Fox News 2024-04-12 16:06:32


Mike Pence lands new job after failed 2024 presidential bid: ‘It is my great honor to serve’

Mike Pence, who served as vice president under former President Trump, has landed a new gig.

Pence will be teaching a course at Grove City College, the school announced Thursday. Grove City College is a conservative Christian school located in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

“It was an honor to be on campus today and see President Paul McNulty and so many wonderful students!” Pence tweeted Thursday, with photos of him addressing the annual conference held by The Institute for Faith & Freedom.

Pence will serve as the Distinguished Visiting Fellow for Faith & Public Life for the school’s new Center for Faith & Public Life, which will “explore and support the presence of Christian faith in public institutions,” the school said.

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In a separate statement, Pence said he was honored to be a visiting fellow for the college.

“It is my great honor to serve as a visiting fellow to Grove City College’s new Center for Faith & Public Life,” Pence said. “Faith and engaging in public life are not mutually exclusive, nor should they ever be. History shows that Christians steadily working toward the common good have changed the world, and Grove City College opening a center shows they are committed to continuing this work.”

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The former vice president and governor of Indiana continued: “Grove City College has been a pivotal institution in helping students grow in their faith and in understanding God’s calling for their life through a rigorous education and a faith-based community. Grove City works to send out young men and women into the world to be beacons of light and truth in a world that needs leaders of integrity and principle.”

Grove City College President Paul J. McNulty emphasized the role of faith in society and praised Pence as the “perfect choice” for the position.

“The appropriate role of faith in the public square is a major issue in this moment of our American life. The Founders envisioned a free society sustained by a self-governing citizenry and strengthened by virtues rooted in religious belief. At the core of Christian faith is the call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. The Center will examine how and why Christians have sought to put their faith into action for the common good,” McNulty said in a statement.

McNulty added: “Mike Pence is the perfect choice for the Center’s first fellowship.”

“No one has pursued this calling more sincerely than the former vice president,” the president continued. “He is an extraordinary role model for what it looks like to lead with wisdom and winsomeness in public life, and he will be a leading source of thought leadership and an impactful voice of the Center.”

In a news release, the school added: “As one of America’s foremost Christian political leaders, Pence has been explicit about how his faith has guided him as a public servant. The wisdom he has accrued over decades of service in Congress, as governor of Indiana, and as the nation’s second-in-command for four years under President Donald J. Trump will benefit the new center.”

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Pence will teach a course with McNulty, write and speak with students in his new capacity. He will also participate in various events, the school said.

Since leaving office, Pence has written a book, “So Help Me God,” and run for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election. He has since suspended his campaign.

Exasperated judge makes unusual move in Arizona rancher trial

A judge in Arizona walked out of the courtroom in the middle of proceedings this week, exasperated with both sides of the trial. 

Judge Thomas Fink of the Santa Cruz County Superior Court is presiding over the trial of rancher George Kelly, who is accused of murder after the fatal shooting of Mexican national Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea.

Fink got up and momentarily left the bench on Thursday while the defense was presenting, deferring to the clerk and court reporter, according to local outlet Fox 29.

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Fink has accused both the defense and the prosecution of unnecessarily dragging out the oral arguments.

Jurors have heard testimony regarding where and at what distance Kelly was standing when prosecutors argue he fatally shot Cuen-Buitimea. 

The defense maintains Kelly only fired warning shots into the air from his patio earlier in the day, and his wife, Wanda Kelly, testified about dialing their Border Patrol ranch liaison upon spotting two armed men dressed in camouflage and carrying rifles and backpacks walking about 100 feet from their home. 

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Kelly’s defense team has looked to sow doubt on whether forensics evidence presented in court and the autopsy report can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cuen-Buitimea was killed by Kelly’s gun. 

The fatal bullet was never recovered from the scene. A consultant for Kelly’s defense, who spoke on condition on anonymity, previously told Fox News Digital that none of the state’s witnesses so far in the trial have provided any rebuttal testimony against the defense theory that a rip crew – a gang of bandits, sometimes cartel-affiliated – could have fatally shot Cuen-Buitimea and robbed him.

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Kelly made national headlines last year when he was held on a $1 million bond on a first-degree murder charge for several weeks. The highest charge was later downgraded to second-degree murder. 

The elderly rancher rejected a deal from prosecutors earlier this year that would have reduced the charge to one count of negligent homicide if he would agree to plead guilty. The trial is expected to end April 19.

