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'The old FEMA is gone': Craig Fugate's cleaned-up FEMA
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, beginning to assess the damage wrought by disastrous flooding in his state, recently stood next to FEMA administrator Craig Fugate at a news conference and expressed the highest praise possible for the federal agency — and its current boss.
"The old FEMA is gone," he said, seeming to reference the agency as it was under and after Michael Brown, who resigned after the disorganized response to Hurricane Katrina eight years ago.
Fugate, 53, is known among colleagues for his quirky "thunderbolt" exercises and unique Waffle House litmus test. More important: he's turned the once-bruised agency's reputation around since taking over as FEMA administrator in May 2009.
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Warning: 100-year climate disasters every 100 days
Warning: 100-year megafires, 100-year megafloods, 100-year droughts and all the other 100-year-cycle climate change and global warming disasters that are supposed to happen somewhere around the world once a century? Science is now telling us they’re happening every 100 days or less. And that’s not only costly for the world, the news is bad for climate science deniers.
EPA nuclear event guidance draws heat from industry, lawmakers
The nuclear power industry and some Senate Democrats are at odds over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new nuclear response guidelines, with some lawmakers concerned the benchmarks don't protect public health while industry officials want to relax the guidance further.
New York designates 'texting zones' on highways
New York officials hope the designation of "texting zones" along state highways will encourage drivers to pull over if they want to use their cellphones while out on the road.
The plan, unveiled in a press event recently, is to highlight park-and-ride facilities, rest stops and other parking areas along the state's highways as places where drivers can safely use their cellphones by dubbing them "texting zones."
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Hoboken, NJ may help lower flood insurance rates
The Hudson Reporter
The Hoboken City Council unanimously passed an amendment recently that may be the first step toward lowering Hoboken residents’ rates with the National Flood Insurance Program.
Since Hurricane Sandy last year, Mayor Dawn Zimmer has said that one of her highest priorities is finding ways to lower the rates of Hoboken residents, who currently pay about $6 million into the program annually, but saw little relief via the plan in Sandy’s wake.
Nearly 750 students who lack required whooping cough vaccination face suspension
About 750 students could be suspended from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools because they lack a vaccination to prevent whooping cough, a school official said recently.
State law requires that sixth-graders have an updated Tdap vaccination or booster shot. The vaccination protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis.
What happened to volunteer crossing guards?
Volunteer crossing guards are ready and willing to return to work this school year but you won't find them outside one Las Vegas valley middle school.
"It's kind of a catch 22," said parent and volunteer crossing guard Jim Bolla. "We've got people willing to volunteer. We've basically been told we can't even volunteer to do it on our own."
Most middle schools don't have crossing guards. Bolla was part of a group of about ten volunteers who helped children cross Pavillion Center Drive to reach Sig Rogich Middle School last year. When he tried to organize a group of volunteers this year, Bolla said the school said no because of liability.
One wet mess: Lawmakers, FEMA howl over impending flood rate hikes
Property Casualty 360
After overwhelmingly passing legislation in 2012 to bring rates at the federal flood insurance program to actuarially-sound levels, members of the Senate Banking Committee sought to distance themselves from the measure.
At a Sept. 18 hearing, senators from Oregon to Massachusetts talked about implementation and affordability concerns in anticipation of angry voter feedback as they begin to open higher flood insurance bills.
Atlanta area elementary schools violate fire codes
How safe is your child's school? 11Alive's Center for Investigative Action dug through fire inspection reports to get the answer. The center found schools in Metro Atlanta need to do a better job eliminating fire hazards.
Several weeks were spent examining two years of fire inspection reports for 329 elementary schools and discovered the majority of elementary schools have been failing to get it right.
Princeton, NJ: Emergency planning underway
The Princeton Packet
Princeton is trying to work with churches and private schools about using their buildings as reception and information centers during a major weather emergency like Hurricane Sandy.
Emergency Management Director Robert Gregory said recently that he wrote two weeks ago to the private schools, thinking of them as places people living on the outlying sections of town could more easily drive to than having to come downtown. The intent is to use them as places residents could get information from the municipality about things such as when power might be restored.
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