In Ohio, Coal Miners Begin Stark Quest for New Careers

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Maria Gallucci for International Business Times:The miners are here (at a Destiny Truck Driving Academy’s training site) thanks largely to a federal initiative for former coal industry workers. The Obama administration, aiming to boost communities battered by coal’s downturn, recently awarded around $14.5 million in grants to a dozen states as part of its Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce Economic Revitalization (POWER) program. Ohio received $2 million, one of the biggest slices, to help dislocated coal workers pay for retraining and education programs in high-demand industries, including trucking. The funding is helping cover Hepburn and Connolly’s fees of roughly $1,500, a sum they say they couldn’t otherwise afford.Workforce initiatives like these are gaining traction as layoffs pile up across America’s coal country.Mines are shuttering or pressing pause for a mix of reasons. Prices of metallurgical coal, the type used in steelmaking, plunged 18 percent last year from 2014 due to softening economic growth in China and an overall global supply glut. Thermal coal for power plants is losing ground to natural gas, which emits fewer pollutants and less carbon dioxide than coal. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tightening rules on climate change and clean air, utilities are increasingly converting their plants to gas and building more solar and wind power projects.All the while, U.S. coal companies are floundering financially, with half a dozen firms filing for bankruptcy protection last year. Many are swimming in debt, the result of expansions and acquisitions made in years when coal’s outlook seemed brighter. Coal production last year fell to about 900 million short tons, its lowest level in nearly three decades, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in January.Employment in the sector, meanwhile, is at a 20-year low. The average number of workers at U.S. coal mines fell 10.5 percent to nearly 80,400 employees from 2012 to 2013, a drop of nearly 9,500 workers, according to the EIA’s latest data.Few energy analysts see the U.S. coal sector resurging to its glory days.Full article: Ohio’s Miners Seek A Life After Coal As Industry Loses Steam in Appalachia In Ohio, Coal Miners Begin Stark Quest for New Careerslast_img read more

Russia sends warships to Syria, blames Ankara for killing of Turkish troops

first_imgThough trying to coordinate their efforts on Syria, Russia backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey backs rebel forces opposing Assad.Responding to Thursday’s killings, a senior Turkish official said on Friday that Ankara would no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe. Turkey blamed an air strike by Syrian government forces for the deaths.Russia’s Defence Ministry was cited by the RIA news agency on Friday however as saying that the Turkish troops had been hit by artillery fire from Syrian government forces who were trying to repel an offensive by rebel forces.It was quoted as saying that Ankara had failed to notify Moscow of the presence of Turkish troops in the area hit by shelling despite being in regular communication with the Russian military. The Turkish troops had been deployed directly alongside anti-government rebels, the ministry was cited as saying. But according to information provided by Turkey there were no Turkish troops in the area and Russia said that Turkish forces “shouldn’t have been there.”Russian war planes did not carry out any air strikes in the area at the time of the incident and Moscow did everything it could to help once it learnt of the Turkish troop presence, the ministry was cited as saying.That included ensuring Syrian forces stopped shelling to allow Turkey to evacuate its dead and wounded.Separately, and as tensions between Ankara and Damascus rose, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was cited by the Interfax news agency on Friday as saying it was sending two warships equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles to waters off the Syrian coast.Topics : Russia on Friday said it was sending two warships armed with cruise missiles to waters off the Syrian coast and blamed Ankara for the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib region the previous day.The killing of the Turkish soldiers on Thursday and the wounding of 32 others, announced by the governor in Turkey’s Hatay province bordering Syria, raised the Turkish military death toll in the region to 54 this month.Turkey has sent thousands of troops and heavy military hardware into Syria and Erdogan has warned that Turkey will launch a full-scale offensive to repel Syrian forces unless they pull back from Turkish observation posts in the region.last_img read more

