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

April 3, 2008

Illinois - Think and Drive

Getting a driver’s license and getting an education now go hand in hand in Springfield. A state law passed last summer requires teens, who are unmarried and under age 18, to show proof of enrollment in high school, college, university or home instruction when applying for a driver’s license.

Indiana - Road Fit for a Hero

In the summer of 2007, State Road 1 was renamed Purple Heart Memorial Highway in honor of the state’s military veterans. The Purple Heart is the highest honor awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces wounded or killed in active duty. The newly-named highway runs from Steuben County to Dearborn County.

Maryland - Fighting Fraud

Lawmakers in Maryland are strengthening fraud laws in a way that protects accident victims. House Bill 1409, passed last summer, makes it harder for criminals to find accident victims and pull them into schemes involving fake accident claims. The bill limits access to police accident records so that the information is more difficult to obtain. Those convicted of staging an accident could face up to 15 years in prison and hefty fines.

New York - Day at the Market

Visitors to Rochester have more to fuel the need for consumption than just the usual metro buffet of malls and outlets. The Public Market in downtown Rochester still sells fresh produce, poultry and baked goods that helped the market gain its popularity some 200 years ago. Today, visitors will find 300 indoor and outdoor booths with merchandise every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For information, visit www.cityofrochester.gov.

North Carolina - The Open Road

Some 78,000 miles of North Carolina roads are paved, more than any other state in the United States. According to a study released by the National Transportation and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are approximately 2.6 million miles of paved roads across the nation. North Carolina also has more state-maintained roads than most of the country.

Ohio - Healthy Commute

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is helping residents find healthier means of getting around. More than $5.7 million has been earmarked for the construction and renovation of sidewalks, walkways and bike paths across the state. The funds for such projects are part of the 2010-2011 budget cycle. ODOT’s Transportation Enhancement Program focuses on improving all aspects of transportation.

Pennsylvania - In Remembrance

An annual memorial service on May 31 will mark the anniversary of the Johnstown Flood of 1889. After days of heavy rain in 1889, the South Fork Dam broke, sending 20 million tons of water into the town and surrounding areas. The flood and its aftermath claimed the lives of 2,209 people. Visitors to the central Pennsylvania city can attend a candlelight service in honor of the victims and visit the Johnstown Flood National Memorial. Call 814.495.4643 for more information.

Tennessee - Siren Safety

Knoxville intersections along Hall of Fame Drive and Summit Hill Drive were recently equipped with new technology to aid emergency vehicles. The Tennessee Department of Transportation installed devices that look like megaphones atop several traffic poles. When the devices capture the sound of an approaching siren, they cycle the traffic signal to allow the emergency vehicle to pass. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the devices help reduce crashes, increase response times and reduce the need for additional fire stations.

Virginia - Do Business Here

Business owners in Virginia are in good company. For the second year, Forbes.com named the Commonwealth as the best state in which to do business in 2007. In the rankings, Virginia was in the top 10 in four of the six major categories: business costs, labor, regulatory environment and economic climate. Other top ranking ERIE states include North Carolina at number three and Tennessee at number 13.

Washington, D.C. - Bikes and Blossoms

Each spring, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival attracts nearly 2 million visitors to the nation’s capital, many of them on bikes. In an effort to reduce traffic congestion, organizers have designated secure areas where bicycles can be safely left free of charge. The city will also have abundant bike racks available for overflow. This year’s festival takes place from March 29 to April 13. For more information or to see when next year’s festival is, visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

West Virginia - Bark Park

Dogs in Lewisburg will soon be barking up their own trees. An anonymous donor has agreed to fund a local dog park. The park will be the first in the town of 3,624 residents where dogs can roam unleashed.* A concerned citizen first brought the idea to city council last spring on behalf of the town’s pet pooches. The park, when finished will be approximately 2.3 acres.

*If your dog is or could be aggressive toward people or other dogs, make sure to keep him on a leash at all times. As the owner, you can be held liable for any bodily injury your dog causes another person or animal.

Wisconsin - Low-Carb Community

You’ve heard of the low-carb Atkins Diet? Residents of Fort Atkinson are playing off its popularity to promote a diet of a different kind. The Atkinson Diet is a low-carbon emissions plan that encourages people to lessen the impact they have on the environment. According to the World Resources Institute, the average American releases 20 tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere each year. For example, just one kilowatt hour of electricity can produce up to two pounds of carbon dioxide. The Atkinson Diet promotes changes such as washing clothes in cold water and using compact fluorescent lights at home. For more tips, visit www.theatkinsondiet.com

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