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Good to Know…Week of October 10, 2011


PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Plans Vote on Territorial Status
Governor Luis Fortuno has proposed a two-step election next year to determine whether Puerto Ricans want to remain a U.S. territory.

To read this article, go to: Reuters.com

LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Unlikely Duo of Daniels and Cuomo Crusades to Shrink Local Government
But Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Andrew Cuomo of New York have made their names as governors with a surprisingly similar pursuit: They want to cut the cost of government, and not just at the state level. They have argued that putting their states’ economies on track requires keeping a lid on taxation and public spending at both the state and local levels.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

As States Cut Aid, Localities Learn to do Less with Less
The state’s leaders cut what is known as the Local Government Fund–a Depression-era vehicle through which the state sends a portion of sales and income taxes back to the communities that provide them–along with two other funds local governments relied on heavily. In the case of the Local Government Fund, a quarter of the $665 million handed out last fiscal year will remain in Columbus this fiscal year; next year it will be half.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

TECHNOLOGY
Government Challenge Programs Foster New Wave of Low Cost Innovations
A program begun on a shoe string a year ago to help federal agencies tap a broader universe of creative ideas to solve some of the government’s toughest challenges has spawned a surprising, if not revolutionary, wave of innovation in government–and at a fraction of the cost most agencies would traditionally spend to achieve similar results.

To read this article, go to: Gov.AOL.com

Federal IT Security Incidents Increasing Rapidly
Information security incidents at 24 federal agencies have increased more than 600 percent during the last five years due to a combination of more numerous threats and persistent shortcomings in security controls, the Government Accountability Office said in a report dated Oct. 3.

To read this article, go to: FCW.com

State CIOs Say their Influence is Expanding
Seventy-one percent of state CIOs have seen their roles expand and their clout increase, while only 6 percent say their role has diminished, according to a new survey of CIOs from 48 states and two U.S. territories.

To read this article, go to: Govtech.com

Internet Risks Will Drive Users Offline, Researcher Predicts
Most of what we are doing today isn’t working,” Spafford said. “We aren’t stepping back to see that overall, things are getting worse. We will reach a tipping point where we won’t do online business because it isn’t trustworthy enough. People move out of neighborhoods when they are not safe.”

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

HEALTH CARE
Arizona Simultaneously Asks for Federal HCR Dollars and Challenges HCR Law
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is asking the federal government for money to build her state’s health insurance exchange while simultaneously challenging the law.

To read this article, go to: Civsourceonline.com

Big Medicaid Changes Could Affect 200,000 in Wisconsin
More than 200,000 Wisconsinites could be affected by sweeping Medicaid changes proposed to address a half-billion dollar shortfall in state health care programs. Some 215,000 children and adults would be shifted to lower-cost state plans, state officials announced Friday.

To read this article, go to: Madison.com

Survey: Localities Making Big Cuts to Health Offices
More than half of city and county health departments have cut services in the last year, according to a new survey released this morning by the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO).

To read this article, go to: Governing.com

Poor, Uninsured Hit Hardest by Closing of Trauma Centers Nationwide
The shuttering of trauma centers across the country since 2001 has had a greater impact on communities with black, Hispanic, elderly, uninsured and poor people, according to a study released Wednesday.

To read this article, go to: Cleveland.com

Text-Messaging for Health Still Has Its Challenges
At first glance, text-messaging health alerts to poor, rural populations with widespread mobile phone use is a no-brainer. But what about the challenges of providing useful information and the simple act of re-charging phones in isolated spots?

To read this article, go to: PBS.org

POVERTY
Fighting Poverty in a Tough Economy, Americans Move in With Their Relatives
Large numbers of Americans enacted their own anti-poverty program in the depths of the Great Recession: They moved in with relatives. This helped fuel the largest increase in modern history in the number of Americans living in multi-generational households. From 2007 to 2009, the total spiked from 46.5 million to 51.4 million.

To read this article, go to: PEWResearch.org

Nearly Half of U.S. Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefit
Nearly half, 48.5%, of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4% lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.

To read this article, go to: WSJ.com

PEACE

Tawakkol Karman, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee Win Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded Friday to three influential
women from Africa and the Middle East, a decision intended to draw
attention to the suppression of women’s rights around the world and spur
their fight for greater equality in male-dominated societies.

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com

ENERGY
Smart Grid Security: Will ‘Good Enough’ be Enough?
Standards for enabling an interoperable, interconnected electric energy system are emerging at a time when the appearance of a new class of threats is changing the way we think about cybersecurity.

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

IMMIGRATION
Alabama Immigration Law Marked by Hispanic School Absences
A federal judge’s decision last week that left Alabama’s strict new immigration law largely intact is already having a major impact throughout the state, as hundreds of Hispanic children stayed away from school.

To read this article, go to: USATODAY.com

VETERANS
Poll: One-third of Veterans Say Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Weren’t Worth Fighting
An almost equal number–34 percent–said both wars have been worth it. When asked about the wars separately, half of post-9/11 veterans said the Afghanistan war was worth it and 44 percent said so for the Iraq war.

To read this article, go to: GovExec.com

FOOD SAFETY
New Sleuths for Food Safety
Inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration are searching fields in Colorado’s Rocky Ford region for clues as to how cantaloupes grown there this summer caused at least 100 illnesses and 18 deaths. But if a new law had been in place, they might have been there before the outbreak.

To read this article, go to: WSJ.com

INTERESTING…
#OccupyWallStreet Organizer’s Ideas for a New “Human Economy”
The Occupy Wall Street movement has drawn plenty of official heat and media light, and they’re gaining momentum nationwide through social media. But the demonstrators’ demands have remained hard to pin down. One organizer says that’s by design: This is more of a brainstorming session than a protest.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

Siri-ously DARPA
Don’t let her dulcet voice and easygoing, eager-to-please manner fool you. Behind Siri, the voice-controlled personal assistant app destined to power Apple’s iPhone 4S, lies the heart of a hardened combat veteran. That’s because the technology was spun out of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon’s high-tech research and development arm.

To read this article, go to: FastCompany.com

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