Environment America has reached a settlement in its Clean Water Act lawsuit against Kenyon Industries Inc. and its parent company, Brookwood Companies Inc., for alleged violations of the federal law at their textile mill in Richmond.

With just two days to spare, President Joe Biden has signed legislation that lifts the nation’s debt ceiling. That averts an unprecedented default on the federal government’s debt. The Treasury Department had warned that the country would start running short of cash to pay all of its bills on Monday, a development that would have sent shockwaves through the U.S. and global economies. To mark the signing, Biden could have held a public ceremony at the White House with lawmakers from both parties, showcasing the bipartisanship he'd cited in an Oval Office address Friday evening. But the president signed the legislation Saturday in private in a reflection of the tight deadline facing the nation.

Connecticut lawmakers have voted to take steps to protect people from the state’s growing bear population. But they have stopped far short of a bear hunt and restrictions on people unintentionally feeding the hungry animals. The legislation cleared the House of Representatives on a 115-32 vote on Friday after passing the Senate and now heads to the governor's desk. It explicitly allows someone to use deadly force to kill a bear if they reasonably believe it’s inflicting or about to inflict great bodily harm to a person, a pet or is entering an occupied building. Reports of bears interacting with humans have become commonplace in Connecticut.

Gather ’round, children. Today from the Sun pulpit, we will examine several subjects of interest to me, albeit perhaps not to you. Nevertheless, we ask your indulgence.

Connecticut lawmakers are still grieving the death of a fellow legislator killed in a wrong-way crash in January. They have given final legislative approval to a bill that attempts to address the large increase in wrong-way crashes on the state’s roads. It cleared the Senate unanimously on Friday. The bill previously passed the House of Representatives. It now heads to Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk. The vote comes about six months after 39-year-old Rep. Quentin William’s death and as wrong-way crashes have become more prevalent and deadly. Williams died in a wrong-way crash as he returned home from the governor’s inaugural ball.

While judges, lawyers and support staff at the federal courthouse in Concord, New Hampshire, keep the American justice system buzzing, thousands of humble honeybees on the building’s roof are playing their part in a more important task: feeding the world. The Warren B. Rudman courthouse is one of several federal facilities around the country participating in the General Services Administration’s Pollinator Initiative. The goal of the program is to assess and promote the health of bees and other pollinators. The insects contribute billions to the U.S. economy annually and are under constant threat. Without human intervention, a bee extinction could be a disaster for the world.

A fire chief says a fire that burned down a 160-year-old Massachusetts church was likely started by a lightning strike. The First Congregational Church in Spencer caught fire Friday afternoon, when a storm was moving through the area. The steeple fell as the building was engulfed in flames. The walls later caved in. Spencer Fire Chief Robert Parsons said Saturday that lightning likely started the fire. He said the building was a total loss. No injuries have been reported in the fire. It drew nearly 100 firefighters from close to 20 departments.

A slate of gun control measures is headed to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk. The state Senate debated through the night and voted early Saturday to approve the state’s most wide-ranging gun legislation since the laws that followed the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. The Democratic governor plans to sign the measure. Among other things, the changes would ban openly carrying firearms and prohibit selling more than three handguns within 30 days to any one person, with some exceptions for instructors and others. Other provisions include imposing new safe-storage rules and stiffening penalties for possession of large-capacity magazines.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont has allowed a bill that requires a 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of guns to become law without his signature. Scott says he feels his concerns about the provision’s constitutionality will be addressed through the courts. The Legislature passed the bill in May. In addition to the waiting period, it includes provisions aimed at reducing suicides and community violence. Scott told state lawmakers on Thursday that the waiting period matter is currently being taken up through constitutional legal tests across the country. He said he'll await the judicial branch to decide its fate.

Just one day after the start of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane season, a tropical storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday. Tropical Storm Arlene is the first named storm of the six-month season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Although Arlene’s path poses no real threat to land or people …

CHARLESTOWN — Voters in Charlestown will head to the polls Monday to decide on a $15.8 million municipal spending plan for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Dev Shah is the champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 14-year-old from Largo, Florida, had his spelling career interrupted by the pandemic, then didn't make it out of his regional bee last year. He was brimming with confidence in his final opportunity, asking precise questions about obscure Greek roots. His winning word was “psammophile,” and his root knowledge made it a layup. Dev takes home the winner's trophy and more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. Charlotte Walsh, a 14-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, was the runner-up.

