Local Government
Top stories summarized by our editors
11/14/2019

The Hart Island cemetery in New York's Bronx borough will become a public park pending approval from the City Council today. It is the largest public cemetery in the country and has been operated by the city Department of Correction.

11/14/2019

The city of Miami is contributing funds to a program run by local nonprofit groups that aims to provide kindergarten students in the city's public schools with a savings account with up to $50 in it. "We want to make sure we have a Miami that's not just here forever but that it's here for everyone, and the way to do that is to invest in our children," says Mayor Francis Suarez.

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Mayor Francis Suarez
11/14/2019

Members of the Lafayette County, Wis., board this week backed away from a plan that would see the county take legal action against journalists for disseminating information about county water quality without quoting county news releases and would potentially limit county officials' ability to speak independently on the matter. Board Chairman Jack Sauer had stated officials could be subject to ethics code violations before the plan was withdrawn.

11/14/2019

Teton County, Wyo., has half as many 9-1-1 dispatchers as it should, meaning that calls could go unanswered if someone leaves, Sheriff Matt Carr told county commissioners this week. He recommended increasing pay for dispatchers to match that of patrol deputies and detention officers.

11/14/2019

Low pay, mandatory overtime, complex job responsibilities and high stress all contribute to shortages of 9-1-1 dispatchers and call takers, but designating them as first responders could help, write Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene. "You see a lot of post-traumatic stress for dispatchers," says April Heinze, 9-1-1 and PSAP operations director for the National Emergency Number Association.

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Route Fifty
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Richard Greene, PSAP
11/14/2019

St. Paul, Minn., Police Chief Todd Axtell says his officers and detectives are "incredibly strained right now" due in part to rising gun violence and often can't meet standards for response times to 9-1-1 calls. The Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center handles almost 1 million calls a year for St. Paul and the surrounding area.

11/14/2019

First responders in Montgomery County, Md., on Wednesday told elected officials that they need more trained mental health professionals and services to help prevent deaths by suicide and deal with stress. 9-1-1 dispatcher Heather Miles said that hotlines and therapists may be difficult to access for people like her who work overnight shifts.

11/14/2019

T-Mobile last week announced it would provide free 5G service to public safety agencies and first responders under a new program called Connecting Heroes. The service is contingent on T-Mobile's proposed merger with Sprint moving forward.

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Urgent Communications
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T-Mobile, Sprint
11/14/2019

The Chicago Park District is holding a homecoming dance Sunday for LGBTQ teenagers and younger adults at Columbus Park Refectory. The MasQUEERade Ball will include voguing and dance contests and falls under the district's Queering the Parks initiative, which is led by teens.

11/14/2019

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has planted 100 yellowwood tree saplings in a grove in Schenley Park and will study them to see which ones can handle the conditions. "If we can identify the genotypes that do well here, with global warming they will be a better species growing here in 100 years," said the conservancy's Phil Gruszka.