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Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 7:44 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 7:51 PM
— As of midnight Friday morning, the government has officially shutdown.
Many government operations will continue — U.S. troops will stay at their posts and mail will get delivered. But almost half the 2 million civilian federal workers will be barred from doing their jobs.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT LOCAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FACILITIES
How key parts of the federal government would be affected by a shutdown:
A shutdown plan posted on the Treasury Department’s website shows that nearly 44 percent of the IRS’ 80,565 employees will be exempt from being furloughed during a shutdown. That would mean nearly 45,500 IRS employees will be sent home just as the agency is preparing for the start of the tax filing season and ingesting the sweeping changes made by the new GOP tax law.
The Republican architects of the tax law have promised that millions of working Americans will see heftier paychecks this month, with less money withheld by employers in anticipation of lower income taxes. The IRS recently issued new withholding tables for employers.
But Marcus Owens, who for 10 years headed the IRS division dealing with charities and political organizations, said it’s a “virtual certainty” that the larger paychecks will be delayed if there’s a lengthy government shutdown.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT
Half of the more than 80,000 employees will be sent home. Key programs will continue to function because their funding has ongoing authorization and doesn’t depend on annual approval by Congress. But critical disruptions could occur across the vast jurisdiction of HHS programs — including the seasonal flu program.
Medicare, which insures nearly 59 million seniors and disabled people, will keep going. And so will Medicaid, which covers more than 74 million low-income and disabled people, including most nursing home residents.
States will continue to receive payments for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers about 9 million kids. However, long-term funding for the program will run out soon unless Congress acts to renew it.
Deep into a tough flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be unable to support the government’s annual seasonal flu program. And CDC’s ability to respond to disease outbreaks will be significantly reduced.
Many of the nearly 115,000 Justice Department employees have national security and public safety responsibilities that allow them to keep working during a shutdown. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election will also continue working. His office is paid for indefinitely.
The more than 95,000 employees who are “exempted” include most of the members of the national security division, U.S. attorneys, and most of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service and federal prison employees. Criminal cases will continue, but civil cases will be postponed as long as doing so doesn’t compromise public safety. Most law enforcement training will be canceled, per the department’s contingency plan.
Many State Department operations will continue in a shutdown. Passport and visa processing, which are largely self-funded by consumer fees, will not shut down. The agency’s main headquarters in Washington, in consultation with the nearly 300 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions around the world, will draw up lists of nonessential employees who will be furloughed.
The U.S. military will continue to fight wars and conduct missions around the world, including in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. And members of the military will report to work, though they won’t get paid until Congress approves funding.
Weapons and equipment maintenance will shut down, military intelligence operations would stop and training for most of the reserve force would be put on hold, he said. And any National Guard forces heading out to do weekend training duty around the country will arrive at armories and be told to go home.
U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES
The workforce at the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies will be pared down significantly, according to a person familiar with contingency procedures.
The official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity, said employees who are considered essential and have to work will do so with no expectation of a regular paycheck.
While they can be kept on the job, federal workers can’t be paid for days worked during a shutdown. In the past, however, they have been paid retroactively even if they were ordered to stay home.
HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT
A department spokesman said nearly 90 percent of Homeland Security employees are considered essential and will continue to perform their duties during a government shutdown.
That means most Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration workers will stay on the job, according to the department’s shutdown plan, dated Friday.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be staffed at about 78 percent, meaning more than 15,000 of the agency’s employees will keep working. The Secret Service, also part of Homeland Security, will retain more than 5,700 employees during the shutdown.
During the last shutdown, the Interior Department said national parks and other public lands will remain as accessible as possible. That position is a change from previous shutdowns, when most parks were closed and became high-profile symbols of dysfunction.
More than half — 34,600 — of the Department of Transportation’s 55,100 employees will continue working during a shutdown. The bulk of those staying on the job work for the Federal Aviation Administration, which operates the nation’s air traffic control system.