Kobe Bryant elected to Basketball Hall of Fame in solemn moment for the sport

first_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error On Saturday morning, the Basketball Hall of Fame made a formal announcement that’s been unofficially marked on calendars since the Black Mamba retired: Kobe Bryant is a first-ballot honoree in the sport’s most hallowed ground.It is, however, an unexpectedly sobering moment in a world that has had to do both without basketball and without Bryant.The Lakers legend whose 20-year career netted 18 All-Star appearances, five championships and one MVP award was a shoo-in for the Hall – one of basketball’s icons who is instantly recognizable by his first name alone. He will be immortalized alongside two of his decorated peers, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, in one of the best trios of NBA players ever inducted in the same class. They are among just six players in NBA history who have been selected to 15 or more All-Star Games.The class also includes NBA head coach Rudy Tomjanovich (who worked for the Lakers as a coach and scout), as well as longtime Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton, women’s basketball coaches Kim Mulkey (Baylor) and Barbara Stevens (Division II Bentley University), and WNBA star Tamika Catchings among the finalists. Longtime executive Patrick Baumann was also inducted posthumously. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersBut since Bryant died in a January helicopter crash in Calabasas – along with his daughter Gianna and seven other people – the sport has evaluated his legacy through mourning as a ruthless competitor, a prickly teammate, one of the game’s biggest winners and a dedicated father who advocated for the women’s game during his 41 years.Millions grieved for Bryant, whose death was deeply felt in Southern California through murals, billboards and countless jerseys bearing both of his numbers: 8 and 24. The Lakers postponed the game that was scheduled two days after the crash, and an elaborate and emotional memorial service was held at Staples Center and broadcast across the world in February. The Lakers had dedicated their season to Bryant – before it was put on hold by the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.Vanessa Bryant, his widowed wife, appeared briefly on ESPN with her oldest surviving daughter Natalia both clad in black. Vanessa called it the “pinnacle” of his basketball achievements, saying each moment had been a stepping stone to this one.“It’s an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we’re extremely proud of him,” she said. “Obviously we wish he were here with us to celebrate.”center_img It is unclear who will make Bryant’s speech during the Hall of Fame induction, tentatively scheduled for Aug. 29 in Springfield, Mass. Vanessa Bryant spoke at length at the February “Celebration of Life” about her husband and daughter, while Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal also delivered emotional speeches at Staples Center.Duncan and Garnett represented two of Bryant’s generational foes. Duncan won five titles with the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers’ most formidable Western Conference rival in the prime of their respective careers. The Lakers faced Garnett’s Boston Celtics twice in the Finals in 2008 and 2010, splitting the meetings in a continuation of one of the league’s historic rivalries. How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Bryant likely has the greatest stature of any player to ever be elected to the Hall of Fame after his death. The 2008 MVP won championships with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010. He stands at No. 4 all-time among NBA scorers (33,643) and ranks in the top 10 in field goals, minutes played and free throws.A two-time scoring champion, he scored at least 60 points six times, including a career-high 81-point performance that stands as the second-best mark in the game’s record book. In addition to 15 All-NBA team appearances, Bryant was a mainstay in the All-Star Game, so much so that the league renamed the annual exhibition’s MVP award after him in honor of the four he won himself. He won Olympic gold twice in 2008 and 2012.His retirement in 2016 spurned a year of lavish tributes in opposing arenas, then, in the final game of his career, he scored 60 points in arguably the most memorable individual sendoff in NBA history.By many markers, Bryant is one of the most accomplished Lakers ever, leading the franchise in points, minutes and field goals among numerous other categories. He’s the only player ever to have two jersey numbers retired by a franchise.“Kobe was not only a proven winner and a champion, he gave everything he had to the game of basketball,” team owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “His fierce competitiveness, work ethic and drive were unmatched. Those qualities helped Kobe lead us to five titles – and have now brought him to the Hall of Fame, where he will be enshrined with the greatest to have ever played the game. No one deserves it more.”With games suspended and Bryant’s death now having sunk in, one of basketball’s most joyous days carried a pall. The announcement was scheduled to run in conjunction with the Final Four in Atlanta before COVID-19 quarantines resulted in the cancellation of the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments. Saturday’s announcement at least provided something to celebrate at a time when most states didn’t get around to crowning high school state basketball champions and even playground courts in many communities are hoop-less because of the need for social distancing.The Hall had already made dramatic adjustments after the tragedy, opting to nominate just eight finalists for a smaller overall class.“We want to make it special for each and every one of them,” Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said in February. “And it will make it more difficult without Kobe being here, but we’ll do our best.”Related Articles Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed last_img read more

