LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) â The president of the utility that serves the three Massachusetts communities affected by a series of natural gas fires and explosions says the company is donating $10 million to a relief fund.
Columbia Gas President Stephen Bryant made the announcement Tuesday at a news conference attended by Gov. Charlie Baker and leaders of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
The Republican governor said the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund will help residents of the three communities with food, housing and other immediate needs as they recover from last Thursday’s fires that killed one and injured two dozen others.
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, who has been highly critical of Columbia Gas, said the utility is “living up to their corporate responsibility” with the donation.
The cause remains under investigation, but early reports indicate over-pressurized gas lines are to blame.
DERRY, N.H. (AP) â The remnants of Hurricane Florence have caused flash flooding in parts of New Hampshire, resulting in rescues.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Legro said he received reports Tuesday morning of boats being used to rescue people from rising water in Derry, in southern New Hampshire.
Legro said the rainfall was fast and furious, with more than 5 inches falling in Auburn in as little as six hours. Some places in southern Maine saw a couple of inches. By late morning, the worst was over.
The death toll from the storm is at least 32 in three states, with 25 fatalities in North Carolina. The hurricane made landfall late last week.
WASHINGTON (AP) â Republicans are forging ahead with plans for a Senate hearing they had hoped to avoid on a woman’s claims that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high schoolers, hoping to salvage the judge’s endangered Supreme Court nomination with a risky, nationally televised showdown between him and his accuser.
Republicans reversed course and agreed to the hearing in the face of growing demands by GOP senators to hear directly from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, now a psychology professor in California. Their sworn testimony, certain to be conflicting and emotive, will offer a campaign season test of the political potency of a #MeToo movement that has already toppled prominent men from entertainment, government and journalism.
“Now the whole nation’s trying to figure out something that’s not really evident,” said Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. “It is a political dialogue on a very, very painful subject for a lot of people.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said his panel would hold a hearing next Monday with both Kavanaugh and Ford “to provide ample transparency” and “give these recent allegations a full airing.”
Ford says that at a party when both were teenagers in the early 1980s, an intoxicated Kavanaugh trapped her in a bedroom, pinned her on a bed, tried to undress her and forced his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. She said she got away when a companion of Kavanaugh’s jumped on him.
Kavanaugh, 53, has vehemently denied the accusation. He said in a statement Monday that he wanted to “refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
Shortly before Grassley’s announcement, the senator said there would be private, telephone interviews of Kavanaugh and Ford conducted by committee staffers. Democrats refused to participate, saying the seriousness of the charges merited a full FBI investigation.
Republicans had also displayed no willingness to delay a Judiciary panel vote that Grassley had planned for this Thursday to advance the nomination, setting the stage for full Senate confirmation of Kavanaugh by month’s end, in time for the new Supreme Court session. Thursday’s vote will not occur.
President Donald Trump telegraphed earlier Monday that that schedule might slow. He told reporters at the White House: “If it takes a little delay, it will take a little delay.”
If the Judiciary committee’s timetable slips, it would become increasingly difficult for Republicans to schedule a vote before midterm elections on Nov. 6 elections, when congressional control will be at stake.
With fragile GOP majorities of just 11-10 on the Judiciary committee and 51-49 in the full Senate, Republican leaders had little room for defectors without risking a humiliating defeat of Trump’s nominee to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Among the GOP defectors was Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Judiciary Committee member who has clashed bitterly with Trump and is retiring from the Senate. Flake said he told No. 2 Senate Republican leader John Cornyn of Texas on Sunday that “if we didn’t give her a chance to be heard, then I would vote no.”
There was enormous pressure on GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two moderates who have yet to announce their positions on Kavanaugh and aren’t on the Judiciary Committee.
Collins said that in a telephone conversation with Kavanaugh on Friday he was “absolutely emphatic” that the assault didn’t occur. She said it would be “disqualifying” if Kavanaugh was lying. Murkowski said Ford’s story “must be taken seriously.” Neither Collins nor Murkowski faces re-election this fall.
Some Democrats raised questions about whether Grassley’s planned hearings were sufficient.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, said in a statement Monday night that she was disappointed the FBI and White House “are failing to take even the most basic steps to investigate this matter” and that the process was being rushed. She said President George H.W. Bush had asked the FBI to investigate Anita Hill’s allegations against Thomas.
Another Democrat on the panel, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, said staging the hearing without the FBI investigation would make it a “sham.”
Underscoring the raw political divisions prompted by the Kavanaugh fight, Feinstein said she’d only learned of the hearing on Twitter.
The Justice Department said in a statement late Monday that the accusation against Kavanaugh “does not involve any potential federal crime.” It said the FBI had forwarded to the White House a letter, evidently from Ford, describing alleged misconduct in the 1980s by Kavanaugh. The statement seemed to suggest that the FBI was not currently investigating it.
Kavanaugh and Ford had each indicated earlier Monday a willingness to testify to the Judiciary committee. Debra S. Katz, Ford’s attorney, said on NBC’s “Today” that Ford was ready to testify publicly to the Judiciary panel, but she did not respond Monday evening to efforts to learn whether she would appear.
Kavanaugh went to the White House on Monday, but Trump said he did not meet with his nominee. He declined to say whether Kavanaugh had offered to withdraw, dismissing the question as “ridiculous.”
Ford, now a psychology professor at California’s Palo Alto University, gave her description of her encounter with Kavanaugh to The Washington Post in an interview published Sunday.
Kavanaugh is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, widely viewed as the nation’s second-most-powerful court.
Until Monday, Trump had remained silent about the allegations against Kavanaugh. The president himself has faced accusations of affairs and unwanted advances â not to mention his taped comments about groping women that emerged shortly before he was elected in 2016.
