Tribune News Service
Newsfeatures Budget for Monday, June 29, 2020
Updated at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 UTC).
Additional news stories appear on the MCT-NEWS-BJT.
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^Gettysburg, home to America's most hallowed battlefield, reckons with symbols of the Confederacy<
GETTYSBURG-CONFEDERATE-SYMBOLS:PH — The nationwide push to take down symbols of the Confederacy, to question why anyone flies a rebel flag at all, has come to Gettysburg, a city of barely 1,100 on the South Dakota prairie, where the buffalo once roamed.
Gettysburg, South Dakota, is approximately 1,400 miles northwest of its sister city in Adams County, Pa., where Union troops defeated Confederate forces in the pivotal battle of the Civil War in 1863. The South Dakota city got its name, according to one account, because soldiers who fought in Pennsylvania settled there. Its slogan is "Where the Battle Wasn't." Its symbol, emblazoned on police cars and uniforms, is an American flag and the traditional Confederate stars and bars.
The city adopted that symbol in 2009, and in 2015 addressed it in a Facebook post, claiming "no racist intentions." An uncle of George Floyd, a Black man murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, happens to live there, and now is calling for its removal.
1150 by Jason Nark in Gettysburg, Pa. MOVED
^'Sin taxes' could help states in pandemic budget slump — at least a little bit<
STATES-BUDGETS-SINTAXES:SH — Gas tax revenue plummeted this spring, income taxes won't rebound anytime soon and some states are offering a property tax holiday because people can't pay during the pandemic. But so-called sin taxes are rolling in as liquor stores boom, marijuana sales continue, vapers vape and smokers smoke.
While not a huge portion of state tax revenue, sin taxes are a relative bright spot in a dark revenue picture. And some states are considering increasing those levies to make up some of the lost pandemic revenue.
1200 by Elaine S. Povich in Washington. MOVED
^Fact check: In Arizona Race, McSally makes health care pledge at odds with track record<
^MCSALLY-HEALTHCARE-FACTCHECK:KHN—<Trailing Democratic challenger Mark Kelly in one of the country's most hotly contested Senate races, Arizona Sen. Martha McSally is seeking to tie herself to an issue with across-the-aisle appeal: insurance protections for people with preexisting health conditions.
"Of course I will always protect those with preexisting conditions. Always," the Republican said in a TV ad released June 22.
The ad comes in response to criticisms by Kelly, who has highlighted McSally's votes to undo the Affordable Care Act. That, he argued, would leave Americans with medical conditions vulnerable to higher-priced insurance.
1000 by Shefali Luthra. MOVED
^Sweeps of homeless camps run counter to COVID-19 guidance and pile on health risks<
HOMELESS-CAMPS:KHN — Melody Lewis lives like a nomad in the heart of downtown Denver.
Poking her head out of her green tent on a recent June day, the 57-year-old pointed a few blocks away to the place where city crews picked up her tent from a sidewalk median earlier this spring and replaced it with landscaping rocks, fencing and signs warning trespassers to keep out.
Lewis then moved just a quarter-mile to a new cracked sidewalk, with new neighbors and potentially, homeless advocates fear, new sources of exposure to the coronavirus.
Several cities across the U.S. are bucking recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by continuing sweeps of homeless encampments, risking further spread of the virus at a time when health officials seek to gain an upper hand on the pandemic.
1400 (with trims) by Jakob Rodgers in Denver. MOVED
^2 days before a hearing that could have set him free, the courthouse shut down<
INMATE-HEARING-DELAY:TB — LaRon Warren had been serving life in prison without parole for two South Side murders as a juvenile in the 1990s, but a series of landmark court rulings left him hoping he'd win his freedom at a hearing in March.
Then the coronavirus put that dream on hold.
Two days before the hearing, the courthouse closed due to the pandemic. A court date in June was delayed until July. And Warren, 44, an ex-gang member who remains in Cook County Jail, is starting to "wonder if this is ever going to be over."
Warren is among an estimated 30 inmates in Illinois still seeking to shorten their sentences based on a series of key court decisions.
1450 by Ray Long in Chicago. MOVED
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