Time marches on and we’re back at it again with a Monday morning buzz. Get your popcorn, today’s buzz has a stellar ideas about the future of retail, a show down between Illinois and Missouri and a brewing zoning bust up in South Carolina. Read on!
Right Now w/ Matt Yager
What I’m Reading: Inventor of email and savior of the @ sign, Ray Tomlinson, is dead at 74 by Dante D’Orazio
What I’m Watching: How did eating popcorn become a custom at movie theaters?
What I’m Listening to: Listening Man by A Band of Bees
What I’m Doing: Singing O Canada to my daughter.
What I want to know from you: How do you like your popcorn? Any kettlecorn, cheddarcorn or carmelcorn fans out there in ELGL land?
About half of Americans are ‘very confident’ in tap water: Only about half of Americans are very confident in the safety of their tap water, and a majority think lead contamination of the tap water in Flint, Michigan, indicates a more widespread problem, rather than an isolated problem. Lower-income Americans and those from minority groups are especially likely to worry about their water being contaminated, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
You Didn’t Notice It, But Google Fiber Just Began the Golden Age of High Speed Internet Access: This week, Google launched what amounts to a religious war in American telecom land. In a surprising announcement, the Alphabet company known as Google Fiber said it would expand its high speed Internet access services to Huntsville, Alabama — but in a different way that it currently has started up operations in cities like Austin and Kansas City. In cities it services to date, Google Fiber actually lays down the fiber-optic cables that allow it to deliver super-high numbers of bits to customers and businesses. But in Huntsville, it will lease “dark” fiber that will be built and owned by the electric utility in that city.
Scale It Up: Starting a retail business always involves some risk. Zac Lindemann, a furniture designer, wanted to do what he could to minimize the chance of failing. He had been making custom, one-off wood furniture for five years when he began toying with the idea of launching an online store to sell limited batches of furniture and home goods. But before getting started, he wanted to gauge the public’s interest in his new venture. So last December the 28-year-old designer rented a Boombox, a pop-up retail kiosk, in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood to invite opinions from passersby and, he hoped, make a few sales. “Everybody who came in really liked the Scandinavian-style pieces that I had on display,” Lindemann says. “I got the reaction I was hoping for.” Called Become, his retail site will go live later this year. Boombox is part of a growing shift toward micro-retail, enabling smaller and more flexible setups that can nimbly accommodate different sellers and their inventory and approximate the intimate feel of the small, independent businesses that are being squeezed out of high-end rental markets.
- Webinar: ICMA Thriving as a High Performance Organization – March 10
- Webinar: Technology Efficiency Series LinkedIn – March 17
- Webinar: What Local Governments Get Wrong About Websites – March 31
- Webinar: Future Schedule Technology Efficiency Series – New Webinar Every Month
- Bi-state battle for NGA intensifies as Missouri prepares to match no-cost Illinois land offer: A bistate battle to land the next western headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency intensified on Friday as high-ranking leaders from Missouri and Illinois met with the agency’s director. NGA Director Robert Cardillo appeared in both states as officials made closing arguments for why they should house the $1.6 billion spy campus. The generational decision that will move 3,000 jobs and millions in investments to one of four locations in the St. Louis region has turned neighboring states into foes.
- California’s multiple agencies confusing: When California became a state in 1850 it, like other states, adopted the federalist system, embracing No. 51’s theory that “ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” California, the land of wretched excess, has taken the principle to extremes – creating a jumble of competing, often overlapping and utterly confusing governmental entities that cloud accountability.
- Cedar Rapids works to get it right on stormwater (Iowa): Cedar Rapids blew it in the fall of 2012 when it declined to send a good, clear post-flood message about its commitment to reducing stormwater runoff. The city was replacing its laughably low, flat stormwater fees, but instead of implementing fees better reflecting the true cost of handling runoff with incentives to nudge property owners to stem the flow, it opted for slightly less laughable flat fees. A missed opportunity. City leaders buckled to opponents who didn’t want to pay the freight. They called it a “good first step.” Watch government long enough, and you’ll see a lot of those “first steps” go off cliffs, never to be heard from again.
- New master plan this spring promises big changes for Cummings Research Park (Alabama): The new master plan for Cummings Research Park is on schedule for a spring debut as officials wrap up final plans for the technology hub in Huntsville. CRP Director Erin Koshut said there are about six weeks left in the master planning process, which began in September with help from architecture and design firm Perkins+Will. A new plan proposing big changes is expected in early- to mid-April.
- Torrance County moves forward on solid waste ordinance (New Mexico): A spirited examination of the business of solid waste in Torrance County materialized out of a meeting with more facets than the Hope diamond. The Torrance County Commission held a special meeting Monday to discuss revisions to the county’s solid waste ordinance. This meeting was just for discussion among the commissioners and no public comment was built into the meeting much to the chagrin of the public in attendance. This came to light when a member of the public raised his hand to speak and was quickly silenced by Commission Chairman LeRoy Candelaria.
- Domestic Violence Center Will Give Victims Range Of Services (Connecticut): With just weeks to go before The Center for Family Justice officially opens its doors, Debra Greenwood was in her office last month juggling preparations with a somber task — helping plan a vigil for the family of a Fairfield man who police say tried to kill his wife and children before he was shot to death by police on Feb. 16. Already in what Greenwood called “a soft opening” for about a year, the centralized help center, the first-of-its kind in Connecticut for victims of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault, has been busy helping victims stay safe and start new lives. The Fairfield incident — and the flurry of calls into the center’s 24-hour hotline that followed it — was perhaps a preview of what is to come at the revamped facility.
- Topeka’s governing body plans to discuss capital improvement budget, but take no action (Kansas): The capital improvement budget for Topeka’s city government and a proposed partnership seeking to draw more people to Skyline Park, which is the site of Burnett’s Mound, are among matters local governing bodies plan to take up this coming week. Commissioners plan to consider entering into a contract establishing a partnership through which Quest Credit Union would donate $180,000 over the next six years to make improvements to the county’s 106-acre Skyline Park in southwest Topeka.
- Las Vegas partners with company on streetlights powered by solar, kinetic energy (Nevada): The city of Las Vegas is partnering with New York-based EnGoPLANET on a May installation of four kinetic and solar energy streetlights at Boulder Plaza at the Arts District downtown. New York-based EnGoPLANET reached out to see if the city would be interested in testing its streetlights, said Jorge Cervantes, executive director of community development for the city of Las Vegas.
Killeen city manager’s request has many implications (Texas): The Killeen City Council will evaluate City Manager Glenn Morrison two weeks early at Morrison’s request, but some council members say the process has been rushed and they will be unable to properly conduct a thorough, analytical review. Council members will receive the city’s audited year-end financial report on the same night they are expected to evaluate Morrison’s leadership, including his financial management of the city.
City Council to consider amending ‘gathering place’ zoning ordinance (South Carolina): Charleston City Council on Tuesday will hear a presentation, and then vote to amend the “gathering place” zoning ordinance or extend a moratorium on that type of zoning beyond March 11. The controversial zoning came under fire largely from residents of James Island, who thought a gathering place that ultimately will include more than 600 rental units on Maybank Highway would strain existing roads and infrastructure.
Union accepts new labor contract with Snohomish County government (Washington): Workers from Snohomish County’s largest public sector union voted Thursday evening to accept a new labor contract, ending an impasse that had dragged on for more than a year. They approved the four-year contract by about 80 percent, said Chris Dugovich, president of the Washington State Council of County and City Employees. Union members’ previous contract expired at the end of 2014.