A federal grand jury indicted a California man accused of making violent threats against Boston Globe employees in retaliation for the newspaper’s editorial response to political attacks on the media.
Robert D. Chain, 68, of Encinco, Calif., was indicted on seven counts of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another person.
On Aug. 10, the Boston Globe requested that newspaper publications around the country publish a coordinated editorial response to political attacks on the media.
The coordinated editorial response was published on Aug. 16.
Immediately following the announcement, Chain allegedly began making threatening calls to the Boston Globe newsroom, referring to them as “the enemy of the people” and threatening to kill the employees.
He was arrested on Aug. 30 and is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston on Sept. 24.
The seven counts charged in the indictment relate to seven separate threatening calls that Chain allegedly made,Â United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling announced.
The charge of making threatening communications in interstate commerce provides for a sentence of no greater than five years, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
NEW YORK (AP) â Apple and Google want to help you spend less time on their phones â really. Like that time you checked Facebook at 3 a.m. Stats don’t lie.
Their new tools for managing screen time will let you see how often you picked up the phone after bedtime or how long you’re on Instagram at work (shame on you). Apple’s tools also let you control how long your kids spend on their devices, if you’re concerned that screens are taking time away from sleep, homework or exercise.
Apple’s tools launch Tuesday as part of the free iOS 12 software update for iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch. Google’s controls are being tested on its Pixel-branded Android phones.
Here’s how the controls work.
FOR THE KIDS
Apple’s new controls for kids let you manage their time on their own devices, such as an iPad or a hand-me-down iPhone. Once you’ve got them set up, you can use your iPhone to check when your children are on their devices and what apps or websites they’re using. You can restrict particular classes of apps and even establish a quiet period when most apps shut down.
That latter “Downtime” feature is promising, though it has a few shortcomings. For one thing, it only lets you choose a single block of time during the day, so if you’re blocking late-night hours, you can’t set a separate downtime for school hours. Plus, your selection applies seven days a week; you can’t set different hours for weekends unless you want to manually change the settings every Friday and Monday.
A new “Screen Time” feature lets you establish time limits for categories of apps, such as entertainment or games. In this case, limits can be different on weekends. You can also set limits app by app, or for specific websites, but it’s tricky. From the Screen Time settings, tap the chart at the top to get a list of apps and websites. Tap on an app or site, and look for “Add Limit” at the bottom.
Songs or podcasts playing in the background don’t count toward limits. If your kid has both an iPhone and an iPad, Screen Time can track time spent on both devices against your limits.
When apps run out of time, their icons go dark and the apps won’t send notifications. You can exempt useful apps, such as e-books or homework sites â or messaging and phone service for emergencies â from the downtime limits.
It’s best to configure all this from your own device using Apple’s “Family Sharing” feature, although Apple will also let you set up limits directly on your children’s devices. Either way, you’ll need a passcode specifically for Screen Time. Be sure to pick one that’s different from your phone’s passcode, which your kids probably already know.
Kids can ask for more time with a few taps. If you ignore or decline the request, Screen Time isn’t supposed to let them keep asking. But for the moment, kids can just reopen the app to bug you with another request. Get ready for a digital version of “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
Apple already had parental controls for blocking R-rated movies, adult websites and podcasts with explicit language, but the settings were buried. In iOS 12, they’re part of Screen Time. You’ll need to them on manually, or your kid can still watch R and NC-17 movies.
What you won’t get from Apple is any help in determining what kinds of limits to set. In fact, the clock is initially set to zero, forcing parents to make choices right off the bat instead of working from default limits. Apple says recommendations among experts vary.
Ultimately, it’s best to have a conversation with your kids about screen time. But having software block an app can be easier than pulling a device out of a child’s hands.
FOR THE ADULTS
You can set the same limits for your own device, but it requires self-discipline. Want more Instagram? No problem â just tap for extra time. If you really need help, ask a friend or family member to set that Screen Time passcode and keep it secret.
Google has similar controls, called Digital Wellbeing, but they’re intended for adults (among other things, there’s no passcode, which limits their usefulness for setting limits on kids). This feature is currently only available on the company’s own Pixel phones , although Google plans to make it more broadly available in a forthcoming Android update called Pie.
ALL ABOUT THE SCREEN
Another Android feature will let you leech the color from your screen after a certain hour. This option, called “Grayscale,” turns everything monochrome, rendering apps â and, heck, the entire phone to some extent â less appealing, presumably making it easier to put the phone down. Apple has a similar setting, although it’s buried in the Accessibility settings for disabled users.
Google and Apple features also let you turn your screen amber during designated times. That reduces blue light, which can suppress melatonin and make it tougher to go to sleep.
Ultimately, though, technological tweaks can only go so far in helping you resist technology’s allure. It’s just like your desire to exercise more, eat better or get more sleep: It comes down to priority and discipline. At most, these tools can nudge you in the right direction.
MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (AP) â Police in Wisconsin say they pulled a 15-year-old boy over for reckless driving and discovered the teen was drunk and had a baby in the back seat.
Mount Pleasant police say the baby’s mother and another teen in the car were also intoxicated. Sgt. Eric Relich says police responded to a report of a reckless driver about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. Relich says someone saw the driver swerving and driving into oncoming traffic.
The car stopped near a gas station and responding officers say they found the 15-year-old behind the wheel. Relich told WITI-TV that the 19-year-old mother of the 5-month-old baby was so intoxicated that she couldn’t stand up straight.
Authorities say beer bottles were found next to the baby’s car seat. The teen driver was taken into custody.