San Francisco is expanding a port-a-potty program for its homeless in a bid to both help this population and keep its city streets cleaner. Operating over the last six months in the Tenderloin district of the city, the mobile pit stops are staffed with full-time attendants and are open on weekdays from 2pm to 9pm. The program was conceived in part after the city studied data involving the locations and costs involved where it was called in to steam-clean human waste as well as mixed results from unstaffed automatic toilets.
To assist investors in screening potential business partners, Utah has approved the first white-collar felon public registry in the country. The registry, which will include a recent photograph of the offenders as well as their vital statistics, will keep offender names on the list for at least 10 years depending on the number of offenses. Offenders can get their names removed from the registry, however, if they make a full restitution to their victims. Although some officials believe the registry can serve as a model for other states, critics note that the registry could be one more stigma to overcome for those who have paid their debt to society.
The Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services and Yale University are pioneering Mindmap, an outreach program designed to catch the early signs of a young person experiencing a psychotic episode, lessening the chance of self-harm and endangering others. Outreach for the Mindmap pilot will begin with surrounding communities in New Haven and will involve faster screening methods and steps to deliver treatment more quickly. Researchers note that while the onset of many mental illnesses occurs during early adulthood, patients often only enter treatment later in adulthood. The program is modeled after the Scandinavian Early Identification and Treatment of Psychosis project and is funded in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
To help improve the flow of traffic, states like Utah, Minnesota, and Florida, as well as local governments in Austin, Portland, and Oakland County, Michigan, are incorporating adaptive technology into their transportation infrastructure. Transportation departments are using tools such as data analytics to forecast where problem intersections occur, sensors that detect the presence of cars, and connectivity between traffic signal systems that “alert” each other about the amount of oncoming traffic and adjust accordingly. Officials expect that reorganizing the way signals work will reduce congestion, increase fuel efficiency and safety, and decrease emissions.
The Connecticut Attorney General has opened a new Privacy and Data Security Department within its office to address a persistent problem that is unlikely to subside anytime soon. Several attorneys will devote their full time, and several part of their time, to focus on investigations and litigation tied to privacy and data-security concerns. Since 2012, Connecticut companies have provided 1,100 notifications to the state attorney general’s office concerning data breaches of consumers’ personal information.
Burlington, Vermont, recently became the first city in the US to use 100-percent renewable energy, saving it both money and protecting the environment. The city achieved this goal through a mix of hydropower, biomass conversion, wind power, solar power, landfill gas, the sale of renewable energy credits, and a strong energy efficiency program. City officials believe that its efforts can serve as a model for other cities.