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

October 6, 2008

Illinois – Safety First

Illinois recently introduced the Seismic Safety Task Force (SSTF) in response to the 5.2 magnitude quake of April 18 that struck Wabash County. The SSTF will evaluate the current in-state earthquake response system and help protect unsuspecting home and business owners. Two of the main goals of the SSTF are to heighten awareness and limit damage, should another earthquake take place.

Indiana – Down on the Farm

The winners of the winter 2008 Hoosiers Homestead Award, presented by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) have been announced. A total of 22 families received the award in honor of Indiana’s rich agricultural history. The program recognizes those with farms that have been family-owned for 100 years or more. In the program’s 32 years of existence, almost 4,500 farms have received the honor for their contributions to the economic, cultural and social advancements of Indiana.

Maryland – College Cash

The 137,000 students enrolled in the University System of Maryland’s 11 degree-granting universities once again have extra support for their education. USM Board officials declared a tuition freeze for higher education for a third consecutive year in the Old Line State. Maryland ranked the third highest skilled workforce in the nation, according to Forbes magazine.

New York – Blue goes Green

The Suffolk County Police Department’s Fourth Precinct’s building will be the first municipal facility on Long Island to have attained a Silver Standard from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

North Carolina – Buckle Buddy

Since its birth in 2005, the Share the Ride NC program has helped 17,350 commuters find rides to work. The statewide online rideshare matching database has seen an almost 23 percent increase in registrations from just one year ago. Share the Ride NC works by generating a list of interested individuals in a given area with similar work hours. Benefits include savings on gasoline, a reduction in traffic congestion, improved air quality, energy conservation and perhaps even new friends. For more information, visit sharetheridenc.com.

Ohio – Consumers Connected

Ohio Proud, the Department of Agriculture’s Signature Marketing program, has launched a new Web site that better connects consumers to Ohio-grown and Ohio-produced goods. Ohioproud.org further promotes the program’s mission by providing consumers with a quick and easy way to find information about the region’s number one industry.

Pennsylvania – Safer for Scruffy

Legislation was approved by two state House committees in June to improve the safety and overall health factors of large commercial breeding kennels. Before, all kennels were treated the same, regardless of size or function. The bill addressed the overall health and wellness of dogs by requiring double the minimum floor space, solid flooring, access to an outside exercise area, mandating annual veterinary care and eliminating the stacking of adult dog cages.

Tennessee – Clean Dip

Twenty metro and state officials, environmental activists and others swam across the Cumberland River in Nashville on June 19 to raise awareness of the river’s improving quality. River pollution elements, such as sewage overflows, have decreased in the past years, from 2.3 billion gallons in 1989 to 16 million gallons in 2007.

Virginia Hailing from the North

The city of Danville will welcome Canadian Bank Note (CBN) Secure Technologies Inc. to the community in 2009. Starting next year, Virginians will obtain their drivers’ licenses and identification cards from the Department of Motor Vehicles through this company.

Washington, D.C. – Tougher Regs for Teens

New “Baby DUIs” are going to be given to motorists ages 18-21 who have a blood-alcohol count of even 0.02—a quarter of the legal limit for adults. The new law that went into effect July 1 is one of the harshest in the country on minors. A “Baby DUI” includes a mandatory 12-month license suspension, up to 12 months in prison and a minimum $500 fine. The maximum fine for motorists can reach up to $2,500. Prior to the law being passed, anyone in possession of alcohol under the age of 21 could lose his or her license for a year.

West Virginia – Wish Grant-ed

Earlier this year, $3.1 million in Matching Advertising Partnership Program (MAPP) grants were approved by the West Virginia Tourism commission. Issued in 1995, MAPP helps promote West Virginia as a leading tourist destination. Charleston Civic Center, Glade Springs Village and Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort are a few of the 21 tourism projects receiving money from the grants.

Wisconsin – Flood Facts

The University of Wisconsin-Extension’s faculty and staff are reaching out. In the aftermath of heavy and widespread rain that has hit the state recently, the university provided the public with information and resources on how to deal with general flooding, what to do about damage and how to keep crops safe. The university’s Web site offers fact sheets, links to other helpful sites and archived information from previous years’ floods.

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