our oceans are full of plastic — an estimated 200 million metric tons, according to The Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving oceans. And around the world, organizations large and small spend endless hours trying to keep us from making the problem worse.

Each plastic bottle, shopping bag or piece of an old toy threatens marine life and habitats. This garbage collects in floating patches in oceans around the world. The largest of them, in the Pacific, is estimated to be three times the size of France.

But it’s the tiny, microscopic plastics that could be an even bigger threat.

Everything from our car tires to our clothes can end up depositing so-called microplastics into the ocean. There, they latch onto corals, blend into marine habitats and get eaten by fish. They’re virtually impossible to remove, and they carry sometimes deadly chemicals. 

Early research shows microplastics could have incredibly harmful effects on humans: lung damage, gut inflammation and autoimmune disruption. Chemicals carried with microplastics are known to cause cancer and organ damage and interfere with the human nervous and reproductive system.

SEE MORE: Starbucks plans to cut down on the plastic in its cold drink cups

Even so, we’re pumping out tons of plastic every year, and there’s so far no end in sight. Stopping the bleeding would require governments to change their policies, and that's proven hard to do.

In Ottawa, the U.N. is hosting the latest in a series of talks to establish a global plastics treaty — a potentially scale-tipping moment in the fight against plastic production. And that has some experts hopeful.

"I have never been more optimistic," said Anja Brandon, associate director of U.S. plastics policy at the Ocean Conservancy. "It took decades to get the world to come together to talk about the climate crisis to negotiate some of those first agreements. We're now seeing countries come together at a breakneck pace to try to negotiate a global treaty on plastic pollution."

"There's no going back, and that should motivate us to move quickly," Brandon said.

UN warns workers are at risk from excess heat and other climate shifts

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 02:32


The U.N. labor organization warned Monday that over 70% of the world's workforce is likely to be exposed to excessive heat during their careers, citing increased concern about exposure to sunlight. It also warned of air pollution, pesticides and other hazards that could lead to health problems including cancer.

In a new report, the International Labor Organization suggested ways that governments can improve their legislation and help cope with the rising effects of climate change on workers.

“It’s clear that climate change is already creating significant additional health hazards for workers,” said Manal Azzi, the organization's team lead on occupational safety and health. “It is essential that we heed these warnings."

The ILO estimates that over 2.4 billion workers — more than 70% of the global workforce — are likely to face excessive heat as part of their jobs at some point, according to the most recent figures available, from 2020. That's up from over 65% in 2000.

The Geneva-based body cited the growing link between climate change and harm to human health, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory troubles and mental health.

It estimates, for example, that 1.6 billion workers are exposed to ultraviolet radiation as part of their jobs, citing nearly 19,000 deaths a year from non-melanoma skin cancer, and ailments as diverse as sunburn, skin blistering and eye damage, cataracts and retina trouble like macular degeneration.

The same number of workers — 1.6 billion — are exposed to workplace air pollution “resulting in up to 860,000 work-related deaths among outdoor workers annually,” it said in a statement.

SEE MORE: Why the government created new tools to show heat forecasts and risk

The report said some subsets of workers are particularly vulnerable, such as firefighters in the United States battling wildfires, which experts say have become bigger and more frequent because of climate change due to high heat and excessively dry conditions.

“Workers are often forgotten when we’re talking about climate change and the health impacts are very severe from death, to millions of sick people because of hazards exacerbated by climate change, but also millions living with chronic diseases," Aziz said.

Some countries have taken action by enacting legislation that calls for regular surveillance of workers regularly exposed to heat, excess sunlight, air pollution and other health risks on the job. In other cases, ILO says collective bargaining agreements between labor and business leaders have helped mitigate the risks.

U.N. agencies and environmental activists have increasingly sought to highlight the link between climate change and human health. Planet Earth tallied a 10th straight month of record monthly temperatures in March, according to the European Union's climate agency.

The World Health Organization estimates that between 2030 and 2050, just a handful of climate-related threats, such as malaria and water insecurity, will claim a quarter of a million additional lives each year.

NASA announces it's fixed a bug that corrupted Voyager 1's messages

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 01:28


NASA engineers have completed a promising round of tech support on the Voyager 1 space probe, correcting an issue with one of its computers and moving it closer to being ready to transmit science data again.

In November of 2023, NASA started receiving corrupted data from the probe. 

