Home U.S 'Let us cheer!', cruises return, adolescent trials: News from around our 50...

'Let us cheer!', cruises return, adolescent trials: News from around our 50 states

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Alabama

Montgomery: About two dozen cities and town across Alabama will participate as the state tourism agency resumes a program to promote springtime walking tours. Although the program was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be held all four Saturdays in April with precautions against COVID-19 including social distancing, according to a news release from the Alabama Tourism Department. Larger cities including Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery will hold walking tours for the public along with smaller communities including Athens, Monroeville and Fairhope. A statement from the agency said 30 communities participated in the walking tour program in 2019, with more than 2,300 people taking part. Alabama is the only state with statewide, simultaneous walking tours, the agency said.

Alaska

Anchorage: More than 28% of Alaskans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine – better than most states and well above the national average of 22%. Last week, Alaska became the first state to offer vaccinations to anyone at least 16 years old who wants them. Mississippi has since followed suit, and Utah announced it will do the same starting next month. As the rest of the country grapples with the same issue, the success of Alaska offers a lesson in the benefits of avoiding the top-down bureaucracy that has hampered vaccinations elsewhere. From the early days of Alaska’s campaign, local leaders across the state enjoyed some latitude in how to administer the doses they received. The decision to officially scrap eligibility restrictions – which ran two dozen pages – came after state officials realized that many residents were confused about whether they qualified and that too many appointments were going unclaimed.

Arizona

Tourists gather for a view of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Grand Canyon National Park officials tentatively plan to reopen the park's eastern entrance in late May, but there's sentiment in Page, Ariz., a tourist-dependent small city where many campsites and other facilities remain empty, that sooner would be better.

Flagstaff: Grand Canyon National Park officials tentatively plan to reopen the park’s eastern entrance in late May, but there’s sentiment in a small northern Arizona city that depends on tourism that sooner would be better. “Our sales tax for this year is down nearly 30% from last year,” Page city manager Darren Coldwell told the Arizona Daily Sun. “Our Horseshoe Bend visitation is down 80%. So when we say that our numbers dropped off the face of the earth, they really did.” The Grand Canyon’s eastern entrance and the highway leading to it, State Route 64, were closed last spring as a courtesy to the neighboring Navajo Nation, which was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The tribe’s vast reservation in the Four Corners region has reported nearly 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 1,219 deaths as of Tuesday, when only two new cases and one additional death were reported. A nightly curfew to help curb spread of the coronavirus remains in effect on the reservation but slowing of the outbreak has prompted the Navajo Nation to begin a partial reopening of some businesses and other facilities. Two of the tribe’s four casinos were set to reopen Friday. Navajo Nation roads remain closed to visitors, but the Navajo Nation Council is considering a bill to rescind those closures – which don’t affect the highway into the park.

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