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Local reaction to Boy Scouts lifting ban on gays

The Boy Scouts of America votes to drop a long-standing ban and allow openly gay boys to become members.

But it could be very costly.

CNN reports the decision could cost the Boy Scouts $18 million in funding from organizations in the South alone.

Some conservative churches that sponsor Scout units wanted to continue excluding gay youths. They are threatening to defect now that the ban has been lifted.

The decision will cost the Scouts at least one member from metro Atlanta.

“I certainly won’t continue in my role,” says Kipper Tabb.  He is with Troop 317 out of Johns Creek and is an associate pastor at Perimeter Church.

“I’m disappointed,” Tabb told WSB. “I had thought that the folks that had been trying to help the delegates make an informed decision, the result would have been different.”

Tabb’s church is also debating if it will continue to sponsor the Scouts.

However, not all religious leaders are jumping ship.

“Certainly when we are in the spirit of inclusion and welcoming everyone equally,” says Rev. Paul Graetz with the First Metropolitan Community Church in northeast Atlanta, “we are doing the same thing. We are welcome the spirit of Christ.”

 Graetz is gay and was also in the boy scouts.

“I was in scouts, I absolutely loved it,” he says.

The vote does not lift the ban against gay adults serving in scouts, but Tabb expects that to change eventually.

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  • Struggling to advance his agenda in Washington, President Donald Trump traveled to the Midwest on Wednesday for a raucous rally with his loyal supporters — the kind of event he relished before winning the White House. Trump touched down Wednesday evening in rainy Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and headed to a local community college, where he got a look at agriculture technology innovations before leading a campaign rally. He reveled in Georgia Republican Karen Handel's congressional victory in an election viewed as an early referendum on his presidency. 'We're 5-0 in special elections,' Trump said in front of a boisterous crowd that packed a downtown arena. 'The truth is, people love us ... they haven't figured it out yet.' He also applauded Republican Ralph Norman, who notched a slimmer-than-expected win in a special election to fill the South Carolina congressional seat vacated by Mick Mulvaney, and mocked Handel's challenger, Jon Ossoff, saying the Democrats 'spent $30 million on this kid who forgot to live in the district.' Trump, no stranger to victory laps, turned his visit to a battleground state he captured in November into a celebration of his resilience despite the cloud of investigations that has enveloped his administration and sent his poll numbers tumbling. With the appearance in Cedar Rapids, he has held five rallies in the first five months in office. The event underscores Trump's comfort in a campaign setting. He laughed off the occasional heckler, repeated riffs from last year's rallies and appeared far more at ease when going after Democrats in front of adoring crowds than trying to push through his own legislative agenda from the confines of the White House. Trump's aides are making a renewed push to get the president out of Washington. The capital is consumed with the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election and Trump's firing of his FBI director. Campaign rallies energize Trump by placing him in front of supporters who have stuck by him and are likely to dismiss the investigations as Beltway chatter. Iowa, with its large share of independent voters, could be a proving ground for whether Trump can count on the support of voters beyond his base. Unaffiliated voters — or 'no party' voters, as they are known in Iowa — make up 36 percent of the electorate, compared with 33 percent who register Republican and 31 percent registered as Democrat. Self-identified independents in Iowa voted for Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton by a 13-percentage-point margin last year, according to exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks. That margin helped Trump take the state by nearly 9 points after Barack Obama won it for Democrats the previous two elections. Trump held a Des Moines rally in December as part of his transition-era 'thank you' tour of states he had won, but has not been back to Iowa since. Wednesday night, he touted his administration's efforts to roll back regulations, mused about putting solar panels on a Mexican border wall, derided wind power for killing birds in a state that uses a lot of it and revealed that he urged the Senate to create a health care plan 'with heart. Add some money to it!' He avoided any discussion of the scandals surrounding his presidency, other than one brief reference to the 'witch hunt,' which is what he has dubbed the probes into his campaign's ties to Russia. Trump's evening in Iowa began with a tribute to former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, whom he had just appointed the United States' ambassador to China. He hailed Branstad, the longest-serving governor in the nation's history and an early Trump backer, as 'a legend' and 'one great man.' Trump's stop at Kirkwood Community College was intended to draw attention to the school's advancements in high-tech agriculture, but he resisted sitting behind the wheel of a virtual reality device that simulated a giant combine harvester. He was joined