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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | A low-profile, but very dangerous Wash. volcano ... Nev. county will vote on brothels … Pa.’s major Lyme disease risk … and an Ohio rural broadband bill.
Here are state and local government stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention this weekend ...
- Portage, Michigan: A recent feature in Bridge Magazine probably isn’t the type of story Michigan’s economic development boosters are putting in marketing materials to promote the state’s talent pipeline. Scott Leep, who once taught English and math in the Climax-Scotts Community Schools district, “makes more as a rookie general manager at [Chick-fil-A] than he did as an 11-year veteran teacher.” But this dissatisfaction isn’t just about low pay, according to Leep: “You get politicians in Lansing who have never been in a classroom telling me I have to teach a certain way. And every few years, things would change. When you go from one testing idea to another testing idea and then back to the first, it’s the definition of insanity.” [Bridge Magazine]
- Snohomish County, Washington: It’s not as well known as some of its volcanic neighbors in the Cascade Range—like Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens—and is hard to spot nestled among other adjacent mountains, but Glacier Peak is one of Washington state’s most explosive geohazards, about 70 miles northeast of Seattle. But due to its geographic isolation and strained budgets, Glacier Peak is the least monitored and difficult to study of the Cascade volcanoes. But Glacier Peak’s remoteness doesn’t mean populated areas aren’t at risk—communities along rivers that drain the mountain, including Darrington on the Sauk River and Mount Vernon on the Skagit River, face dangers from volcanic mudflows known as lahars. Glacier Peak also has a history of massive eruptions far larger than the one at Mount St. Helens in 1980. [The Seattle Times; USGS]
- Jefferson City, Missouri: Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state House ended the legislative session on Friday by killing a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned legislators from accepting gifts—like meals and free event tickets—from lobbyists. [The Kansas City Star]
- Columbus, Ohio: Pending legislation at the Ohio Statehouse would pump $100 million in grant funding for rural broadband development in the state over two years. “We keep falling further behind as the technology grows,” according to State Rep. Jack Cera, a Democrat who represents a largely rural district in eastern Ohio and is a sponsor of the legislation. [WCMH-TV]
- Oakland, California: In a Washington Post opinion piece, Mayor Libby Schaaf—who notified her community of a likely Immigration and Customs Enforcement action in the Bay Area earlier this year, had a strong message for President Trump, who has called for her to be prosecuted: “Mr. President, I am not obstructing justice. I am seeking it.” [The Washington Post]
- Lyon County, Nevada: This county southeast of Reno legalized brothels in 1971 and there hasn’t been much discussion about them until recently among local officials. On Thursday, Lyon County commissioners unanimously approved a measure that would let local residents decide in a vote later this year whether the establishments should continue to operate. Awaken Reno, a nonprofit organization fighting sex trafficking, wants a similar ballot question in Nye County, located in central Nevada. [The Nevada Independent]
- Richmond, Virginia: Recent flooding in and around Virginia’s capital city eased this weekend after significant rainfall, “the most the area has gotten in such a short time period since August 2004 when the remnants of Hurricane Gaston blew through the area.” On Friday, about 60 roadways in Hanover County north of Richmond were flooded, though many had reopened this weekend. In Henry County, in southern Virginia, local officials declared a state of emergency on Sunday due to the flooding. [Richmond Times-Dispatch; Martinsville Bulletin]
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Be sure to take precautions when hiking or spending time outdoors in the Keystone State: Pennsylvania reports the most cases of Lyme disease in the nation and “ranks 9th for cases per 100,000 residents.” [The Patriot-News / PennLive.com]
- Tumon, Guam: The Guam Visitors Bureau’s visitor safety officer program, which launched four years ago, has expanded its duties from concierge services and photo taking to cleaning up homeless camps in this beachside district that’s the epicenter of tourism on the Pacific island territory. "Cleaning up campsites is not in their scope of work, but they get it done," according to the Vistors Bureau president and CEO. [The Guam Daily Post]
- Des Moines, Iowa: Unemployment in Iowa, which remained at 2.8 percent in April, continues to be at a 17-year low, according to a new Iowa Workforce Development report. The state’s unemployment rate is also lower than the national average of 3.9 percent. [Radio Iowa]
- Tulsa, Oklahoma: While the uptick in seismic activity that has been associated with oil and gas extraction in Oklahoma in recent years has been mostly minor, the “long-term, low-level shaking associated with repeated minor to moderate magnitude earthquakes exposes infrastructure to possible failure modes not normally considered in design,” according to the May volume of Leading Edge, a publication of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. [Leading Edge; Tulsa World]
- Baltimore, Maryland: The now-demolished McKeldin Fountain may no longer be at the intersection of Pratt and Light streets in the Inner Harbor, but a new augmented-reality app is available to check out the fountain’s “splashy spirit of public protest, free speech and Brutalist architecture.” [Baltimore Brew]
- Duluth, Mars: A “3.5-billion-year-old slab of sedimentary rock” the size of a desk that’s on the shore of an ancient Martian lake has been named for Minnesota’s fourth-largest city. [Duluth News Tribune]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.