In a further effort to prevent terrorist incidents, New York has announced the release of the "See Something, Send Something" app, which allows users who spot suspicious activity—such as an unattended briefcase or backpack—to send a photo or quick message to the authorities. The message will then be routed to the New York State Intelligence Center and then referred to the proper law enforcement agency, if necessary. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, Colorado, and Virginia already offer a similar service.
Residents in the New York City metro area can now opt to receive e-mailed photos of the snail mail they will be receiving later that day through a new initiative from the United States Postal Service. The free Informed Delivery service will e-mail black and white images of letter-sized mail pieces to participants by 11 am on the day the mail is being processed for delivery. An online dashboard will house previous images. Among its benefits, residents can be notified about mail that arrives at their house when they are away, as well as ensure that important letters or bills do not get lost amidst junk mail. The service began in several parts of northern Virginia last year, and the Postal Service may expand its availability in 2016.
Under a new partnership, some of the largest and wealthiest park conservancies in New York City will extend a helping hand to smaller parks to ensure that lower-income neighborhoods can benefit from flourishing parks. Over the next three years, the conservancies will donate $15 million worth of resources and know-how to historically underfunded green spaces throughout the five boroughs. These services will include dispatching a roving horticultural team to other parks, helping with waste management efforts, training gardeners, and designing public art installations.
Connecticut has created a new unit in its prison system to house inmates who are also military veterans. Daily life in the unit includes morning reveille, adherence to a code of conduct, and rotating crews that are responsible for different aspects of the unit’s daily routine. Aside from the job training and other programs offered to these prisoners, the veterans will receive special help to deal with military-specific issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, peer counseling from other formerly incarcerated veterans, and access to attorneys from the Connecticut Veterans Legal Clinic. The unit is modeled after a similar one in Pennsylvania, which has achieved good results in fostering mutual respect and good discipline among the inmates.
In San Francisco, cyclists will now be further protected from automobile traffic thanks to a new elevated bicycle lane in the city’s Mission District. The bike path is raised two inches above traffic, giving cyclists a safer space to ride and preventing motorists from drifting into bike lanes. The section where the bike lane has been placed currently accommodates about 3,000 bike trips daily. The city plans to build more raised lanes in busy commuting areas.
According to officials, New York City has become the first city in the US to protect its citizens’ health by ensuring that chain restaurants indicate when menu items have high sodium content. The new standard requires chains to put saltshaker symbols on the menu to highlight dishes with more than the recommended daily limit of 2,300 mg of sodium. Restaurants will also need to provide a visible warning that elevated sodium intake can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The city estimates that 10 percent of menu items will warrant the warning.