Increasing reductions in annual carbon emissions by 60% is achievable, according to a report from the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. The report cites commitments made by 9,149 cities and the addition of more than 1,090 cities over the past year.
Tucson, Ariz., residents can dispose of their Christmas trees in an environmentally friendly way after the holidays using the city's free TreeCycle program. Residents can drop off their old trees -- stripped of decorations -- at designated locations around the city and the trees will be turned into mulch, which will also be available to residents at no charge.
Authorities in Kawasaki, Japan, built on national anti-discrimination laws they say have been ineffective by passing an ordinance banning discriminatory language or actions against ethnic minority groups in public spaces. The ordinance covers a range of infractions, including derogatory comments, evictions based on race and physical attacks.
Josephine County, Ore., transit program director Scott Chancey reports that the county has purchased two electric buses, which will be deployed on local routes next week. Chancey notes that, while the up-front costs for electric buses are higher than diesel vehicles, each bus will save the county $600 per month by running on electricity instead of gas.
Officials in Alpena, Mich., have tapped Rachel Smolinski to take over the post of city manager from Greg Sundin when he retires. The city hosted an open house this week to welcome Smolinski and give her a chance to talk with city staff.
Newark, N.J., Mayor Ras Baraka said New York City has agreed to temporarily stop sending homeless people to Newark. The city of Newark recently sued New York City accusing it of placing homeless people in the Special One-Time Assistance program in properties in Newark that are unsafe and uninhabitable, often infested with vermin and lacking in electricity and heat.
Parks and recreation officials in Portland, Ore., may opt against renewing a local donut vendor's food cart permit to operate in local parks because doing so would classify the location the vendor operates -- which already has one food cart operating in it -- as a "food pod" under Multnomah County rules. The county defines any location with two or more food carts operating in a public area as a "food pod" and may require the property owner to obtain a permit and provide water and electricity -- a burden Portland officials say the city can't afford.
Dispatcher recruitment and retention are up and 911 wait times are down in Marion County, Ind., thanks to a three-year salary increase for dispatchers, says Maj. Joseph McAtee. Wait times have decreased to an average 13 seconds per call, an improvement over last year's high of 31 seconds, McAtee says.
A Flagler County, Fla., commissioner is seeking to set up an erosion control line and add sand to beaches while calling for part of the coastline to be designated a flood protection and wildlife preservation facility. The designation is seen as a way to speed assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for repairs or dune reinforcement as needed.
The City Council in Spokane Valley, Wash., has approved spending $607,000 on a standing seam metal roof to replace the one on the CenterPlace event center, which began leaking five years ago and has needed tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. "It should be a 50-year solution," Mayor Rod Higgins said.
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