Minnesota and Wisconsin face similar challenges preparing for tornadoes, major traffic accidents and the unlikely terrorist event. Minnesota is spending at least $250 million on a state-of-the-art communications system, a figure that may rise to $450 million once costs to counties are included. Wisconsin intends to spend far less - it has earmarked $43 million so far - for its system. Subscription Required
University of New Mexico resident: Fire alarms took 20 minutes to sound
from New Mexico Daily Lobo
When a laundry room dryer in Hokona Hall, at the University of New Mexico caught fire last week, the smoke alarms either went off immediately or a half hour late, depending on whom you ask. Bobby Childers, Residence Life and Student Housing public affairs representative, said the alarms functioned exactly as they were supposed to. He said it wasn't possible that it took the alarms a half hour to go off. More
Chemical drums recovered from Chauga River in Oconee, S.C.
from Anderson Independent-Mail
Oconee County, S.C., emergency service teams and state agencies worked to recover two drums from the Chauga River at the county's Chau Ram Park and combat any possibility of a hazardous chemical spill. The two 35-gallon metal drums were labeled as containing sodium hydrosulfite, which reacts with water to produce a gas that can cause respiratory problems and even death. More
L.A. County's legal costs spike after manager was fired
from Contra Costa Times
More than three years after the surprise firing of a manager who helped cut litigation costs substantially, Los Angeles County government's legal expenses have shot back up to record levels. The cost of settlements and verdicts jumped in one year by 20 percent to reach $60 million in 2008-09, according to the county's annual risk management report. More
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Council debates alcohol in parks for Beatrice, Neb.
from Beatrice Daily Sun
An ordinance that would lift the ban on alcohol in Beatrice, Neb., city parks brought extensive discussion at an upcoming Beatrice City Council meeting. The amendment would also make it possible for alcohol at other locations in city parks via permits that would be issued by city officials. Alcohol has been banned in Beatrice parks since 1992, though several council members agreed that the consumption of alcohol within city parks is still common. More
Taser advice: Don't aim at target's chest
from The Arizona Republic via USA Today
The maker of Taser stun guns is advising police officers to avoid shooting suspects in the chest with the 50,000-volt weapon, saying that it could pose an extremely low risk of an "adverse cardiac event." Police departments across the United States and in Canada and Australia reacted immediately to the bulletin, with some ordering officers to follow Taser's instructions and begin aiming at the abdomen, legs or back of a suspect. More
Tennessee city council upholds officer firing for shoving Walmart patron
from Chattanooga Times Free Press
In upholding the firing of former Chattanooga police officer Ralph Kenneth Freeman in Tennessee, city council members expressed disbelief that he further would compromise his career after shoving a Walmart greeter. The council voted 5-0 to sustain the police chief's decision to fire Freeman in August. More
Brazil assigns $60 million to bolster Rio security
from The Wall Street Journal
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva promised to deploy federal police and allocate $60 million in aid to Rio de Janeiro after a weekend shootout downed a police helicopter and raised questions about the city's ability to host safe Olympic Games. More
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Danger: Food supply vulnerable to terrorism
from San Jose Mercury News
Imported food makes up a substantial and growing portion of the U.S. food supply and, considering the health and safety concerns of keeping American's safe, Washington insiders seem oblivious to that part of protecting American citizens. More