Today’s Buzz features a few refugees who came to America and made our country greater than before.  There’s also a look at Calexit, a response from US Chiefs on the Sanctuary City controversy, and a divestment decision looming in Boulder, Colorado. 

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Right Now w/ Matt Yager

What I’m reading: Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

What I’m watching: Trump’s “Muslim ban” won’t help security, but it will marginalize Muslims

What I’m listening to: Wait Wait.. Don’t Tell Me

What I’m doing: Eating girl scout cookies and following the #MuslimBan on twitter

What I want to know from you: What do you have planned for February 2017?

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What if Everyone Lived in Just One City?: What if everybody in the world, all 7.4 billion of us all lived together in the same city? How big or small would this city have to be and how close together or far apart would we all be living from each other? This video explores those concepts and visualizes what a massive global city would look like were it to ever exist in the real world.

‘California Nationhood’ Ballot Measure Builds Steam: Acknowledging that the legal and political obstacles are formidable, the proponent of a state ballot measure to sever California’s ties with the United States and form its own nation has been cleared to start collecting signatures. If passed by voters, the measure, “California Nationhood. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute,” would remove language from the state constitution describing California as “an inseparable part of the United States of America” and require the governor to request admission for California to the United Nations. That would be just the start of a long and arduous path to nationhood.

Consumers lash out at Uber and turn to Lyft after Uber’s immigration response: Uber Technologies Inc. was in critics’ crosshairs while Lyft Inc. was winning support after the companies’ very different responses to President Donald Trump’s immigration order. The backlash came as New York taxi drivers went on strike Saturday and joined a protest at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport against Trump’s order blocking entry to the U.S. by immigrants from select largely Muslim countries, while a tweet from Uber indicated the company had suspended surge pricing, causing some to view the company as seeking to undermine the strike. Lyft largely stayed out of Saturday’s confrontation but sent an email to users Sunday saying that the company would be donating $1 million over the next four years to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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50 Nifty

  • Laurel Public Works employee remembered for ‘courteous’ city service: Laurel Public Works employee Marcus Colbert, 30, is being remembered for his caring attitude on the job, following his death Monday when an SUV hit the trash truck he was working on. On Jan. 23, Laurel police said, Colbert was loading trash into the tailgate of a city truck at Old Sandy Spring Road and Casulas Way when a Lincoln Navigator swerved into the truck after hitting a parked car. Colbert died at the scene, police said. The driver of the SUV remained at the scene but refused treatment. Colbert was the first city employee killed on the job, according to city spokeswoman Audrey Barnes.
  • New Perry County judge wants local government to ‘run smoothly’: As the new Perry County judge, Toby Davis oversees a variety of operations in the county government. “My job is to keep everybody going,” he said, smiling. “I want to make sure the county government runs smoothly.” Davis, 44, oversees the county courthouse and all physical property owned by the county. He is the chief officer of the Perry County Quorum Court, and he oversees the road department, the solid-waste department, the Office of Emergency Management and 911, the flood plan coordinator and the veterans services office.
  • State completes audit of Muncie city government: The first audit of Muncie city government’s books in three years has been completed. Although the audit has been completed, the results might not be public for several weeks, a State Board of Accounts official told The Star Press on Thursday. The audit is the first of Muncie city government in three years and covered 2014 and 2015. The state has cut back on the frequency of audits due to having fewer auditors.

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  • Zoning lapse allows ‘illegal’ wind farm: The Iowa Supreme Court has been asked to intervene in an ongoing dispute over three wind energy towers in Fayette County. Attorneys for Mason Wind and Optimum Renewables turned to the state’s high court this month after a district court judge deemed three turbines in a farm field just east of Fairbank are “illegal and void” and must be removed. As Iowa’s wind energy industry gears up for a major expansion over the next three years, this high-stakes legal battle reveals wind farms aren’t always welcome, while some county zoning rules may not be ready for the test.
  • Mokena Park District hires new director: Several months after firing its executive director, Mokena Community Park District has hired a replacement. Mike Selep, of Bolingbrook, was unanimously appointed with a two-year contract at the November board meeting and began work in mid-December.  Selep said he has 25 years of experience in parks and recreation, and most recently served as assistant director of the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association, a group of seven park agencies.
  • US Police Chiefs Voice Concern Over Sanctuary City Policy: Police chiefs from different parts of the United States on Thursday voiced their concerns about President Donald Trump’s executive order to “strip” federal grant money from sanctuary states and cities that harbor undocumented immigrants. Law enforcement authorities said that cutting funding to “force” local policies to change was “troubling” and that the notion that police do not cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was wrong. “We are concerned about this threat of losing funds,” said J. Thomas Manger, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

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LocalGov Confidential

Boulder finance officials urge City Council away from Standing Rock divestment: Boulder’s Finance Department is recommending that the City Council not divest from JP Morgan Chase, the city’s bank since 2004 and one of the 35 funding the Bakken Oil Pipeline, also known as the Dakota Access Pipeline. The council approved a resolution in December declaring support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the project and condemning the “militarized response” that has seen more than 600 people arrested as protests have raged for months around the oil-rich North Dakota reservation. Some local activists have pressed the city to divest in remarks to the council and through.

Manatee County Commission to vote on controversial Mosaic phosphate mine: Mosaic wants to start a new phosphate mine in Manatee County and it’s stirred up a lot of controversy. On Thursday, the county commission chambers were packed as people urged the commission to deny the project. At the meeting, the chamber was so packed, they needed an overflow room, while picketers stood outside. “We would just like to see these spaces left alone, and not risk an accident,” said protester Luigi Costello. Commissioners are deciding whether to approve Mosaic’s latest mining project. The company wants to start a phosphate mine on a 3,600-acre plot in Myakka City.

Swaney a historic pick for Missoula City Council: The competition was strong when Ruth Ann Swaney applied to fill the vacant Ward 2 Missoula City Council seat. She was interviewed by City Council the same day as a former state legislator, a candidate for justice of the peace last year, and a pharmacy director. So was she surprised when, after two quick rounds of voting Monday night at City Council, her name received the majority vote. “Yes!” she said emphatically Thursday, leaning forward over her desk in her office on the first floor of the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation building at the University of Montana, eyes wide, smile huge.

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