James Doubek

Merriam-Webster raised the hackles of stodgy grammarians last week when it affirmed the lexical veracity of "irregardless."

The word's definition, when reading it, would seem to be: without without regard.

"Irregardless is included in our dictionary because it has been in widespread and near-constant use since 1795," the dictionary's staff wrote in a "Words of the Week" roundup on Friday. "We do not make the English language, we merely record it."

Arizona is one of just five states that has seen new coronavirus cases climb by the thousands each day in the past couple of weeks.

The state's governor, Republican Doug Ducey, in May lifted a stay-at-home order he put in place in March so the economy could begin reopening. But a week ago, Ducey ordered bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to shut down again for 30 days as daily caseloads topped 3,000.

Mississippi is seeing a sharp uptick in new coronavirus cases. The state is reporting double the number of new cases that it was seeing just two weeks ago. The average number of new cases each day this week is just over 600. And on June 25, the state reported more than 1,000 cases in a single day for the first time.

A challenge has been growing more popular in the past few months for the truly masochistic bicyclists out there: Everesting.

It's riding an elevation of the height of Mount Everest on a bicycle. Pick one hill, and go up and down, over and over again, until you've climbed 29,029 vertical feet.

"It's pretty brutal," says pro cyclist Lachlan Morton.

Morton just broke the record for the amount of time it takes to complete the feat — he finished in seven hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds. He did it on Saturday on a hill in Rist Canyon, near Fort Collins, Colo.

One common recommendation for reducing police brutality against people of color is to have police departments mirror a given area's racial makeup.

President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended that law enforcement "reflect the demographics of the community"; the Justice Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said diversity on police forces can help build trust with communities.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser gained attention last week after she had a section of 16th Street near the White House painted with the words "Black Lives Matter" in bright yellow and renamed a section of the street Black Lives Matter Plaza on Friday.

Activists across the country are calling for radical reforms to policing in the U.S., including abolishing the police entirely.

Camden, N.J., took its own big step in 2013. The city was in a public safety crisis, with murder rates 18 times the national average and scores of excessive-force complaints, when the mayor and City Council dissolved the existing police department and created a countywide force in its place.

The best thing about being 17, according to Shawn Richardson, is freedom.

"I'm able to go out more with my friends," he says. "I can do things solo."

Shawn is a rising high school senior in Minneapolis. School is fine, but what he really loves is track. His friend timed him running the 100-meter dash in 10.71 seconds.

The track season was canceled because of COVID-19. But if he can run that time officially, he will have the school record. Distance running isn't his thing. Shawn is a sprinter.

"It's like gathering energy and then just letting it go," he says.

The number of new coronavirus cases has been going up in Alabama even as the state's governor relaxes restrictions.

Last week's number of new cases was up from the week before. Of the more than 15,000 confirmed cases across the state, about one-third have been confirmed within the last 14 days.

"I wasn't afraid of fighting," Ilhan Omar writes about her childhood in Somalia in her new memoir. "I felt like I was bigger and stronger than everyone else — even if I knew that wasn't really the case."

In This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman, Omar chronicles her childhood in a middle-class family compound in Mogadishu, followed by civil war, four years in a refugee camp, a journey to the United States and ultimately her election to Congress as a Democrat representing Minnesota's 5th district.

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