Engineers determined a small section of memory in one of the probe's computers was faulty. That computer ran the code that prepared data for transmission back to Earth. If it couldn't execute its code properly, Voyager wouldn't be able to send readable data home.

The team determined they would have to move the affected code elsewhere in the computer so the damaged memory wouldn't corrupt it.

SEE MORE: Yes, Jupiter has lightning, and it's green

So began some of the most extreme troubleshooting efforts ever attempted: They would have to perform remote workarounds on a 46-year-old computer that's more than 15 billion miles away — the most distant human-created object in the universe. The time delay between sending a command and seeing the result was nearly two full days.

Because of the limited storage space available, engineers had to break the code into sections that would fit in different storage areas. They also had to make sure the scattered code could be run in full when it came time to transmit data.

On April 22, NASA announced it had completed the delicate work of rearranging the computer code. It says it will now work toward bringing Voyager's abilities to transmit science data back online to continue its original mission.

The mission's sister probe Voyager 2, meanwhile, is still running normally.

Minnesota state senator arrested on suspicion of burglary

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 01:10


A state senator and former broadcast meteorologist was arrested on suspicion of burglary early Monday in the northwestern Minnesota city of Detroit Lakes, police said.

Democratic Sen. Nicole Mitchell, 49, of Woodbury, was being held in the Becker County Jail on suspicion of first-degree burglary. Formal charges were still pending Monday afternoon, Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steve Todd said.

Mitchell did not immediately return a call left on the jail's voicemail system for inmates. It's not clear if she has an attorney who could comment on her behalf. The police chief said he didn't know of one.

Mitchell was arrested while the Senate is on its Passover break. Her arrest comes at an awkward time for Senate Democrats, who hold just a one-seat majority with four weeks left in the legislative session. Her absence would make it difficult to pass any legislation that lacks bipartisan support.

Mitchell worked as a meteorologist with the U.S. military and for KSTP-TV and Minnesota Public Radio before she was elected to the Senate in 2022 from a suburban St. Paul district. She still serves as lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, commanding a weather unit, her official profile says. She worked for The Weather Channel earlier in her career, her profile says.

SEE MORE: Former National Enquirer publisher testifies in Trump hush money trial

Dispatchers received a 911 call at 4:45 a.m. from a homeowner about "an active burglary in process at her residence," Todd said in an interview. Officers searched the home and arrested Mitchell, Todd said.

The police chief said he could provide few other details because the case was still under investigation. He said he was waiting to hear back from the county attorney's office, and that a complaint detailing the allegations might not get filed until Tuesday.

Becker County Attorney Brian McDonald did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the case.

Public records and an obituary posted by a Detroit Lakes funeral home show that Mitchell's father, who died last month, and stepmother lived on the same block of the same road in Detroit Lakes as where the senator was arrested. The stepmother did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Mitchell's arrest took Senate leaders by surprise. The Senate Democratic Caucus said in a statement that it's "aware of the situation and has no comment pending further information."

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Johnson, of East Grand Forks, said he was shocked but knew very few details.

"The public expects Legislators to meet a high standard of conduct," Johnson said in a statement. "As information comes out, we expect the consequences to meet the actions, both in the court of law, and in her role at the legislature."

Eva Evans, TikTok star and 'Club Rat' creator, dies at 29

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 00:53


Eva Evans, a TikTok star who created the comedic web series "Club Rat," has died at 29 years old. 

The content creator's sister, Lila Joy, announced the news in an Instagram post Sunday, saying the family had been told the day before that Evans had died.

"After 24 hours, I still find myself in a constant cycle of denial and acceptance, so I know how unbelievable and hard to process this news will be," the post read. "I wish I had Eva here now to refer to because she would have better words and know how to say what I don't."

Comments on the post and across social media soon became flooded with condolences and admiration for the young influencer. 

Actor Julia Fox said in a TikTok video that she considered Evans "like a little sister."

"She was so young, still had so much to do in life, but she lived life to the fullest," Fox said through tears, also mentioning the loss of Kyle Marisa Roth — another TikTok star who died last week. 

TikTok personality Tefi Pessoa commented on Lila Joy's post saying she'd "light a candle for her tonight … I'll tell my grandparents to show her around."

Photographer Ashley Armitage said she "can't imagine a world without Eva" in a comment, and on her page, she said, "The world is less bright and way less funny without her."

