Juneteenth holiday, Gulf Coast weather, Olympics track and field trials: 5 things to know Friday

Federal employees take the day to celebrate Juneteenth, the country’s newest holiday

Most federal employees are off work this Friday in honor of Juneteenth, which commemorates the day in 1865 that the final enslaved people in the Confederate states learned about the end of slavery. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law Thursday, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black vice president. “This will go down for me as one of the greatest honors I will have as president,” Biden said. Long observed among Black Americans, Juneteenth has gained higher prominence in recent years after racial justice movements increased interest in the holiday and more states and cities have passed legislation commemorating emancipation. Biden praised the holiday as a way to help  heal divisions and bring about racial justice. More than 460 companies are observing Juneteenth, with many offering a paid day off or holiday pay, according to HellaCreative, a San Francisco initiative.

  • The stock market on Juneteenth: Why exchanges will remain open for first holiday
  • Expect letters and packages: Postal Service to deliver mail Friday and Saturday, despite new holiday
  • 25 books for kids and adults to celebrate Juneteenth and reflect on history of slavery
  • How well did you follow this week’s news? Take our quiz to find out. 

President Joe Biden signed legislation Thursday making Juneteenth, or June 19, a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery. Biden said he believes it will go down as one of the greatest honors he has as president. (June 17)

AP Domestic

Gulf Coast bracing for Tropical Storms, heavy rain 

An ominous weather system slowly rolling toward the Gulf of Mexico Thursday was threatening to strengthen into Tropical Storm Claudette before slamming onto shore across four states. The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for southeast Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border. Coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Florida panhandle could face heavy rains and flooding Friday and into the weekend.  AccuWeather meteorologists pinpointed late Friday to Saturday as the most likely time frame, and the Louisiana coastline is the most likely place for landfall, though it may occur anywhere from near the Texas-Louisiana border to the western part of the Florida Panhandle. 

  • Earlier this week:Tropical Storm Bill roars off Carolina coast as hurricane season awakens in the Atlantic Basin
  • Tornado warning:Twisters are hitting more frequently and dealing more deaths in the South
  • ‘Tornado Alley’ is expanding: Graphics on how the southern states see more twisters now than ever before

A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as a potential tropical cyclone advanced toward the northern Gulf Coast. (June 17)

AP Domestic

Ohio governor to end COVID emergency declaration 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the end of the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration will come Friday. “We’ve come to the conclusion it really does not impact what we need to do in this pandemic based on this point” in time, DeWine said. The governor had declared the emergency on March 14, 2020, which allowed the state to suspend competitive bidding, draw down assistance and make emergency rules, among other provisions. DeWine said state requirements on visits to nursing homes, such as limiting the number of visitors, will also be lifted Friday. Most of the state’s health orders, including the state mask mandate, ended June 2.

  • ‘It did not feel real’: Latest Vax-a-Million winners celebrate their winnings
  • Ohio governor opposes anti-vaccination bill:Public stance revealed after conspiracy theorists claim vaccines ‘magnetized’ people
  • Previous coverage: Despite criticism, Vax-a-Million raises Gov. DeWine’s national profile ahead of reelection bid

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine says he picked the state's new vaccine lottery prize of $1 million because it's a "magical" number that captures people's attention. (May 17)

AP Domestic

Who to look out for during the Olympics track and field trials

The U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials are taking over Eugene, Oregon, starting Friday. The meet will feature former gold medalists, NCAA champions and young professionals across a packed eight-day schedule. One of the most anticipated races will be the women’s 400-meter hurdles, which will see world record holder Dalilah Muhammed face off against Sydney McLaughlin, who holds the second-fastest time ever in the event. The men’s short sprints will also be competitive. Noah Lyles, a two-time gold medalist at the 2019 World Championships, is a favorite to qualify in both the 100 and 200-meter dash. Several athletes are right on his tail. The trials will also serve as a breakout opportunity for many young athletes looking to make the team for the first time. 

  • Hardest roster to make in the world: 10 to watch at US Olympic track and field trials
  • Ex-runner is still a fan: Former world record holder Michael Johnson talks track and field trials, growing the sport

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