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Why there's still a fight in Tennessee about where to bury President James K. Polk

CLOSE Why there's still a fight in Tennessee about where to bury President James K. Polk
Why there's still a fight in Tennessee about where to bury President James K. Polk

Over 100 years since he was last moved, James K. Polk might have a new final resting place. Kirk A. Bado

Polk's plaque near his Nashville home.

This plaque is erected near the former location of Polk Place on Seventh and Union in Nashville. (Photo: Duane Gang / The Tennessean)

NASHVILLE — There is still a fight about where to bury President James K. Polk.

Nearly 168 years after he died and more than a century since the last time his body was exhumed and relocated, there's yet another battle underway over whether to move his remains — this time, from the state Capitol in Nashville to the Polk family home 50 miles south in Columbia.

The dispute has pitted descendants against one another, with one saying the move is a "step toward grave robbery." But supporters, including some state lawmakers, say relocating his body will better preserve his legacy. The state Senate is expected to take up a resolution next week, a first step in relocating Polk's remains.

"He’s a president from Tennessee, and he deserves respect," said Tom Price, the curator of the James K. Polk Home and Museum in Columbia.

So how did it come to this, the latest chapter in the bizarre saga behind Polk’s remains? There's even a new Twitter account — Polk Journey Home — set up this month to support the move to Columbia.

James Polk, president 1845-1849.

James Polk, president 1845-1849.   (Photo: Library of Congress)

Born in North Carolina, Polk grew up in Columbia. He served in the state House, U.S. House and later became Tennessee's ninth governor before his election to the presidency. After leaving office, Polk settled in Nashville only to die suddenly of cholera in 1849, just a few months after leaving the White House.

To prevent further spread of the cholera epidemic, the former president was buried — with honors — in the Nashville City Cemetery. But about a year later, his body was exhumed and moved to Polk Place, his Nashville home. His wife, Sarah Childress Polk, insisted the casket be opened so she could confirm that the body unearthed from the “makeshift mausoleum” was indeed the nation's 11th president.

A couple of years after her death in 1891, a family disagreement forced the courts to toss out the former president's will — which called for his burial at Polk Place — and order the home sold. It was then that Polk's remains moved to the Capitol.

Today, Polk is buried among a grove of trees on the east lawn of the Capitol, the northernmost on a row of memorials to Tennessee’s most influential political figures. Polk Place no longer exists, long since razed. A hotel now sits on the site.

The possibility of another move has many family members distraught.

"Every step they take is one step toward grave robbery,” said Teresa Elam, a seventh-generation niece of Polk from Wilson County. “It would be like taking someone out of Arlington (National Cemetery) and taking them to the family farm and putting them behind the

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It's official: Self-proclaimed Nazi changes name to Hitler

USA Today Network Nick Muscavage, (Bridgewater, N.J.) Courier News Published 4:47 p.m. ET March 24, 2017 | Updated 5 hours ago

CLOSE It's official: Self-proclaimed Nazi changes name to Hitler
It's official: Self-proclaimed Nazi changes name to Hitler

A New Jersey man is trying to legally change his last name to Hitler. Matt Hoffman reports. Buzz60

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Isidore Heath Campbell of Shippensburg, Pa. recently received legal approval March 24, 2017, to change his surname to Hitler. Campbell, whose name change becomes effective May 8, poses in a Nazi uniform he created. (Photo: Courtesy of Isidore Heath Campbell)

FLEMINGTON, N.J. — A New Jersey judge signed off Friday on a request for a self-proclaimed Nazi to change his name to Hitler , effective May 8.

So in a little more than a month, Isidore Heath Campbell will legally become Isidore Heath Hitler. He had filed a request Feb. 14 in Hunterdon County Superior Court for the name change.

No one contested it, so Judge Michael O'Neill signed the order Friday without Campbell appearing for a hearing.

"I'm named after a hero," Campbell said when a reporter contacted him. "The judge approved it. My name is Hitler now."

► More: Self-proclaimed Nazi dad wants to change name to Hitler
► April: Self-identified Nazi pleads guilty to resisting arrest
► 2013: Adolf Hitler running for election in India

New Jersey law has few legal restrictions on names, and the state's Office of Vital Statistics and Registry can reject a name only because it contains an obscenity, numerals or symbols or a combination that is "illegible," according to a 2014 blog entry from the Philadelphia law firm of  Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel .

Campbell's children, who now are in foster care, apparently will not share the new Hitler surname. His court papers listed only himself.

It's official: Self-proclaimed Nazi changes name to Hitler

Isidore Heath Campbell of Holland Township, N.J., petitioned Feb. 14, 2017, to change his surname to Hitler. He appears here in an undated file photo; more recently he has grown a mustache similar to the Nazi leader.   (Photo: (Bridgewater, N.J.) Courier News)

In December 2008, Campbell drew national attention after a supermarket bakery refused to write, "Happy Birthday, Adolf Hitler" on a cake for the third birthday of one of his sons, Adolf Hitler Campbell. The father complained that the refusal constituted discrimination, and another bakery fulfilled his request.

That child, as well as Heinrich Hons Campbell, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honzlynn Jeannie Campbell are in foster care because of alleged violence in the Campbell family home, but Campbell disputes that.

"They took them over a name," Campbell said Friday and then proceeded to disparage that judge. "My son's name is Adolf Hitler. They ... went ahead and did what they did."

Campbell listed a temporary Shippensburg, Pa., address on Friday's court papers but once lived in Holland Township, N.J.

