Soda-tax proposals fell flat in Philadelphia, New York state and San Francisco, but the highly publicized anti-obesity pushes may have helped fuel a decline in soda consumption. Consumption of sugary soft drinks is down nationwide, and Philadelphia teens cut their daily intake 24% between 2007 and 2013, according to federal data. The decline corresponds with a drop in childhood obesity, according to the city's Health Department.
The Versailles, Ky., City Council will hear from experts today as the council weighs drafting an anti-discrimination ordinance covering gender identity and sexual orientation. Eight other cities in Kentucky have adopted similar ordinances.
Kevin Baity, the city manager of Carbondale, Ill., announced his resignation last week. The City Council named Gary Williams, an assistant city manager, as acting city manager.
San Juan County, N.M., plans to improve disabled access on public property through a settlement with the Department of Justice. The county plans to spend around $175,000 over three years on the upgrades.
Progress is being made on the riverfront ecotourism project in Sterling, Ill., which will include a pond, restoration of natural landscape and lots of green space. The project has been hampered by delays, with the grant-related deadline of Jan. 1 pushed back.
Constitution Green Park will be purchased by Orlando, Fla., for $5.85 million to save it from development. More than 5,000 residents signed petitions to block developers' plans to build an apartment building on the site. The deal needs approval from the Orlando council and the Community Redevelopment Agency.
Three playgrounds in Florida's Manatee County will have new equipment by early December. Officials expect to close each playground for about a week to assemble the equipment. A good long-term plan would be a dedicated fund for such repairs, says Charlie Hunsicker, county parks director.
Minneapolis may put a property tax increase on the ballot next year to help pay for a backlog of repairs to the city's parks. An additional $9 million in annual funding is already needed, according to the park board, and that doesn't cover the cost of repairs.
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