A former Tennessee state trooper has gone missing after he was sentenced for a misdemeanor assault conviction on a charge that he pulled the face mask off a protester during the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020. Columbia Police said Monday that 54-year-old Harvey Briggs was last seen in the city on Oct. 1, the day after receiving a six-month probation sentence, and was driving a black 2015 Ford Fusion. He pleaded no contest in the case on Sept. 15. Police say, Briggs made “several concerning statements” to his family before he left, and that they haven’t heard from him since. Briggs' attorney decline to comment Tuesday.
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Loretta Lynn, the Kentucky coal miner’s daughter who became a pillar of country music, has died. Lynn's family said she died Tuesday at her home in Tennessee. She was 90. Her compositions reflected her pride in her humble background and spoke frankly of her experiences as a woman and mother in Appalachia on such hits as “Coal Miner’s Daughter," “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “The Pill.” Her bestselling 1976 autobiography was made into a movie, with Sissy Spacek winning an Oscar for her portrayal of Lynn. Lynn wrote unfiltered songs about sex and love, cheating husbands, divorce and birth control that sometimes got her in trouble with radio programmers.
Supporters of abortion rights are suing to keep an old Arizona law that criminalizes nearly all abortions from being enforced. They argue in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that laws passed by the state Legislature after 1973′s Roe v. Wade decision should take precedence and abortions should be allowed until 15 weeks into a pregnancy. The 15-week law was passed this year and took effect a day after a Tucson judge said a pre-statehood law banning all abortions can be enforced. The lawsuit filed by a Phoenix abortion doctor and the Arizona Medical Association repeats many of the arguments made by abortion rights groups in their failed effort to get a judge to continue a 50-year-old injunction against enforcing the pre-statehood law.
Three scientists have jointly won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics for their work on quantum information science that has significant applications, including the secure encryption of information. Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John F. Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger were cited by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for discovering the way that unseen particles, known as photons, can be linked, or “entangled,” with each other even when they are separated by large distances. The prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on Dec. 10. The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
Wisconsin Democrats up for election in five weeks are putting abortion in the spotlight, with the Republican-controlled Legislature taking less than a minute to reject Gov. Tony Evers' call to create a way for voters to get a chance to repeal the state’s 1849 abortion ban. Evers and other Democrats on the ballot Nov. 8 are trying to turn the election into a referendum on abortion. But Evers’ opponent Tim Michels, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and other Republicans are focusing instead on crime and public safety in arguing that Democrats have failed to keep the state safe.
A judge has dismissed charges against seven people in the Flint water scandal, including two former state health officials blamed for deaths from Legionnaires’ disease. Judge Elizabeth Kelly took action Tuesday, three months after the Michigan Supreme Court said a one-judge grand jury had no authority to issue indictments. Kelly rejected efforts by the attorney general’s office to just send the cases to Flint District Court and turn them into criminal complaints. That's the typical path to filing felony charges in Michigan. In 2014, Flint managers took the city out of a regional water system and began using the Flint River to save money. The water wasn't treated to reduce corrosion of old pipes, resulting in lead contamination.
Republican Adam Laxalt is trying to capitalize on his military experience and Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto's lack of it as he tries to turn a red seat blue in the swing state of Nevada. The former attorney general served as a judge advocate general in the Navy in Iraq. But he couldn't emphasize that military record much during a sometimes-heated GOP primary. His opponent, retired Army Capt. Sam Brown, was a war hero who was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Now Brown is campaigning for Laxalt, recently appearing with him serving up free hot dogs at the VFW in Reno.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a bill prohibiting federal funding for transgender medical treatment for young people and urged the Legislature to adopt a statewide ban when it returns next year. The first-term Republican is up for reelection next month and signed the bill Tuesday. It authorizes more than $108 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for health services at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center. Oklahoma's Republican-controlled Legislature passed several bills this year targeting transgender youth. They include measures that restrict transgender girls' participation in sports and require schoolchildren to use bathrooms that correspond with their assigned sex at birth.
Prosecutors trying to sentence Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz are trying to show he is faking having fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. They spent hours Tuesday showing charts of IQ tests, explained averages and standard deviations but then turned to a simple test Cruz took earlier this year to bolster their contention he is malingering. They used video from his 2018 massacre of 17 at Parkland Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to show he is capable of rapidly pulling a trigger. On a jailhouse test of his mental fitness, he tapped a lever slowly. Cruz pleaded guilty last year. His trial is to determine if he is sentenced to death or life without parole.
Finalists for the National Book Awards were announced Tuesday. They include Gayl Jones’ “The Birdcatcher,” a short, lyrical novel about a writer’s trip to the island of Ibiza and the gifted, unstable couple she stays with. The activist and former Olympics gold medalist Tommie Smith is a young people’s literature nominee for “Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice." Pulitzer Prize winner Sharon Olds is a poetry finalist for “Balladz." Robert Samuels’ and Toluse Olorunnipa’s “His Name Is George Floyd” is a nonfiction nominee. Winners will be announced Nov. 16 at a dinner that will also honor cartoonist Art Spiegelman and American Library Association Executive Director Tracie D. Hall.