News from around our 50 states

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Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham talks about his department's budget Tuesday after meeting with the Montgomery County Commission.
Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham talks about his department’s budget Tuesday after meeting with the Montgomery County Commission.

Montgomery: Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham is expecting 10% less funding for his office in 2021 because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. He outlined a plan to deal with the cuts during a Tuesday hearing with county commissioners. Cunningham pitched some cost-saving ideas to help, including sharing the salary of a full-time dispatcher with the town of Pike Road, and building and selling cars to other municipalities. “I think we’re still making sure that the equipment and the manpower are going to be there for our community,” he said. He did have one request. He asked the commissioners for hazard pay for some of his officers. “It’s about trying to recognize those that are going over and beyond,” he said. “… These guys and girls, they love their

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Millions of kids may lose out on free meals as they return to school

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The Trump administration is resisting calls to make it easy for tens of millions of students to get free meals at school this year, even as childhood hunger rates have risen to the highest levels in decades.

During the spring and summer, as the coronavirus health crisis exploded, the government allowed most families to pick up free meals from whichever school was closest or most convenient without proving they were low-income. But that effort is on the verge of expiring as states prepare for children to return to school, and as school systems are pushing the federal government to continue the free meals program through the fall.

So far, President Donald Trump’s Agriculture Department isn’t on board with an extension. School leaders are now asking Congress to force the government’s hand as lawmakers buckle down to work on the next coronavirus aid package.

“It’s impossible. It’s insane,” said Katie Wilson,

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Smaller crowds make up for COVID-19 protocols

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Forty-four years after they honeymooned at the Magic Kingdom, Carol and Steve Show donned mouse ears with “44” emblazoned on the iconic headgear and posed for photos in front of Cinderella Castle.

The two were among the estimated 16,000 people who descended on Walt Disney World Saturday as the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom welcomed guests for the first time since COVID-19 forced the parks’ closure March 15. 

The parks opened even as the Sunshine State recorded a sharp increase in new infections. On Saturday, the Florida Department of Health reported 10,360 new cases, the 18th consecutive day that at least 5,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus have been announced ⁠and pushing total cases to 254,511.

And those making their way back to the “Place Where Dreams Come True” found a smaller, much more sanitized and COVID-19-conscious world.

Opening day at Disney World as it happened: Small crowds,

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Pinellas Releases Draft Back-To-School Plan, Mandates Masks

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL — Along with #2 pencils and three-ring binders, Pinellas County public school students can add face masks to their lists of back-to-school supplies.

Pinellas County Schools has released a draft of its reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year in which it announced that masks will be a required accessory for all students, teachers and staff on school campus when the new school year begins Aug. 10.

The Pinellas County School Board will discuss the plan in greater detail at a virtual workshop July 14 with a special called meeting afterward the workshop.

According to the draft reopening plan, masks must be worn by all students from the time they step on the school bus each morning until they get off the school bus that afternoon.

To minimize contact between students, students will get on the school buses from the back emergency door and head to the

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