Warnings about the potential dangers of gambling could soon join education about drugs and alcohol in the nation's classrooms. Virginia recently passed a law requiring gambling risk education in the schools, and New Jersey and Michigan are considering similar measures. West Virginia and Maryland tried but failed recently, but both are expected to try again. The classes would educate students about its risks, warning signs of a problem, and consequences to personal finances and relationships. The head of the National Council on Problem Gambling says such classes could do as much good as anti-drunk driving campaigns did decades ago.

‘Who is that?” I am sure the question will come up down the road. I was enjoying the moment when I realized that I had just photobombed someone’s special day. Then it happened again. It was a beautiful sun-soaked afternoon as members of the 25th graduating class at the Rhode Island State Fir…

A building under construction in New Haven, Connecticut, partially collapsed during a concrete pour, injuring eight construction workers, including two critically. But officials say there were no fatalities in Friday's collapse. Officials say firefighters pulled six people from the building, including three who were partially buried, and two others made it out on their own. Fire Chief John Alston Jr. says the injuries include broken bones. Officials say a portion of second floor collapsed through the first floor and into the basement. Workers told officials the concrete was being poured faster than they could spread it, and it pooled too much and caused the collapse. Federal officials are investigating.

Dozens of transgender people in Florida who can't afford to move are turning to crowdfunding to help them leave after the passage of new legislation that targets the LGBTQ community. That includes a law that curtails access to gender-affirming care for adults and bans it for minors. People have given $200,000 since January to fundraisers on GoFundMe started by trans people seeking to leave Florida, according to data from the platform. Jalen Drummond is GoFundMe’s director of public affairs. Drummond said GoFundMe has also seen an increase of 39% from April to May in the number of fundraisers created to help trans people leave the state.

The disrespect that the Charlestown Citizens Alliance and its supporters have for the residents of Charlestown is clearly seen in Mr. Roy E. Jacobsen’s letter to the editor (“Charlestown should be worried about water”, May 26). It’s obvious that the CCA is once again fearmongering about the …

Until May 25, the Clean Water Act of 1972 protected wetlands adjacent to or connected to navigable waterways in any way, including by underground aquifer. On May 25, the Supreme Court gutted the longstanding law with a 5 to 4 decision, written by rightwing Justice Alito, that wetlands are on…

Connecticut lawmakers have voted to tighten the state’s marriage laws, prohibiting anyone under age 18 from being issued a marriage license under any circumstance. The legislation cleared the Senate unanimously on Friday. It follows a 98-45 bipartisan vote last month in the House of Representatives. The bill, which Gov. Ned Lamont is expected to sign, updates a 2017 anti-child marriage law passed in Connecticut. Advocates contend current law includes a dangerous loophole, leaving young people at risk of coercion and sexual abuse. It allows 16- or 17-year-olds to get a marriage license if a probate court judge approves a petition.

A Connecticut town’s board of education has voted two keep two books on its high school shelves after weeks of acrimonious debate over book-banning that culminated in the resignation of two Republican board members. The remaining members of the Newtown Board of Education unanimously agreed Thursday night on a compromise. They rejected banning the books “Blankets” by Craig Thompson and “Flamer” by Mike Curato, but ordered school administrators to create a process supporting individual parents and guardians so that they can choose whether their children can access the books.  The board acted in response to complaints about sexual content. Both sides of the issue reported being harassed.

Eleven people have filed a federal lawsuit saying they were assaulted by police or wrongfully arrested while peacefully observing a June 2020 protest in Massachusetts’ second-largest city over the killing of George Floyd. The lawsuit filed Thursday names as defendants the city of Worcester, the former city manager, the chief of police and more than a dozen officers. The lawsuit also claims that city police were not properly trained for crowd control or the use of less-than-lethal pepper spray projectiles. The lawsuit also says city officials and police engaged in a wide-ranging coverup of the night’s events. The city manager and the police declined to comment.

The Wegmans supermarket chain is closing one of its largest and most unusual stores because it has not attracted enough business. The company said Thursday that the Natick, Massachusetts store will close this summer. The company's regional human resources director says the location has been unable to attract enough customers for the Rochester, New York company's business model to work. The 134-000-square-food store opened in 2018 covering two floors of a mall once occupied by a department store. It was Wegman’s first two-level store within a major mall, and at one point had a full-service Mexican restaurant. The store's 365 employees are being offered positions at other area locations.