A cause of death has not been released.

Evans was known for chronicling her New York City-based life on social media, particularly on TikTok, where she amassed more than 300,000 followers. She also directed and starred in the five-episode series "Club Rat" on Amazon Prime Video last year. It focused on an influencer who "attempts to re-enter the chaotic New York City dating scene after a candid video of her humiliating breakup goes viral," according to its synopsis.

A public celebration of Evans' life will be held Tuesday at Grace Church in downtown Manhattan. Lila Joy said in another Instagram post that she's extending an invitation to "anyone who loved Eva; your presence would mean so much to her and us."

Morgan Wallen breaks silence on his recent felony arrest

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 00:16


Morgan Wallen is speaking out about an incident at a Nashville bar earlier this month that ended with him in handcuffs. 

The country singer is currently facing multiple charges stemming from his April 7 arrest, which occurred after he threw a chair off the rooftop of Eric Church's six-story Chief's Bar. Those charges include three felony counts of reckless endangerment and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

An arrest report for Wallen said the chair hit the ground feet away from where some Metro Nashville police officers were standing. Their review of footage showed the 30-year-old "lunging and throwing an object over the roof" while witnesses said he laughed. 

Wallen hadn't said anything about the episode, which took place in the middle of his One Night at a Time world tour, until Friday evening, when he made a post on his X account.

"I didn't feel right publicly checking in until I made amends with some folks," the post read. "I've touched base with Nashville law enforcement, my family, and the good people at Chief's. I'm not proud of my behavior, and I accept responsibility."

I didn't feel right publicly checking in until I made amends with some folks. I’ve touched base with Nashville law enforcement, my family, and the good people at Chief’s. I'm not proud of my behavior, and I accept responsibility.

— morgan wallen (@MorganWallen) April 20, 2024

"I have the utmost respect for the officers working every day to keep us all safe," another post read. "Regarding my tour, there will be no change."

The singer is expected to face his charges in Nashville court on May 3. He's also set to play a show at the city's Nissan Stadium that day.

Wallen is one of the biggest names in country music, but this isn't the first time he's faced criticism and controversy over his behavior. 

In 2020, the singer faced charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct after being kicked out of a Nashville bar. And in 2021 after a video of him using a racial slur came out, he was suspended by his record label and removed from radio airplay. 

But since then, he's seen mass success. Last year, his third studio album "One Thing at a Time" topped the Billboard 200 list for 19 weeks total, and his single "Last Night" set the record for most weeks at No. 1 for any non-collaboration song. 

Children of Flint water crisis make change as environmental activists

Mon, 04/22/2024 - 23:45


Their childhood memories are vivid: warnings against drinking or cooking with tap water, enduring long lines for cases of water, washing from buckets filled with heated, bottled water.

But the children of the Flint water crisis — set in motion April 25, 2014, when the city began drawing water from the Flint River — have turned their trauma into advocacy.

They know Flint still struggles: Its population has fallen by about 20,000 in the past decade, leaving abandoned houses frequently targeted by arsonists. More than two-thirds of children live in poverty, and many struggle in school.

But young activists say they want to help make a difference, change how their city is perceived by outsiders — and defy expectations.

“One of the biggest issues about growing up in Flint is that people had already decided and predetermined who we were,” said 22-year-old Cruz Duhart, a member of the Flint Public Health Youth Academy.

“They had ideas about our IQ, about behavioral things, but they never really stopped to speak to us and how we thought about it and the type of traumas that we were going through.”

Sima Gutierrez collects water samples from residents' homes and takes them to the Flint Community Water Lab, where more than 60 high school and college interns have provided free testing for thousands of residents since 2020.

She helps plan public awareness campaigns about topics like gun violence and how racism affects public health as a member of the Flint Public Health Youth Academy.

“I wanted to be surrounded by people who weren’t going to cover up the whole fact that people are still having problems ... to share my life (with) anybody else who’s going through what I’m going through,” said Sima, 16.

A decade ago, she complained about stomach pains when she drank water, but her mom believed it helped Sima’s body flush medication she took for an autoimmune disorder that was causing her hair to fall out in patches and leaving her skin splotchy.

Sima and three of her sisters were found to have elevated lead levels and have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; Sima also has a learning difficulty, her mother said.

