10.03.2016

10.03.2016

Today’s buzz looks at policing (you probably want more cops on the beat), the changing of the guard at Virginia’s largest library system and workforce diversity coming to a head in Tuscaloosa along with the best possible piece of outerwear for early autumn: the hoodie.

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Right Now with Matt Yager

What I’m watching: The new Fences Trailer

What I’m listening to: When the Tequila Runs Out by Dawes

What I’m reading: Why You Should Marry The Marching Band Kid 

What I’m doing: Back stretches. Lots of back stretches.

What I want to know from you:

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We’re Buzzing

More Cops On The Street Leads To Less Crime—And Fewer Arrests—In The U.K.: Police departments around the world are often asking for money to hire more officers. A new study shows they are worth it. Putting more cops on the streets more than pays for itself, say researchers from the University of Cambridge. The year-long experiment was conducted in Peterborough in the U.K. and explored “soft policing” in 71 known crime hotspots. Uniformed civilian police staff were sent into the field “with few arrest powers and no weapons.” If that last part sounds crazy, remember that British police don’t carry guns on regular duty. These Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) wore GPS trackers and their time on the street was tracked. Regular police constables were also used, as a control group and for comparison, although the researchers weren’t allowed access to their GPS data.

A kinder, gentler philosophy of success: Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure — and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.

MIT Has a Clever Way to Map Streetlights: Cities have gradually started replacing high-pressure lightbulbs with the more energy-efficient and lower-maintenance LED alternatives, but as a team of MIT researchers argue, it’s not only the bulbs that are outdated. “Oddly, the science of streetlight placement is relatively primitive today, and the means to monitor how much light reaches the street are very limited,” Sumeet Kumar, a graduate of MIT, and his colleagues wrote in a recent paper published in the IEEE Sensors Journal.

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Unsafe Buildings Put Everett Public Works Employees At Risk: Everett Public Works employees are the people who have to shut off the water and fix the main when it breaks. They have to maintain the streets and bridges that most of us take for granted. Basically when something the City of Everett owns breaks…these folks fix it. That’s why there’s a new urgency for a very expensive replacement project at the headquarters, shops, buildings and work areas for the Everett Public Works Department itself. Some of the public works buildings are subject to failure in an earthquake. In addition to the obvious physical danger to employees, it also means crews wouldn’t be able to get to needed equipment or materials in the event of a major disaster. That can domino into all kinds of issues for emergency responders and regular Everett residents.

Fire Department to distribute lock boxes: Residents who are at risk of a medical emergency no longer need to worry about having medics breaking their doors to reach them. With the help of a grant, Waterloo Fire Rescue received 134 Knox lock boxes to allow emergency crews entrance. The fire department will distribute the boxes to residents who live alone and have mobility issues. “We have a need. A couple of times a month, we get a call for an old lady down with a broken hip or dislocated hip,” said Capt. Bill Harter, with the fire department.

Rockland residents oppose potential Brown Co. park: Opposition is building against a proposed county park near a quiet subdivision in southern Brown County. People living near the proposed park site at 5374 Moonlight Drive are pressing county lawmakers to reject the proposed donation of 33.2 acres of now-private land that includes a log home. They took their concerns to county lawmakers last week, saying they worry about traffic, noise and potential vandalism if the site becomes a public venue. At neighbors’ urging, the Rockland Town Board came out against the proposal this summer. Meeting minutes show that board members believe a park would “affect the peaceful and quiet neighborhood … would not be consistent with the town’s comprehensive plan and could affect the safety of the neighborhood.”
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Meet the woman remaking Fairfax County’s library system: After years of budget cuts and tensions between officials and community advocates, Virginia’s largest library system is trying to reboot itself with a new director and a yet-to-be-written strategic plan. “We’re coming out of a difficult time for our system,” said Karrie Delaney, the recently elected chair of a 12-member library board that has several newly appointed trustees. “This is the change that people have been waiting for.” Jessica Hudson, 30, was hired as Fairfax County’s library director after a search that stretched for more than a year and included several applicants turning down the job or withdrawing from consideration.

City Hall has to set top priorities to justify $800 million in higher taxes: While most people have their eyes focused on November elections, plenty of Kansas City’s elected, civic and neighborhood leaders also are making plans for a crucial decision next April. That’s when City Hall expects to ask voters to approve a property tax increase that would help pay to issue $800 million in bonds over the next 20 years. There’s some urgency to the matter because the City Council has to decide by January whether to move forward with this huge undertaking. The city’s siren song now: This money would pay for “basic services,” possibly falling into six categories outlined in an interview last week by City Manager Troy Schulte. They are better roads, bridges, parks, public buildings, flood control and sidewalks.

 Porter County opens spigot on new stormwater fee: A major renovation project has left the former Porter County Planning Department on the second level of the downtown administration center nearly unrecognizable. The work is among the first signs of the improvements underway now that county government has begun collecting its new stormwater fee, which was implemented this year to raise money to better address flooding and other drainage concerns.  “My opinion is we’re set and ready to go,” said Bob Thompson, executive director of the county’s new Department of Development & Storm Water Management.
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#LocalGov Confidential

Winnsboro police chief among 10 arrested in Columbia prostitution sting: The Winnsboro police chief was among 10 men arrested in an undercover prostitution sting in Columbia on Friday. The Columbia Police Department arrested the men in a raid at a hotel in the Greystone Boulevard area. The department would not name the hotel.  Winnsboro Department of Public Safety Chief Freddy Lorick Sr. was among those arrested, Columbia police said. During the arrest, Lorick told officers he needed medical treatment, and he was taken to a local hospital. He was still in the hospital on Saturday afternoon, police said.

Former planning director, Fresno State professor Tokmakian was always teaching: Former Fresno County planning director and Fresno State professor Harold “Hal” Tokmakian died last month of natural causes. After several years away serving in the Army, studying at Stanford and Cornell and starting his career in urban planning, Mr. Tokmakian returned to Fresno in 1958 to run Fresno County’s advanced planning division. He was elevated to planning director in 1963, replacing Reino Luikkonen, who became planning director in San Mateo County.

Tuscaloosa City Council debates workforce diversity: What began as a specially-called meeting to discuss employee positions under the Tuscaloosa mayor’s restructuring plan quickly became a chastisement on the lack of diversity within City Hall. “I want y’all to look around this room for a minute,” said Council President Harrison Taylor less than an hour into Friday’s meeting of the City Council’s administration committee. “Everything is white except for three elected officials and an intern. “What has happened? This is shameful, ladies and gentlemen.” Taylor, currently serving his sixth term on the City Council, clarified that he wasn’t blaming any person or practice, but stressed that he was displeased by the lack of black people employed in leadership positions.

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