Richmond, Calif., is facing a lawsuit brought by the state of Utah and coal producer Wolverine Fuels that claims the city's ban on coal shipping violates interstate commerce rights and cuts off exports to Japan. Officials in Richmond argue the ban protects residents against coal dust, which drifts into the city during shipping.
Baton Rouge, La., anticipates finishing the data collection phase for a comprehensive flood mitigation plan, clearing the way for discussions as early as April on ordinance changes. Separately, the US Army Corps of Engineers plans to begin $255 million worth of channel improvement projects as early as the second quarter.
Deputies at the Fond du Lac County, Wis., Sheriff's Office raised $3,600 through fundraising efforts including "No Shave November," which they presented to the St. Katharine Drexel Homeless Shelter project last week. "This homeless shelter will give both our patrol and jail deputies another option in our efforts to help get those who have fallen on unfortunate times ... a safe place to stay as they work to get back on their feet," said Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt.
City Council members in Joliet, Ill., last week voted to hire James Capparelli to fill the role of city manager, making him the first permanent manager since David Hales resigned in 2018. Capparelli began his duties on Monday.
Over 3 million people camped at or made day trips to Maine state parks last year, setting a record. "In particular, with various travel limitations in place, it was great to see so many Maine families discovering our state parks for the first time," said Andy Cutko, director of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.
The 10 Minute Walk program is improving access to open space by encouraging schools to open their outdoor spaces to the public. "There's a lot of work to be done in terms of having school districts and parks departments and other city agencies like city planning all working together," says 10 Minute Walk Director Benita Hussain.
The Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department in Indiana has begun charging professional and commercial photographers $10 per day to take pictures and videos in parks, with an annual pass available for $50. The policy is meant to alleviate crowding and does not apply to amateurs, the media or education-focused photography.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is hiring 1,200 seasonal employees and over 50 park rangers for state parks and recreation areas. "If you love the outdoors, these positions could be your calling," says department official Michael Desnoyer.
Fairmount Park Conservancy in Philadelphia is making its weekly greenhouse yoga classes available virtually. The free classes are taught on Sunday mornings.
Summit Metro Parks in Ohio will use a $2.6 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to complete habitat enhancement, erosion mitigation and other work at Sand Run Metro Park. The work includes stream restoration and pedestrian bridge repairs.