Residents had been assured the water was safe when many complained of skin rashes and discolored, smelly and foul-tasting water after the city disconnected from Detroit-supplied water to save money.

But a year and a half later, a water expert found high lead levels in the tap water, caused by the city's failure to add anti-corrosion chemicals, which state environmental officials said was unnecessary. A physician also discovered that levels in kids’ blood had doubled.

The potent neurotoxin can damage children’s brains and nervous systems and affect learning, behavior, hearing and speech. There is no safe childhood exposure level, and problems can manifest years later.

Data collected over a decade now show that Flint children have higher rates of ADHD, behavioral and mental health problems and more difficulty learning than those assessed before the water crisis, said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who flagged rising lead levels in Flint kids’ blood. She said issues such as nutrition, poverty, unemployment and systemic inequalities also could be factors.

But Flint kids are resilient, she said, and have made important contributions to the city's recovery. The Flint Youth Justice League, an advisory board to her Pediatric Public Health Initiative, for example, has offered advice on programs to reduce poverty and connect residents to public services.

“Our young people are amazing,” said Hanna-Attisha. “They are not okay with the status quo and they are demanding that we do better for them and for generations to come.”

SEE MORE: Why do we celebrate Earth Day?

Asia Donald remembers feeling helpless and bewildered when her little sister developed rashes and her mom boiled pot after pot of bottled water for baths.

But a couple years later, she was guiding kids from Newark, New Jersey, as they experienced their own water crisis. Over Zoom meetings, the kids from Flint explained parts per billion, how to test water for lead and how they'd coped with fears.

“They felt the exact same way that I felt when I was ... going through it,” said Asia, 20, one of 18 interns at the Flint Public Health Youth Academy.

They’re paid a monthly stipend to run the academy — writing grants, creating budgets, analyzing data, running meetings and creating public awareness campaigns. They have a biweekly talk show on YouTube, where they’ve discussed everything from mental health to COVID.

Dr. Kent Key, a public health researcher with the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in Flint, started the academy after studying health disparities in African American communities as part of his doctoral dissertation.

"I felt like everyone had written Flint youth off,” he said. “I did not want (the water crisis) to be a sentence of doom and gloom ... I wanted it to be a catapult to launch the next generation of public health professionals.”

One of the academy's frequent partners is Young, Gifted & Green.

Flint resident Dionna Brown, national director of the organization's youth environmental justice program, plans a two-week summer environmental justice camp in Flint every year. Teens learn about policy, climate justice, sustainability and housing disparities.

Brown became interested in advocacy during a class on environmental inequality at Howard University. Now she plans to become an environmental justice attorney.

“I tell people all the time: I’m a child of the Flint water crisis,” said Brown, who was 14 when it began. “I love my city. And we put the world on notice that you cannot just poison a city and we’ll forget about it.”

Baltimore leaders blame ship owner, manager for Key Bridge collapse

Mon, 04/22/2024 - 23:26


The owner and manager of the massive container ship that took down the Francis Scott Key Bridge last month should be held fully liable for the deadly collapse, according to court papers filed Monday on behalf of Baltimore's mayor and city council.

The two companies filed a petition soon after the March 26 collapse asking a court to cap their liability under a pre-Civil War provision of an 1851 maritime law — a routine but important procedure for such cases. A federal court in Maryland will ultimately decide who's responsible and how much they owe in what could become one of the most expensive maritime disasters in history.

Singapore-based Grace Ocean Private Ltd. owns the Dali, the vessel that veered off course and slammed into the bridge. Synergy Marine Pte Ltd., also based in Singapore, is the ship's manager.

In their filing Monday, attorneys for the city accused them of negligence, arguing the companies should have realized the Dali was unfit for its voyage and manned the ship with a competent crew, among other issues.

A spokesperson for the companies said Monday that it would be inappropriate to comment on the pending litigation.

The ship was headed to Sri Lanka when it lost power shortly after leaving Baltimore and struck one of the bridge's support columns, collapsing the span and sending six members of a roadwork crew plunging to their deaths.

"For more than four decades, cargo ships made thousands of trips every year under the Key Bridge without incident," the city's complaint reads. "There was nothing about March 26, 2024 that should have changed that."

