Toxic wastewater vs. Tampa Bay

Florida is pumping millions of gallons of polluted wastewater into the ecosystem of Tampa Bay. The mayor of Chicago calls for reform after a 13-year-old was shot and killed by police. Derek Chauvin’s murder trial continues.

👋 It’s Monday, y’all. It’s Laura. I’ve got all kinds of news for you. And Ashley helped!

But first, let’s talk about concurrent cravingsYou have your cookie. Then, you have your doughnut. You want both, but it feels wrong, somehow, to have both on the same plate. Krispy Kreme is on it: The chain offers two new Oreo doughnuts. There’s a glaze involved. You are welcome. 🍩

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Welcome To Florida (W.T.F)

Florida’s got a toxic problem. After a leak in the liner of a reservoir at a former fertilizer plant caused a partial breach in one of its containment walls, officials hope that pumping millions of gallons of polluted industrial wastewater out of the reservoir and into the waters of Tampa Bay will relieve the pressure on the walls and reduce the chance of an uncontrolled major breach. The move could avoid a disaster at the reservoir but could also have harmful effects such as red tide and fish kills in the bay. More than 300 homes and multiple businesses have been evacuated in the area after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency. Officials expressed concern about a full breach of the reservoir, which could unleash “as high as a 20-foot wall of water” surging into nearby homes.

  • Accountability a looming questionwith Piney Point leak, Tampa Bay wastewater discharge.
     

Millions of gallons of industrial wastewater are being pumped into Tampa Bay as the result of a leak at the Piney Point fertilizer plant processing plant. (Photo: Mike Lang, Sarasota Herald-Tribune via USA TODAY NETWORK)

Chicago mayor calls for reform

Adam Toledo dreamed of becoming a police officer someday. But on March 29, the 13-year-old was shot and killed by Chicago police after being chased into an alley. Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for changes in how police pursue suspects on foot, urging a “thorough, expeditious” investigation as tensions remain high across the city. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability says it is preparing to release what it calls “troubling video footage” of the shooting. This weekend, Adam’s family asked for calm amid reports that gang factions in the city have been instructed to retaliate by shooting at unmarked police cars. 

  • Chicago police officer placed on administrative duty after fatal “armed confrontation” with a 13-year-old boy.

What everyone’s talking about

  • Vladimir Putin – Russia’s longest leader since Stalin – signs a law that may let him stay in power until 2036.
  • Biological fathers in Utah will be required to pay half of pregnancy costs under a new law.
  • Thandiwe Newton spent 30 years in Hollywood going by “Thandie.” Now she’s returning to her Zimbabwean roots.
  • After being kicked out of the SBC for allowing gay members, a Georgia church wants to make sure “everybody’s welcome.”
  • DMX remains hospitalized after an apparent heart attack; family announces Monday prayer vigil.

Spotlight shines on vaccine favoritism claims

Vaccinations are on the rise in the USA, but is there favoritism in Florida? Questions that have dogged Gov. Ron DeSantis since the early days of the rollout received another national spotlight Sunday when the CBS news show “60 Minutes” reported how the governor’s campaign donors were involved in the vaccine rollout. The controversy began in January when the state announced a partnership with Publix, which donated $100,000 to the governor’s political committee in December, and intensified as vaccinations gained momentum. Florida is one of 12 states that opened vaccine eligibility to all adults Monday. “That’s a fake narrative,” DeSantis said in dismissing the claims of favoritism.

📈 Today’s numbers: The USA has more than 30.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 555,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and more than 4 million vaccine doses were given in a single day for the first time Saturday, according to data from the CDC. More than 100 million people have had at least one dose of vaccine, about 40% of all adults. And 23% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated.

💉  The 12 states that opened vaccine eligibility to all adults 16 or older on Monday: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Michigan, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Derek Chauvin trial: Police chief says restraint of George Floyd ‘absolutely’ violated policy

Monday morning, the doctor who provided medical care to George Floyd was the first person on the stand in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The top cop in Minneapolis also took the stand, testifying about department ethics and police training. 

  • Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo told the court that Chauvin’s restraint of Floyd “absolutely” violated department policy and went against “our ethics and our values.”
  • Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, who provided emergency care to Floyd, testified that at the time of the incident, he believed Floyd’s death was caused by a lack of oxygen, rather than an overdose or heart attack, based on the information he had. 
  • Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled Monday that portions of video from Chauvin’s body camera will be admitted as evidence and shown to the jury.

Last week in court: Jurors heard from 19 people, including several who witnessed Floyd’s death and broke down in tears as they described their attempts to intervene on his behalf. Friday, veteran officer Lt. Richard Zimmerman told jurors Chauvin’s use of force on Floyd was “totally unnecessary.”

Protesters rally April 1 outside the Minneapolis courthouse where a jury is hearing the case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing George Floyd. (Photo: Trevor Hughes/USA TODAY)

Real quick 

  • It’s working in Eugene, Olympia, Denver: More cities send civilian responders, not police, on mental health calls.
  • Her Uyghur friend disappeared. This Boston woman is on a mission to draw attention to China’s “genocide.”
  • Police say they think former Tennessee football player Brandon Davis was accidentally shot by his teammate.
  • A sweeping federal lawsuit filed against Rochester police alleges decades of “violent, racialized policing.”
  • Supreme Court dismisses casequestioning Donald Trump’s blocking of critics on Twitter.

Arkansas governor vetoes bill banning youth gender reassignment surgeries

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill that would ban gender reassignment surgeries and hormone supplements for anyone under 18 in the state. The Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which did not have a provision for youth currently transitioning, said the risks of gender transition procedures “far outweigh any benefit.” Hutchinson said, “The bill is overbroad, extreme and does not grandfather those who are under hormone treatment.” He said the bill would be legislative interference with medical care in the state. Opponents of the bill argued access to medical care lowers suicide rates among transgender people. Some said the legislation contradicts President Joe Biden’s executive order Jan. 20 meant to combat discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

A break from the news

  • 💸 Despite the $10,200 federal exemption, these 13 states will tax unemployment benefits.
  • 💘 Couples are at odds juggling work, chores and child care during the pandemic. There’s a way to fix things.
  • 🦠 The pandemic forced us to stop hugging, shaking hands. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.

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