Welcome to your August 8th Buzz, where today we celebrate the noblest of interpersonal hand jestures – the fist bump.  We’ll also look at how the Olympic medal count explains a lot, why a dead public works employee may be reinstated and why a city that is publishing every email sent by city council members.

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Right Now w/ Matt Yager

What I’m watching: The men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay

What I’m reading: Will rugby sevens be the breakout fan favorite of the Rio Olympics? by Alex Boncy

What I’m listening to: The National Anthem as played by Itzhak Perlman

What I want to know from you: Which Olympic athlete would you like to give a fist bump to?

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We’re Buzzin’

How obesity became the new face of disability in America: Obesity and weight loss continue to be both a public health crisis and a source of impassioned debate.

The Unforeseen Consequences of Banning the Box: When employers can’t see applicants’ criminal histories, they start discriminating in different, broader ways.

How The Olympic Medal Tables Explain The World: Imagine a Martian trying to make sense of this world and the only available data are the Summer Olympic medal tables from the past century. How much would that explain? Quite a lot, it turns out. In fact, it would be challenging to find anything so concise that say so much about the past century as the tables below.

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50 Nifty

Petitions could force new look at growth and traffic in Fort Lauderdale: A citizen petition driven by concerns about burgeoning development and worsening traffic is going to force commissioners to consider whether new rules are needed to control growth in the city. The petition seeks a one-year moratorium on the construction of large developments between Federal Highway and the ocean to give time to study and implement new regulations. A second petition requests that commissioners set a referendum asking voters whether they want to limit the use of public lands on the city’s barrier island to public purposes and services.

In rural Dallas County, a clash over the role of government: The need for water, and the challenges to get it here, have sparked a showdown over the role of local government between County Judge Clay Jenkins and Commissioner John Wiley Price. The fight boils down to how much county government should do to provide for residents who choose to live in areas where there are few public services. It’s a difficult clash to resolve: any serious effort to provide water to people like Nevil could cost millions of taxpayer dollars. And the areas in question are in the floodplain. The county would rather no one live there at all — but the vast, cheap land has attracted country-minded folks who couldn’t otherwise afford a rural life so close to the city.

Palm Beach, North End neighborhood at odds over beach access improvement costs: Residents on Merrain Road have a much prettier walk to the beach, but the cost of recent improvements might be more than they expected.

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Taxi stand ordinance in city council stuck in neutral: Atlanta city councilman Michael Julian Bond says he’s outraged that he can’t a transportation committee to act on an ordinance requiring organizers of large festivals and events to set up cab stands that could cut down on drunk driving and muggings. That such an ordinance should receive a green light from the committee is a “no-brainer,” he said. Bond wants to mandate that all of the city’s Class A festivals and events, which draw in excess of 50,000 people, set aside designated areas and lanes for taxicabs. He said that would streamline traffic following massive events, help cut out on drunk driving and stop festival goers from filtering into adjoining neighborhoods to fetch cabs, where they run the risk of getting lost or mugged.

Brown County ponders reinstating dead worker: Brown County supervisors are considering giving a public works employee who was fired before he died his job back. The supervisors’ executive committee will vote Monday on reinstating Robert Welsing Jr. If the committee approves reinstatement, the full board will vote on Aug. 17. Welsing, a highway superintendent, was fired in August 2015 by county officials who said he used profanity, interfered with an investigation and falsified time cards. Another public works employee also was fired at the same time.

Tenn. awards more than $17 million for local parks and recreation: Parks and recreation facilities across Tennessee will benefit from a series of grants totaling more than $17 million, state officials announced. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will award $15.8 million in local park and recreation grants to 55 communities, as well as $1.9 million in Recreation Trails Program grants for a total of 12 parks and communities across Tennessee. The Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant program was established by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1991 to provide local funding to purchase park lands, trails and recreational facilities. The grants are competitive and require a 50 percent match by the recipients.

Walker County GOP calls for change in local government: The Walker County Republican Party is calling for a binding vote to change the structure of the local government. During a meeting July 19, members of the party passed a resolution telling local Georgia representatives and a senator to write a local act in the Legislature next year to create a binding referendum. The referendum would ask voters if they want to switch Walker County’s form of government from that of a sole commissioner to that of a board of commissioners.

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Local Gov Confidential

Ending strange saga, Palm Springs finishes city manager review: In an end to a public, and somewhat awkward, political spat between the Palm Springs mayor and city manager, the city council announced Wednesday it had finished its annual review of City Manager David Ready’s job performance. “The result was an outstanding review, and we want to take this opportunity to publicly thank David for all his contributions to Palm Springs,” Council Member Geoff Kors said. The council and all the public gathered in the city hall chambers applauded Ready, who smiled and nodded at the council members.

The interruption epidemic at City Hall: The debates among the Bend City councilors can get spirited, but usually retain the decorum required by council rules. Those rules say: “Council members may not delay or interrupt the orderly proceedings of the Council, disturb any member while speaking, or refuse to obey the orders of the Council or its presiding officer.” At Wednesday’s meeting, councilors started getting out of hand. The constant interruptions prompted Councilor Sally Russell to call loudly for her fellow councilors to follow protocol and be respectful. She asked that each person be given the opportunity to communicate, “But I request from my colleagues that you do it concisely and respectfully … ”

Loveland publishing emails of city council membersThe city of Loveland is publishing the emails of city council members as part of an effort to make government more transparent. Loveland, Fort Collins and Larimer County are now allowing the public to see what their elected officials are sending on their computer networks. Only their government email accounts are accessible. “The city will always look for new ways to make our communication and our processes more transparent and accessible to the public,” City Manager Steve Adams said in a statement. City Clerk Terry Andrews, who held a training session for councilors on how to use the new system, said members of the council wanted the new policies.

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