SEE MORE: Crews race the clock to remove chunks of fallen Baltimore bridge

FBI agents boarded the stalled ship last week amid a criminal investigation. A separate federal probe by the National Transportation Safety Board will include an inquiry into whether the ship experienced power issues before starting its voyage, officials have said. That investigation will focus generally on the Dali's electrical system.

In their earlier petition, Grace Ocean and Synergy sought to cap their liability at roughly $43.6 million. The petition estimates that the vessel itself is valued at up to $90 million and was owed over $1.1 million in income from freight. The estimate also deducts two major expenses: at least $28 million in repair costs and at least $19.5 million in salvage costs.

Grace Ocean also recently initiated a process requiring owners of the cargo on board to cover some of the salvage costs. The company made a "general average" declaration, which allows a third-party adjuster to determine what each stakeholder should contribute.

Baltimore leaders argue the ship's owner and manager should be held responsible for their role in the disaster, which has halted most maritime traffic through the Port of Baltimore and disrupted an important East Coast trucking route. The economic impacts could be devastating for the Baltimore region, the filing says.

"Petitioners' negligence caused them to destroy the Key Bridge, and singlehandedly shut down the Port of Baltimore, a source of jobs, municipal revenue, and no small amount of pride for the City of Baltimore and its residents," the attorneys wrote.

Lawyers representing victims of the collapse and their families also have pledged to hold the companies accountable and oppose their request for limited liability.

In the meantime, salvage crews are working to remove thousands of tons of collapsed steel and concrete from the Patapsco River. They've opened three temporary channels to allow some vessels to pass through the area, but the port's main shipping channel is expected to remain closed for several more weeks.

Jury: BNSF Railway contributed to 2 asbestos deaths in Montana town

Mon, 04/22/2024 - 23:11


A federal jury on Monday said BNSF Railway contributed to the deaths of two people who were exposed to asbestos decades ago when tainted mining material was shipped through a Montana town where thousands have been sickened.

The jury awarded $4 million each in compensatory damages to the estates of the two plaintiffs, who died in 2020. Jurors said asbestos-contaminated vermiculite that spilled in the rail yard in the town of Libby, Montana was a substantial factor in the plaintiffs’ illnesses and death.

Family members of the two victims hugged after the verdict was announced, and attorneys for the plaintiffs said the ruling brought some accountability. One family member told The Associated Press that no amount of money would replace her lost sister.

“I’d rather have her than all the money in the world,” Judith Hemphill said of her sister, Joyce Walder.

The jury did not find that BNSF acted intentionally or with indifference, so no punitive damages were awarded. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. acquired BNSF in 2010, two decades after the W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine near Libby shut down and stopped shipping the contaminated product.

The pollution in Libby has been cleaned up, largely at public expense. Yet the long time frame over which asbestos-related diseases develop means people previously exposed are likely to continue getting sick for years to come, health officials say.

Attorneys for the estates of the two victims — Joyce Walder and Thomas Wells — had argued that the railroad knew the asbestos-tainted vermiculite was dangerous but failed to act. Both died from mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

The case in federal civil court over the two deaths was the first of numerous lawsuits against the Texas-based railroad corporation to reach trial over its past operations in Libby. Current and former residents of the small town near the U.S.-Canada border want BNSF held accountable, accusing it of playing a role in asbestos exposure that health officials say has killed several hundred people and sickened thousands.

“This is good news. This is the first community exposure case that will hold the railroad accountable for what they’ve done,” said Mark Lanier, an attorney for Walder and Hemphill's estates.

BNSF attorney Chad Knight declined to comment after the verdict. He told jurors last week the railroad's employees didn’t know the vermiculite was filled with hazardous microscopic asbestos fibers.

“In the '50s, '60s and '70s no one in the public suspected there might be health concerns,” Knight said Friday.

The railroad’s experts also suggested during the trial that the plaintiffs could have been exposed to asbestos elsewhere.

SEE MORE: Asbestos victim's last words aired in BNSF Railway wrongful death suit

The railroad said it was obliged under law to ship the vermiculite, which was used in insulation and for other commercial purposes, and that W.R. Grace employees had concealed the health hazards from the railroad.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris had instructed the jury it could only find the railroad negligent based on its actions in the Libby Railyard, not for hauling the vermiculite.

BNSF was formed in 1995 from the merger of Burlington Northern railroad, which operated in Libby for decades, and the Santa Fe Pacific Corporation.

