May 1, 2015

Feds reach $73 million settlement with New Mexico over radiation leakLas Cruces Sun News

The Energy Department will funnel more than $73 million toward road and water projects around New Mexico as part of a settlement over a radiation leak that forced the indefinite closure of a troubled nuclear waste dump.

The agreement, announced by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and state Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn, follows months of tense and slow negotiations.

The settlement is the largest ever reached between a state and the department, Flynn said, noting that the agency needed to be held accountable for putting people at risk. - - 5/1/15

 

President Obama Announces New Library Initiatives -- Library Journal

At a visit to Washington, DC’s Anacostia Neighborhood Library on April 30, President Barack Obama announced two new initiatives that promise to rally America’s libraries, publishers, and nonprofit organizations to strengthen learning opportunities for all children, particularly in low-income communities. The plan, dubbed the ConnectED Library Challenge, will engage civic leaders, libraries, and schools to work together to ensure that all school students receive public library cards. Commitments from 30 library systems are already in place.

As part of an effort to provide broad access to digital content, the Open eBooks Initiative has secured a promise from the “Big Five” publishers and a number of independent presses to provide $250 million in free ebooks to low-income students. Some 10,000 popular titles will be made available over the next three years, and libraries have joined forces with nonprofits to create an app to deliver the content, as well as material from the public domain.

The new programs are an outgrowth of the president’s original ConnectED initiative, announced two years ago with the goal of transforming teaching and learning through digital connectivity and content. The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is investing $5 million in support of the ereader app, as well as tools and services to help the public more easily access ebooks and other digital content.