State reassessing former Helena mall site for museum

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state is reassessing the possibility of building a new history museum at the site of the now demolished Capital Hill Mall in Helena.

The Montana Legislature passed a bill to increase a lodging tax to raise money for a larger museum to help display more of the state's collection. The Independent Record reports other legislation requires the state to reconsider the mall site.

In 2007, consultants and the state architect recommended the state remodel and expand the current museum near the Capitol building. Historical Society Director Bruce Whittenberg says that site remains the priority.

A fundraising group headed by former First Lady Betty Babcock favored the mall site, but its cost in 2007 was significantly higher.

Department of Administration spokeswoman Amber Conger says the agency is reevaluting the mall site and has contacted the developer about availability.

Biden visits Stonewall ahead of 50th anniversary of uprising

NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Biden paid a visit Tuesday to the Stonewall Inn ahead of the 50th anniversary of an uprising that helped spark the gay rights movement.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president spent about 30 minutes at the New York City tavern. He mingled with patrons, went behind the bar and took selfies with visitors.

"When people had the courage to come out and stand up and speak, say who they were, all of a sudden people realized, 'Whoa, these folks are just like me,'" Biden said. "And I'm really proud of the folks in here and the courage it took for what they did."

The bar is a reincarnation of the original Stonewall, which was the site of an infamous police raid in 1969.

At the time, police crackdowns on gay bars were commonplace, but at the Stonewall Inn, patrons and protesters resisted the officers.

Street protests continued for several days.

The bar is marking the anniversary of the uprising on June 28.

A park across from the Stonewall Inn is now a national monument to gay rights.

Concern raised over Cooper House at University of Wyoming

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Nearly 100 people expressed opposition to any thought of demolishing the historic Cooper House on the University of Wyoming campus to make way for new student dormitories.

The Laramie Boomerang reports that residents from across Wyoming had been mobilized in recent weeks after hearing that task force working on a new student housing plan had discussed the possibility of tearing down the building.

The task force heard more than an hour of public comment on Monday, all from people who were opposed to Cooper House being demolished.

Task force chairman Steve Harshman says he doesn't think the Cooper House is in danger of being demolished.

The Cooper House was built in the 1920s and was once visited by Ernest Hemingway.

RFK Jr. to help mark 50 years since river caught fire

CLEVELAND (AP) — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will help wrap up nearly a week's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the famous 1969 Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) River fire in Ohio.

Kennedy's scheduled remarks Sunday come as part of Cleveland's celebration of environmental science and sustainability half a century after the June 22, 1969, fire. The blaze became the iconic event of the U.S. environmental movement.

Kennedy, son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, is president of Waterkeeper Alliance. The nonprofit environmental group fights to defend the fire-inspired Clean Water Act.