The Desperate Plight of a Deportee Couple from America

first_imgBlessing and her fiance Steven Tamba became lovers and best of friends when they boarded the same flight from America six years ago. They were on their way to Liberia after being deported.They conversed about their fears of losing their loved ones and not knowing what Africa had in store for them.Throughout their nine-hour flight back home, they were able to comfort each other.“It was a living nightmare and words cannot express what I felt that day on the flight. Blessing kept on talking and bringing me out of the shell fear had placed me in. I love her for that,” Steven said.Blessing captured a piece of his life that he vowed now belonged to her.“We’re both trying to come to grips with being out here. We left everything back in the states and came back here with only commissary, jail clothes and letters in our suitcases. Now Blessing and I have our own family,” Steven adds.Two bouncing toddlers both four, jumped around in the living room as Steven talked.Steven, unlike Blessing, has been psychologically traumatized by his return to Liberia. According to him, his coming back to Liberia is unfair and he blames his illiteracy for his return.“I didn’t kill anyone, sell drugs or do anything illegal to come back here. The only thing wrong I did was to miss a court date,” he revealed.According to his return document, Steven claims he is unable to read and misunderstood his court date for a different date.“And in the blink of an eye, my Life went from being a good father to my family to being a shackled inmate who was deported because of that one mistake,” he said.Meanwhile, Blessing says she is uncomfortable with sharing her reason for coming back but says being back in Liberia is painful.“Nobody knows why I’m back nor what I’ve gained since being in America. All they care about is that I’m a deportee who messed up. It’s stigmatizing. I can’t get anything because I speak “syries,” Blessing added.“We are so hated and divided and because of that, our lives are destroyed out here,” she says.Like Steven and Blessing, there are many deportees who feel that there should be a program in place for those who return under such conditions.“We need prolonged counseling, housing, jobs and assistance that will keep us on the right track. I don’t want to kill myself like some deportees have. I want to live, but I need the government’s help. Just remember, I won’t be the last to come. Let each deportee who comes be re-integrated and not left alone to figure out how to make it out here,” Blessing pleaded. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Council takes traffic hot seat

