Also in the news this Wednesday: engine failure leads to scary emergency landing and new details on toddler's fatal fall from cruise ship.
Uproar in Alaska over governor's giant budget cuts
The message on the front page of Alaska's second-largest newspaper was unmistakable.
A nearly 2-inch headline, outlined in red, in Monday's edition of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner contained a single word: OVERRIDE. It appeared over a full-page editorial calling for state lawmakers to "save Alaska" from severe budget vetoes by Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the likely economic devastation that would follow.
Emotions are running high ahead of a joint legislative session Wednesday when legislators will consider overriding vetoes by Dunleavy, a first-term Republican. They include a $130 million reduction in funding for the University of Alaska, whose flagship campus is in Fairbanks.
Dunleavy cut state support for public broadcasting, the state arts council, ocean rangers who monitor cruise ship discharges and a program that provides money to senior citizens who have low or moderate incomes. Among other cuts are reduced spending for Medicaid, reimbursement to communities for school construction, and the Civil Air Patrol, which provides training and search-and-rescue services for Alaska's flying community.
Dunleavy told legislators that the remaining budget focuses on basic responsibilities while understanding the state's fiscal constraints. The House speaker and Senate president believe he went too far.
"The public is speaking loud and clear," said Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, at a news conference Monday. "They're greatly opposed to the huge vetoes that the governor administered."
"It's affecting all age groups from students who are interested in going to college to seniors who now have to decide if they're going to be able to afford their medicine or heat for their home in the winter or food," said Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage.
Lawmakers themselves are divided even on where to meet to consider vetoes. Dunleavy called a special session and ordered lawmakers to a makeshift capitol in the gymnasium of a middle school in his hometown of Wasilla. Twenty-one legislators showed up there Monday but could not conduct business because they did not have a quorum.
Most of the 20 members of the Senate and 40 members of the House flew to Juneau, the state capital, to conduct business.
Giessel and Edgmon on Monday acknowledged that they do not have the votes in hand to override Dunleavy's vetoes. They're hoping that pressure brought to bear by constituents will help them get the 45 votes needed.
"I'm getting 60, 70 emails an hour, from all over the state covering all of these different areas," Giessel said.
Trump wants revamp of kidney disease care, earlier transplants
President Donald Trump is directing the government to revamp the nation's care for kidney disease, so that more people whose kidneys fail have a chance at early transplants and home dialysis — along with better prevention so patients don't get that sick to begin with.
Senior administration officials told The Associated Press that Trump is set to sign an executive order Wednesday calling for strategies that have the potential to save lives and millions of Medicare dollars.
That won't happen overnight — some of the initiatives will require new government regulations.
And because a severe organ shortage complicates the call for more transplants, the administration also aims to ease financial hardships for living donors, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.
Another key change: steps to help the groups that collect deceased donations do a better job. Officials cited a study that suggests long term it may be possible to find 17,000 more kidneys and 11,000 other organs from deceased donors for transplant every year.
Federal health officials have made clear for months that they intend to shake up a system that today favors expensive, time-consuming dialysis in large centers over easier-to-tolerate at-home care or transplants that help patients live longer.
"Right now every financial incentive is toward dialysis and not toward transplantation and long-term survivorship," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, whose father experienced traditional and at-home dialysis before getting a living donor transplant, told a Senate hearing in March. "And you get what you pay for."
About 30 million American adults have chronic kidney disease, costing Medicare a staggering $113 billion.
Careful treatment — including control of diabetes and high blood pressure, the two main culprits — can help prevent further kidney deterioration. But more than 700,000 people have end-stage renal disease, meaning their kidneys have failed, and require either a transplant or dialysis to survive. Only about a third received specialized kidney care before they got so sick.
More than 94,000 of the 113,000 people on the national organ waiting list need a kidney. Last year, there were 21,167 kidney transplants. A fraction — 6,442 — were from living donors, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation's transplant system.
"The longer you're on dialysis, the outcomes are worse," said Dr. Amit Tevar, a transplant surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who praised the Trump administration initiatives being announced Wednesday.
Among the initiatives that take effect first:
—Medicare payment changes that would provide a financial incentive for doctors and clinics to help kidney patients stave off end-stage disease by about six months.
—A bonus to kidney specialists who help prepare patients for early transplant, with steps that can begin even before they need dialysis.
—Additional Medicare changes so that dialysis providers can earn as much by helping patients get dialysis at home as in the large centers that predominate today. Patients typically must spend hours three or four times a week hooked to machines that filter waste out of their blood.
Engine fails on Delta flight, forcing emergency landing
Passengers prayed and tried to text family members moments before a Delta Air Lines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in North Carolina.
"After we heard the boom we just saw all this smoke come up into the cabin, and that's when we really started freaking out," passenger Avery Porch told CNN affiliate WMAR. "It started slowing down a little bit, it started getting hot (and) air cut off."
Nearly 150 passengers on Delta Flight 1425 were headed from Atlanta to Baltimore on Monday when one of the aircraft's engines had a problem, the airline said.
A video recorded by a passenger shows how a metal nose cone was bouncing inside the engine as the aircraft was high in the air.
Passengers said they were more than an hour into the flight when the captain told them they were planning an emergency landing.
"i just pulled out my phone and I knew I didn't have service but I just texted my mom ... I love you," Porch's boyfriend, Tyler Kreuger, told WMAR.
The MD-88 aircraft landed safely about 2:20 p.m. at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, a spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration said.
After the landing, the passengers were booked in alternate flights to Baltimore. Delta said the aircraft's engine has been replaced and the airplane is expected to return to service Wednesday morning.
