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Poppy Apocalypse Overwhelms California Town

A model poses among wildflowers in bloom Monday, March 18, 2019, in Lake Elsinore, Calif.

A model poses among wildflowers in bloom Monday, March 18, 2019, in Lake Elsinore, Calif. AP Photo/Gregory Bull

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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Amazon incentive package passes in Nashville ... Floods continue in Midwest ... Former governor to lobby for a constitutional convention.

Tourists descending on the city of Lake Elsinore in southern California for a poppy “super bloom” have been overwhelming local resources, causing backups on roads and crowding into Walker Canyon. As many as 100,000 visitors showed up over the weekend, prompting state patrol officers and local government to close the canyon. It reopened on Monday, although the California Highway Patrol had to close some freeway off-ramps, reported the Press Enterprise. Lake Elsinore Mayor Steve Manos in a Facebook video that day emphasized to flower visitors that the Poppypalooza (which also was dubbed Poppy Apocalypse and Poppy Nightmare) had become taxing. “We are full. If you have the opportunity to come back here later or another day, we would really appreciate that,” Manos said. The city of 66,000 residents on Tuesday took to its Facebook page to link to a news article that listed other places in California to see the wildflowers. The extraordinary bloom is the result of this winter’s abundant rains, which awakened seeds in the soil, explained National Geographic. [The Press Enterprise; Desert Sun; National Geographic]

AMAZON | Nashville’s Metro Council Tuesday passed a $17.5 million incentive package for Amazon, which has pledged to bring 5,000 positions to the city as part of a new operations center. The campus was announced along with the company’s plans to put new headquarters in the Washington, D.C. area and New York, although Amazon has since pulled out of New York City in the face of questions about incentives and other aspects of the deal. While some activists have criticized the company for a lack of transparency about what exactly the salaries of future employees will be, council members approved the measure overwhelmingly. The Tennessean reported that Council member Tanaka Vercher emphasized that the council will be vigilant “behind the scenes" and the public will still be able to participate in discussions.  [The Tennessean; WKRN-TV]

FLOODS | Vice President Mike Pence visited Nebraska Tuesday for three hours, pledging communities overwhelmed by floods that “help is on the way.” The floods have been devastating for farmers, while states across the Midwest have been affected. The National Weather Service on Tuesday said more than 7 million people were under flood warnings. [Omaha World-Herald; The New York Times; CNN]

BALANCED BUDGETS | Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will lead a national group that is trying to convince more states to request a constitutional convention to balance the federal budget. [Wisconsin State Journal]

INDIANA AG | An Indiana Supreme Court disciplinary body has revived a complaint that Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill inappropriately touched four women at a bar. Hill has denied any wrongdoing. The state’s high court could end up deciding if any punishment is warranted. [Indianapolis Star]

Laura Maggi is Managing Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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