The start of June marks the beginning of Pride month around the United States and some parts of the world, a season intended to celebrate the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ people and to protest against the rollback of hard-won civil rights gains. The events take place in June in time with the 1969 uprising at New York City's Stonewall Inn, a catalyst for global LGBTQ+ movements. This year’s Pride takes place in a contentious political climate where legislative action coming out of many statehouses has banned drag shows and access to gender-affirming care.

A member of the far-right Oath Keepers extremist group who was part of a security detail for Donald Trump’s adviser Roger Stone before storming the U.S. Capitol has been sentenced to more than four years in prison. Roberto Minuta on Thursday told the judge he's ashamed of his actions. Also on Thursday, a man who authorities say oversaw a “Quick Reaction Force” that was prepared to get an arsenal of weapons from a Virginia hotel into Washington was sentenced to three years behind bars followed by one year of home confinement. Edward Vallejo told the judge he regrets ever associating himself with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.

Across Florida, workers didn’t show up at construction sites and tomato fields, and scores of restaurants, shops and other small businesses never opened their doors. That's because they were protesting a new state law that imposes restrictions on undocumented immigrants on Thursday, a day protest organizers dubbed “a day without immigrants.” The legislation Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last month bolsters his migrant-relocation program and limits social services for immigrants lacking permanent legal status. DeSantis launched a campaign for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination last week. LULAC, a Latino civil rights group, has issued a travel advisory, warning Hispanics about risks to visiting Florida.

A 43-year-old Connecticut man with a history of writing threats to public officials, including a U.S. president and Supreme Court justice, has been convicted for a fourth time after prosecutors say he mailed more than 100 additional threatening letters. Garrett Santillo pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to a single count of mailing threatening communications to a United States judge. Prosecutors say that between December 2021 and June 2022, Santillo mailed letters to politicians, journalists, and judges, including a U.S. Supreme Court justice, that included threats such as, “You will die. You will all be killed.”  Under a plea agreement he is expected to be sentenced to up to 33 months in prison.

A Massachusetts woman has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the death of her 2-year-old daughter in 2019. Prosecutors say Shaniqua Leonard was sentenced Wednesday to a maximum of four years in prison. Emergency personnel responding to the family’s Whitman home on Dec. 28, 2019, found 2-year-old Lyric Farrell unresponsive. The girl was taken to the hospital and died days later. An autopsy determined that she died from complications of a head injury. Her mother said the girl’s injuries were self-inflicted but doctors said that was not the case. Prosecutors say Leonard failed to seek medical attention for her obviously distressed daughter in a timely manner.

During the long power outages that followed Tropical Storm Irene, many in Rhode Island experienced a spectacular, but rare, view of the Milky Way. There is a place in Rhode Island where this celestial show doesn’t have to wait for a blackout. Charlestown’s dark, star-filled skies are a treas…

    Members of the Stonington community take a picture together wearing green to support mental health awareness. The picture was taken as part of the Stonington Mental Health Matters roundtable discussion on Wednesday at the Velvet Mill in Stonington. Jason Vallee, The Westerly Sun   

    WESTERLY — After assurances about funding and a stamp of approval from a key subcommittee, Westerly’s School Committee last week voted to draw up a contract for work to replace the high school’s football field with artificial turf.

    A new study says Earth has pushed past seven out of eight scientifically established safety limits and into “the danger zone,” not just for an overheating planet that’s losing its natural areas, but for well-being of people living on it. The study, published Wednesday, looks not just at guardrails for the planetary ecosystem but for the first time it includes measures of “justice,” which is mostly about preventing harm for groups of people. The study looks at climate, air pollution, phosphorus contamination, nitrogen pollution, groundwater supplies, fresh surface water, the unbuilt natural environment and the overall natural and human-built environment.

    Hundreds of corporate Amazon workers upset about the company’s environmental impact, recent layoffs and a return-to-office mandate protested at its Seattle headquarters. The lunchtime protest on Wednesday comes a week after the company’s annual shareholder meeting and a month after a policy took effect requiring workers to return to the office three days per week. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said as of Wednesday morning, more than 1,900 employees had pledged to walk out around the world, with about 900 in Seattle. The company said in a statement that it respects its employees’ “rights to express their opinions.” Amazon has cut 27,000 jobs since November.