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The Dorothy extension is being built by KB Home for another project north of Brookfield Homes’ $100 million development, The Keystone. The Santa Clarita City Council has the final say. Momentum is building in the contingent from the Dorothy Street neighborhood, including some who appeared at a Jan. 17 city Planning Commission meeting but were cautioned against speaking out on the Ermine issue because the public hearing on the project was closed Nov. 15. They turned in petitions bearing about 239 signatures and voiced frustration at not being officially notified about an issue that directly affects them. Some residents asked review of policy on notices. A code requires notice signs to be posted in a 1,000-foot radius from proposed projects, and they largely live outside that radius although their street will absorb traffic from the development. In January 2005, the code was amended to increase the notice area from 500 feet to 1,000 feet. “We receive phone calls and inquiries every day about projects occurring in the city from concerned residents not in the immediate noticing (area,)” city Planning Manager Lisa Hardy said. “We add them to our mailing list to be sure they are notified of upcoming meetings. In this particular case, the applicant made an effort independent of the city to engage the larger Whites Canyon neighborhood.” The residents say they do not oppose the Dorothy extension. They will urge council members to set aside the commission’s recommendation on Ermine and, instead, heed city traffic engineers’ advice to extend Ermine and reduce congestion on three feeder streets into the neighborhood. In October, senior traffic engineer Ian Pari said Steinway Street “more than any other” needs to have some relief. Traffic studies show more than 4,500 vehicles a day travel that residential street. SANTA CLARITA – A developer has jumped from the hot seat but might be replaced there by City Council members when opposing camps of Canyon Country residents vie for support on whether their dead-end streets will be extended to serve the project. Santa Clarita planning commissioners have recommended approval of a 499-home development in Plum Canyon. Under pressure from residents of Ermine Street – initially slated to be extended to serve the new project – the commission agreed to close their street and force traffic to other outlets. Now residents from Dorothy Street are angry because their neighborhood street will be extended to Golden Valley Road – an emerging city highway – and they want Ermine to share the load. “The burden of traffic they don’t want to join in with, they will join on our street,” said Chris Austin, an eight-year Dorothy Street resident. Pari has said residents perceive a diminished quality of life if more than 2,000 vehicles a day travel along residential streets. Though extending Ermine would mean more cars – from 80 to possibly 2,000 a day – that plan makes sense overall, Pari said in November. Traffic engineers and planners will attend when the council takes on the issue, Heather Waldstein, an associate planner, said. Steinway resident Bill Arens plans to alert the council to his neighbors’ concerns before the meeting so they have time to consider the information. “We’re not trying to hurt them (Ermine residents), but why should we shoulder all the load?” he said. Councilman Bob Kellar said he is looking forward to getting “up to speed on the traffic patterns involved. “I am always interested in getting the Planning Commission’s perspective on matters,” he said. “On a general basis, I’m in alignment with the decision of the Planning Commission. There are exceptions to that as well.” The project has not yet been placed on the council’s agenda. Mayor Laurene Weste said she needs to go out and walk the property before reaching a decision. “When you’re impacting an existing neighborhood, you really have to look at all the impacts that all the different options cause,” she said. City officials have discretion over projects within city limits, but some issues caused by growing pains stem from projects outside those boundaries. The KB project is outside the city. Ermine’s counterpart in Saugus is Benz Road, a residential street that became a highway when Copper Hill road opened to Bouquet Canyon Road, a major route for city traffic. Benz now handles 3,300 cars a day. Yi is looking at ways to ease traffic on Benz. Yi had proposed installing signs to limit peak drive-time turns on Benz and adjacent streets for a four-month trial period. If the approach failed, a back-up plan called for further restricting permissible turns. Kellar said no matter what decision the council arrives at with Ermine or Benz, some folks will end up being disappointed. Malcolm Dunn, a school crossing guard at Benz Road and Alaminos Drive, said he sees plenty of rolling stops. Sheriff’s deputies frequently monitor Benz now, a road they identify as problematic, said Detective Anthony Arnold. Benz resident Tony Natoli said for decades he and his neighbors had looked forward to Copper Hill’s opening, but now they’re wondering. “What we need to do is not make Benz a desirable cut-through.” Natoli’s take on Benz may resonate with his cross-town neighbors. “We all have to think beyond my house, my block,” he said, noting restrictions on his street could increase traffic for his neighbors on other streets. Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

John Downey should be at home with his family – Deputy Pearse Doherty

first_imgDonegal Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has described the British extradition request of John Downey request as vindictive and of bad faith.Deputy Doherty was responding to the Creeslough man’s extradition to the UK after he handed himself over to Gardai.Mr Downey is wanted by prosecutors in Northern Ireland over the murders of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in 1972.  Deputy Doherty said “The allegations against John Downey have already been dealt with and the British Government publicly stated that he is not wanted in connection with any offence.“That assertion was tested in the courts and he was subsequently released. That judgement should be respected by the British authorities.“The extradition request from the British Authorities is vindictive and bad faith and is an attempt to overturn due process.“It follows a campaign to introduce an amnesty for British soldiers at a time when the spotlight is on them for their actions. “John Downey is a supporter of the peace process over many years and to his extradition is vindictive and an act of bad faith.“He has worked to promote peace and reconciliation between the people of this island, meeting with members of Loyalism and Unionism and trying to put the past behind us and move into the future in peace together.“John Downey should be at home tonight with his family in Donegal.  The British authorities through their own courts were ordered to release John after they were found guilty of a breach of process when he was previously arrested and detained a number of years ago. I have no doubt that the same will happen again.” John Downey should be at home with his family – Deputy Pearse Doherty was last modified: October 11th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalextraditionJohn DowneyPearse Dohertylast_img read more

