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Tragic explosion in New York highlights needs for infrastructure improvements
Forbes
Two people are dead and more than a dozen injured. And that number is, tragically, expected to grow as this accident unfolds. The March 12 tragic explosion in New York City is a terrible reminder of just how dangerous working in and around natural gas can be, of how crucial proper safety precautions are, and how important it is to report gas leaks in a timely manner.
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Massachusetts school districts await results of 'soft launch' of fingerprint system for K-12 employees
Daily Hampshire Gazette
Fingerprinting centers for teachers, bus drivers and other K-12 school employees have been set up in four Massachusetts school districts to comply with a new state law aimed at bolstering employee background checks. School officials in Beverly, Boston, Bourne and Pittsfield stepped up to be the first to try out the fingerprint centers for national background checks, according to J.C. Considine, chief of staff for the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. More locations will be announced in the coming months.
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Delaware seeks to stem the shortage of cybersecurity workers
Governing
Only a couple of months after one of the largest data breaches in the nation’s history occurred at national retailer Target, the little state of Delware has announced a very big idea. In his State of the State speech in January, Gov. Jack Markell announced plans for the Delaware Cyber Initiative, which will bring together academia, workers and the private sector to develop a skilled and innovative cybersecurity workforce.
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Maine Gov. LePage resists workplace safety data plan
Insurance Journal
A proposal from the federal government to make more specific workplace safety data available online could violate individuals’ privacy and embarrass employers and workers, Maine officials said. Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is pushing back against the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which wants to require that injury and illness reports broken down by employer are available online. The public would be able to view the names of employees and how many illnesses and injuries the business reported that year.
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California mulls how to regulate driverless cars
ABC News
Sooner or later, consumers will be able to buy cars that rely on computers — not the owner — to do the driving. Though the technology is still being tested, the day it rolls out into broad public use can now be measured in years, not decades. With that timeframe in mind, California's Department of Motor Vehicles began puzzling through how to regulate the vehicles that haven't been fully developed yet. Among the complex questions officials sought to unravel at the initial public hearing on regulations in Sacramento: How will the state know the cars are safe?
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NJ seeks public input on storm plan
The Inquirer
Hurricane Sandy shook much of the New Jersey Shore off its foundations, literally and figuratively. So the state's Office of Emergency Management is asking the public — for the first time — to review the hazard mitigation plan being submitted to the federal government. The plan is updated every three years. No hearings are scheduled, but in writing, citizens may weigh in on concerns about withstanding disasters, as officials lay the groundwork for mitigating future storms.
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Businesses need federal terrorism risk insurance reauthoriazed
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Reinsurers bore the brunt of the financial impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. Faced with uncertain exposures, many reinsurers withdrew from the terrorism insurance market, according to the national Risk and Insurance Management Society, and primary insurers, unable to find reinsurance for their terrorism coverage, excluded it from policies. As a result, businesses were unable to purchase terrorism coverage, creating problems for the commercial market in which lenders and investors required this protection.
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Alabama recorded 49 winter-related fire deaths so far
The Associated Press via Claims Journal
State fire officials say more Alabamians died this winter because of improper use of heating appliances and other issues. Spokesman for the Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office Steve Holmes told the Anniston Star that 49 people in the state died in fires between December and February. The number is up from 39 during the time same period in 2012. Holmes attributes the additional deaths to colder than normal weather and people taking extreme measures to try staying warm.
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Arkansas highway officials hear complains on poor winter storm response
Claims Journal
Legislators alarmed by complaints from motorists who spent hours stranded on a pair of icy interstates in eastern Arkansas want state highway officials to explain their response, or lack of response, as sleet and snow piled up. “I’m not trying to take anybody’s side on this, but there’s a lot of things that we need to hear,” said Republican Sen. Bill Sample, chairman of the Senate’s Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs Committee.
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'Naturally occuring retirement communities' force cities to reconsider zoning laws
Governing
Independence is a key reason why people tend to enjoy aging in cities. This desire has led, in part, to a growing trend whereby seniors cluster together in cities. These clusters, first noted in 1986 by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Michael Hunt, are called naturally occurring retirement communities. NORCs, as they are known, aren't purposely built for seniors. Rather, they evolve naturally, as adult residents age in place.
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