Looming over the proceedings was W.R. Grace, which operated the mountaintop vermiculite mine 7 miles outside of Libby until it closed in 1990. The Maryland-based company played a central role in Libby’s tragedy and has paid significant settlements to victims.

Morris referred to the chemical company as “the elephant in the room” during the BNSF trial and reminded jurors repeatedly that the case was about the railroad’s conduct, not W.R. Grace’s separate liability.

Federal prosecutors in 2005 indicted W. R. Grace and executives from the company on criminal charges over the contamination in Libby. A jury acquitted them following a 2009 trial.

The Environmental Protection Agency descended on Libby after 1999 news reports of illnesses and deaths among mine workers and their families. In 2009 the agency declared in Libby the nation’s first ever public health emergency under the federal Superfund cleanup program.

A second trial against the railroad over the death of a Libby resident is scheduled for May in federal court in Missoula.

47 Yale University students arrested during pro-Palestinian protest

Mon, 04/22/2024 - 23:01


Dozens of Yale University students protesting in support of Palestinians were arrested Monday in another show of escalating tensions within campus communities of the nation's top universities.

Daily demonstrations began last week at Yale's Beinecke Plaza to push the university to divest from military weapons manufacturers. Then on Friday, the group, which calls itself Occupy Beinecke, set up an encampment.

But after their third night, some protesters were greeted around 7 a.m. Monday morning by officers "flipping up the entrances" to their tents, student-run news site Yale Daily News reported. Other officers reportedly told students if they didn't leave the plaza immediately they would be arrested, and minutes later, officers began their arrests, the site reported.

While about 300 protesters stood nearby with their arms interlocked, blocking traffic and chanting statements like "Free our prisoners, free them all, Zionism must fall" and "Look your students in the eyes, you're supporting genocide," according to Yale Daily News, police shuttled arrested demonstrators away from the plaza and removed tents, while Yale employees were seen taking down fliers. Within an hour, no protesters remained on the plaza. 

The more than 300 protesters continue to block the intersection. There were more than 40 officers on the scene; they have now almost all entered the Schwarzman Center rotunda and are not allowing students inside.

— Yale Daily News (@yaledailynews) April 22, 2024

At least 47 students were among the 60 people arrested and released on misdemeanor charges of first-degree trespassing, the university said in a statement. It also said the group would be referred for Yale disciplinary action, which could include sanctions like probation or suspension. 

The university said it had notified protesters "numerous times" that police could get involved if they continued to violate the school's policies regarding "occupying outdoor spaces." This included an hourslong discussion Sunday night in which the university said protesters could meet with trustees if they vacated the plaza before the next morning. 

But Occupy Beinecke said Yale only offered to "disseminate already-public" information about their investments in military weapons manufacturing, so "after being given only 10 minutes to decide," the students rejected the offer, choosing to stay at the encampment until their demands were met.

The group said only one arrest warning was given to protesters Monday morning despite police previously indicating they'd be given three.

"Police also refused to allow arrestees to collect medication and other necessities," Occupy Beinecke wrote on Instagram. "When asked onsite what protesters were doing wrong, police refused to give an answer."

Meanwhile, Yale University President Peter Salovey said in a statement Monday that the decision to arrest came after reports of harmful acts and threatening language coming from the site. He said arrests were made after police gave protesters "several opportunities" to leave voluntarily, but 60 did not.

"We will not tolerate such behavior nor any open violation of Yale policies that interrupts academic and campus operations," his statement read. "So, we acted consistently with the warnings we had given over several days and escorted the protesters from the plaza."

SEE MORE: Columbia University goes virtual amid pro-Palestinian protests

As with many recent disbandments of campus protests, the university says the action was made to protect safety and to fight budding antisemitism, which some Jewish students say has risen with similar demonstrations. But many demonstrators say they have a right to peacefully protest for Palestinian rights and against Zionism, and that those rights have been wronged by administrator action.

Columbia University President Nemat Minouche Shafik testified last week on claims she allowed her school to become a hotbed of hate and antisemitism. She said Monday that the school's classes would move online to "deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps." The message came days after more than 100 of the university's students were arrested for their involvement in a similar encampment. 

Also Monday, hundreds of protesters at New York University told to vacate a campus plaza stood against police, and there were reports of other encampments at Boston-area universities and at the University of Michigan.