Last year, he was arrested on a fugitive warrant in Pennsylvania for an aggravated-assault charge in connection with a domestic-violence incident. In a plea deal, he was sentenced to 180 days in jail and two years probation on obstruction of justice charges and resisting arrest.

Campbell also was the leader of the pro-Nazi group Hitler's Order that he founded

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Suspect in 4 Wis. slayings had marital, money problems

USA Today Network Jonathan Anderson, Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald Published 6:59 p.m. ET March 24, 2017 | Updated 3 hours ago

CLOSE Suspect in 4 Wis. slayings had marital, money problems
Suspect in 4 Wis. slayings had marital, money problems

Warning: Graphic audio. Selections of police scanner audio tell story of police response Wednesday to shootings in Wausau area. Wochit

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Numerous law enforcement vehicles and SWAT teams respond to shooter Wednesday at an apartment complex on the corner of Aspen Street and Ross Avenue in Weston. A police officer and at least three others were shot. (Photo: T'xer Zhon Kha/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

ROTHSCHILD, Wis. — Nengmy Vang was in the midst of a long and bitter divorce with his wife.

Mediation had failed. Despite a marriage of more than two decades, Vang had sought a paternity test on their youngest child. And there were persistent money problems, which arose again Tuesday, when action was taken to garnish the couple’s wages.

The next day, four people were gunned down in the Wausau area, including a detective, a lawyer who represented Vang’s wife in the divorce case and two employees of Marathon Savings Bank, where his wife worked.

Police have yet to publicly name a suspect, but multiple people with knowledge of what happened confirmed to USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Vang's role in the killings.

Officials have said the shootings started as a “domestic incident” in which a husband had targeted his wife, who escaped unharmed.

Recently obtained court records offer some insight into Vang’s life.

Vang, 45, filed for divorce in 2015 and called the marriage "irretrievably broken” in a court filing obtained by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

A judge allowed the wife and their minor children to remain at the family home in Weston during the divorce proceedings, while Vang found housing elsewhere, most recently at the Aspen Street Apartments in Weston. Vang was allowed to take with him various personal items, including four guns, court records show.

The couple has at least six children, two of whom are minors. Vang sought and obtained a court order for a paternity test on a seventh child; court records do not reveal the status or any results of that testing.

Vang’s wife was seeking sole legal custody of the minor children with primary physical placement.

Suspect in 4 Wis. slayings had marital, money problems

Numerous law enforcement vehicles and SWAT teams respond to shooter Wednesday at an apartment complex on the corner of Aspen Street and Ross Avenue in Weston. A police officer and at least two others were shot.   (Photo: T'xer Zhon Kha/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

Court records list the divorce case as contested, which suggests Vang and his wife could not agree on terms. A mediator determined the couple had reached an impasse and would not likely find mutual ground.

Vang had been having financial problems for years, court records show. He has been sued four times since 2009 for unpaid credit card balances totaling nearly $28,000. Vang later paid at least $22,000 of what was owed, court records show.

Vang and his wife were also sued last year by a credit union seeking more than $9,000 that remained

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With Obamacare repeal dreams dashed, what can GOP accomplish?

Deirdre Shesgreen and Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY Published 7:15 p.m. ET March 24, 2017 | Updated 36 minutes ago

CLOSE With Obamacare repeal dreams dashed, what can GOP accomplish?
With Obamacare repeal dreams dashed, what can GOP accomplish?

House Speaker Paul Ryan cancelled the vote on the GOP's health care bill that would've replaced Obamacare, saying he could not get enough votes to support it. USA TODAY

Donald Trump

President Donald J. Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House. (Photo: Olivier Douliery, Pool/European Pressphoto Agency)

WASHINGTON — Republicans suffered a bruising, self-inflicted blow Friday when they tanked their own health care bill and gave up on that long-held priority.

The question now is whether the GOP can recover and accomplish other items on the congressional agenda — whether it's passing spending bills to keep the government open or enacting sweeping tax reform.

"They lost their first major legislative fight and did it in spectacular fashion," said David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron.

That does not bode well, Cohen said, because "so much of politics is built on momentum," with success begetting more success — or failure leading to more defections and distrust.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., painted a rosy picture of the GOP's next steps on Friday, even while admitting their failure to pass the health care bill was a setback. He said they would now move onto tax reform, deficit reduction, rebuilding the military, securing the border and boosting infrastructure spending.

Ryan and others said tax reform and other issues would be easier than health care, because there’s more agreement within the party on how to proceed.

Read more:

"Republicans are moving full speed ahead with President Trump on the first pro-growth tax reform in a generation," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which will oversee that effort.

But the divisions that sank the health bill are still raw, with Republicans engaged in a round of intra-party recriminations and finger-pointing.

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said tensions inside the House Republican conference are so high that some lawmakers aren’t speaking to each other and some are even “storming past each other” in the Capitol’s marbled hallways.

And there's a reason that Republicans tackled health care first. They were rolling that into a budget "reconciliation" bill, a special framework that is not subject to a filibuster in the Senate. Anything else the Republicans do will have to win 60 votes in the Senate, where Republicans control 52 seats to the 46 Democrats and 2 independents who caucus with the Democrats. And the budget bill would set a framework for other tax and spending matters, which impact everything else the GOP does.

Asked earlier this week what would happen if the health bill failed, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla, said: “I think you have to go back to square one and rethink your entire legislative schedule."

Ryan conceded that tax reform is more difficult with Obamacare left in place, because that law included a bevy of tax increases the GOP had hoped to repeal.

“That just means the Obamacare taxes stick with Obamacare,” Ryan said. “We’re going to go fix the

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