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A roundup of things newsworthy and noteworthy
in your neck of the woods.

July 1, 2008

Illinois - Buckle up Kids

According to recent changes to the Child Passenger Protection Act, children under age 8 must be in a proper child restraint system in all types of vehicles, including trucks and tractor trailers.

The amended act also eliminates the exemptions on transporting another person’s child without a child restraint system. Bottom line: Regardless of the kind of vehicle or who’s at the wheel, children riding along must be secured properly. For more info, check out

Indiana - Proper Permits for Boats

For the third year, Indiana boaters will need to purchase a permit before heading out on the water. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) no longer collects daily or annual boat fees at state parks, reservoirs and forests.

Instead, boaters should pick up their DNR Lake Permit at state park, reservoir and forest property offices or staffed park entrances. The permit has to be placed on the boat prior to going out on the water. Keep in mind, this doesn’t replace boat registration, which must still be done through the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles.

Maryland - Honornig Veterans

Maryland is honoring its fallen soldiers through a new license plate program. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration offers specialty license plates to families of military members killed in action.

Parents, children or spouses can purchase The Gold Star Family license plate through the Glen Burnie MVA Headquarters. The Department of Defense also presents Gold Star pins to immediate family members of service personnel who lost their lives while serving their country. To find out more, visit and look under Vehicle Services, Specialty Plates.

New York - New Pool Rules

Summer is a great time to relax by the swimming pool, and a new law in New York is aimed at making sure pools are safe places to do just that.

An amendment to the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code requires all pools to be equipped with a pool alarm that alerts adults in case a child jumps or falls into the water without supervision. The alarm should be capable of detecting a child entering the water and provide an audible sound when detection occurs so that it can be heard both poolside and around the premises. It also must be installed according to manufacturer’s instructions and be classified by Underwriters Laboratory.

North Carolina - Tourist Attraction

Visitors to North Carolina keep coming back. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, the state has seen record tourism spending in the past two years. In 2007, tourists spent a record $16.5 billion, up from the previous record of $15.4 billion in 2006. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley credits the state’s endless variety of vacation opportunities as one of the top draws.

Ohio - Green Envy

Earlier this year, the National Association of Environmental Professionals honored the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with The Environmental Education Award. The Award recognized the Department’s work on the Ohio Coastal Atlas, a multimedia presentation depicting a collection of watershed data. As one of only nine projects recognized, the Ohio Coastal Atlas was selected for its lasting contributions to improving environmental methods, improving the quality of the environment and reducing impacts on the environment.

Pennsylvania - River Rapids

The Youghiogheny River in Western Pennsylvania offers rafters 70 miles of rushing rapids every summer, but it’s more than Mother Nature that keeps this beauty in shape. The local residents, governments, nonprofits and conservation organizations that work to improve the river play an important role. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recently recognized the work they do with the River of the Year Award. The Youghiogheny River boasts a 150-foot-wide waterfall and attracts more than 1.5 million visitors each year in Ohiopyle State Park.

Tennessee - Safety First

Tennessee is celebrating 30 years of keeping its children safe. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the state’s child safety seat law—the first in the nation. As of Jan.1, 1978, Tennessee was the first state to require safety seats for child passengers. The other 49 followed suit shortly. Today, the state still leads the nation in child safety standards, requiring that children up to age 8 or under 4’9” tall be seated in a booster seat.

Virginia - Award-Winning Roadways

The Virginia Department of Transportation is taking care of its travelers. That’s evident by the 51 top awards it received last year from industry, government and professional associations. The awards represented a variety of honors including team and professional accomplishments, business improvements, highway system innovation and research.

Top awards included the Federal Highway Administration’s Strive for Excellence Team Award, the Governor’s Award for Workplace Safety and a National Partnership for Highway Quality Making a Difference Achievement Award among others.

Washington, D.C. - Walk this Way

Washington, D.C., has topped the list of American’s Most Walkable Communities. A study by the Brookings Institution found that the city’s broad streets and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods made the nation’s capital an ideal spot for travelers who prefer to go by foot. There are even several tour companies dedicated solely to walking tours, including Washington Walks and DC by Foot.

For visitors with extra energy, City Running Tours also offers a customized tour based on athletic ability, training regimen or specific landmarks.

West Virginia - Bridge Book

The West Virginia Department of Transportation has released a book on the state’s bridges as an accompaniment to the award-winning documentary Crossings—Bridge Building in West Virginia. The book of the same name is a hardcover coffee table book detailing the historic bridges built throughout the state. The book will be donated to every middle and high school, college, university, and public library throughout the state.

Wisconsin - Safe Driving Teens

Teens in Wisconsin are Lookin’ Out to encourage safe driving and save lives. The 2007–08 school year marks the first that teens in Wisconsin participated in ERIE’s Lookin’ Out safe teen driving program. ERIE provided four schools in eastern Wisconsin with $8,000 in grant money to promote safe driving habits among young drivers. The program is unique because each Lookin’ Out activity is created by teenagers for their peers. ERIE agents partner with local schools to help prevent auto crashes, the number one killer of teens ages 15–19.

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