Hey, it’s already Thursday!  Why not flash back to some awesome dance moves from recent history while you read on about the importance of maintenance, why local governments will be cutting some big checks back to the state in Illinois, and a Nevada police chief caught in an animal shelter scandal?

Right Now w/ Matt Yager

What I’m Reading: How to Accomplish More By Planning Less by John Zeratsky

What I’m Watching: Watch Them Whip: A Decade of Viral Dance Moves

What I’m Listening to: The Seratones Tiny Desk Concert

What I’m Doing: Working on my dance moves – mostly the classic white guy overbite.


Hail the Maintainers: Innovation is a dominant ideology of our era, embraced in America by Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and the Washington DC political elite. As the pursuit of innovation has inspired technologists and capitalists, it has also provoked critics who suspect that the peddlers of innovation radically overvalue innovation. What happens after innovation, they argue, is more important. Maintenance and repair, the building of infrastructures, the mundane labour that goes into sustaining functioning and efficient infrastructures, simply has more impact on people’s daily lives than the vast majority of technological innovations.

Why Citizen Experts Are The New Paradigm: We have the means to build a strong digital environment where citizens can connect with each other. This opens up the possibility of calling upon their collective expertise. So, why do we still put forward an institutional class of professionals as our go-to solution to solve today’s challenges?

The geography of life and death: The headlines reflect a tragic reality: “The rich live longer everywhere. For the poor, geography matters.” “Where living poor means dying young.” “What income and geography mean for life expectancy.” Americans, especially those who struggle to make ends meet, are unwell and dying. As a new study further confirms, life expectancy varies depending on where you live. Here’s what you should know about place and disadvantage, and how they work together to cut lives short.



50 Nifty

  • How one Mississippi city is fighting against the new anti-LGBT law: City leaders in Clarksdale, Miss. do not agree with the recently signed “Religious Freedom” law, and they are doing what they can do get that message out. Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett told FOX13 the city restated an anti-discrimination resolution just this week. That resolution states the city does not condone discrimination on any basis, including sexual orientation. “We ratified that,” Mayor Luckett said. “We appreciate everybody and they are welcome to Clarksdale.” There is a snag through.
  • Racial tension simmers in South Carolina a year after Walter Scott shooting: The South Carolina city where a white police officer shot dead an unarmed black man one year ago still simmers with racial tension as black residents say they continue to be harassed and humiliated by law enforcement. Patrolman Michael Slager killed motorist Walter Scott on April 4, 2015, firing eight times at his back as he fled a traffic stop for a broken tail light. A bystander captured the shooting on cellphone video. Scott, 50, was a father of four. Slager’s arrest on a murder charge may have spared North Charleston the rioting that took place in other cities after police killings of black men. He is awaiting trial, his lawyers saying he acted in self-defense.
  • Baltimore City employees’ information stolen: Baltimore City employees found out Thursday that some of them had their personal information stolen. The data breach was discovered when several city employees attempted to electronically file tax returns, which were rejected because their returns had already been filed. The city is working with local, state and federal authorities to try to figure out how this could have happened. It remains unclear from which entity the data was taken. “There was somehow unauthorized access to personal information of some city employees,” said Howard Libit, spokesman for the mayor.
  • Big hog farms raising stink in Bon Homme County (South Dakota):  A packed Bon Homme County courtroom heard Monday a request for an emergency moratorium on further permits for certain animal feeding operations. n addition, opponents are seeking more restrictions on livestock operations than are currently found in the county zoning ordinance. Several new hog farms, some proposed, some operating already, in Bon Homme County have created sharply-divided opinions among many residents, prompting the county zoning board to hold Monday’s informational meeting. “We held this meeting to receive public comment,” said Bon Homme County Commissioner Mike Soukup, who serves on the zoning board. “There’s no action being taken today. We’ll have more discussion on this (issue) in the future.”

