Commissioners in Maryland's Calvert County announced this week that property owners will see their tax rate decrease in 2019, despite a $14.7 million budget increase. Officials also announced that county staff members will receive cost of living increases and step increases.
City officials in Phoenix have voted in favor of joining a lawsuit challenging the inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 US Census. Officials say about 213,000 non-citizens live in Phoenix and deterring them from participating in the Census could cost the city federal funding.
Officials in Toronto have activated emergency protocols and may use municipal facilities as temporary housing for the rising tide of refugees entering the city. Mayor John Tory is calling for a coordinated regional response to provide shelter space outside the city and help cover costs for refugee services.
Rochester, Mass., emergency dispatch services have transitioned to the Regional Old Colony Communications Center in Duxbury. The center employs more dispatchers than the Rochester independent center did, so officials expect a boost in efficiency.
The Trust for Public Land has released its seventh annual ParkScore index, which uses several measures to rank US cities on their public parks. Minneapolis and neighboring St. Paul, Minn., were first and second, followed by Washington, D.C., and one of its suburbs, Arlington, Va.
Advances in lawnmower technology are helping improve the quality and safety of turf maintenance, writes Jacobsen product manager Antony Alexander. Innovations include the ability to shift cutting reels for contoured areas, wider wheelbases and better ergonomics.
Few people attended a recent event hosted by Colorado State University's Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to spur rock climbers' interest in bat conservation. Wildlife biologists, who said climbers encounter bats frequently, placed cameras on a climbing route to collect information that might help them manage the spread of white-nose syndrome.
Outdoor play is key for children's health and well-being, as it provides sun exposure, exercise and socialization, among other benefits, writes Dr. Claire McCarthy. "If they only interact in very structured settings, such as school or sports teams, they won't -- they can't -- learn everything they need to know," she writes.
Cities such as Pittsburgh and Tallahassee, Fla., are looking to protect urban forests, although how to preserve and interact with old-growth forests is a challenging problem nationally. "This is a growing city, with more development pressure, so maintaining the tree canopy while the city was developing became more and more important," says Mindy Mohrman of the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department.
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