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Largest Land Owner in Atlanta Opens Green Space to the Public


School-playground-gated-and-closed-after-school-hours

Children and families in underserved communities have limited to access to green spaces and parks. However, one of the highest costs for creating a park is land acquisition. So, the largest land and property owner in Atlanta (4.6% Latino) —Atlanta Public Schools—is launching a new pilot program to open their green spaces to the public outside of operating hours. Atlanta’s Need for Parks The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit, ranks the largest 100 cities in the U.S. by how well those municipalities are meeting the public need for parks. Atlanta ranks 43rd on that list. Only two-thirds of the population live within a ten-minute walk of a public park. In Minneapolis and Minnesota, however, 97% of the population can reach a park in a ten-minute walk. Fewer ...

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Washington State Passes Comprehensive Toxic Chemicals Bill


Washington State chemical bill

Last month, Washington (12.7% Latino) state lawmakers approved far-reaching chemical legislation, which will regulate toxic substances in consumer products. The bill, which is awaiting signature from Governor Jay Inslee, aims to implement harmful chemical identification, restriction, and prohibition efforts. Toxic-free advocates are describing the law as one of the most substantial pieces of regulatory legislation in the country. “Washington state’s legislature has taken bold action to protect public health and the environment from the dangers of toxic chemicals,” said Liz Hitchcock, leader of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, in a press release. “Other states and the federal government should follow their lead.” What Does the Bill Entail? The Pollution Prevention for ...

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Water Bottle Filling Stations a Big Win for Kentucky Students


water bottle filling school latino girl

Kentucky (3% Latino) has become the first state to require water bottle filling stations for all newly constructed schools and school remodel projects, according to a Voices for Healthy Kids report. The new rule, signed into law by the governor on April 9, 2019, requires at least two water bottle filling stations per new school. It also requires one water bottle filling station or drinking water fountain for every 75 students projected to attend the new school, as well as regular maintenance of both stations and fountains. "More than 650,000 Kentucky public school students will have better access to hydration," according to Voices for Healthy Kids. Kentucky Water Quality Water bottle filling stations increase the amount of water students are drinking, providing equitable access ...

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San Antonio Declares May Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Month


Dr Colleen Bridger speaking about opiod task force in Aug 2017 with Bexar County Judge Nelson Woff and City of San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg Source William Luther San Antonio Express-News.jpg

San Antonio has had an epic two years promoting trauma-informed care. The nonprofit Voices for San Antonio launched Early Childhood Training Workshops. East Central ISD started trauma-informed support for students. San Antonio police notify schools when kids experience traumatic events. The city itself, spurred by health director Dr. Colleen Bridger, created its first-ever coordinator for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and started a consortium for citywide trauma-informed care Now the City of San Antonio Mayor and City Council and the Bexar County Judge and Commissioners Court are expected to approve a proclamation during the first week of May to declare May as Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Month. “Through May, we will have ceremonials, proclamations, press ...

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Colorado Reconsidering School Discipline for PreK through Second Grade


Elementary school kids arrive at school from the school bus

Colorado (21.5% Latino) students have faced high rates of disciplinary action for years. In 2018, nearly 6,000 preschool through second grade students were suspended or expelled from schools in that state. That’s why state leaders are pushing to make stricter standards for expelling and suspending young students. Harsh Discipline is Troubling Ineffective school discipline policies disrupt learning and harm a child’s future, according to EdSource. This kind of correction can also possibly trigger traumatic stress, reinforce unconscious biases, and hinder opportunities to address the causes of challenging behavior. Young students behave in challenging ways. The classroom setting and school schedules can prompt defiant behaviors. Colorado state legislators realize the ...

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FDA Bans Some, But Not All, Harmful Chemicals in Hand Sanitizers


Hand sanitizer

Following a two-year review of hand sanitizer ingredients, the FDA finalized a rule that bans the use of 28 harmful substances from these products. This regulation will only affect roughly 3% of sanitizers on the market, and the FDA has yet to ban three of the most common chemicals: benzalkonium chloride, ethyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol, according to CNN. FDA officials said they would continue to seek information concerning those substances. “Our action today aims to help provide consumers with confidence that the over-the-counter hand sanitizers they’re using are safe and effective when they don’t have access to water to wash with soap,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a press release last ...

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Cities Fight to Lower Speed Limits on Deadly Roads


Lowering speed limits in Portland. Source: Twitter @andrewtheen

Speed—not speeding—is the most critical factor in the severity of a crash. However, due to state preemption of local authority, many cities can’t lower speed limits without lengthy state studies and procedures. Some cities, though, are still pushing to drop speeds, and uplift safety. Lower Speed Limits, Safer Roads Traffic crashes are one of the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S. In 2017, speeding accounted for more than one fourth of all traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Check out this interactive map of over 59,000 speeding fatalities between 2010 and 2015, thanks to the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) and the Vision Zero Network. A 5 mph increase in the maximum speed limit was ...

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New Jersey: 5 Companies Responsible for Contamination Cleanup 


New Jersey PFAS

Five companies now must shell out millions of dollars to clean up hazardous chemical contamination in water and other sources throughout New Jersey (20.4% Latino). The directive comes straight from the state Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and impacts five major corporations: Solvay, DuPont, Dow DuPont, Chemours, and 3M. The companies’ money will go toward the removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a manufactured, dangerous substance. “Citing near daily findings of dangerous chemicals in New Jersey’s air, land, and water, the Department of Environmental Protection is identifying five companies it says are responsible for the extensive contamination and directing them to fund millions of dollars in assessment and cleanup efforts,” NJDEP ...

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Pensacola Hiring First-Ever Complete Streets Transportation Planner


Florida street without crosswalk.

Florida leads the nation in the number of pedestrians killed while walking on the street. The state (25.6% Latino) had the highest Pedestrian Danger Index numbers, according to the latest Dangerous by Design report from Smart Growth America. In response, Grover Robinson, the mayor of Pensacola, announced that the city created a new staff position to increase the safety of city roads by advancing Complete Streets. This is another step in the city’s plans to make pedestrian safety a priority, following the Florida Department of Transportation updating their 30-year old Complete Streets policy in 2014. “The problem we have is that we’ve done such a good job at building streets, and building them for cars, and building them for cars to go fairly fast that they aren’t ...

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