    Connecticut voters will have 14 days to cast their general election ballots early and in person after Jan. 1, 2024, under a bill that is headed to the governor. The state Senate voted 27-7 early Wednesday in favor of the legislation creating a framework for early voting. Final passage of the bill comes six months after voters approved a state constitutional amendment giving lawmakers the go-ahead to create the new in-person early voting system. The legislation has already cleared the House of Representatives. On Tuesday, the Senate also gave final legislative approval to a resolution that asks voters in 2024 whether to allow no-excuses absentee ballots.

    Investigators using advanced DNA technology have identified a suspect in a series of sexual assaults in Boston that took place about 15 years ago. Law enforcement officials say 35-year-old Matthew Nilo was arrested in Weehawken, New Jersey, on Tuesday. Joseph Bonavolonta, head of the FBI’s Boston office, said four victims of sexual assault were informed of the arrest. Nilo is charged with three counts of aggravated rape and other offenses in connection with the assaults in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood in 2007 and 2008. Authorities say Nilo lived in Boston at the time. It is unclear if Nilo has an attorney.

    A former school bus driver accused of threatening and stalking an 8-year-old boy in New Hampshire has agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors to serve a six-year prison sentence. Court documents say 40-year-old Michael Chick, of Eliot, Maine, drove school bus routes in both Greenland and Rye, New Hampshire. Chick was arrested last year. Prosecutors alleged he gave a student at Greenland Central School cellphones with instructions to take inappropriate photos of himself, placed tracing devices on his parents’ vehicles and made multiple nighttime visits to their home. A hearing on the plea agreement is scheduled for June 8.

    A former Connecticut state representative has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for stealing more than $1.2 million from the city of West Haven, most of it federal-related coronavirus aid. Michael DiMassa used a chunk of the money to fuel his gambling addiction. He apologized Wednesday in federal court in Hartford for conspiring with others to bill the city for services never rendered. The West Haven Democrat also must repay the city nearly $866,000. Three co-defendants including DiMassa's wife also got prison time earlier. While DiMassa could have gotten more than four years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, the judge gave him credit for fully accepting responsibility and testifying at a co-defendant's trial.

    The prayers of a Tennessee church were answered when whoever stole a moving truck near its building didn’t keep what they found inside: old organ pipes, and lots of them. Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis had loaded a Penske truck earlier this month with nearly 2,000 organ pipes for transport to Boston, where they were to undergo restoration. But the truck was stolen. A few days later police found it and many of the nearly 90-year-old pipes, but the church says more pipes were recovered after a CrimeStoppers tip on Sunday led officers to a van that was parked near where they found the truck.

    A couple whose young children were taken by social workers and police in the middle of the night are suing, arguing they were unconstitutionally removed without a warrant or court order. Sarah Perkins and Joshua Sabey have filed the lawsuit in federal court in Massachusetts, where the couple lived at the time. If they win, the case could set a precedent for state welfare agencies across the country, especially when they remove a child from a home without a court order. The lawsuit highlights the debate about when and how to respond to abuse or neglect of children. Civil liberties advocates say poverty and race — not parenting — are often the determining factor in child removals.

    Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet of a Syrian refugee, will journey across the United States this fall, visiting key places in America’s history in an attempt to raise awareness about immigration and migration. The puppet of the 10-year-old girl will visit the U.S. Capitol, Boston Common, Joshua Tree National Park and the Edmund Pettus Bridge during a trek which starts in Boston on Sept. 7 and ends Nov. 5 along the U.S.-Mexico border. Organizers are reaching out to community artists and leaders at each of the 35 stops to create more than 100 special events anchored by each place visited.

    A student who says he got goosebumps the first time he played the violin in an orchestra is this year’s recipient of a college scholarship given in honor of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Geivens Dextra of Pittsfield High School will use the $2,000 Daniel Pearl Berkshire Scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music. The scholarship has been awarded annually since 2003 to a high school student from the Berkshire Hills region of western Massachusetts who plans to major in journalism or music, Pearl’s passions. Pearl started his journalism career in the region. He was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in January 2002 while investigating a story on terrorism.