Today’s buzz prepares you for tonight’s debate (just lots of “Really?” GIFs), and looks at what coffee can do for water quality (it’s good!),  road painters in Scotland (they’re good!) and what South Florida mayors are saying about the state department of health (not good!).

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Right Now w/ Me

What I’m Reading: A College Is a Community But Cannot Be a Home

What I’m Watching: Baseball games are longer than ever. Here’s why.

What I’m Listening to: Kansas City as performed by the Beatles

What I’m Doing: Watching the Cowboys play the Bears.

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Snapchat is just ‘Snap’ now: Snapchat is losing the “chat.” The company has been renamed Snap Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday night. Cleaner, right? That’s not all: The company will also release video-recording sunglasses called Spectacles this fall. They contain a 115-degree-angle lens that will allow the wearer to record up to 30 seconds of video, a Snap Inc. representative told Mashable, and will cost $129.99.

Coffee-infused foam removes lead from contaminated water: Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the U.S., which makes for a perky population — but it also creates a lot of used grounds. Scientists now report in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering an innovative way to reduce this waste and help address another environmental problem. They have incorporated spent coffee grounds in a foam filter that can remove harmful lead and mercury from water.

There Are Workers In Scotland Who Paint Words On The Road By Hand: Do the people who paint roads get forgotten because their work is *too* perfect?

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50 Nifty

  • Soap Lake council opposes city manager government: Soap Lake councilmembers passed a resolution Wednesday night that details the council’s opposition to a city manager form of government. Soap Lake Proposition No. 1 relates to the city vacating their current mayor-council form of government and adopting a city manager system. Soap Lake city councilmember Robert Brown and former councilmember Maynard Hagan were able to get the proposition onto the November general election ballot after gathering signatures from at least 10 percent of city residents who voted in the last general election.
  • Restaffing county planning department of utmost importance: As if planners in Glynn County’s planning and zoning department haven’t been working hard enough lately trying to vet the enormous amount of plans being submitted to them each month, things are about to get even busier. At least for one planner anyway. One is the key word in that sentence. That is how many planners are working for the department currently. Help is being offered by David Hainley, community development department director, but he leaves his post to take another job in Virginia in October.
  • County project funds delayed for public input: Citing the uncertain future of a proposed new Portage County Government Center and how to address Portage County Health Care Center (HCC) needs, County Board supervisors delayed funding the projects for a year. Supervisors Tuesday, Sept. 20, unanimously approved a resolution for a 2017-22 Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) that moves $15.2 million for the two major projects into 2018. Supervisor Barry Jacowski, District 23, was absent.

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  • Phoenix Department of Human Services sets focus on housing homeless veterans: After the City of Phoenix finished its most recent quarterly homeless report, a city council subcommittee approved a Veteran Navigation Services plan which aims to track and house homeless veterans in the metro Phoenix area. The city’s Sustainability, Housing, Efficiency, and Neighborhoods Subcommittee collected data from January through March of this year. According to a report read by officials, 346 veterans were housed in the Maricopa County homeless services system. “We have about 70 percent of our veterans in some kind of service, whether it’s transitional housing or an emergency shelter,” Riann Balch, deputy Human Services and Family Advocacy Center director, said at a September city council meeting. “But about 30 percent of our veterans are still living homeless on the streets.”
  • Police seek input as department plans release of certain discipline data: Baltimore police plan to post civilian complaint, use-of-force and possibly other disciplinary data online within the next few months. Commissioner Kevin Davis announced the initiative at a public planning session Saturday, where several dozen patrol officers, technical experts and residents gathered at tables and brainstormed ideas on how to present what they want to see from the police.
  • Is Dayton a dying city? Project aims at inspiring Dayton residents: On the side of a brick building in the Oregon District, a stenciled mural paints the picture of a more united future in the city. Its message is simple: Dayton Inspires. The local project aims to shift the perception of the city through a new social campaign that celebrates growth and opportunity in the region. Dayton Inspires, created by several young professionals in the Miami Valley, starts a conversation about the possibilities of the region — and gets people out in the community for volunteering projects.
  • Current zoning could add 6,000 more apartments to Lawrence: Among the already standing apartments in Lawrence, the lines have been chalked to allow for thousands more. But as construction cranes and multistory apartment complexes have joined the skyline, the question of whether the city is allowing for too many apartments has also arisen.

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Local Gov Confidential

Why you are getting less from local government: If you’ve been living in Michigan for a while, chances are that you have noticed a drop in the quality of services you are getting from local government. I’m not just talking about distressed cities like Detroit or Pontiac, I’m talking about everywhere. Well, guess what. You think you are getting less because you are. Some of that has to do with the mentality that all taxes are bad, even when not levying them costs us more than the tax would, as is the case with the roads.

Lessons local government can teach national political debate: I served on the Northampton City Council for six years during the 1990s. There were disputes, disagreements, unanimous votes and bitter feuds, all (mostly) debated and resolved by nine people elected by their peers to wrestle with the challenges of local government. At that time, the Council operated by a set of rules that were home grown and a little quirky. The rules are different now. They don’t include concepts like minority reconsideration, which allowed a single councilor to hold up the majority when an ordinance or order was passed after two votes or the mayor as non-voting chair of the meeting. Those were pretty much unique to Northampton

Mayors say state told them to keep Zika mosquito sites secret: The mayors of Miami-Dade County and Miami Beach on Sunday accused the Florida Department of Health of lying after the state agency said last week that it never told local officials to hide the locations in Miami Beach where mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus were captured. Florida’s health department strongly denied instructing local officials to keep the information confidential — and said the decision was entirely up to Miami-Dade — after the Miami Herald reported on Friday that a county attorney said the state agency had ordered them to keep it a secret.

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