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Federal wildfire budgets could fall $400 million short
Property Casualty 360
The U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior may not have enough in their budgets to fight wildfires this year without borrowing from other critical need areas, and the shortfall isn’t even going to come close. That’s according to a recent report, which found that federal agencies may have to spend as much as $1.8 billion to fight wild fires in 2014, although only $1.4 billion is budgeted for the task.
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Grant will provide free smoke alarms to Indiana residents
The Associated Press via RTV-TV
The state of Indiana has received a grant to provide free smoke alarms to Indiana residents through volunteer fire departments. Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson hopes to provide 500 smoke alarms with 10-year batteries to volunteer fire departments that may not have the resources to purchase them for their communities. The $10,000 grant came from State Farm Insurance.
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North Dakota tries to stem oil region traffic deaths
Claims Journal
Despite efforts to improve roads and safety enforcement, traffic fatalities in North Dakota’s drilling regions keep climbing while the rest of the state’s roads are getting safer. Traffic deaths in six western counties rose last year to 63, from 54 in 2012. In the rest of the state, traffic deaths fell to 83 from 116.
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New Jersey has distributed less than 25 percent of Sandy Aid
The Star-Ledger
Though the federal government allocated more than $1.8 billion in Hurricane Sandy disaster relief aid for New Jersey more than a year ago, less that a quarter has been distributed to cash-strapped residents struggling to rebuild, according to a new state report. State officials, however, say they are making considerable progress with recovery programs, addressing concerns and making changes where needed to speed up the delivery of aid.
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Philadelphia to receive $625,000 for pedestrian safety
Philly Inquirer
Philly’s streets are about to get $525,000 safer. Philadelphia has been selected as one of just three cities across the country to receive $525,000 in federal funding for increased pedestrian safety measures. PennDOT will kick in another $100,000, and the City will contribute an in-kind contribution of additional enforcement by the Philadelphia Police.
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New York lawmakers consider new DWI law
WXXI-FM
In New York State, a police officer has to obtain a warrant to test the blood alcohol level of drivers involved in accidents if they don't consent to the test. But that could soon change if a bill passed by the State Senate becomes law. The legislation would require blood-alcohol tests for all drivers involved in serious accidents.
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Police access to prescription drug records gets tougher
The Wall Street Journal
For years, police across the country have had little trouble gaining records of prescription drugs used by individuals they suspect of committing a crime. But some courts and legislators are starting to restrict the data, citing privacy concerns. Law-enforcement officials say easy access to databases of prescriptions for controlled substances is crucial to curbing the illegal flow of prescription pills, which feed what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified as an epidemic of drug abuse.
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Experts warn of psychological toll linked to Alabama tornados
Claims Journal
Mental health professionals say Alabamians who were impacted by recent storms should try recovering emotionally while dealing with damaged property and the storms’ other tangible impacts. National Weather Service officials have said that at least 18 tornadoes have been confirmed in Alabama during a series of storms that swept through the region April 28 and 29. The severe weather outbreak was the worst since April 2011, and left a trail of damage that stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes region, National Weather Service meteorologists said.
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Dozens of injuries reported in stampede after Mayweather-Maidana bout
Las Vegas Sun
The post-bout action at MGM Grand Garden Arena did not end with Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s majority decision over challenger Marcos Maidana. A stampede of fans rushing from the Grand Garden Arena exit and into the hotel's Garden Walk promenade of stores and restaurants caused dozens of injuries after the recent welterweight championship bout. A Clark County Fire Department representative said that as many as 60 people were treated for injuries, with 24 being taken to Las Vegas area hospitals.
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An open garage, a dead exchange student, and a new debate on self defense
The New York Times
Teenagers call it garage hopping. The goal was to sneak into an open garage, steal some beer or other items and slip away into the night. It was dumb and clearly illegal. It was not supposed to be deadly. Around midnight on April 27, a 17-year-old exchange student from Germany named Diren Dede left the host home where he played Xbox and drained cans of Sprite to set off with a friend through his dark hillside neighborhood. They passed a home whose garage door hung partially open. Using a cellphone for light, Mr. Dede headed in.
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U.S. News & World Report pressed to include campus safety in college ratings
The Huffington Post
A group of lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. News & World Report urging the magazine to include information about campus safety in its highly influential college rankings. Ten Democrats and two Republican members of Congress wrote to the U.S. News editors Thursday, saying their main concern is that the rankings should reflect how well colleges handle sexual assault reports.
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Feds launch massive crackdown on synthetic drug dealers
NBC News
The Drug Enforcement Administration broadened its national crackdown on synthetic drug manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers as federal agents served hundreds of search and arrest warrants in at least 25 states. Agents served warrants at homes, warehouses and smoke shops DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said. The largest single operation was a statewide effort in Alabama. Agents also were active in Florida and New Mexico, among other states.
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Colorado bill to secure funding to Safe2Tell program passes first House committee
KMGH-TV
A bill to secure the future of Safe2Tell, an online tip hotline originally developed as a response to the Columbine High School tragedy, cleared its first House committee. The Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to support SB14-002. The bill moves the Safe2Tell program into the state Attorney General’s Office and gives it a funding stream.
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Motorcycle deaths decline in 2013
Governing
Fewer U.S. motorcyclists died last year than in 2012, according to preliminary data. If the numbers hold up, 2013 would be only the second year since 1997 to see a decline in motorcycle deaths. The Governors Highway Safety Association, a group of state traffic safety agencies, estimated that 4,610 motorcyclists died last year, a 7 percent decrease from the year before. The group’s assessment was based on data from the first nine months of the year and adjustments using mathematical models.
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Indiana neighborhoods find new online option for personal, public safety
RTV-TV
Local residents have found a new way to meet neighbors, improve their personal safety and warn others of dangers around the neighborhood. The private online community could save you money and also help protect your home. When it comes to the latest happenings on her block, Katherine Kidd goes right to her computer.
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State high court: New York teacher protest endangered school safety
News Day
You can't falsely shout "fire" in a crowded theater, the legal maxim goes. And picketing teachers can't imperil school safety by blocking a school entrance to exercise their free speech rights, New York's top court ruled. In a 5-2 decision, the Court of Appeals said student safety trumped the First Amendment, upholding the East Meadow Union Free School District's sanctions against two teachers for parking their cars near the entrance of Woodland Middle School during a protest over protracted contract negotiations in March 2007.
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