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Why Doomsday Preppers Are Flocking to Igloo, South Dakota

A former military ordnance bunker near Igloo, South Dakota

A former military ordnance bunker near Igloo, South Dakota Darlosity via CC BY-SA 3.0


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Gov. Scott Walker’s “hard sell” to Wisconsin Republicans; Homer, Alaska’s bitter city council recall effort; and new senior housing in Charlotte.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS | Doomsday preppers from across the nation have been flocking to Igloo, South Dakota, a remote area on the edge of the Black Hills, where a California entrepreneur has come to an agreement to lease 575 of the 830 sod-covered concrete bunkers once part of a U.S. military ordnance depot. While tenants wouldn’t be allowed to live there full time—at least not until a major catastrophe—they would be able to do periodic stays as they equip their bunker with supplies and provisions. Several hundred people toured the site this weekend, including an “alien-fearing New Yorker” driving a Mercedes Benz and “a working-class, plaid shirt-wearing tradesman from Indiana who came in a pickup with a trailer full of tools and gear.” Currently, there’s no water, electricity sewage service at the site. “Others have thought of things to do here, but nobody else has made it work,” the entrepreneur, Robert Vicino, said. “We will.” [Rapid City Journal]

STATE LEGISLATURES | Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s $6.1 billion transportation funding proposal has been “a hard sell” for some of his fellow Republicans in the state legislature, who feel it “borrows too much and doesn't put transportation on a sustainable funding track for the future.” Walker says that Wisconsin’s ongoing transportation funding impasse could jeopardize projects already underway and the state’s Department of Transportation may soon need to make “some tough decisions” without a new two-year funding agreement. Some Republican lawmakers want transportation carved out from the larger state budget negotiations. [Wisconsin State Journal /]

The number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island would double to six under a proposal the state Legislature is weighing. Opposed to the idea are existing dispensary owners, who point to the state’s liberal laws for growing medical pot at home. Since the first dispensaries opened about four years ago, the number of registered medical marijuana patients has gone up to 17,757, from fewer than 5,000. “It’s based on simple economics, supply and demand,” said state Sen. Stephen Archambault, a Democrat, who is leading the push to increase the number of dispensaries. [Providence Journal]

CITY HALLS | A city resolution in Homer, Alaska, written to condemn political polarization and intolerance has backfired in a big way. An animosity-filled campaign is underway to recall the three city council members who championed the resolution—which was written in the days following President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The resolution drew ire from critics in part because of wording that hinted at turning Homer—a town of 5,600 people—into a sanctuary city. [Alaska Dispatch News]

City leaders in Miami Beach, Florida, are considering new rules aimed at making Ocean Drive a safer place, including stopping alcohol sales at 2 a.m. and eliminating an noise reduction exemption for businesses along the famous beachfront thoroughfare. "During the last five, six, seven, eight years, we've seen a downward trend in Ocean Drive, and what we need to do as a city is reform and clean up Ocean Drive," Mayor Philip Levine said on Tuesday. [WPLG-TV / ABC10]

NATIONAL MONUMENTS | President Trump’s April executive order that directed the U.S. Department of Interior to review and possibly revoke national monuments of more than 100,000 acres of land created since 1996, which would include the Hanford Reach, “a 194,000-acre swath of quasi desert” along the Columbia River in Washington state. With the formal comment period underway, the possibility of changing the status of Hanford Reach isn’t on the agendas of any of the local elected commissioners in the area from Benton, Franklin and Grant counties. Unlike in Utah, where there are some business interests to reverse then-President Barack Obama’s designation of the Bears Ears monument, there isn’t a similar local effort in Washington state to change the national monument status of Hanford Reach. [Crosscut]

HOUSING | Charlotte, North Carolina is seeing a surge in housing tailored for people who are 55 and older. The trend comes as apartments and businesses geared toward millennials have also been on the rise in the city. “Seniors don’t want to be isolated. There’s a lot of retirement communities that hide behind brick walls in suburbia. The trend is away from that, so they’re part of a larger community,” said Scott Rasner of BB+M Architecture. [The Charlotte Observer]

AGRICULTURE | Illinois farmers would be able to legally grow industrial hemp under a bill that passed the state Senate unanimously this month and will now be considered by the House. “One of the most important things that we need to do is make people and farmers understand that what we’re suggesting with industrial hemp has nothing to do with cannabis or marijuana,” said Rob Davies, marketing director for the Illinois Farmers Union. “It’s a multipurpose commodity that we’re presently importing in enormous quantities into our own country to do jobs that we can take care of ourselves.” [The State Journal-Register]