Liz Cheney-Republicans

In this July 27, 2021 file photo Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., center, speaks to the media after the first hearing of the House Select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

WYOMING

Liz Cheney's Trump vote prompts new censure effort

CASPER — Some local Republican Party officials in Wyoming have announced they will no longer recognize Liz Cheney as a party member because of her vote to impeach Donald Trump.

"In the immortal words of the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump ...'You're Fired!'" read recent letters to Cheney from GOP officials in Park and Carbon counties.

Wyoming has 23 mainly rural counties and the officials in Park and Carbon counties voted unanimously over the last week in favor of the latest form of censure against Cheney.

In February, the state GOP voted overwhelmingly to censure Cheney for her vote to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

In May, Republicans in Washington, D.C., voted to remove Cheney from her No. 3 House GOP leadership position after she maintained criticism of Trump for the riot and for his baseless assertions that voter fraud deprived him of re-election.

The Republican Party can withdraw or withhold support from GOP officeholders and candidates in a variety of ways but can't oust anybody from the party.

Cheney has described her vote to impeach and criticism of Trump as putting principle and the U.S. Constitution above the former president.

Republicans in other Wyoming counties have requested copies of the Carbon County GOP resolution and "at least three or four" are likely to pass similar resolutions soon, Carbon County Republican Party Chairman Joey Correnti predicted.

At least seven Republicans are running against Cheney in next year's GOP primary.

KANSAS

Chief wants school site included in unmarked graves search

The leader of an American Indian tribe is concerned that a former Kansas boarding school will be left out of a federal initiative seeking to determine whether thousands of Native American children were buried at schools across the country in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Shawnee Tribe Chief Ben Barnes said federal authorities have not indicated whether the the Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway, Kansas, would be part of the investigation U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland launched in June. Barnes said he and others worry the Kansas school could be overlooked because it was run by the Methodist church, rather than the federal government, as were many other boarding schools for Indigenous children.

Much of the conversation since the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative was announced has centered on federally run schools such as the notorious Carlisle Indian Reform School in Pennsylvania, which promoted the idea of erasing American Indian culture and assimilating Indigenous children into white society. Barnes noted many of the boarding schools, including the one in Kansas, operated for decades before the Carlisle school opened in 1879.

A spokesman for the Department of the Interior said in an email the agency has only recently begun working on the federal program and no information was yet available about individual locations.

Barnes said making distinctions between federally run schools that forcibly removed children from their families and church-run schools that "persuaded" families to send their children to the schools is offensive "hair-splitting" because both types had the same mission.

Congress contracted with Indian agents to work with missionaries to convince Native American families to send their children to church-run schools. They attempted to convince the families they would have no future if they stayed with their tribes, which had been forced to walk to Kansas in the 1800s as part of what became known as the Trail of Tears, Barnes said.

The Shawnee Indian Methodist Manual Labor School was started at its present site in 1839 by Thomas Johnson, a Methodist minister for whom Johnson County was later named.

Most of the original 2,000 acres owned by the mission has been developed. At a minimum, the Shawnee Tribe wants the federal government to conduct ground-penetrating radar searches on the 12 acres that remain at the mission site to search for unmarked graves.

NEW MEXICO

State taps US pandemic relief to help harvest chile

SANTA FE — New Mexico will step in to ensure a timely chile harvest after growers and producers raised concerns about an inadequate supply of labor, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales announced.

The state will funnel up to $5 million in federal pandemic relief toward enhanced wages for laborers who harvest New Mexico's renowned green and red chile crop in the late summer and early fall, along with cabbage and onions, Morales said Aug. 4.

Chile is a roughly $50 million annual cash crop for farmers in New Mexico that would ideally employ about 3,000 people at farms and processing plants during the harvest, said Joram Robbs, executive director of the New Mexico Chile Association.

Some Republican state legislators urged the state to cut off a $300 weekly federal supplement to unemployment benefits, asserting that the income is keeping workers at home rather than in the fields. The supplement expires in early September.

Morales said the local farm-labor shortage predates the pandemic and that many agricultural laborers aren't eligible for unemployment benefits because of their immigration status. He said minimum wage is no longer enough to attract workers to pick chile pods and that as much as $17 an hour may be necessary to attract workers.

The harvest of New Mexico's most famous crop started a few weeks early this year amid a shift in planting techniques.

Virgin Galactic restarts space-trip sales at $450,000 and up

The ticket window is open again for space flights at Virgin Galactic, with prices starting at $450,000 a seat.

The space-tourism company said Aug. 5 it is making progress toward beginning revenue flights next year. It will sell single seats, package deals and entire flights.

Virgin Galactic announced the offerings as it reported that it lost $94 million in the second quarter on soaring costs for overhead and sales. The company posted revenue of $571,000, barely enough to cover one seat on a future flight.

The company's most noteworthy recent achievement came last month, after the quarter ended, when founder Richard Branson and five crewmates soared to 53.5 miles above the New Mexico desert.

CEO Michael Colglazier said the company resumed sales to take advantage of a surge in consumer interest after the flight by Branson, who beat rival billionaire Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin ship into space by nine days.

The company based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, won regulatory approval in June to fly people into space.

The company's next spaceflight is scheduled for late September in New Mexico with the Italian air force.

UTAH

Sundance Film Festival sets vaccination requirement for 2022

Anyone looking to go to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah next year is going to need more than a badge. All participants must be fully vaccinated too, festival director Tabitha Jackson said Aug. 3.

The 2022 Festival is requiring people attending the festival or Sundance-affiliated events to have received the COVID-19 vaccine. That means everyone from volunteers to filmmakers and passholders. More details will follow in the coming months.

Following the largely virtual Sundance earlier this year, organizers are planning to hold in-person events in 2022 with screenings in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as some "satellite" screenings at regional theaters throughout the U.S.

The 2022 Festival is set for Jan. 20-30.

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