Connecting state and local government leaders
Also: More woes for Detroit and mental health challenges for hospitals in Massachusetts.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah: With the Confederate flag under greater scrutiny in South Carolina and other parts of the United States, in Utah, there are questions whether the Deseret territorial flag should be flown in public spaces. A Utah historian, John Gary Maxwell, told The Salt Lake Tribune that there should be a discussion about the the Flag of the Kingdom of God of the State of Deseret, which flies in a municipal park in Salt Lake City. "It's certainly confusing to me," he told the Tribune. "Up until Brigham Young's death, Utah was a theocracy. There was no separation between church and state." [Salt Lake Tribune]
RICHMOND, Virginia: During the administration of then-Gov. Bob McDonnell, there were big plans to build a toll highway along the U.S. 460 corridor to connect Norfolk with Interstate 95 near Petersburg. There were questions whether the new roadway was needed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it wasn’t environmentally feasible and the plan was scuttled when Terry McAuliffe became governor earlier this year. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, the commonwealth has come to a legal settlement with contractors working on the so-called “Road to Nowhere.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
DETROIT, Michigan: Even though the city has emerged from bankruptcy, there are still major challenges ahead for the city and neighboring local governments in Wayne County. According to a special report from The Detroit News:
Wayne County plans to sell 28,545 Detroit properties at auction this fall — including about 10,000 occupied homes — that are three or more years delinquent on taxes. That's a record number, in part because Treasurer Raymond J. Wojtowicz ended a long practice of avoiding foreclosure on properties with delinquencies of less than $1,700.
Activists are fearing “widespread devastation” in still-struggling communities. [Detroit News]
BOSTON, Massachusetts: A new report from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey shows that in the Bay State there are major challenges in providing mental health services and general acute-care hospitals are increasingly shouldering the burden of providing such services. As MassLive.com reports, the state’s health care system “lacks the benefit coordination and financial reimbursement to help consumers easily access behavioral health and substance abuse care.” [MassLive.com]
EUGENE, Oregon: Budget cuts can take their toll. In Lane County, District Attorney Alex Gardner will be resigning at the end of the month to take a lower-paying position with the Oregon State Police. Why? According to The Register-Guard: “Painful and repeated budget cuts have sapped morale in the DA’s office, Gardner said, and factored into his desire to seek a job elsewhere.” [The Register-Guard]