Agreement on plan to manage Colorado River

Seven U.S. states in the Southwest that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River have reached tentative agreements on how to manage the waterway amid an unprecedented drought, officials said Tuesday.

The announcement was a long-awaited step toward preserving the river, which supports 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland in the United States and Mexico.

A nearly two-decade-long drought has drained the river’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, to alarmingly low levels.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages major reservoirs across the West, says the chances of a shortfall in Lake Mead are 57 percent by 2020.

The drought contingency plans announced Tuesday are not designed to prevent a shortage in the river system, but to manage and minimize the effects.

The two major components of the plans cover the Upper Basin, where most of the water originates as Rocky Mountain snowfall, and the Lower Basin, which consumes more water because it has more people and farms.

Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are in the Upper Basin. Arizona, California and Nevada are in the Lower Basin.

It will probably be next year before all seven states and the U.S. government approve the plans, said Karen Kwon, Colorado’s assistant attorney general.

— Associated Press

Limo in fatal crash was up for sale days before

Two days before a limousine crashed and killed 20 people in Upstate New York, the limo company posted a vehicle for sale on Craigslist matching the description of the one in the fatal accident.

The listing for the modified 2001 Ford Excursion asked for $9,000 and described the vehicle as being in “excellent” condition, “DOT Ready full serviced,” with 180,000 miles on the odometer.

The listing, first reported by the Albany Times Union, had the same contact number as that of several companies owned by Shahed Hussain, owner of Gansevoort, N.Y.-based Prestige Limousine.

The limousine that ran a stop sign and crashed on a rural road 25 miles west of Albany on Saturday was cited for code violations Sept. 4. The company’s lawyer says the issues had been corrected.

— Associated Press

Suit accusing school of abuse culture is settled

A Pittsburgh-area school accused of creating a culture of verbal abuse and excessive force that allowed resource officers to shock students with stun guns and body-slam them reached a settlement Tuesday in a civil rights lawsuit.

Attorneys for the five black former students and their parents, who filed the lawsuit in August 2017, said a federal judge has to approve the settlement petition. The lawsuit alleges white school administrators had engaged in discriminatory behavior against the black students, some of whom say they were also discriminated against because they have emotional and behavioral issues. It alleges false criminal charges were filed against several students to cover up alleged physical abuse and excessive force.

The former students will split more than $500,000 if the settlement is approved. It was unclear what the individual settlement amounts would be.

The attorneys said the settlement comes with a commitment from a new high school principal and a new superintendent to end violence toward students.

The lawsuit filed against the school district, the Churchill Borough, Dynasty Security, former principal Kevin Murray, former superintendent Alan Johnson and former school resource officer Stephen Shaulis, cites five different incidents, at least four of which were partially captured on the school’s security cameras.

A video from 2009 shows Shaulis shoving a student into a locker without apparent physical provocation, then shocking the student with a stun gun and arresting him.

— Associated Press