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CALIFORNIA

A judge says law enforcement can shut down outdoor medical marijuana gardens in FRESNO COUNTY.

The outdoor ban was put into effect nearly two months ago by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors after a series of shootings involving thieves trying to steal marijuana growing in plain sight, but it has not been enforced because of legal concerns.

The ban was proposed by Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea in September, and the judge agreed that Fresno County had the right to regulate marijuana plants and to force the gardens to go indoors. “I think the judge sent a pretty strong signal — whatever you have you better get out of the ground and harvested,” Perea told CBS 47.

The judge gave patients and growers until Nov. 30 to get their plants out of the ground.

The SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY Board of Supervisors passed a preliminary version of a new rule that forbids toy freebies, like Happy Meal toys, with meals that don’t meet minimum nutritional standards.

“This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children’s health first and join the wide range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment,” Supervisor Eric Mar, who introduced the legislation, said in a statement.

Though Mayor Gavin Newsom has said he would veto the ordinance, the first vote suggests a veto-proof majority, NPR reported.

FLORIDA

LEE COUNTY commissioners lifted their ban on concealed weapons in county parks.

A lawsuit against the county pointed out the county’s inconsistency with state law, which prohibits guns at professional sporting events, the Naples Daily News reported.

“I find it interesting that the State Legislature said firearms should be prohibited at professional events and school events,” Commissioner Ray Judah said, but not at youth sporting events, such as Little League baseball played at public parks.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY Animal Services found homes for 809 dogs and cats in October, more pets saved in a month than ever before in the history of the department.

In addition to the 809 adoptions, another 410 pets went home with 62 rescue partner organizations and 143 pets were reunited with their rightful owners.

“Seeing more than 36,000 pets abandoned at our shelter every year is heartbreaking, so we have to celebrate any good news,” said Sara Pizano, Miami-Dade Animal Service, director.   
MAINE

SOMERSET COUNTY residents voted to increase the number of county commissioners from three to five, and establish five new county districts.

With results tallied from all the major towns, the question of adopting a charter for Somerset County passed by a wide margin. Voters in Skowhegan, Pittsfield, Madison, Anson and Fairfield all said “yes” to the charter, which will change the way the county is governed.

County Administrator Larry Post said the effective date of the charter will be July 1, 2011.With new districts and the election of two new county commissioners, elections for all five seats will be held in November 2011, he said. The terms of service will be staggered beginning next year.

MARYLAND

GARRETT COUNTY voters have fulfilled the wish of a county commissioner candidate who died 12 days before the election.

When Dennis Glotfelty died, his family said he preferred voters nominate a write-in candidate, rather than vote for him and allow local Republican Party officials to nominate a successor after the election. Republican Bob Gatto won the write-in campaign.

MICHIGAN

WAYNE COUNTY officials voted to issue $300 million in bonds for a new jail to consolidate its far-flung and aging lockups.

Proponents say the plan would save $26 million a year by reducing inefficiencies of operating three jails. As part of the plan, Sheriff Benny Napoleon agreed to shed that amount from his budget by trimming 170 of the department’s 900 jobs through attrition. Other savings would come from reducing overtime, cutting transit costs by adding video arraignments and consolidating in areas such as medical and mental health services, the Detroit News reported.

NEW MEXICO

A few words of advice to city slickers who move to the country: “Gravel roads generate dust,” according to SANTA FE COUNTY’s version of the Code of the West.

County commissioners are considering a resolution that reads, in part, “…we offer this information to help people who have chosen to build and/or live in the rural areas of Santa Fe County,” The Santa Fe New Mexican reported. 

Commissioner Mike Anaya proposed the code, which has also been called “How to Avoid Surprises and Be a Good Neighbor When You’re Buying, Building and Developing in Santa Fe County.”

At least 16 counties — in New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Montana — have adopted versions of the code.

NEW YORK

ERIE COUNTY voters have spoken and will get what they want: a smaller County Legislature. Eighty-two percent of the electorate voted in favor of downsizing the legislature from 15 members to 11, according to the Buffalo News.

The measure, initiated by a citizen activist, almost didn’t make it onto the ballot. The county’s bipartisan elections commissioners disqualified the referendum because of alleged flaws in the county filing. But two courts subsequently upheld the ballot question.

According to some estimates, dropping four legislators would save the county more than $200,000 a year. That doesn’t take into account the salaries of four full-time aides to the county lawmakers.

NORTH CAROLINA

HENDERSON COUNTY has a new logo, thanks to the 3,196 citizens who voted to pick the winning image. The county announced a design competition in April, in conjunction with National County Government Month.

Fifteen designs were submitted and the top three were chosen by a panel of county employees. The winning logo will be used on Henderson County Government documents and publications.

OREGON

MULTHOMAH COUNTY hopes to save up to $600,000 a year by switching employees’ computer desktop applications from Microsoft to Google, the Oregonian reported. Approximately 3,500 county employees are making the transition, excluding the sheriff’s and district attorney’s office staffs, to Google’s Apps for Government.

Five hundred employees tested the applications during a pilot earlier this year. The other 3,000 made the switch last month.

PENNSYLVANIA

DAUPHIN COUNTY officials say they’ll take out a $34.7 million loan to cover the city of Harrisburg’s debt on an incinerator if the city can’t make the payment on time, The Patriot-News reported. Harrisburg, the state capital, faces a Dec. 15 deadline to make the payment. As a co-guarantor of the debt, Dauphin County is liable if the city doesn’t pay.

“This is not the course that we intended or wanted to take,” County Commission Chairman Jeff Haste said. “It’s a course we have to take.” Members of the three-man commission said they’ll only borrow the money if it becomes apparent that the city and another co-guarantor, the Harrisburg Authority, can’t meet their obligation.

TENNESSEE

Terrence L. Cobb, director of Nashville and DAVIDSON COUNTY’s Codes and Building Safety Department, has been honored by the International Code Council (ICC) with its Bobby J. Fowler Award.

The award recognized contributions to the building safety and fire prevention industry that advance the ICC’s goals to “achieve a safer and sustainable built environment.” Emphasis is placed on the recipient’s focus beyond local concerns to global issues and activities.

Cobb picked up the award at the council’s annual conference in Charlotte, N.C.

VIRGINIA

Photo courtesy of Arlington County, Va.

Visitors to ARLINGTON COUNTY won’t have to go to a visitor’s center to find out about the county’s attractions and activities. The center can come to them.

In a cost-cutting move, Arlington closed its bricks-and-mortar visitor’s center earlier this year. Now the county has rolled out — literally — its replacement: an electric-powered Mobile Visitors Center.

The vehicle will serve visitors near subway stations in the county and at major tourism events, like last month’s Marine Corps Marathon, at which it was unveiled.

Mobile Visitors Center cost $70,000, which is less than one year’s operation of the former storefront location ($78,000).