Supreme Court OKs expanded hacking power for FBI

The Supreme Court approved a controversial rule on April 28 that would allow U.S. judges to issue search warrants for computers outside their jurisdictions, a move critics say would significantly expand the FBI's hacking powers.

Spotlight

City of Saskatoon

Saskatoon continues to be Canada’s fastest growing city, and this strong population growth creates a unique position. The City ranks highest of all major Canadian cities in year-to-year growth rate in jobs, along with the lowest jobless rate of 4.1% in 2013. Saskatoon is a city people want to stay - and make their home. Exciting and rewarding opportunities for career development await in this city growing forward.

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Government Business

Why Active-Active Data Centers Fit the Bill for Local Governments

Article | July 14, 2022

In Michigan’s Muskegon County, some departments need 24/7 access to computers, applications and the IP-based phone system, including the Muskegon County Sheriff's Office, the Muskegon County Juvenile Transition Center and the Muskegon County Wastewater Management System. To improve uptime, the county recently upgraded its IT infrastructure and turned its primary and secondary data centers into an active-active environment. Now, if one data center goes down, the second site automatically continues IT operations. “We are a 24-hour operation. Downtime is not an option,” says Ivan Phillips, information systems director for the county

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Government Business

Cities, counties launching projects to reach sustainability goals

Article | July 11, 2022

Motorists and automobile lovers are already noticing rather rapid change. Sustainability goals adopted by elected officials at cities and counties are continuing to promote projects that support walking, biking, and using public transportation. Housing density, walkable communities, technology enhancement and convenient public transportation are the goals. Parking options are being reduced. Automobiles are being banned on many community streets, and cities are adding parks, entertainment venues, affordable housing, and more retail. Mixed use development, biking lanes, and convenient transportation options for non-motorized travel are the goal. The arguments for such changes are that people will be healthier and safer, the air will be cleaner, and there will be more options for people with disabilities. The trend is called ‘livable and walkable communities,’ and as it sweeps through the country, it opens up thousands of partnering opportunities between public entities and private sector contractors. Indiana The city of Indianapolis plans to add more sidewalks throughout the city and has commissioned an inventory to determine how many and which streets don’t have a sidewalk. The results of that study will be published by the end of 2020. The city, which covers 360 square miles, has approximately 8,400 lane miles of streets. Indiana’s Department of Transportation maintains about one-third of the state’s sidewalks, and the cities are responsible for the rest. The study is part of the Indy Moves plan, a long-range planning document that combines walking, biking, and public transportation goals. More than 400 projects are outlined that include building new roads, developing greenways, upgrading existing roads with sidewalks, and constructing more bike lanes. Adding sidewalks to every street without them could cost more than $1 billion. The sidewalks, however, appear to be a high priority because city officials have pledged net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and that requires fewer automobiles in the city. Texas In August, the city of Houston approved a plan that is built around walkable places and transit-oriented programs that encourage pedestrian-friendly spaces. The city, like many others throughout the country, will work to promote mixed-use development designed for walkability. For three years, the city has studied ways to make neighborhoods more walkable. Its new plan lists Midtown, Emancipation Avenue, and the Northside as the first places of high focus. Ordinances will be effective beginning October 1. Some of the first initiatives include the construction of facades closer to the road, expansion of sidewalks and relocation of parking lots to the side or rear of buildings. Additionally, the ordinances call for additional bike parking standards in areas that are within a half-mile walking distance from Metro transit station platforms. New Hampshire The Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission recently unveiled its Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Plan. The document outlines projects that include constructing streets and paths that encourage walking and biking. It calls for developing safer intersections and compact and well-signed city blocks. The city of Manchester has applied for a $25 million federal grant to will help fund a pedestrian bridge and the addition of a new street to help alleviate traffic congestion around the Southern New Hampshire University parking garage. City leaders hope to know by November if their grant request has been approved. If so, projects related to improving connectivity and walkability will be launched. The plan calls for an approximate $125 million investment, but the projects could unlock $600 million more in anticipated development. The new developments are expected to include a facility for 1,802 residential units, a hotel with 154 rooms, 785,000 square feet of office space, and 198,000 square feet of retail space. Illinois The city of Chicago has announced an initiative called INVEST South/West. This plan commits $750 million of public funds for projects in 12 commercial corridors in 10 neighborhoods. The objective of this plan is to improve streetscapes and public and also strengthening transportation networks and repurposing vacant lots for public amenities and affordable housing. Currently, three solicitation documents have been released for one neighborhood but numerous others will be released in coming months for projects in other neighborhoods. The initial solicitation documents call for proposals by November 24 with construction to begin by the end of 2020. Projects outlined for the various neighborhoods were developed through a months-long community-engagement process, and the developers and contractors will be expected to begin work quickly. California The city of Modesto has approved a 20-year plan that calls for bicycle lanes as well as widening and enhancing of sidewalks. Other projects are also planned with the overall objective of making neighborhoods more convenient for non-drivers and encouraging foot traffic and bicycles. City leaders point out that the downtown area has strong office, restaurant, and entertainment sectors, but there is a desire to reduce automobile traffic. Denser housing options and the encouragement of transportation options that include walking and biking are the goal. Construction of new home sites, retail, and other uses will be left to developers. City leaders plan to replace the Stanislaus County Courthouse and adjacent jail to make that property available for new, denser home sites. A pedestrian-friendly route would lead to the Tuolumne River. Georgia Clayton County and the cities of Sandy Springs, Savannah, and Valdosta were selected for funding in Georgia Tech's 2020 Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. Each region will receive $100,000 in grant funding to be used for planning purposes. The Clayton County Smart Pedestrian Planning project outlines plans to promote mobility, equity, and the identification of smart technologies to support walkability in communities. Sidewalk data will be collected, and the county will oversee the selection of pilot projects in locations that represent different neighborhood typologies. The first projects will be studied for future development of additional regions. Cities and counties throughout the country are rushing to meet sustainability goals and these efforts are resulting in an abundance of contracting opportunities for developers, engineering firms, construction companies, landscape firms, and technology providers. Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

