Bomb Threat Temporarily Derails Cincinnati Streetcar Service; Louisiana Mayors Criticize FEMA Flood Response

The Cincinnati Bell, ... ]

The Cincinnati Bell, ... ] John Minchillo / AP Photo


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Also in Our State and Local Weekend Digest: A push to bump Trump off Minnesota's ballot; condemnation of Israel boycott riles New Yorkers; and bees collateral damage in S.C. mosquito spraying.

STREETCARS | A Saturday bomb threat led to the evacuation and halting of the city’s new streetcar service. An anonymous caller said the bomb was on one of them and, while not deemed credible, all five cars were taken out of service. A bomb sniffing dog didn’t find anything in any car, and they resumed service after about an hour. The Cincinatti Bell Connector started service Friday, offering free rides over the weekend. "We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the thoughtless actions of one individual,” said city spokesman Ricky Merz. “In conjunction with other recent threats at local schools and the zoo, authorities are actively investigating this threat.” [WLWT 5]

DISASTER RESPONSE | Testifying before congressional lawmakers Friday, a trio of Louisiana mayors criticized the federal response to severe flooding that hit areas in the southern part of the state last month. "If FEMA continues to enforce strict, generalized standards that have repeatedly proven ineffective to this flood of historic proportions, our city will be unable to rebuild and will fall into blight because of the actions of FEMA," Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry told members of a House Oversight subcommittee. Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, also testified. "While I am grateful for the quick response we have received from this flooding, I am under no illusion that the response has been perfect," he said. [The Advocate]

ELECTIONS | Republicans are decrying a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party legal effort to get GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, removed from Minnesota’s November ballot. DFL Chairman Ken Martin filed a lawsuit Thursday with the state’s Supreme Court, arguing Minnesota’s secretary of state was wrong to accept the state GOP’s “certificate of nomination” for the Trump-Pence ticket. The petition specifically takes issue with the way Republicans chose alternate presidential electors, asserting it amounts to a violation of state law. State Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey said Friday that Trump “got on the ballot fair and square” and charged that the DFL is trying to “rig the election.” Early voting in Minnesota starts in about two weeks, on Sept. 23. [StarTribune]

ISRAEL | City Council’s hearing on a resolution condemning the boycott of Israel got so out of hand that police had to remove dozens of attendees, including the entire top-floor balcony opposed to its passage. The global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement has become more vocal in recent months, defending its right to protest Israeli treatment of Palestine. The movement “is a harmful, exclusionary campaign aimed at undermining the unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered state agencies to cease business with companies boycotting Israeli goods earlier this year. [New York Daily News]

BEES | In the wake of an aerial mosquito spraying incident in South Carolina that left millions of bees dead, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture is advising the state’s beekeepers on what they can do to avoid a similar fate. Specifically, the department is recommending that bee owners use a mapping software called BeeCheck, which lets farmers and pesticide applicators know where their hives are located. [Western North Carolina Public Radio]

ZOMBIE HOUSES | Officials hope to fill vacant “zombie” houses through the new ReVaMP loan-assistance program, which provides a $5,000 down payment toward the purchase. Remediating Vacancies, Making Progress provides the loan on any home vacant longer than 90 days, and the loan is forgiven if the purchaser remains in the house five years. Zombie houses are longstanding vacant properties, where banks or financiers evict the residents but don’t take immediate possession or send them to the sheriff’s sale. "I know it is time and money, but these homes bring down value and cause problems in neighborhoods," said New Castle County Councilman David Tackett. The county set aside $100,000 for the program. [The News Journal]