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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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USGS Grant to Fund Earthquake Early Warning System Expansion on West Coast

July 30, 2015 The United States Geological Survey announced on Thursday that it’s awarding $4 million to four West Coast universities for continued development of the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system. While such a system can’t predict when a major seismic event is going to start, once a quake is detected, a system...

Toledo Scales Back Microcystin Testing in Its Drinking Water; an Oklahoma City Alligator?

July 30, 2015 Here is some of what we’ve been reading today … TOLEDO, Ohio: Although the levels of toxic microcystin found in Lake Erie near the city of Toledo’s drinking water intake on Wednesday were double the levels detected two days earlier, municipal authorities will scale back daily testing for microcystin. As...

Portland, Oregon’s First Responders Will Be Marooned by Mega Quake; Watch Out for ‘Wayward Cherries’

July 29, 2015 Here’s what we’ve been reading today ... PORTLAND, Oregon: A recent New Yorker feature about the various risks posed by a future magnitude 9.0 Cascadia Megathrust earthquake off the coast of the Pacific Northwest has served as an alarming reminder of the region’s vulnerability to mass disaster. A follow-up feature...

Barbecue Regulations Roil Florida County; a Long-Delayed Maryland Project Is Delayed Again

July 28, 2015 ST. PETERSBURG, Florida: Think about this the next time you fire up the grill for a backyard cookout: Does the smoke from your barbecue fall within local regulations? That is a topic of major discussion in Pinellas County in the Tampa Bay area. A neighborhood dispute over the grilling odor...

Alabama Home to Nation’s Most Sexually Diseased City; The Problem With Plastic Payments for Jurors

July 27, 2015 Here’s some of what we’ve been reading today … MONTGOMERY, Alabama: Don’t expect to find this stat on local Chamber of Commerce promotional materials: The Yellowhammer State’s capital city is the most sexually diseased city in the nation with rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia at a higher rate than...

Lake Erie Toxic Algae Bloom Builds; Oklahoma Civil Forfeiture Rules

July 27, 2015 Here’s what we’ve been reading this weekend ... TOLEDO, Ohio: A strong algal bloom in western Lake Erie has been building this summer and is continuing to spread toward the Toledo area. According to NOAA, this summer’s algae severity index for Lake Erie is expected to hit 8.7 on a...

Mississippi Cities Remove State Flag; D.C. Government’s ‘Shake Shack’ Design Typeface

July 23, 2015 Here’s what we’ve been reading today … COLUMBUS, Mississippi: In the wake of the decision to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse, a handful of local officials in Mississippi have taken down their state’s flag—which features the Confederate battle standard in one corner—from city property, according to...

Feds Increasingly Frustrated With Lack of State Action on Hudson River Tunnels

July 23, 2015 Amtrak’s 105-year-old twin tunnels under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City already had a quickly deteriorating shelf life even before corrosive salt water from Hurricane Sandy accelerated the timeline. Those tunnels, originally built by the Pennsylvania Railroad, are not only critical to the economic health of...

Stats Shot: Infamous North Carolina Bridge on Target to Hit a Major Incident Milestone

July 22, 2015 This is the fourth installment in Stats Shot, a semi-regular series of posts looking at the statistics that shape state, county and municipal governments and the communities they serve across the United States. During a visit to North Carolina late last year, it was hard to not to swing through...

Santa Barbara’s Desalination Vote; Craigslist Founder’s New Jersey Community Toilet

July 22, 2015 Here's what we've been reading today ... SANTA BARBARA, California: There are many thirsty cities in California—too many in fact. But the city of Santa Barbara built an ocean water desalination plant in the 1990s that’s never been used but has been ready for reactivation during extreme drought conditons. With...