Wants Citizen Opinions.
A survey was distributed to
business owners that are located on the Square
and within the downtown two-hour parking district
yesterday morning to try and get opinions as to
how the two-hour parking regulation is viewed.
The survey was requested by the City Council
Public Service Committee after several issues
concerning downtown parking were brought before
The survey, distributed by the
Police Department, asks questions ranging from
increasing the parking fines to eliminating the
restriction all together. Also addressed was
parking for residents living on the Square.
"Lately parking issues
have been a huge concern among both citizens and
city leaders," begins the survey.
"Please take the time to fill out the survey
below. Someone from the Carthage Police
Department will come by to get the survey on May
13, 2009. The Carthage Police Department is
committed to serving our citizens in the best
possible way. This study could greatly impact
downtown parking in the future depending upon
your input. Please let us know how you
Stands Above All Others
by Michael Grabell, www.ProPublica.org
Soyono the Sumatran tiger will
get her enclosure spruced up under the federal
stimulus bill. So will Luke the Lion. But forget
about Miss B., the old world rabbit at the
Philadelphia Zoo. The polar bears in Providence?
Left out in the cold.
The economic stimulus law
explicitly bans state and local governments from
spending stimulus money on zoos. But it makes no
mention of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.,
where Luke and Soyono live.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said
its a classic example of Washington saying,
"Do as we say, not as we do."
"The question is whether
or not the National Zoo is a priority right now
given our economic times and the problems that we
face," Coburn said. "Building a new
place to house lions? Is that more important than
building a new bridge?"
Despite multiple restrictions
and cuts to appease budget hawks, federal and
local officials have found ways to fund projects
that were criticized during the congressional
Majority Democrats agreed to
cut $50 million for repairs to the National Mall.
But when the National Park Service announced
plans last month, it included $55 million for the
House Republicans have
lampooned  a proposed skateboard park in
Pawtucket, R.I. But officials there say kids in
the neighborhood have few recreational options,
and theyre going ahead with the project
using a stimulus grant.
One of the key political
compromises made to get votes for the $787
billion stimulus bill was a provision prohibiting
state and local officials from spending money on
casinos, golf courses, swimming pools,
Local zoo directors say their
facilities were unfairly tarred despite meeting
stimulus goals: a backlog of
"shovel-ready" projects that would
create jobs, a mission of educating children and
a role in raising environmental awareness.
Zoo officials around the
country say they bear no hard feelings, but
funding projects at the National Zoo demonstrates
that their projects arent pork.
"Zoos and aquariums
dont belong on that (banned) list now, and
they never did belong on that list," said
Steve Feldman, spokesman for the Association of
Zoos and Aquariums. "Theres no
difference between those projects and projects in
St. Louis or Sacramento or Boise, Idaho."
The Smithsonian Institution,
which runs the zoo, will spend about $11.4
million of its $25 million in stimulus funding at
the National Zoo and the zoos research
center in Front Royal, Va.
The money will be used to
install fire alarms at the zoos visitor
center, repair bridges, and renovate the
veterinary hospital and the lion and tiger
"We have some buildings
that are 40, 50, 100 years old," said
Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas.
"Replacing roofs in the zoo, replacing
deteriorating animal areasthese are things
that have to be done."
The National Zoo has a history
of problems in recent years. After a string of
animal deaths, auditors found crumbling
buildings. Congress pumped millions into repairs.
In 2006, a fire revealed that many buildings
lacked alarms or sprinklers.
More than 2 million people a
year visit the zoo, which has free admission and
receives 70 percent of its budget from the
Despite the recession,
admission at the 218 accredited zoos and
aquariums nationwide has held steady as families
look for affordable activities that are close to
home, Feldman said. But zoos rely heavily on
state and local budgets that are being cut.
A list of potential stimulus
projects by the U.S. Conference of Mayors
included a number of zoo renovations. The
Philadelphia Zoo requested $20 million for
construction at the childrens zoo, the
aviary and the Big Cat Falls exhibit. The Duluth,
Minn., zoo said it could create 50 jobs with a
geothermal energy project.
And in Louisville, the zoo
listed $13 million for sewer system repairs first
identified in 1999. Now, storm water might come
into contact with zebra or gorilla waste before
running off into a stream.
The lack of support for zoos
"hurts," said John Walczak, director of
the Louisville Zoo. "Weve got a lot of
great construction projects."
In New York, Gov. David
Paterson had threatened to cut all funding for
zoos from the state budget. The Wildlife
Conservation Society, which oversees zoos, poked
fun at the proposed cutbacks with a video, in
which the zoo director informs a porcupine named
Wednesday that shes been laid off.
The funding was restored, but
the Bronx Zoo, which gets as many visitors as the
National Zoo, shut down its sky ride in January
and will close three exhibits, sending away
several animalsalthough Wednesday got a
reprieve. A recent list of stimulus projects
released by Paterson included $52 million for the
None of them will be funded.
Ivine Galarza, manager of Bronx
Community Board 6, said the zoo provides
affordable activities for one of the poorest
places in the country.
"I feel like we always get
the short end of the stick," she said.