Oregon Study Shows California Workers’ Comp Rates Falling, but Still High

Workers’ compensation premium rates fell considerably nationwide, while California continued to see among the worst rates in the nation, according to a new study out from the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

The department puts out its Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary report every two years.

California Insurance Commissioner OKs Workers’ Comp Rating Bureau Filing

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has approved a filing from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau’s that makes amendments to uniform statistical reporting and experience rating.

The WCIRB submitted a regulatory filing and ensuing amendments to the filing in Aug. 1 which was followed by a public hearing was held on Aug. 3.

Police Departments Are at a Digital Training Crossroads

Nearly two-thirds of law enforcement personnel reported their agencies use artificial intelligence to some degree for administrative, forensics or social media risk analysis work, according to an Accenture survey released Monday at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Orlando, Florida.

The Dublin, Ireland-based consulting company surveyed 309 employees from policing organizations across six countries, including the U.S., and found 76 percent expected to need new digital skills within five years.

California Heads into its Peak Fire Season with State-Sized Burn Scar

California is poised to set an annual record it never wanted to break: the amount of earth scorched by wildfires.

Blazes have already ripped through enough acres to blacken the entire state of Delaware, and what’s typically California’s worst month for fires is just beginning. At least 11 people have died this year from wildfires that shut down Yosemite National Park, drove thousands from their homes and destroyed more than 2,000 buildings. And forecasters say prospects for rain are slim.

Schools Are Spending Big On Surveillance Technology. Is It Worth It?

As other elementary schools across the country were preparing for the new school year by cleaning classrooms and training teachers, Hermosa Elementary, in Artesia, New Mexico was installing a network of wireless microphones that could pick up the specific concussive audio signature of gunfire. Placed high in classrooms and hallways, the golf-ball-sized devices can alert authorities to the sound and location of gunshots, reportedly within 20 seconds of firing. They can also identify make and model of guns, and automatically lock doors and sound alarms throughout the campus.

Google Tool Offers Look at City Emissions, Solar Power Potential

Google is in the process of rolling out a map-based data tool that lets users assess variables like carbon emissions and rooftop solar power potential for individual cities.

The company released a "beta" version of its Environmental Insights Explorer last month. For now it features five cities, including two in the U.S.—Mountain View, California and Pittsburgh. The project is designed to make it easier for people to access and use climate-related datasets that could prove useful for local government planning.

Crime or Not, Chicago Still Serves as a Model of Urban Growth

If America’s growing Sun Belt cities are looking for a model to emulate to achieve standards of prosperity, sustainability and affordability, they should look to Chicago.

Chicago may seem an odd choice to many, especially those who are mostly looking at the global economy-fueled growth of, say, New York, San Francisco or Seattle. And indeed, Chicago’s historical culture of political corruption, its history of racism and segregation, and its current high rates of violent crime are troubling and real obstacles to this view. But somehow, despite these challenges, Chicago has still been able to be a top site for major corporate relocations and expansions, position itself as a leader in downtown construction and redevelopment, and host a housing market that remains eminently affordable relative to America’s superstar cities. And it’s done so while having many of the urban amenities that make today’s top cities attractive: It’s walkable, has strong public transit, and offers a wealth of commercial, elite educational and cultural opportunities.


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