British Airways aircraft engine catches fire

first_imgPassengers and crew of a British Airways flight from Las Vegas to London have had a miraculous escape after the engine of their Boeing 777 suffered a catastrophic failure and resulting fire just as the jet was increasing speed for the take-off.The pilots successfully stopped the jet and all the 159 passengers and 13 crew escaped with only minor injuries to seven passengers.Flight BA2276 on route to Gatwick, England, had started its take-off roll on Las Vegas Airport’s Runway 7L when its left engine – a GE90 – suffered an extremely rare uncontained failure where turbine parts traveling at up to 10,000rpm tear away and exit the engine. More: British Airways Safety RatingThis failure is similar to that which crippled Qantas flight QF32 after it took off from Singapore on November 8, 2010.Guardian sports reporter Jacob Steinberg who was on the plane said there was panic on board as passengers struggled to take their carry-on baggage with them, when the call to evacuate was made.“Was asleep as the plane took off. Came to a crashing halt. Smell of smoke. Initially told to stay seated, then shout of evacuate,” Mr Steinberg tweeted. “Could smell and see smoke but was on other side of plane. One person said fire melted a couple of windows.”“They opened the back door and slide went down and smoke started coming in plane, followed by mad dash to front. A lot of panic,” Mr Steinberg tweeted.Just 17 seconds after the aircraft started its take-off roll one of the British Airways pilots contacted air traffic control and said: “Speedbird 2276 heavy stopping” (Speedbird is the ATC code for British Airways and “heavy” designates an aircraft with significant wake turbulence).Then 15 seconds later came the call “Speedbird Mayday Mayday. Speedbird 2276 request fire services.”The air traffic controller responds: “Speedbird 2276, heavy fire services on the way.”Passengers were taken to local a hotel and are expected to be flown to London today.The fire has done extensive damage to the 777 and it is expected to be a write-off as the critical wing box has been damaged.Passengers risking lives by insisting on taking their carry-on baggage off with them.  See Video here: to ATC tape here: The flight is “Speedbird 2276 heavy”. read more

Commodity leaders join forces on sustainability research

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Pork Board (NPB), United Soybean Board (USB) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a sustainability research platform that will benefit all three organizations and their producers. This research program will include the sharing of completed research, coordination on current and planned research and define ways to share and communicate results with each organization’s members.Leadership from the three commodity groups agree that it is prudent to consider specific ways in which they might work together more effectively to ensure alignment and collaboration in sustainability research and how the results can and will be communicated and shared.“Sustainability is defined by the We Care ethical principles pork producers established over 10 years ago,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board President, a pig farmer from South Dakota. “Joining in the efforts of two other organizations, as a collective group, we can more effectively spend producer dollars to achieve the goals we can all believe in and support. Without one, we wouldn’t have the other.”An overarching goal of proactive, continuous improvement is a shared focus among pork, soybean and corn producers.“Most farmers are invested in multiple commodities and invested in more than one of our organizations, so it’s important that we are collaborating wherever we can,” said Lewis Bainbridge, USB chair and soybean and livestock farmer from South Dakota. “We need to be supportive of one another, especially now when there’s more interest in what we’re doing to produce our commodities. We need to be looking at the big picture of how our commodities work together and take that a step further.”Through combined communications efforts and outreach, the organizations can increase the education, capacity and motivation of pig and grain farmers to adopt conservation measures that deliver benefits to the environment and to farm resilience and profitability.“NCGA’s targeted focus — whether it’s policy, market development or research — is to grind more corn and do it profitably. However, in areas like sustainability and research where we share goals and values in our industry, it is just plain smart to work in collaboration,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president of Hastings, Nebraska. “This memorandum will encourage increased communications, further sharing of staff and funding resources, pool expertise, and ultimately makes us all more effective.”A task force of farmer representatives from NPB, USB and NCGA will be formed and, with support from each organization, will be responsible for managing and evaluating the activities outlined in the MOU. Additionally, the task force will track progress and evaluate the value and impact of the MOU upon completion of all activities.last_img read more