Fox News Digital’s Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist shock fans with unexpected announcement

Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist are calling it quits.

The former “Golden Bachelor” couple appeared in a joint interview Friday on “Good Morning America” and shared the news that they are divorcing just months after they wed in January.

As Turner explained, “Theresa and I have had a number of heart-to-heart conversations, and we’ve looked closely at our situation, our living situation, so forth and — and we’ve kind of come to the conclusion mutually that it’s probably time for us to — dissolve our marriage.”

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Nist added, “We have received so much love and support from so many people who watched ‘The Golden Bachelor,’ and I don’t think we can tell you how many people told us that it gave them so much hope. We want none of that to change for anybody.”

“The Golden Bachelor,” a new entry to the “Bachelor” franchise that focuses on older people finding love, premiered last September. The season lasted for 10 episodes, and in that time, viewers saw Turner fall in love with Nist.

He proposed to her in the season finale, and in January, they were married in a televised wedding.

Nist acknowledged that “the plan” was to make their marriage work, but the distance between their families made things difficult.

“The thing that strikes me the most in our conversations, it’s been how dedicated both of us are to our families,” Nist said. “So we look at these situations and I think we just feel like it’s best for the happiness of each of us to, to live apart.”

Turner is based in Indiana, while Nist lives and works in New Jersey. Earlier this month, TMZ and other outlets reported that Turner and Nist were still living in separate homes after getting married.

Originally, the couple planned to move to Charleston, South Carolina. Turner has said that he had always wanted to live in the city, and Nist has a child that lives in the area, but the plan ultimately fell through.

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“We looked at homes in South Carolina, we considered New Jersey, and we just looked at home after home, but we never got to the point where we made that decision,” Nist explained on “Good Morning America.”

They also made it clear that the issue was not that they had fallen out of love, with Turner insisting, “I still love this person. There’s no doubt in my mind, I still am in love with her. I root for her every day.”

Nist agreed, saying, “Yeah, I still love him.”

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As for their wedding rings, she shared that they would be returning them to each other – she joked, “I think that’s the rule.”

“But you know what?” Turner added. “We don’t have to give back the memories.”

Fox News Digital has reached out to Turner for comment.

Both Turner and Nist were married prior to their appearance on “The Golden Bachelor.” Turner was married to his high school sweetheart, Toni, from 1974 until her death in 2017, and Nist was married to William “Bill” Nist, for 42 years, before he passed away in 2014.

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Fox News Digital’s Lori A. Bashian contributed to this report.

Mayor Henyard jeered by public as she attempts to appeal to race politics amid scandals

Scandal-ridden Illinois Mayor Tiffany Henyard faced waves of jeers and booing throughout a raucous meeting where she faced fed-up constituents.

Henyard, the self-described “supermayor” of Dolton, a Chicago suburb, and Thornton Township Supervisor, has recently been dubbed the “worst mayor in America” by critics after being accused of misdeeds ranging from weaponizing police raids to spending taxpayer money on luxuries in Las Vegas. Most recently she has also come under fire for an alleged sexual assault by one of her allies during the Vegas trip, where the alleged victim claims to have been fired after speaking out.

Earlier in April, Henyard made headlines for being condemned by local Dolton residents, but this Tuesday, she was similarly skewered by residents of the Thornton township in a town hall meeting. “Everybody wanted to continue to be a s—show and not really show facts as it relates to what’s really going on in our township,” she responded.

The mayor, holding a golden microphone, sparked outrage when she argued, “We’re here to help each other and not hurt each other. And it’s a shame that us — us, I’m talking to my Black and Brown communities — would sit here and fight.”

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The audience could be heard loudly jeering and booing in response and Henyard went on to add, “Guess what? I am the youth, I am the future, no matter what you think or may say.”

Residents slammed Henyard for the alleged scandals and accused her of lacking transparency about them.

“When you don’t answer questions, there’s something to hide,” Dolton resident Mary Avon said at the meeting.

While Henyard has repeatedly condemned media coverage for allegedly misrepresenting her conduct to the country, one South Holland resident, Curtis Watts, said, “No, ‘madam supervisor,’ we are not brainwashed. We are fed up.”

Multiple people spoke about the sexual assault allegations, arguing that it demonstrates that Henyard fails to protect women. 

