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NewsWatch: Irene, Witness ID Rules Changed, Real Estate Recovery

Storm on the Horizon

Cities and Counties

August 25, 2011 By

Counties Tell Thousands to Leave as Irene Approaches

Hours after a hurricane watch was issued for much of North Carolina's coast, emergency officials expanded evacuation orders to include hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals in four coastal counties. The areas include the barrier island chain known as the Outer Banks, which is expected to take the brunt of Irene's first hit over the weekend. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hurricane Storm Surge Calculated With New Web Tool

Residents in Miami-Dade County, Fla., will have a new Web tool at their disposal in the event Hurricane Irene comes ashore on the Eastern Seaboard later this week. Emergency Management

ACLU: Public Defense System Failing in Rural Utah Counties

Utah’s public defender system is failing to protect citizens’ constitutional rights as Utah remains one of only two states that do not provide state funds or oversight for public defense services, a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah claims. The report released Wednesday, titled “Failing Gideon: Utah’s Flawed County-by-County Public Defender System,” addresses the state as a whole, but focuses specifically on nine Utah counties: Box Elder, Daggett, Duchesne, Iron, Kane, San Juan, Sevier, Uintah and Weber. Salt Lake Tribune

Test Of A Well Designed Neighborhood

The “popsicle test” of a well-designed neighborhood:  if an eight-year-old kid can safely go somewhere to buy a popsicle, and get back home before it melts, chances are it’s a neighborhood that works. If you think about it, it’s all there. Sustainable Cities Collective

Rules Changed on Witness IDs

The New Jersey Supreme Court, acknowledging a “troubling lack of reliability in eyewitness identifications,” issued sweeping new rules on Wednesday making it easier for defendants to challenge such evidence in criminal cases. The court said that whenever a defendant presents evidence that a witness’s identification of a suspect was influenced, by the police, for instance, a judge must hold a hearing to consider a broad range of issues. New York Times

Better Greener Smarter Cities

Several projects coordinated by MIT's Senseable City lab have revealed the powerful urban insights that can occur when people are linked via networks of sensors. Scientific American

Patience Running Thin with Transit Protesters

While protesters may have started with good intentions, their message has been thoroughly muddled. First their complaint was about BART police and then it was outrage about cutting cell phone coverage. But protesters' main target has become a bunch of weary commuters who just want to go home. They didn't do anything -- some of them probably agree with the original concerns -- but they are fed up. San Francisco Chronicle

Neighborhood Indicators: Taking Advantage of the New Potential

Planners have long understood how valuable it would be to have a set of recurrently updated indicators on changing neighborhood conditions in their cities. The idea goes back at least to the 1960s, when social indicators had more broadly achieved the status of a fad. Urban Institute

Some Cities See Real Estate Recovery

A smattering of cities have managed to wrangle up the modest beginnings of a real estate rebound this year. Bay City, Mich., for example lands on our list of Recession-Resistant Cities For Real Estate.  Despite a 9.9 percent unemployment rate, the Great Lakes Bay area has logged seven consecutive months of rising home values. The median home price for the area is $80,100. Forbes

L.A. County Supervisors Balk at Taking Over Troubled Vernon

Los Angeles County supervisors expressed grave concerns Tuesday about taking over the troubled city of Vernon, throwing into doubt a state effort to forcibly disincorporate a city for the first time in modern California history. Board members, who were early supporters of disincorporation, said recent revelations in The Times about Vernon's large debts and poor investments have made them wary of taking over some parts of the city's government. Los Angeles Times

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