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Cybersecurity

How Computer-Aided Design Is Used in Government

Article | March 23, 2022

Federal agencies design a wide range of tools, equipment, vehicles and even rockets. Computer-aided design (CAD) technology allows agencies and users to create digital designs more efficiently. CAD is used for a lot more than designing buildings, but is a basic building block of a more advanced tool known as Building Information Modeling, or BIM. CAD can be used to render 2D digital models of products, equipment and buildings. BIM takes those efforts to the next level and serves as a 3D design tool to “create and simulate how a building would operate,” says Andrew Friendly, associate vice president of government affairs at Autodesk, a leading CAD and BIM firm.

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Wastewater projects can rarely be delayed; contracting opportunities are abundant

Article | July 24, 2020

Wastewater is an integral part of public infrastructure, and contracting opportunities related to wastewater projects often represent multi-million-dollar efforts. However, because of their very nature, wastewater projects are often overlooked by companies. The projects, for some reason, rarely merit the type of visibility that road, bridge, and rail projects receive. The COVID-19 pandemic has curbed many things, including public initiatives, but numerous wastewater projects continue to be launched because they are considered critical. Almost all wastewater projects are necessary to either maintain or expand services that citizens must have without interruption. The following represents only a fraction of wastewater-related infrastructure project opportunities currently being planned throughout the U.S. Nebraska In June, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded South Sioux City a $12.2 million grant for a wastewater treatment plant. The project, which will support business growth, will be launched in an area that suffered severe flood damage in 2019. The new plant will be built near an opportunity zone, and the grant, which will be matched with another $12.2 million in local funding, should result in the creation of about 60 jobs. This opportunity will move quickly because the completion date and the timeline established for full operation is less than two and a half years. Arizona The city of Buckeye has appropriated $3.1 million for construction of an additional discharge point for the Sundance Wastewater Reclamation Facility. Planning and design of the facility is scheduled to begin soon, and construction is planned for the city’s upcoming fiscal year. The city of Goodyear has announced plans to install wastewater collection lines as part of a 10-year infrastructure improvement plan which is necessary to support population growth. Funding for this project has been secured, and the city will invest more than $20.5 million in this particular construction project. Oklahoma One of the challenges with operating any wastewater treatment plant is odor control. In Oklahoma City, the water utilities trust has set aside $5.3 million in fiscal year 2021 to deal with that issue. Due to robust development within close proximity of treatment plants and lift stations, the city will install new odor control systems at various wastewater plants in areas where they are needed. To augment water supply and to expand the water reuse system, Oklahoma City also has planned other wastewater reuse improvements. A total of $31.4 million has been budgeted for these purposes. Oregon With the help of a $2.45 million Community Development Block Grant, the city of Ontario will, in the near future, enter the construction phase of a project to improve its wastewater system. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality requires that wastewater discharge into the Snake River be at a limit for arsenic that is lower than the federal drinking water standard. To meet those requirements, the city has completed the final design and environmental assessment of wastewater system improvement needs and almost is ready to begin construction. Officials announced in July that funding has been secured. Minnesota In the city of Shakopee near Minneapolis, the Blue Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant produces Class A fertilizer. The decades-old wastewater solids drying facility is nearing the end of its useful life, and city officials have budgeted $3.1 million in plant design improvements for fiscal year 2021. The cost projection for the construction, which will follow quickly, has been estimated at $45.9 million. Completion of this project may extend over several years. The cities of Lake Elmo and Woodbury are collaborating on a project that will provide interceptor facilities to convey wastewater from portions of each city to the Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant in St. Paul. The estimated $5.6 million project budgeted for fiscal year 2021 calls for reconstruction of the Wilmes Lake force main. The project is critical because of population growth in this eastern portion of the Minneapolis metropolitan area. Both design and construction are scheduled to commence in fiscal year 2021. Texas The North Texas Municipal Water District, which serves customers in several DFW-area cities, has several wastewater projects slated for the summer and fall. The various projects include a $20 million improvement project for the South Mesquite Regional Wastewater Plant and a $50 million plus project to improve drainage at the Wilson Creek Regional Wastewater Plant. These projects are moving quickly, and interested contracting firms should seek more detailed information immediately. Washington The state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund has awarded a $66 million low-interest loan to the city of Seattle for a Ship Canal Water Quality Project that consists of constructing a storage tunnel between the Ballard and Wallingford neighborhoods. The large-scale project will significantly reduce sewer outflows in the ship canal. The project, a joint effort between Seattle Public Utilities and the King County Department of Natural Resources, is slated for fiscal year 2021. The Eastsound Sewer and Water District has been granted $4.9 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and has announced plans to upgrade its existing wastewater treatment facility. This project is necessary to address aging equipment, future flow and loading capacity, current standards for redundancy and reliability, and discharge permit requirements. This project also is scheduled for fiscal year 2021. Water, in all its many uses, is a precious asset, and when water issues are combined with environmental requirements, demand issues, or aging infrastructure, there is no option to delay necessary repair or expansion. Contracting opportunities for water projects throughout the country in the next decade will be exceedingly abundant. Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

