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News from Around America

Police: car hits trooper, three firefighters in Pa.; one dead

ARDMORE, Pa. (AP) — A New Jersey woman has been charged with vehicular homicide in the death of a firefighter struck along with two other firefighters and a state trooper as they were responding to a crash on Interstate 76 in suburban Philadelphia, police said.

State police said emergency responders were called shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday to a collision involving two cars in the westbound lanes of I-76 in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County. Police said the trooper was speaking with one of the drivers when a sport utility vehicle drove up on the right shoulder and hit the trooper and three firefighters as well as one of the cars.

The trooper and two firefighters were taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and another firefighter was taken to Paoli Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, police said. The Lower Merion Township fire department identified him as Tom Royds of Belmont Hills Fire Company and said he went into cardiac arrest at the scene. The condition of the other injured emergency responders wasn’t immediately available.

Police said the SUV driver was arrested at the scene.

Groups urge Maine to protect wild Atlantic salmon in US

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine is home to the last wild Atlantic salmon populations in the U.S., but a new push to protect the fish at the state level is unlikely to land them on the endangered list.

Atlantic salmon once teemed in U.S. rivers, but now return from the sea to only a handful of rivers in eastern and central Maine. The fish are protected at the federal level under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, but a coalition of environmental groups and scientists said the fish could be afforded more protections if they were added to Maine’s own list of endangered and threatened species.

State law allows Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher to make that recommendation, but his office told The Associated Press he does not intend to do it. The department has done extensive work to conserve and restore the fish, and the commissioner “does not believe a listing at the state level would afford additional conservation benefits or protections,” said Jeff Nichols, a department spokesperson.

The environmentalists who want to see the fish on the state list said they’re going to keep pushing for it and other protections. Adding the fish to the state endangered list would mean conservation of salmon would be treated as a bigger concern in state permitting processes, said John Burrows, executive director for U.S. operations for the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

“The state of Maine and a handful of our rivers are the only places in the country that still have wild Atlantic salmon,” Burrows said. “It’s something that should happen, and should have happened.”

Atlantic salmon have disappeared from U.S. rivers because of damming, pollution and others environmental challenges, and they also face the looming threat of climate change. Nevertheless, there have been some positive signs in Maine rivers in recent years.More than 1,400 salmon returned to the Penobscot River in 2020. That was the highest number since 2011, the Maine marine resources department found. The Penobscot is the most productive river for the salmon. It averaged only about 700 fish per year from 2012 to 2019.

Attempts to repopulate Atlantic salmon in other states have stalled. The federal government ended an attempt to restore Atlantic salmon in the Connecticut River basin in 2012 after several decades because of lack of success.

Getting the fish listed on the Maine endangered list has long been a goal of many environmental groups.

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