National News

Southern Baptists Lose Members for 12th Straight Year

The nation’s largest Protestant denomination is reporting its twelfth year of declining memberships. The Southern Baptist Convention has reported total membership for 2018 at 14.8 million, down about 192,000 from the previous year. Baptisms also declined by about 7,600 to 246,442. Scott McConnell is director of the SBC’s Lifeway Research, which reported the data. He says baptisms have declined in…

The Latest: Governor maintains he was not in racist photo

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the results of an investigation into how a racist photo appeared on a yearbook page for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (all times local):

1:35 p.m.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is reiterating his longstanding denial that he’s in a racist photo that appeared on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.

Northam made the comments Wednesday after an investigation commissioned by Eastern Virginia Medical School failed determine whether Northam is in the yearbook photo of a man in blackface next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

The Democratic governor

Ferguson activist turned lawmaker resigns from Legislature

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Bruce Franks Jr., a Ferguson activist who became a prominent urban voice in Missouri’s largely conservative Legislature, is giving up his House seat, in part due to mental health struggles.

Franks was first elected in 2016, two years after he led protests in Ferguson after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. Franks was also a leader of 2017 protests in St. Louis after a white former police officer was acquitted of killing a black suspect.

Franks, a 34-year-old Democrat, announced his resignation Thursday, the next-to-last day of the session.

In a statement, Franks

Police: South Carolina mom abandoned 2nd baby 30 years ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say a mother already facing a murder charge for abandoning her baby daughter in 1990 is now charged with dumping the body of her infant son nearly a year earlier.

Greenville County Sheriff’s Lt. Ryan Flood said the baby boy’s body was found in a trash bag in April 1989.

Prosecutors decided to charge 53-year-old Brook Graham with desecration of human remains and unlawful neglect of a child because the medical examiner in 1989 couldn’t determine if the baby was born alive.

Authorities say Graham was charged in April with killing a baby girl, putting her in a

Texas man suspected of cutting off mom’s head with hacksaw

DENTON, Texas (AP) — Police have arrested a 22-year-old Texas man suspected of cutting off his mother’s head with a hacksaw.

Isaac Israel Warriner was being held Friday in Denton County’s jail on charges including the abuse of a corpse. He hasn’t been charged with killing his mother, Sarah Warriner, though police didn’t immediately reply to phone calls seeking further details, including whether such charges could be coming.

An arrest affidavit says police in Denton, which is about 35 miles (55 kilometers) north of Dallas, were called to an apartment complex May 5 by a neighbor who said Isaac

Maryland Official Wants His State to Review Relationships with Alabama over Abortion Law

Maryland’s comptroller says he’s urging the state’s pension system to divest itself from Alabama-based companies due to the state’s strictest-in-the-nation abortion ban. In a Facebook post, Comptroller Peter Franchot said the law was “a malicious assault on the rights and protections of women everywhere.” Franchot, a Democrat elected in a statewide vote, is the vice chairman of Maryland’s State Retirement…

Grumpy Cat, who entertained millions online, dies at age 7

MORRISTOWN, Ariz. (AP) — Grumpy Cat, whose sourpuss expression entertained millions on the internet, has died at age 7.

Her owners wrote on social media Friday that she experienced complications from a urinary tract infection and “passed away peacefully” Tuesday “in the arms of her mommy.”

Her owners said “Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world — even when times were tough.”

The cat’s real name was Tardar Sauce, and she rose to fame after her photos were posted online in 2012. She had more than 2 million followers on Instagram and more than 1 million on Twitter.

Missouri moves to replace Benton with Truman at US Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have passed a measure that could send former President Harry Truman back to the U.S. Capitol.

The measure given final approval Thursday would put Truman’s statue in place of one of former Sen. Thomas Hart Benton, who was instrumental in the nation’s westward expansion.

State lawmakers passed something similar last year. But it was vetoed by Gov. Mike Parson because the version sent to him mistakenly referenced the accomplishments of Benton’s great-great nephew, a famous painter by the same name.

All states are allotted two statues in the

Couple sentenced in trafficking involving disabled woman

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit couple has been sentenced after authorities say they hired out a woman with physical and mental disabilities for sex while forcing her to live in a shed.

Forty-year-old Michael Welch and 32-year-old Misty George of Macomb Township were charged in 2017 with human trafficking and prostitution-related counts. He was sentenced Thursday to five to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges including human trafficking.

George pleaded no contest to human trafficking and had agreed to testify against Welch. She sentenced to five years of

Leaping Lizards: Florida wildlife officials catch big lizard

KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials have finally captured a large invasive Asian water monitor that had been running loose in the Florida Keys for more than a year.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials posted pictures on Facebook with this caption: “Elusive lizard captured!”

The lizard was more than 5 feet (1.52 meters) long and weighed 20 pounds (9 kilograms).

Crews of staff members and volunteers had been setting traps and searching for the lizard. Once it was caught, the lizard was removed from the wild. Wildlife officials say this helps prevent the establishment of a new nonnative