Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Videos show disparities in Cleveland police response to kids in crisis, Pennsylvania receives federal funds to plug abandoned wells, and grants support 2020 fire recovery for Oregonians.

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President Biden says he will meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on much-needed police and justice system reforms, unresolved legal challenges regarding gerrymandering could have implications for 2024 congressional elections, and a government watchdog reveals fraud and waste tied to pandemic relief aid programs.

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"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Report: Midwest Climate Change to be Severe

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Thursday, October 12, 2017   

INDIANAPOLIS – Parts of the country along the coasts have been battered this year by Mother Nature, and a new study from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute warns that the threat of climate change extends much farther inland and could wreak havoc on transportation and infrastructure systems across the Midwest.

Study author Mary Craighead says policymakers need to understand the potential costs and consequences of climate change, and adds they need to be proactive to protect communities and the economy.

Her report says the average air temperature has increased by more than 4 degrees since the 1980s, and there's been a 27 percent increase in the number of days of very heavy rain since the 1950s.

"The higher temperatures and the stronger storms can reduce the lifespan of roads, bridges,” she points out. “They can cause railways to buckle. Flooding, obviously, is a huge issue that can impact the flow of traffic, the flow of freight, which can impact our economy."

Flooding is a key issue because there has been a steady reduction in ice coverage on the Great Lakes, and more frequent freeze-thaw cycles.

Craighead says there have been more electricity outages, and she adds the Midwest is a net distributor of electricity to other regions.

Floods, high winds, ice, snow and storms can damage facilities and above-ground transmission lines.

The study recommends limiting development in low-lying areas that already have experienced storm-related damage, and updating heat and rainfall standards used in the project-design process.

"It's just going to keep getting worse, so it's time we really need to stop debating it and start actually taking action and planning for it in the future so we don't have to deal with the ramifications after the fact, we can actually plan for it ahead of time," Craighead stresses.

The study says national infrastructure needs are expected to top $2 trillion by 2025.

It notes the state departments of transportation in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota have all pursued asset-management programs to address climate change and assess vulnerabilities.





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