“Camera Tossing” Fad Gets Serious With Nikon Patent

first_img9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Tags:#Multimedia#photography What Nikon Has In MindIn Nikon’s camera toss patent, a velocity sensor and accelerometer would be used to make snapping the picture more precise. Using speed and positioning, the accelerometer should be able to determine when and at what point in the thrown arc the best photo can be captured.Nikon’s patent also addresses the issue of protecting the camera in case you miss it on the way down – incorporating a collapsible lens and an impact resistant frame. Nikon Rumors has a Web-translated version of the patent with diagrams in Japanese that show the gist of how the technology would work.If you’re itching to throw a camera into the air, you may have to risk your current camera for a while. Although Nikon’s patent has been published, there’s no news yet on whether or how soon you’ll be able to catch an actual camera that uses the technology. Among a certain class of shutterbugs, there’s a whole new genre called “camera toss” photography. Nikon knows about the phenomenon, apparently, because last week a patent from the company was published that shows how it’s planning to build this feature into a new kind of camera.What Is Camera Tossing?Camera toss photography, or kinetic photography, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You set the timer, toss your camera into the air and hope for the best.It may sound accidental, but done properly, the results can be impressive. So impressive, that the fad has taken on a life of its own. There are several camera toss groups on Flickr, including one with almost 9,000 members. Countless websites, even Wired, have tutorials on camera tossing techniques.That matters, because there are many different “tossing” techniques that can result in different kinds of photos.First, keep in mind that height isn’t the objective. It’s more about arc, rotation and light. The more the camera rotates, the more variation you’ll have and the photo could take on a more abstract look.If you’re able to keep the lens focused on a certain point (say, on you) you could get a neat picture of the ground rotating around the subject.The higher the throw the more ground you cover, the more chaotic the throw, the more erratic the image.Check out these photos from the Camera Tossing Flickr group pool for more examples of the technique can accomplish. 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutcenter_img Image credits: Alin S.(top), JohnPaul Golaski (middle) and David Hull (bottom). christina ortiz Related Posts 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

North Dakota officials seek dismissal of road closure suit

first_imgBISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota officials have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed over the five-month closure of a section of highway during the large protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, saying they had both the authority and an obligation to do it.The federal lawsuit brought by two members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and a reservation priest alleges that the closure of state Highway 1806 near the pipeline route north of the reservation unduly restricted travel and commerce and violated the free speech and religious rights of them and others. It seeks unspecified monetary damages from state officials, Morton County and TigerSwan, a North Carolina-based company that oversaw private security for the Texas-based pipeline developer, Energy Transfer Partners.Attorneys for the county and the state officials, including Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, contend in a court filing dated Friday that the highway shutdown was warranted because of “mayhem” caused by some of the thousands of demonstrators who gathered in the area in 2016 and early 2017 to protest the $3.8 billion pipeline, which now moves North Dakota oil to Illinois.“The criminal behaviour included trespassing, destruction of private property, vandalism, setting fire to multiple vehicles on the bridge, stampeding bison and shooting at law enforcement personnel in attempts to kill them, unlawfully blocking the highway, throwing Molotov cocktails and other projectiles at law enforcement, and evading and resisting arrest,” state Deputy Solicitor General James Nicolai wrote.State officials closed a stretch of the highway just north of protest camps in October 2016 and didn’t reopen it until March 2017, after initial repairs to a bridge were completed and the protest camps were cleared out.The highway is the main route between the reservation and Bismarck, the nearest large city. Plaintiffs allege that the closure was targeted at them and didn’t apply to pipeline workers, who were allowed to continue using that stretch of highway.Nicolai and Shawn Grinolds, an attorney for Morton County, argue that at one point, the protesters, themselves, blocked the highway with hay bales and other objects and that for months, they ignored an evacuation notice issued by then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple. They argue that pipeline workers had a legitimate reason to use the highway and that blocking others from using it was not retaliatory.“The plaintiffs’ peaceful protests were disrupted by a violent criminal faction that required responsible public officials to take necessary and appropriate steps to quell a criminal riot, protect private property from criminal activity and to ensure public safety,” Nicolai said.TigerSwan asked to be dismissed as a defendant, arguing that it had nothing to do with the decision to close the road. Attorney Lynn Boughey also asked U.S. District Judge Dan Hovland to force the plaintiffs to pay the company’s attorney fees.The three plaintiffs are reservation businesswoman Cissy Thunderhawk, pipeline opponent Waste’Win Young and the Rev. John Floberg of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball. They’re suing the county, its sheriff, Burgum and Dalrymple, and the heads of the state Transportation Department and Highway Patrol.In addition to the monetary damages, the lawsuit seeks stricter rules for road closures in such instances and class-action status, meaning it would apply to all affected people, if granted.___Follow Blake Nicholson on Twitter: Nicholson, The Associated Presslast_img read more