by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as part of the administration's latest theme week, this time to highlight the importance of technology. He later touted the wealth of Ross and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, saying: 'Those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person. Does that make sense?' But much of Trump's attention was on the suburbs of Atlanta, in the 6th Congressional District race. Democrats had lavished attention and money on Tuesday's special election, hoping for a victory that would underscore Republican worries about Trump and serve as a harbinger of a Democratic wave in 2018. Instead, Handel's victory, in a traditional Republican stronghold that rarely produces a competitive contest, was met with a sigh of relief among the GOP. Trump tweeted several times during the night and capped the night off with a text message to supporters referring to his 'Make America Great Again' slogan: 'The MAGA Mandate is stronger than ever. BIG LEAGUE.' ___ Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report. ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at
  • It was a rather pleasant spring and now the first summer month too has been cooler than normal. Hot weather has not lasted more than a couple or few days so far this year. It sure saves the lawn and bushes a lot of stress and saves the watering bill and the A/C bill, so I like it. But I am sure sun tanning fans are not thrilled. It still looks like from today past the 4th of July real hot weather will continue to be hard to come by. Then odds of some heat go up if the new Weekly European Model Ensemble run is right. 1-15 Day GFS Ensemble average temperature departure from normal: End of June-early July rainfall amounts GFS Ensemble and Euro Ensemble: Hope for some drying beyond the current wet spell:      European Model the week ending July 7th: Then the model suggests more upper-level ridging which would bring warmer and drier if correct. The week ending July 14th: The model projects not dry weather in Georgia but less wet to open the new month, as the bigger rains are projected to shift north of here. None-the-less, it looks like odds for rain will be above-normal right into the start of August. So no drought and no extreme heat here. Week ending July 21st: Week ending July 28th: FOLLOW me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB
  • Abnormally dry weather has been a boon to American white pelicans nesting on a North Dakota island known as North America's largest refuge for the big-billed birds. Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge manager Neil Shook says the dry spell appears to have curbed years of wet weather and surging water levels that threatened to swamp the main nesting island at the refuge. Shook says island has shrunk by half in recent years, to 12 acres. He says the big birds still have plenty of nesting room. An aerial survey completed this week showed some 27,120 breeding adults have returned from as far away as California and the Gulf Coast. The count is among the highest recorded.
  • President Donald Trump wants to add solar panels to his long-promised southern border wall — a plan he says would help pay for the wall's construction and add to its aesthetic appeal. 'We're thinking about building the wall as a solar wall so it creates energy and pays for itself,' Trump said at a rally Wednesday night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 'And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money. And that's good, right?' Trump had previously floated the solar panel idea during a closed-door meeting with Republican members of Congress earlier this month, but this was the first time he'd discussed the idea publicly. 'Pretty good imagination, right?' Trump said at the rally, framing the plan as 'my idea.' Not quite. The notion of adding solar panels to the border wall was explored in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in March. Vasilis Fthenakis, director of the Center for Life Cycle Analysis at Columbia University, and Ken Zweibel, former director of the Solar Institute at George Washington University, concluded it was 'not only technically and economically feasible, it might even be more practical than a traditional wall.' They said a 2,000-mile solar wall could cost less than $1 billion, instead of tens of billions for a traditional border wall, and possibly become 'wildly profitable.' The writers were studying a concept laid out by Homero Aridjis and James Ramey in the online World Post in December. The idea also was proposed by one of the companies that submitted a design to the government as a border wall prototype. The bid by Las Vegas-based Gleason Partners LLC proposed covering some sections of the wall with solar panels to provide electricity for lighting, sensors and patrol stations along the wall. Gleason said sales of electricity to utilities could cover the cost of construction in 20 years or less, and suggested that power could also be sold to Mexico. Managing partner Thomas Gleason said he wasn't sure whether his company was still in the running for the contract, but added, 'We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, and that's to make the president realize there was such a possibility.' Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said nobody from the department had shared the submitted proposals with the White House, though several have been made public by the bidding companies. But Trump's comments could raise questions about whether he was attempting to interfere with what is intended to be a regimented contracting process. The government has selected the finalists for contracts to build wall prototypes in San Diego and is expected to announce the winners soon. During his campaign, the president vowed to build an impenetrable wall along the length of the U.S.-Mexican border out of concrete and steel. But since his inauguration, he has faced resistance, with Congress unwilling to finance the plan. Trump has long maintained that Mexico will pay for his wall, even though Mexico has flatly refused. Trump insists that even if U.S. taxpayers have to cover the costs upfront, Mexico will eventually be forced to reimburse the U.S. in some way. Trump repeatedly described solar power during the campaign as 'very, very expensive' and 'not working so good.' But he told his audience Wednesday that the U.S.-Mexico border is one of the rare places that 'solar really does work' because of the sun and heat. 'I think we could make it look beautiful, too,' he added. 'That would be nice.' Gleason said he has no problem with Trump claiming credit for the idea. 'He can have full credit for it as long as they do a solar wall,' he said. ___ Associated Press writers Alicia A. Caldwell and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.
  • A Tornado Warning has been issued for parts of Cherokee, Pickens, Cobb, Bartow and Meriwether counties. JUST IN: Tornado warning for Cherokee & Pickens Counties until 4:30pm... this storm moving quickly NE. @BradNitzWSB live on Ch 2 now @wsbtv-- Brian Monahan, WSB (@BMonahanWSB) June 22, 2017 We're tracking storms LIVE NOW on Channel 2.Safest places during a tornado: Cellar Storm shelter Basement Windowless interior room Under a table or desk and hold on. Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Karen Minton says we have a few more days of rain and then we'll be able to spend some dry time outside.[Download the free Severe Weather Team 2 app for weather alerts]Many areas in metro Atlanta received several inches of rain in the last 24 hours, including DeKalb receiving nearly 5 inches and Newton County with more than 7 inches.Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall in Louisiana early Thursday morning and is expected to impact Atlanta's weather.It could bring up to 4 additional inches of rain to metro Atlanta through the weekend. Tropical Storm Cindy sending plenty of moisture our way. Rain amounts for metro ATL ~ 2-4' Karen Minton (@KarenMintonWSB) June 22, 2017
  • A sequoia seedling that naturalist John Muir sent to Idaho more than a century ago and was planted in a doctor's yard has become a massive tree and an obstacle to progress. The sequoia planted in 1912 is in the way of a Boise hospital's expansion but has become a city landmark over the decades and the largest sequoia in Idaho. Chopping down the tree would be cheaper but has public relations risks. So St. Luke's Health System is spending $300,000 to move the 98-foot (30-meter) tree to city property about two blocks away starting Friday. 'We understand the importance of this tree to this community,' said Anita Kissée, spokeswoman for the hospital. Cutting it down 'was never even an option.' Texas-based Environmental Design specializes in moving big trees and plans to lift the sequoia Friday afternoon onto inflatable, rolling tubes. The tree is set to start moving at midnight Saturday and arrive at its new home around noon Sunday. 'This is going to be one of what we call our champion trees,' said David Cox, whose overseeing the move for the company. 'We want to take extreme care to make sure everything goes well.' Cox said the tree will be the tallest the company has ever moved as well as the largest in circumference at more than 20 feet (6 meters) near its base. He estimates the total weight, with roots and dirt, will be about 800,000 pounds (363,000 kilograms). He puts the chances of the tree surviving at 95 percent. The move is part of St. Luke's expansion to meet growing health demands in the state's capital. Muir, somewhere around 1912, sent four sequoia seedlings to Emile Grandjean, a conservation-minded professional forester and early employee of the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho, his granddaughter, Mary Grandjean, told The Associated Press. Her father told her that Emile Grandjean planted two of the sequoias at his home in Boise and the two others went to the doctor's home. New owners of the Grandjean home later cut down the trees, Mary Grandjean said. The fate of a third sequoia isn't clear. Of the four sequoias, the only one that still exists is the one being moved. 'We've all got our fingers crossed that the tree is going to make it to its new location,' she said. Cox said sequoias in their native habitat in California draw moisture from the misty atmosphere and can live for several thousand years and reach several hundred feet tall. The Idaho sequoia is in a drier, colder climate, and the tree lost its original top in the 1980s due to damage from Christmas decorations. The hospital at that point hired tree experts and the sequoia has since thrived despite living in a high desert environment. Cox said soil analysis has been done at the transplant site to ensure it will allow the tree to keep growing. He said most of the soil surrounding the tree's roots also is being moved to the new site to improve the chances of the transplant succeeding. If it works, the tree could remain a Boise landmark for several more centuries. 'I would say three- to five-hundred years at least,' Cox said. 'It's still a young tree.