The airline's maintenance team in Atlanta is expected to evaluate the damaged part.
Ready for confetti in NYC to honor Women's World Cup champs
The U.S. women's national soccer team will reign supreme once again Wednesday in New York City's Canyon of Heroes.
It was four years ago to the day that crowds tossed heaps of confetti in the city to celebrate the team and its 2015 Women's World Cup title.
Now, it's the women of 2019's turn. The repeat champs beat the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday to win the 2019 Women's World Cup, inspiring another ticker tape parade in lower Manhattan that will bring soccer fans together to rejoice in the historic win.
The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. and move up the Canyon of Heroes, a section of Broadway between the Battery and City Hall. The stretch of lower Manhattan has long hosted ticker tape parades for world leaders, veterans and hometown sports stars.
The events are named for the long strands of ticker tape that used to be showered down from nearby office buildings. The tape has since been replaced with paper confetti.
After the parade, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio will honor the team with symbolic keys to the city. All tickets for the City Hall ceremony have been issued.
Large crowds are expected, along with a blizzard of shredded paper. The Department of Sanitation said it will have 350 workers assigned to parade cleanup with trucks, backpack blowers and brooms at their disposal.
The team has already started celebrating its record fourth Women's World Cup title. After touching down at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, players shared a champagne toast and sang "We Are the Champions."
They appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" in Times Square on Tuesday to show off their trophy and answer questions from cheering kids.
Two of the 23 players are native New Yorkers. Allie Long, a midfielder from Northport, New York, posted on Twitter about returning to her home state.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, introduced a bill Tuesday that would bar federal funding for the men's 2026 World Cup until the U.S. Soccer Federation provides equal pay to the women's and men's teams.
Team co-captain Megan Rapinoe accepted an invitation for the team to visit Congress, but has said she won't celebrate at the White House even if invited by President Donald Trump.
Woman in Illinois gets back missing wallet - 75 years later
CENTRALIA, Ill. — When your wallet is stolen, you probably don't expect to get it back -- especially after 75 years.
Betty Sissom, 89, received the gift of a lifetime last week when her wallet from the mid-1940s was returned to her.
Sissom's wallet, along with more than a dozen others, was discovered when a congregation in Centralia, Ill., was converting the former Centralia High School building into a church. Pastor Seth Baltzell said a plumber found the wallets stashed in the wall of a girls' bathroom.
"We've been working on this building for six months. I've been kind of waiting for that really cool thing that nobody's seen in the last 75 or 100 years to pop out," Baltzell said.
The pastor believed that the wallets were stolen 75 years ago and wanted to try to reunite them with their owners. He posted pictures on Facebook along with names from some of the IDs in them. Much to his surprise, the post has been shared more than 3,000 times.
"Most likely, the person that's owned the wallet is either at the end of their lifespan or no longer living," Baltzell said. "My best chance was to reconnect with one of their relatives."
A St. Louis TV station recognized Sissom's name and reached out to Baltzell to see whether it could deliver the wallet to her.
Sissom, a 1947 graduate of Centralia High who now lives in the St. Louis area, was shocked to see the tattered red wallet after all these decades.
"I can't imagine somebody stole all those wallets and put them behind the toilet in a space I didn't even know was there," Sissom said.
The wallet contained pictures of classmates she hadn't seen in years. She was also excited to find a picture of her brother, who was fighting in World War II at the time but has since died.
"I was just so glad to get that, because I don't have a picture of him," Sissom said.
She didn't find any money in there, but she did find her Social Security card, which she admitted she'd been looking for for 70 years.
She said she was hopeful her other classmates would be reunited with their belongings.
"I'm sure the other people whose wallets they found -- hopefully they're still alive -- would be as excited as I am," Sissom said.
Lawyer says open window led to toddler's deadly fall from cruise ship
An 18-month-old Indiana girl who fell to her death from the 11th story of a cruise ship in Puerto Rico plunged from a window inexplicably left open in a children's play area, the family's attorney said Tuesday.
Police in Puerto Rico had said Monday that Chloe Wiegand apparently slipped from her grandfather's hands Sunday as he was holding her out of an 11th-floor window on the Freedom of the Seas.
But Michael Winkleman, a Miami attorney who's representing the girl's family, said Tuesday that "the story is not as it had originally been portrayed in the media."
"The grandfather didn't drop the child, the child fell due to an open glass pane that should have been closed securely," he said in a statement.
Winkleman said Chloe Wiegand, whose father is a South Bend, Indiana, police officer, was playing with her grandfather in the "kid's water zone" on the ship as it was docked in Puerto Rico when she asked him to lift her to a wall of windows lining the play area.
"Chloe wanted to bang on the glass like she always did at her older brother's hockey games. Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant," Winkleman said.
Police in Puerto Rico declined to comment on Winkleman's account of the events leading up to the child's fatal fall.
Police Sgt. Nelson Sotelo told the AP on Tuesday that the girl's family will remain in the U.S. territory until the investigation of her death is complete.
Winkleman's office said the girl's family remained in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, waiting for their child's body to be released, and they hope to return home to Indiana once that happens.
Winkleman said the girl's family wants to know why a window that "should have been closed securely" was open. Winkleman said the family is "understandably too distraught to talk" about the tragedy.
"The family needs answers as to why there would be an open window in a wall full of fixed windows in a kids' play area? Why would you have the danger without any warning, sign, or notice?" he asked.
Royal Caribbean Cruises called the girl's death a tragic incident in a statement Monday and said it was helping the family.
The cruise line had not responded to messages left Tuesday seeking comment on Winkleman's statements about the circumstances of the child's death.