New rules will safeguard more abortion-related medical records

Mon, 04/22/2024 - 22:41


The medical records of women will be shielded from criminal investigations if they cross state lines to seek an abortion where it is legal, under a new rule that the Biden administration finalized Monday.

The regulation, which is intended to protect women who live in states where abortion is illegal from prosecution, is almost certain to face legal challenges from anti-abortion advocates and criticism from abortion-rights advocates that it does not go far enough.

“No one should have their medical records used against them, their doctor or their loved one just because they sought or received lawful reproductive health care,” Jennifer Klein, the director of the White House Gender Policy Council, told reporters on Monday.

The new regulation is an update to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which prohibits medical providers and health insurers from divulging medical information about patients. Typically, however, law enforcement can access those records for investigations.

SEE MORE: Newsom to let Arizona doctors provide reproductive care in California

In states with strict abortion rules, the federal regulation would essentially prohibit state or local officials from gathering medical records related to reproductive health care for a civil, criminal or administrative investigation in a state where abortion remains legal.

In theory, it will provide the most cover to women who leave states with strict bans to seek an abortion from a medical provider in a state that allows it.

“As someone who does see patients who travel from all across the country at our health center in D.C., it's a reality. I've had patients ask ... are there going to be consequences for me when I go home?" said Dr. Serina Floyd, an OB-GYN who provides abortions in Washington.

The new regulation would not protect a woman who orders an abortion pill from her home in a state like Mississippi, where abortion is mostly banned, from a provider in Illinois, where it is legal.

The nation's top health official acknowledged Monday that the regulation has limitations — and may be challenged legally.

“Until we have a national law that reinstitutes Roe v. Wade, we're going to have issues,” Xavier Becerra said. “But that doesn't stop us from doing everything we can to protect every Americans' right to access the care they need.”

Man dies after 613-day COVID-19 infection that underwent 50 mutations

Mon, 04/22/2024 - 22:19


A new report by Dutch scientists revealed a very peculiar case: On Feb. 2022, a 72-year-old man with a compromised immune system was admitted to Amsterdam University Medical Center with a COVID-19 infection. The virus in his body proceeded to evolve over the course of 613 days, leading to a highly mutated variant that ultimately killed him.

According to the study, the man, whose identity was not disclosed, suffered from a blood disorder. Despite receiving multiple doses of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, his compromised immune system made him unable to generate a detectable antibody response, allowing the virus to continue to evolve into a "novel immune-evasive variant" that had mutated over 50 times. The man died from his underlying blood disorder after fighting COVID for nearly two years, the scientists from the University of Amsterdam’s Centre for Experimental and Molecular Medicine stated. 

“This case underscores the risk of persistent SARS-CoV-2 infections in immunocompromised individuals as unique SARS-CoV-2 viral variants may emerge due to extensive intra-host evolution," the study authors stated in a press release. "We emphasize the importance of continuing genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 evolution in immunocompromised individuals with persistent infections given the potential public health threat of possibly introducing viral escape variants into the community.”

While the study notes there have been cases in which people have tested positive for COVID-19 for hundreds of days, this case is the longest reported by far. Furthermore, researchers say the rare variant found in this patient hasn't been reported in anyone else, but emphasize the need for more study to protect the public from potential new variants.

The researchers say they plan to further present this study at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Global Congress in Barcelona, Spain, starting this weekend.   

SEE MORE: White House expands its global pandemic prevention efforts

'Star Wars' brings its blue milk to stores from a galaxy far, far away

Mon, 04/22/2024 - 22:11


What was good for Luke Skywalker is good for all of us now that one of the unsung heroes of the Star Wars universe will be landing on store shelves across the galaxy.

The blue milk served up first in “Star Wars: A New Hope,” the film that launched the juggernaut, has become an actual real, live thing accessible to almost all of us — at least those of us who can't get a glass of it at Disney World's Star Wars attraction. 

Dairy brands including Kemps and TruMoo launched the blue milk from outer space, metaphorically, onto store shelves on April 17 ahead of the unofficial Star Wars Day, May 4. 

The colorful beverage is actually low-fat, vanilla-flavored milk with special packaging featuring an image of Skywalker mid-lightsaber battle with Darth Vader. 

You can find out which of your local stores have the galactic goodness on tap at TruMoo’s website.  

This story was originally published by Jeff Tavss at Scripps News Salt Lake City.