Controllers and aviation, pipeline and railroad safety inspectors are among those who would continue to work.
But certification of new aircraft will be limited, and processing of airport construction grants, training of new controllers, registration of planes, air traffic control modernization research and development, and issuance of new pilot licenses and medical certificates will stop.
At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, investigations on auto safety defects will be suspended, incoming information on possible defects from manufacturers and consumers won’t be reviewed and compliance testing of vehicles and equipment will be delayed.
The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, whose operations are mostly paid for out of the Federal Highway Trust Fund, will continue most of their functions. The fund’s revenue comes from federal gas and diesel taxes, which will continue to be collected. But work on issuing new regulations will stop throughout the department and its nine agencies.
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A survivor of Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, slammed President Donald Trump, lawmakers and the National Rifle Association in a scathing speech Saturday at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale.
"Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving," said Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "But instead, we are up here standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. Since the time of the founding fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed, but our laws have not."
Gonzalez called out one of Trump's tweets following the shooting that left 17 people dead.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" Trump wrote Thursday morning.
Gonzalez said Saturday: "We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you didn't know this kid, OK? We did. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife."
She added: "If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association."
She went on to criticize him and other lawmakers.
"To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!" she said, prompting the crowd to chant, "Shame on you" in response.
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 6:38 PM
Updated: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 12:07 PM
HARRISON TWP. — UPDATE @ 11:56 a.m. (Feb. 19)
Two people are in jail in this incident that injured a Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy.
India M. Fambro, 31, is in Montgomery County Jail for assault and obstructing official business.
Javas D. McNair, 39, is in jail for a warrant of nonsupport of dependents.
A sheriff’s report reveals that the driver, Fambro, reportedly ran over a deputy’s foot with her SUV as well as struck a second deputy with the vehicle’s mirror.
The deputy that had his foot ran over was standing on the passenger side of the vehicle, trying to talk with the male passenger who had warrants. His condition is not known.
The deputy on the driver’s side had his hand hit by the mirror as the vehicle fled, according to the report.
The duo was detained after a short chase, but only after deputies broke the window open because the driver would not open the door.
More charges are pending as there were two children in the car at the time.
FIRST REPORT (Feb. 18)
A Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy was struck by a car fleeing a traffic stop, confirms emergency dispatchers.
The deputy’s right foot was run over in the 400 block of Shoup Mill Road, during a traffic stop at SVG Motors.
The vehicle is reportedly a white GMC Yukon that fled the scene in the area of Foxton Court and Needmore Road, according to emergency dispatchers.
This happened around 6:20 p.m. Sunday.
We have a reporter on the way to the scene and will update this report.
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:39 PM
BUTLER COUNTY — Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones today said he will take steps to bolster local school safety by training those who work there.
Jones posted to social media that his office will offer free conceal-and-carry class to a limited number of teachers in Butler County. He also said training regarding on how to react during school shootings would be provided.
He said the details would be coming soon online and suggested that people could visit the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page for more information for CCW for teachers.
Jones on Saturday said he has “been saying this for years” as he tweeted a Fox News story that Polk County, Fla. Sheriff Grady Judd said it would be a “game changer” to allow some hand-picked teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.
Been saying this for years https://t.co/1oVN2AbEfd— Richard K. Jones (@butlersheriff) February 17, 2018
Jones, in a video posted Thursday, urged local schools to act now to improve school security in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school on Wednesday.
He said local schools should stop doing fire drills and allow armed former police and military veterans into buildings to help protect students.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 12:00 PM
If you do not own a bike and sometimes think you might want to take one for a spin, your chance could come this spring as orange Spin bikes are introduced to the Miami campus and local community.
It’s the culmination of a four-year process for three college seniors graduating this May with a dream to introduce bike sharing. Unlike some bikeshare programs which require users to go to a station to secure the ride and return it there, Spin is a stationless program using GPS and a phone app to locate the nearest available bike, which can then be left wherever it is no longer needed.