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Spotlight

City of Saskatoon

Saskatoon continues to be Canada’s fastest growing city, and this strong population growth creates a unique position. The City ranks highest of all major Canadian cities in year-to-year growth rate in jobs, along with the lowest jobless rate of 4.1% in 2013. Saskatoon is a city people want to stay - and make their home. Exciting and rewarding opportunities for career development await in this city growing forward.

Related News

Donald Trump's apparent 'U-turn' on Huawei ban explained and what happens now

abc | July 03, 2019

US President Donald Trump surprised many at the G20 Summit in Osaka when he relaxed his ban on American companies doing business with Huawei, which has been at the centre of his trade war with China. The apparent backflip means that businesses like Google and Qualcomm can tentatively continue business as usual with Huawei, without requiring special permission from the US federal authorities. But the White House and Commerce Department haven't yet clarified whether the decision will affect Huawei's use of Google's Android operating system.

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Libya's GNA: US stands by us as the legitimate government

aljazeera | June 08, 2019

A senior official from Libya's UN-recognised government has voiced confidence over US support and called for greater diplomatic efforts by Washington as renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar's forces try to seize Tripoli.President Donald Trump in April sowed confusion when he spoke by telephone with Haftar - who is backed by US allies such as the United Arab Emirates - and praised his role in "fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources"."Before I came here, there were a lot of rumours about the US not supporting our government," Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maetig said after talks with congresspeople and the State Department in Washington on Friday.

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US 'misuses law to harass' migrant rights advocates: Amnesty

aljazeera | July 03, 2019

The United States government is waging a campaign against lawyers, journalists and activists who support the rights of migrants and asylum seekers and document abuses along the US-Mexico border, according to a new report by Amnesty International. The report, published on Tuesday, details a pattern of border interrogations, travel restrictions, searches, criminal investigations, prosecution and other actions taken since last year by the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice.

Read More

Donald Trump's apparent 'U-turn' on Huawei ban explained and what happens now

abc | July 03, 2019

US President Donald Trump surprised many at the G20 Summit in Osaka when he relaxed his ban on American companies doing business with Huawei, which has been at the centre of his trade war with China. The apparent backflip means that businesses like Google and Qualcomm can tentatively continue business as usual with Huawei, without requiring special permission from the US federal authorities. But the White House and Commerce Department haven't yet clarified whether the decision will affect Huawei's use of Google's Android operating system.

Read More

Libya's GNA: US stands by us as the legitimate government

aljazeera | June 08, 2019

A senior official from Libya's UN-recognised government has voiced confidence over US support and called for greater diplomatic efforts by Washington as renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar's forces try to seize Tripoli.President Donald Trump in April sowed confusion when he spoke by telephone with Haftar - who is backed by US allies such as the United Arab Emirates - and praised his role in "fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources"."Before I came here, there were a lot of rumours about the US not supporting our government," Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maetig said after talks with congresspeople and the State Department in Washington on Friday.

Read More

US 'misuses law to harass' migrant rights advocates: Amnesty

aljazeera | July 03, 2019

The United States government is waging a campaign against lawyers, journalists and activists who support the rights of migrants and asylum seekers and document abuses along the US-Mexico border, according to a new report by Amnesty International. The report, published on Tuesday, details a pattern of border interrogations, travel restrictions, searches, criminal investigations, prosecution and other actions taken since last year by the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice.

Read More

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