Trina Downs was one such resident who said, “As a Black woman, I wanna see you protect Black women, and I haven’t seen that, Tiffany.”

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Henyard has made headlines for appealing to racial politics amid her scandals before, proclaiming during a previous meeting, “Y’all got false narratives out there, and y’all should be ashamed of y’all selves. Y’all Black. Y’all are Black! And y’all sitting up here beating and attacking on a Black woman that’s in power. Y’all should be ashamed of y’all selves.”

Fox News Digital previously reported that Henyard has been living like a royal with a combined salary of nearly $300,000 — more than the state’s governor — and frequent use of beauty vendors, despite the 23,000 residents of the Illinois town having a median income of $24,000.

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The Village of Dolton in Illinois voted Monday to hire former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot as a “Special Investigator” to look into Henyard’s conduct. On Tuesday, Lightfoot began to be paid $400 an hour to gather information on Henyard’s alleged spending and finance mismanagement as well as “any state and federal violations.” 

Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

Singer breaks her silence on rumored romance with ‘Yellowstone’ star

For months, Kevin Costner and singer Jewel have been at the center of romance rumors. Now, the “You Were Meant For Me” singer is breaking her silence.

In a new interview with Elle, Jewel spoke briefly about her thoughts on Costner, and she admitted the speculation surrounding the nature of their relationship is “intense.”

“He’s a great person,” she told the outlet of the “Yellowstone” actor, who finalized his divorce from his wife of 18 years, Christine Baumgartner, last year. “The public fascination is intense for sure.”

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In December, the duo was spotted getting cozy with one another during a trip to the British Virgin Islands. 

Photos obtained by TMZ showed Jewel speaking into a microphone and appearing to sit on Costner’s lap, with his arms around her waist.

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The two were on Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the Caribbean for a tennis fundraiser for the Inspiring Children Foundation, an organization started by Jewel.

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“Every year, my foundation @inspiringchildren and I go to Necker Island to help host a tennis event w @richardbranson to raise funds for our kids. Amazing players like @geniebouchard come and support us in playing doubles with the folks who come… it’s an incredible time, and one I use to relax, rest and play w my son!” the 49-year-old wrote on Instagram, alongside a series of photos from the event – including one with Costner.

“@kevincostnermodernwest was kind enough to mentor our kids this year, and Sir Richard was his usual inspiring self- who also plays a mean game of doubles!”

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Sources told TMZ the pair had flown to the Caribbean together and spent time together outside the event, saying, “There was definitely something going on. They were flirty, and when they were together, it was like they both just lit up.”

That same week, a source told People magazine the relationship was “fresh but not brand new.”

“There is very big attraction on both sides,” the source said. “Jewel likes Kevin’s type, and Kevin likes to be in a relationship, so this is cool. He is having fun after his contentious divorce. He is glad that is over.”

Another source told Us Weekly Costner and Jewel have known each other “for years,” and have been “quietly dating for some time now.”

“Kevin and Jewel had an extremely high opinion of each other and have always gotten along great,” the source told the outlet. “They check a lot of boxes for each other.”

“He’s really into his [band, Modern West], and singing, and she’s very much a part of that country and western world,” the source added. “Some of their mutual friends joke how it’s surprising they didn’t get together years ago.”

Coster’s ex, Baumgartner – who shares three children with the 69-year-old actor – filed for divorce on May 1 citing irreconcilable differences. In documents obtained by Fox News Digital, Baumgartner cited April 11 as the date of separation.

After a contentious four months in and out of court over child and spousal support payments, the former couple settled their terms in September, shortly before they were due back to establish who would be responsible for paying Baumgartner’s nearly $1 million in attorneys’ fees.

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Fox News Digital’s Tracy Wright, Janelle Ash and Ashley Hume contributed to this report.

92-year-old refuses to sell her home so Augusta can expand Masters course

Augusta National Golf Club, home to the prestigious Masters tournament, is undergoing ambitious expansion. 

The club has doubled the size of its course, spending over $200 million to purchase properties covering 270 acres, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The club has substantial plans, including parking, housing and even the construction of a second 18-hole course down the road. Despite the buying spree, which has made many Augusta, Georgia, residents instant millionaires, one Georgia family is saying no, thank you.

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Herman and Elizabeth Thacker built their home at 1112 Stanley Road in the city of Augusta in 1959. It’s a modest 1,900-square-foot, three-bedroom home located across from Gate 6-A at the Masters.