Maggie Callaghan, Miami’s student body president this year, said a bikeshare program was something she and two others wanted to see on the campus when they came here as freshmen.
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“When we came here freshman year, it was something to work on. This year, everything fell into place,” Callaghan said. “Most bike sharing (businesses) have stations. Spin is stationless. I think students will like it. It’s easy, even for the not-so-tech-savvy.”
Callaghan said her role has been behind-the-scenes this academic year because of her post as student body president. She credits Alex Wortman, the secretary for infrastructure and sustainability for Associated Student Government, and Sean Perme, ASG secretary for off-campus affairs, with bringing a bike sharing pilot program to Oxford.
All three appeared before Oxford City Council Feb. 6 to talk about the Spin program and explain the pilot program planned for later this semester.
The bikeshare program will be open to community residents as well as students, they explained, and the firm will bring an estimated 15 to 20 jobs to the area. They asked council to consider signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Spin, permitting them to operate here, but Wortman explained there is no liability for the city. It is not a contract, he said, merely an authorization to proceed and a way to make the city aware of the program operating here.
Mayor Kate Rousmaniere, a bicyclist herself, said they would have the memorandum reviewed by the city’s law director and consider having a resolution to approve it on this Tuesday’s meeting agenda.
The city’s Student Community Relations Commission had a prior presentation from Spin about their program.
“It’s nothing but a good thing,” said Council member Glenn Ellerbe, who serves on the SCRC. “I hope by the (next) February meeting we can have a resolution for the manager to sign the Memorandum of Understanding.”
Wortman told Council it would be approximately four weeks after signing the MOU before the pilot bikes could be in use here, which would make it shortly after Miami’s Spring Break. He said approximately 50 bikes would be brought here for the pilot program with an estimated 150 when the program goes full in August.
Later, he spoke about the process of getting a bike sharing program here after it seemed the university was close to starting one two years ago.
“I always liked bike sharing. My sophomore year, I was elected to student government and the university seemed close to signing with the station model. I went abroad my junior year and when I came back, I expected bikes,” Wortman said. “The university did not do it. Sean and I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”
Perme is a co-leader of SCRC and they hosted Chris King, campus partnerships manager for Spin, in December. King brought along one of the bikes, which helped convinced those involved the company was the right choice for Miami and Oxford.
The bikes are specially made for Spin with GPS for tracking their locations and a locking function the user can access with a phone app. Wortman explained the bikes have a mechanism behind the seat which locks the rear wheel of the bike.
The app will allow a user to learn the location of the nearest Spin bike and reserve it so only that person can unlock it, but that must be done within 10 minutes. Once unlocked, the customer can ride it for transportation or recreational use and just leave it for the next person who needs it, using the app to lock it again and end that rider’s time of use.
Users can ride the bikes for 50-cents for each 30 minutes or buy an annual pass at $100 for community residents for unlimited use for a calendar year or $50 for Miami students or those with Miami e-mail accounts.
“The bikes are specially made and branded bright orange,” Wortman said. “We asked about red for Miami but they are orange. It’s their branding and business model.”
It will be possible to ride the bikes out of Oxford, but they must be left within the city limits for their “geo fence” to lock the bike and end the user’s time with it.
The jobs to be created will involve a Resource Team of licensed bike technicians to set up and repair bikes and people to keep track of the where the bikes are left—possibly moving them to more convenient locations—as well as responding to complaints about they are left. Such comments can be made to them on-line.
Wortman was asked at the Council meeting if they had spoken to Bikewise owner Doug Hamilton and he said he was not sure if any substantive discussion had happened but Spin is aware of the local business as a possible repair and upkeep resource.
Spin was founded in San Francisco in 2016, as a start-up using help from other businesses such as Y Combinator, Uber, Lyft and other technology companies.
Callaghan credited Wortman and Perme with the work of contacting bikeshare companies and talking about the process. She said as Student Body President her role was more behind-the-scenes. She said the firm’s liability insurance coverage is the best they investigated.