Wildfires, triple-digit heat, blackout threats
As temperatures hit triple digits, California battles wildfires and blackout threats. A look at ballot questions to watch in the midterms, from abortion to weed – even slavery. And it's the first day back to school for Uvalde, but some shooting survivors can't bear to return to the classroom.
👋 Hey! Laura Davis here. It's Tuesday. And I can't stop reading about "Don't Worry Darling" movie drama. Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine at the Venice Film Festival??? Catch up on the gossip here. Aside from that, there's a bunch of other news, too! Let's get to it.
But first, a Rhode Island homeowner just wanted to build a barn behind his house. He ended up finding a cannonball – likely from the Revolutionary War. Check it out!
California battles wildfires, possible blackouts and triple-digit temperatures
As California cranks up the air conditioning amid a brutal heat wave, the state faces its highest chance of blackouts this year. State energy officials said the electrical load Tuesday could top 51,000 megawatts, the highest demand the state has ever seen.
- Conservation is key: The "extraordinary heat event" makes it essential that homes and businesses reduce energy use — no use of major appliances and thermostats set at 78 degrees or higher— after 4 p.m., said Elliot Mainzer, CEO of the California Independent System Operator.
- If conditions worsen: Utilities will determine what to do, "but blackouts, rolling, rotating outages are a possibility," Mainzer said. The goal: keep them as short as possible.
Wildfire danger was extreme across the state. As the blazing hot, dry weather turned brush to tinder, some 4,400 firefighters battled 14 large fires across California – with 45 new blazes on Sunday alone, Cal Fire said. Two people were killed and one was injured in the Fairview Fire, which started Monday near the city of Hemet. By Tuesday afternoon, the it had grown to 2,400 acres and was only 5% contained.
🌤 What's the weather up to in your neck of the woods? Check your local forecast here.
Body identified as missing Tennessee teacher
The body of a Tennessee teacher who authorities say was abducted while jogging has been found. Memphis police announced Tuesday that a body found in South Memphis has been identified as Eliza "Liza" Fletcher, who police say was abducted Friday. Cleotha Abston, 38, was arrested Sunday and initially charged with especially aggravated kidnapping in Fletcher's disappearance. Abston now faces additional charges of first-degree murder. Here's everything we know so far about the case.
- 📸 Photos: Woman kidnapped near University of Memphis campus.
- 🎥 Watch: Family of kidnapped Memphis teacher speaks to reporters.
What everyone's talking about
- Jennifer Lawrence reveals baby's name, talks Roe v Wade in Vogue interview.
- Patients seek relief from rising drug prices. Will the Inflation Reduction Act deliver?
- 'Don't Worry Darling': At least Florence Pugh sparkles in buzzy-but-flat thriller.
- Why are so many working American families living day to day?
- Heads up! Federal student loan forgiveness could be taxed as income in some states.
The Short List is free, but several stories we link to are subscriber-only. Consider supporting our journalism and become a USA TODAY digital subscriber today.
Canadian police still searching for suspect in stabbing attack
A massive manhunt continues for a man believed to have killed 10 people and wounded 18 in a series of weekend stabbings on an Indigenous reserve in Canada. On Tuesday, Canadian police surrounded a residence in the James Smith Cree Nation, where the rampage took place. It was unclear whether Myles Sanderson, one of the two brothers believed to have carried out the attacks, was inside. The fugitive’s brother, Damien Sanderson, 31, was found dead Monday near one of the locations where the stabbings occurred.
🗳 What's on the 2022 midterm ballots?
Forget waiting for Congress or state legislatures to act. This year's elections are offering voters an opportunity to shape public policy directly in the form of various state ballot initiatives that could have national ramifications. The country witnessed the power of those referendums when Kansas voters rejected an anti-abortion measure by a decisive 59%-41% margin. Voters are being asked to weigh in on how their states should handle abortion, contraceptives, health care and legalizing certain narcotics. Even officially abolishing slavery is on the ballot in at least five states – a question that could lead to a national rethinking on U.S. prison policy.
- How the Supreme Court is already influencing the November midterms.
- Time is running out to block voting restrictions ahead of 2022 midterms.
- Fast-food law signed in California that could pay workers $22 an hour.
- Florida teenager killed in boating crash near Miami; 10 others injured.
- Work starts on 74-story Austin tower, destined to be tallest in Texas.
- Potentially crazy 2022 season: Spicy NFL storylines ahead of Week 1.
- Juul to pay $438.5M settlement over marketing of vaping products for teens.
Liz Truss took over as British rime minister on Tuesday after being formally appointed by Queen Elizabeth during a ceremony known as the "kissing of the hands" (nobody kissed any hands, though). And departing leader Boris Johnson threatened to upstage Truss by going out with a characteristic verbal bang.
In Uvalde, return of school brings anxiety and fear for survivors
You can still see the bullet fragments in 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo’s left shoulder. She was in her classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24 when an 18-year-old wielding a semi-automatic rifle burst through the door and killed 19 students. The massacre devastated the community, where it seems everyone knows someone directly touched by the tragedy. No students will be returning to Robb Elementary, which eventually will be demolished. But when they returned to classrooms at other district schools on Tuesday, Miah wasn't among them — she will be attending school virtually because she's still experiencing profound trauma. Even those who are returning to classrooms, and their parents, are racked with fear. Keep reading.
A break from the news
- Leaf-peeping family fun: Skip the highway! Best fall foliage train rides.
- Ask HR: "My job is understaffed. Should I feel guilty about taking a vacation?"
- Still time to save! 80+ Labor Day deals at Lowe's, Best Buy, Amazon and more.
- Set a reminder (and stock up on snacks!) for these 10 must-see fall movies.
- Help! "My narcissistic mom hates my husband, but wants to be our real estate agent. What do I do?"
Laura L. Davis is an Audience Editor at USA TODAY. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow along with her adventures – and misadventures – on Twitter. Support quality journalism like this? Subscribe to USA TODAY here.