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In the past decade, the neighborhood surrounding their home has been bought and bulldozed. The club has spent over $40 million to turn it into free parking for its world-famous members and patrons. Despite several seven-figure attempts by Augusta National to buy the Thackers’ home, the house still stands.

“Money ain’t everything,” Herman Thacker said in a 2016 interview with NJ.com.

Herman, a golf fan, died in 2019 at the age of 86, but his wife of 66 years remains one of the few holdouts, rejecting millions of dollars from an organization that is rarely told “no.”

“Yes, we still own it, and, yes, mom still lives there,” the couple’s daughter, Robin Thacker Rinder, confirmed to FOX Business. Elizabeth, now 92, is still the proud owner of the 1,900-square-foot property. It’s estimated to be worth about $330,000 and sits on two-thirds of an acre. A representative from Augusta National still visits to express interest in buying the property.

About 40,000 people visit Augusta, Georgia, every year for the golf spectacle held since 1934. It’s big money. The tournament purse is expected to be $18 million in 2024. The tournament also provides exposure to golf equipment makers and sponsors, as well as IBM, whose Watson tracks player statistics. 

With thousands of cars parked in the Thackers’ neighborhood, few notice the small house at the edge of the lot, but it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

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The couple did sell another property they owned to the golf course, a smaller house down the street, for $1.2 million. It was  flattened within a week. However, 1112 Stanley Road, the home where they raised their two children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, is not for sale.

Family of grandma attacked on church steps blasts lawmakers’ soft-on-crime policies

A 16-year-old suspect accused of shoving a grandmother down a flight of church steps and rummaging through her purse was arrested Thursday, the NYPD said. 

The victim, who was identified by her family as 68-year-old Irene Tahliambouris, was pushed so hard that she went airborne and landed flat on her back, security video shows. 

She suffered a fractured skull and a black eye, according to her family, and as she writhed in pain, the suspect allegedly stole $300, her cellphone and her car before fleeing the scene outside St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Queens, New York, on Sunday.

“We are devastated to even imagine the pain she is experiencing after being knocked off the stairs of the church, hitting the back of her head on the concrete while this vicious person, with no consideration for life, attacked her and took all her belongings and her car,” her family said in a statement.

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Tahliambouris walked up the church stairs on Sunday when the teenage suspect ran alongside her and then pushed her from the top step, surveillance footage shows.

Her family said a lax approach to law and order, coupled with a high recidivism rate, continues to put unsuspecting victims in harm’s way.

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“Criminals feel comfortable doing things to helpless people because the laws in our state do not hold them accountable,” her family said. “The recidivism rate of criminal felonies is high, yet the state refuses to change laws to remand them to jail or charge them to the fullest extent of the law. 

“We are seeing an increase in petty crimes that are no longer able to be prosecuted, and those people are going on to commit violent crimes, yet Albany and NYC refuse to make the necessary changes to the law to ensure these criminals are held accountable.”

The suspect in Sunday’s attack, who was not named because of his age, was arrested by the NYPD and charged with robbery and assault.

Meanwhile, the victim was rushed to the hospital in critical condition after the attack. She is now in “stable” condition.

“She is showing signs of recognition, giving us hope,” her family said. “Irene is a loving woman who has always been there to help anyone in need, always happy and in good spirits.”

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Her son said in a verified GoFundMe post, “I’m helping my mom to be able to get what she needs to get her life back together.”

The brutality of the attack seen in the surveillance video brought more attention to this case. 

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“We know that the District Attorney and the NYPD are giving this case the attention it deserves,” the family said. “We trust that they will take all necessary actions to bring the perpetrator to justice and uphold the safety of our community. 

“We are grateful for the support and prayers from our community and from people everywhere.”

Hunter thought he killed coyote — but state officials confirm it was something much rarer

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has launched an investigation after a hunter recently reported his harvest, which he believed to be a coyote — but after further genetic testing, the kill proved to be something far rarer.

The DNR announced in a press release that the animal killed in Calhoun County, Michigan’s southern Lower Peninsula, was actually a gray wolf.

While the DNR does conduct searches in the Lower Peninsula, there have not been many signs of wolf presence since the population was reestablished in the 1980s, according to a DNR press release.

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The DNR was not made aware of the discovery until the hunter’s prize started circulating on Facebook, Brian Roell, a wildlife biologist and large carnivore specialist with the Michigan DNR, told Fox News Digital.

