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Michael Grass

Senior Editor Michael Grass, who joined GovExec in June 2014, is the founding co-editor of DCist.com and worked as a copy editor at Roll Call, local and online editor at The Washington Post's Express newspaper, deputy managing editor at The New York Observer's Politicker.com, deputy managing editor at Washington City Paper and the D.C., Maryland and Virginia local editor for The Huffington Post. He also managed a non-profit network of state-based policy news sites in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and New Mexico.
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Mixed Messages With Utah’s Deseret Flag?; Virginia’s ‘Road to Nowhere’ Settlement

July 2, 2015 SALT LAKE CITY, Utah: With the Confederate flag under greater scrutiny in South Carolina and other parts of the United States, in Utah, there are questions whether the Deseret territorial flag should be flown in public spaces. A Utah historian, John Gary Maxwell, told The Salt Lake Tribune that there...

Making Train Delay Information More Accessible Via Text Messaging

July 1, 2015 SAN JOSE, Calif. — For transit riders, information is power. And for rail passengers there’s nothing more frustrating than rushing to a station to catch a train and finding out that it’s delayed. Instead of waiting around at the station, that time could have been better spent. Some Northern California...

A Plan to End State Worker Domestic Partner Benefits; LePage’s Abuse of Power in Maine?

June 30, 2015 MADISON, Wisconsin: A legislative proposal is calling for the phasing-out of domestic partner benefits for state employees following Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriage. The Republican proposal from Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt wouldn’t cancel existing domestic partner benefits but would prohibit new ones. But Democrats are saying not so...

San Francisco’s Public Libraries to Get 10-Gigabit-Per-Second Boost

June 29, 2015 SAN FRANCISCO — The host city for the American Library Association’s annual conference made a big announcement on Monday regarding its public libraries: The San Francisco Public Library will be getting an unprecedented upgrade in its Internet connectivity. Working with the City and County of San Francisco and the Corporation...

Puerto Rico Is ‘Out of Options’ With $72 Billion Debt; Florida Health Info Hack

June 29, 2015 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico: The commonwealth’s $72 billion debt load has been mounting and the governor is “out of options,” one analyst told Bloomberg Business. A report from a group of former International Monetary Fund officials paints a dire situation: “There is no U.S. precedent for anything of this scale...

A Triumphant Victory, 11 Years After San Francisco City Hall’s ‘Winter of Love’

June 29, 2015 SAN FRANCISCO — More than two hours following the start of Sunday’s Pride parade along Market Street, an open-top vintage car with a “Just Married” banner carried two men dressed in white tuxedos. One of the men shouted out to the crowd with a bullhorn: “San Francisco, we won!” The...

California County Blacklists Wall Street Bank Felons; Pennsylvania Gun Law Struck Down

June 25, 2015 Greetings from Santa Cruz, California. Route Fifty is currently traveling in the Bay Area so stay tuned for on-the-ground dispatches. In the meantime, here are some state and local stories from around the nation, but let’s start here in Santa Cruz ... SANTA CRUZ, California: In an op-ed, former U.S....

Village Taxpayers May Regret Major League Soccer Team; 3,000 Calories Per Day to Fight Wildfires

June 23, 2015 Some state and local news from around the country ... BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois: This suburban Chicago village may be regretting its decision to be the home of the Chicago Fire Major League Soccer team’s stadium. As Bloomberg Business reports, Bridgeview “is saddling taxpayers with more debt as the arena it built...

How Much Marijuana Will Be Detected in Municipal Sewage?

June 23, 2015 Earlier this month, Route Fifty featured the work by Seattle Public Utilities to test the levels of pollutants and contaminants that turn up in the debris collected by municipal street sweepers—stuff like PCBs, fecal coliform and phosphorus that can cause algal blooms in local waterways. It’s nasty, but important research....

‘Record Pace’ for Oklahoma Earthquakes; A Long Legislative Summer Ahead in Raleigh?

June 22, 2015 Some state and local news from around the nation ... TULSA, Oklahoma: These days, seismic activity in north-central Oklahoma is not an unusual occurrance. Earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 and higher happen nearly daily and many pin an uptick in quakes on activities related to energy extraction. But that seismic uptick...