Rochester, Mass., emergency dispatch services have transitioned to the Regional Old Colony Communications Center in Duxbury. The center employs more dispatchers than the Rochester independent center did, so officials expect a boost in efficiency.
The Trust for Public Land has released its seventh annual ParkScore index, which uses several measures to rank US cities on their public parks. Minneapolis and neighboring St. Paul, Minn., were first and second, followed by Washington, D.C., and one of its suburbs, Arlington, Va.
Advances in lawnmower technology are helping improve the quality and safety of turf maintenance, writes Jacobsen product manager Antony Alexander. Innovations include the ability to shift cutting reels for contoured areas, wider wheelbases and better ergonomics.
Few people attended a recent event hosted by Colorado State University's Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to spur rock climbers' interest in bat conservation. Wildlife biologists, who said climbers encounter bats frequently, placed cameras on a climbing route to collect information that might help them manage the spread of white-nose syndrome.
Outdoor play is key for children's health and well-being, as it provides sun exposure, exercise and socialization, among other benefits, writes Dr. Claire McCarthy. "If they only interact in very structured settings, such as school or sports teams, they won't -- they can't -- learn everything they need to know," she writes.
Cities such as Pittsburgh and Tallahassee, Fla., are looking to protect urban forests, although how to preserve and interact with old-growth forests is a challenging problem nationally. "This is a growing city, with more development pressure, so maintaining the tree canopy while the city was developing became more and more important," says Mindy Mohrman of the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department.
A mapping project shows areas of segregation around Atlanta in terms of the available parks and recreation opportunities in lower-income neighborhoods mostly populated by black families. Trulia and the National Fair Housing Alliance organized the effort.
A dispatcher with the Live Oak County, Texas, Sheriff's Office helped a truck driver after lightning struck his 18-wheeler, jamming the cruise control at 70 mph. The dispatcher had deputies and public safety personnel clear traffic and surround the truck while the driver managed to stop the vehicle.
Santa Fe, Texas, dispatcher Amanda Trevillion describes the recent school shooting as "pure chaos" for dispatchers, noting "we had 20 calls on hold at a time" and that the hardest part was having to tell parents and children there was no information yet. Calls came in for hours, and two dispatchers came from nearby cities Dickinson and Hitchcock to help the dispatchers in Santa Fe.
9-1-1 calls after a recent fatal cougar attack on a mountain biker in Seattle demonstrate how dispatchers helped calm the victim's friend and the people who found him. A dispatcher also sent a text message to one caller with a link to help emergency responders locate them.
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