The Facebook post revealed that a hunter had shot and killed a new world record coyote weighing 84 pounds. However, eastern coyotes typically weigh 25 to 40 pounds, the DNR’s press release said.

A local biologist reached out to Roell in late January and asked him to look at the photos that had been posted and after viewing those images, Roell immediately knew it was not a coyote, he said.

After further genetic testing, Roell’s hypothesis was proven correct, and the animal was identified as a gray wolf.

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Roell said there is no reason to believe that the hunter was hunting illegally. Still, the local law enforcement division is “looking into” the incident, Roell explained.

The hunter, according to the DNR, had reported that he harvested the large animal amid a legal coyote hunt.

While it is unusual for a gray wolf to be found in the Calhoun County area, Roell does not feel that anyone should be concerned.

“It doesn’t really mean anything. Folks are kind of jumping the gun, [thinking] this represents a population or range expansion,” he said.

“Wolves and all large carnivores have this ability to move long distances, [but] there really isn’t any suitable habitat there, so I don’t expect that there are more,” Roell added.

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The DNR has already launched an investigation to find out how the wolf ended up in the southern Lower Peninsula.

The DNR notes that there were some other occurrences in 2004, 2011, 2014 and 2015 in which wolf or wolf-like animals were documented.

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There is a stable population of wolves in the Upper Peninsula with 600 to 700 wolves accounted for, Roell said.

Gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act in 44 states, including Michigan, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

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GOP leaders want answers after state can’t account for $24B spent on homeless crisis

California GOP leaders are calling for more accountability after an audit released earlier this week indicated that the state spent around $24 billion to tackle the homeless crisis over the past five years but did not consistently track whether the huge outlay of public money did anything to actually improve the problem. 

The state auditor’s report found that despite roughly $24 billion spent on homeless and housing programs during the 2018-2023 fiscal years, the problem didn’t improve in many cities, according to the state auditor’s report.

Among other things, the report found that the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH), which is responsible for coordinating agencies and allocating resources for the homelessness programs, stopped tracking whether the programs were working in 2021. 

It also failed to collect and evaluate outcome data for these programs due to the lack of a consistent method, the audit found. 

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California Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher laid the blame squarely on the Newsom administration

“This is standard Gavin Newsom – make a splashy announcement, waste a bunch of taxpayer money, and completely fail to deliver,” Gallagher said in a statement to Fox News Digital. 

“Californians are tired of the homeless crisis, and they’re even more tired of Gavin’s excuses. We need results – period, full stop.” 

Republican state Sen. Roger Niello has called the audit “troubling” but told Fox News Digital he “wasn’t terribly surprised. 

“The one issue I had with the audit was that the focus was mostly on housing and shelter issues, which is certainly important, but really very little about actual results, getting people out of homelessness, not just into shelter,” he said. “That’s sort of half the job, maybe not even quite half the job. And, so that was a little bit of a disappointment.” 

Democratic state Sen. Dave Cortese, who requested the audit last year after touring a large homeless encampment in San Jose, said the audit “highlights the need for improved data and greater transparency at both the state and local levels.” 

“Unfortunately, there is a balkanized approach to data collection and outcomes, with no centralized system for tracking our investments,” he said. “This audit underscores the urgent need to establish best practices and create a blueprint for how the State of California and our cities can address our most visible challenge.” 

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Former MLB All-Star Steve Garvey, who is running against Rep. Adam Schiff in California’s U.S. Senate race as a Republican, said it would take “real political courage to make necessary changes.” 

“Since day one, I’ve advocated for a federal audit of California’s homelessness crisis,” he said. “I’m glad that the state has done this, but now we need real political courage to make necessary changes. Our unhoused people and our taxpayers deserve real results, not more failed policies.” 

Despite the audit’s findings, Cal ICH said it has made improvements in data collection after AB 977 took effect on January 1, 2023. The law requires that grantees of state-funded homelessness programs to enter specific data elements related to individuals and families into their local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). 

Still, Cal ICH is shifting blame to local governments, saying these municipalities must be held more accountable as they are the ones “primarily responsible for implementing these programs and collecting data on outcomes that the state can use to evaluate program effectiveness.” 

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“The Council continues to improve its ability to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent judiciously and effectively, including by providing technical support to local jurisdictions to help align data standards and reporting,” Cal ICH said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.