Local Government
Top stories summarized by our editors
2/19/2019

The Vermont Department of Public Service has agreed to a regulatory settlement with Consolidated Communications, which has said it will upgrade its systems to prevent future outages such as the three experienced in the state since 2016. "I think that if Consolidated implements the recommendations of the report to our satisfaction that it will improve the network," said department telecommunications director Clay Purvis.

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Vermont Public Radio
2/19/2019

Three of the nation's top telecommunications carriers -- AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile -- reportedly sold location data intended only for use in emergencies to CerCareOne, a data seller that then distributed the information among about 250 bounty hunters and other parties, says a report from Motherboard. "I believe that the [FCC] should act expeditiously to fully investigate any reports of misconduct and take appropriate action to hold wrongdoers accountable," said FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks.

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FCC, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint
2/19/2019

Two cities and a fire department plan to test a three-wheeled electric vehicle designed by Arcimoto for use by first responders. "[W]e see the advantage of a highly efficient, small-footprint vehicle to help with low-acuity calls, and the potential to reduce operational costs, while being better for the environment," says Joe Zaludek of the Eugene Springfield Fire Department in Oregon, one of the entities that has committed to test the vehicle.

2/18/2019

Officials in Chestermere, Alberta, Canada, have approved a tax reduction on new construction of commercial or industrial developments, housing for senior citizens, and three-to-four story apartment buildings. Developers must build and take occupancy of new properties within two years of getting a permit to qualify for the tax break.

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CBC News (Canada)
2/15/2019

City Council members in Los Angeles approved an ordinance requiring contractors working with the city to disclose any affiliation they have with the National Rifle Association, with Councilman Mitch O'Farrell calling the organization "a roadblock to gun-safety reform at every level of government." Attorneys for the NRA say the rule is unconstitutional and that they will file a lawsuit against the city to have it undone.

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National Rifle Association
2/15/2019

Thanking people for their feedback is the polite thing to do, and it can also help us internally view the criticism as constructive rather than negative, writes Peter Bregman. "[O]nce our ego is involved, and we feel the emotional charge, it's hard to access nuance," he writes.

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Peter Bregman
2/14/2019

Residents in Philadelphia can check the status of current or upcoming road and sidewalk closures or report right-of-way violations through an interactive online map unveiled this week. "The map came about, especially a public-facing map, because of a push for transparency throughout the whole city in terms of what's happening on any given block at any given time," says Patrick Iffrig, chief of the Streets Department's right-of-way unit.

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StateScoop
2/14/2019

Amazon released a statement Thursday saying it would scrap plans to build half of its second headquarters in Long Island City in New York amid objections from local lawmakers opposed to a package of nearly $3 billion in state and city incentives. The company will continue plans to build its HQ2 in northern Virginia and will not reopen the search for another location "at this time," the statement said.

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Amazon
2/14/2019

The Japanese city of Otsu says it plans -- starting next fiscal year -- to use artificial intelligence to analyze records of previous bullying cases to decide how to intervene in new situations. "Through an AI theoretical analysis of past data, we will be able to properly respond to cases without just relying on teachers' past experiences," says Mayor Naomi Koshi.

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The Japan Times
2/14/2019

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and other organizations have tackled the problem of public drug injections and discarded syringes by providing disposal kiosks and an outreach program, writes Julien Scott of the department. "Syringe disposal kiosks are simply one tiny practical step in a different direction toward building a comprehensive solution grounded in reality," says Liz Evans, head of New York Harm Reduction Educators, a partner in this effort.