chicken soup

  • Local officials decry revenue-sharing cuts (Ohio): Using the calendar chronology that allows Toledoans to declare its local pride with 4-1-9 Day, Lucas County and Toledo officials took advantage of the celebration Tuesday to lash out at Gov. John Kasich for slashing the state revenue-sharing fund for counties, cities, townships, and villages. Lucas County Commissioners, who were joined by Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, said budgeting and tax decisions made since 2011 when Governor Kasich took office have cost the county and city millions of dollars. They demanded that state officials restore sharp reductions in the state’s Local Government Fund so the city and county could have money to maintain and fix streets and other infrastructure. Commissioner Pete Gerken said the revenue-sharing cuts have cost the county more than $32 million since 2012.
  • Illinois overpaid local governments $168 million: Local school districts, county boards, and city councils will have to repay hundreds of thousands of tax dollars Illinois mistakenly overpaid to them. The Illinois Department of Revenue said it discovered an error in the personal property tax replacement fund. The error led the state to over pay $168 million to 6,500 local governments across the state. The error dates back to 2014 under the administration of former Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. The department said a new law eliminated one tax form and revised two others, leading to the miscalculations. The Moline, Rock Island, and Erie school districts will have to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece to the state. Other local governments receiving over payments include: Rock Island County, East Moline Schools, City of Moline, and the City of Rock Island.
  • Pending closure of Colorado Springs shelter has homeless people wonder where, what is next: Barbara Berry resigned herself to a spring, summer and fall of breaking city ordinances by camping somewhere in Colorado Springs. For this, she wept. On Tuesday morning, the last of two seasonal homeless shelters in El Paso County is scheduled to close, leaving the county with about 230 fewer beds. They close with demand for shelter beds on the rise and no other programs expected to open for at least six months. Now, many people at the shelter said they have no option but to camp.
  • Film explores the saving of Indiana Dunes: As Chicago warded off industry from its Lake Michigan shore more than a century ago, oil companies looked east to the biologically diverse sand dunes of Indiana to build their refineries. John D. Rockefeller, the wealthy oilman who owned Standard Oil Co., would erect what was — at that time — the world’s largest refinery. At the same time, the late 1800s, a young botanist arrived in Chicago and quickly became engrossed by the dunes’ ecosystem. Henry Chandler Cowles would document the dunes’ plant life in its varied landscape, like its unique dune-and-swale regions that alternate between dry and wet. He and others played influential roles in the struggle to save the Indiana Dunes from being forever lost, a story told in “Shifting Sands,” a documentary film that premieres Friday on area public television stations, including WNIT.

Local Gov Confidential

Council Tentatively Approves Los Alamos County Manager’s Proposed $17 Million FY2017 Budget (New Mexico): The Los Alamos County Council voted 7-0 this evening to tentatively approve the County Manager’s proposed budget of $17,166,687. The County Manager’s Office provides the overall administrative leadership necessary for the implementation of County Council policies, Council’s Strategic Leadership Plan, administration of the organization and delivery of services to the citizens. The Office promotes interaction with other jurisdictions and levels of government in the region to serve the best interests of Los Alamos residents.

Ex-Boulder City police chief pleads guilty in animal shelter scandal (Nevada):  Former Boulder City Police Chief Bill Conger pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge tied to the city’s animal shelter scandal. As part of the agreement, he paid a $1,000 fine. Conger declined to talk with reporters after the hearing in Boulder Township Justice Court. The Clark County district attorney’s office charged Conger with the misdemeanor crime of “failure to perform a duty” in connection with dropping an animal cruelty case against former Animal Control Supervisor Mary Jo Frazier.

Penn Hills Council approves new rules for rental properties (Pennsylvania): Penn Hills Council on Monday passed new rules for rental property, repealing a previous ordinance that left local landlords outraged and led to a lawsuit against the municipality. The Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh filed a lawsuit in Allegheny Court of Common Pleas in December, claiming that Penn Hills violated their civil rights by requiring an excessively restrictive process for rental registration. Later, Penn Hills requested that the lawsuit be moved to federal court, since it accused the municipality of violating the landlords’ constitutional rights. “I am optimistic that with (the new ordinance), (the lawsuit) will work itself out,” solicitor Craig Alexander said.