Connecting state and local government leaders

Dangerous Gases in Dayton’s Sewers

Dayton, Ohio

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Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Arizona’s wrong-way driver detection system … what lurks in Delaware’s warming coastal waters … and fare enforcement reform in Seattle.

Good morning, it’s Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. Infrastructure news from Dayton, Norfolk and Phoenix leads Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup, but scroll down for more stories from across the U.S., including places like Boston; Bourbon County, Kentucky; and Minot, North Dakota. Have a good weekend ...

INFRASTRUCTURE | Although the public is not in danger, water officials in Dayton, Ohio are trying to reduce dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide that’s been building up in parts of the wastewater system. Levels at one sewer interceptor have “surpassed 2,000 parts per million (ppm), which is far higher than the level at which the gas is toxic and can be lethal,” according to the city. There are concerns that the hydrogen sulfide gas could erode sewers. [Dayton Daily News; Waters & Wastes Digest]

  • Norfolk, Virginia: The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, which carries Interstate 64 between Norfolk and Hampton, will be expanded via a newly bored tunnel instead of the the previous way tunnels have been constructed in the area—by submerging prefabricated sections of tunnel into a trench. [Daily Press]
  • Phoenix, Arizona: The Arizona Department of Transportation is testing a wrong-way driver detection system along Interstate 17 where freeway-onramp meters would stay red if a wrong-way driver is within three miles, keeping cars from entering a potentially dangerous situation ahead. [KTAR]
  • Staten Island, New York: Interagency red tape may end up delaying the construction of the East Shore seawall, something that’s angering U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who said: "So, to think agency back-and-forth might delay the seawall's construction is a risk we cannot take during a time when storms are stronger, more frequent and more dangerous.” [Staten Island Advance]

WORKFORCE | In a new report, the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy found that when compensation for the state’s teachers is compared to other states, it is “close to the pay in several other states where teachers have gone on strike.” Idaho teacher pay ranks 43rd in the nation. [Idaho State Journal]

  • Los Angeles, California: Members of the union representing 30,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District will be voting on Aug. 23 whether to authorize the union leadership’s call for a strike. [LAist / KPCC]
  • San Diego, California: San Diego’s six-year-old pension cutbacks “were not legally placed on the ballot because city officials failed to negotiate with labor unions before pursuing the measure,” the California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. [The San Diego Union Tribune]
  • Bourbon County, Kentucky: It’s a yearly struggle to find enough qualified school bus drivers, and this year is no different in this county near Lexington, where mechanics who are certified to drive school buses will be filling in. [WKYT]

HOUSING & DEVELOPMENT | In state with a coastline extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise, the Tampa City Council on Thursday approved a temporary ban on developing submerged pieces of land, part of a local effort to curb dredging and filling of land prone to flooding for residential development. [Tampa Bay Times]

  • Redding, California: As residents begin to return to areas of Shasta County burned by the ferocious Carr Fire, the number of homes and structures destroyed is expected to rise as more of the property losses are tallied. Of the 1,546 destroyed structures that have been counted, 1,058 are homes. [Record Searchlight / Redding.com]
  • Boston, Massachusetts: Minor changes proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker could “throw a wrench into complex legislation in the making” to regulate Airbnb and other short-term rentals in the commonwealth. [The Boston Globe]
  • State College, Pennsylvania: A housing boom in Centre County has brought new development and density to areas close to the campus of Pennsylvania State University in State College and downtown, sparking questions by some about the changing nature of the borough’s character. [Keystone Crossroads]
  • Sevier County, Tennessee: Thanks to low-income tax credits from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, developers in this county—home to Gatlinburg, which was hit hard by destructive wildfires in November 2016—have made a major dent in the local shortage of affordable housing. [Knoxville News-Sentinel]

PUBLIC HEALTH | As Delaware’s coastal waters warm, the risk of deadly bacteria rises. That includes the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, something that people “tend to forget they exist until someone loses a limb. Or worse.” [Delaware News Journal]

  • Memphis, Tennessee: The Shelby County Health Department confirmed its first human case of West Nile Virus, which has been detected in mosquitoes in the county for weeks. [WREG]
  • Utah County, Utah: In a split vote, county commissioners voted down a proposal to launch a local needle exchange program. [Daily Herald]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | The Chicago Police Department closed a portion of busy Lake Shore Drive during Thursday’s afternoon rush hour to accommodate around 150 protesters who pledged to snarl traffic to send a message to authorities about gun violence in the city and call for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police chief. The protest’s timing was designed to snarl traffic in the city ahead of Thursday evening’s Cubs-San Diego Padres game at Wrigley Field. [Chicago Tribune; Block Club Chicago]

  • Lincoln, Nebraska: Two more pharmaceutical companies have announced that they oppose Nebraska’s use of their drugs in an upcoming lethal injection execution. [The World-Herald / Omaha.com]
  • East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: The family of Antwon Rose, an unarmed teenager who was fatally shot by a police officer, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city, mayor and police chief. [WTAE]
  • Flint, Michigan: The Michigan State Police is investigating a Flint-area drug unit over drinking on the job. [The Detroit News]
  • Seattle, Washington: King County officials are assessing fare enforcement practices for local buses and want “new protocols to lessen systematic criminalization and financial hardship that fare enforcement policies can have on low-income individuals and people experiencing homelessness or housing instability.” [The Urbanist]
  • Minot, North Dakota: Thanks to a “recently revised City Ordinance regarding harboring snakes,” a Minot man pleaded a guilty plea for keeping five snakes, one more than the permitted four snakes. [Minot Daily News]

ELSEWHERE | Outdoor recreation generates $7.1 billion in consumer spending in Montana [Missoulian] … A state audit finds that Baltimore Circuit Court’s faulty fine collection system failed to collect $11 million. [Baltimore Sun] … El Portal, Florida’s financial future rides on its high-stakes gamble on a FEMA reimbursement. [Miami Herald] … Will a disease killing backyard chickens in Southern California head into the Central Valley? [Fresno Bee] … “Seeing six black bears together in Anchorage is certainly not common, according to wildlife biologists,” but that’s what happened last week. [Anchorage Daily News] …

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Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle. 

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