Until Mayor Sharon McShurley changed the protocol this year, fire stations in Muncie, Ind., had been delivering reports to department headquarters downtown by dropping them off in fire engines. McShurley ordered the department to learn how to send reports by e-mail.
In June, the New York Police Department spent $99,000 on a typewriter repair contract, which will take on increasing importance since last year NYPD bought thousands of new typewriters, manual and electric, costing the city almost $1 million. The NYPD still is not even close to computerizing some of its daily-use forms, such as property and evidence reports.
Hundreds of Los Angeles' down-and-out live not just underneath local freeways but inside their concrete structures, according to a June Los Angeles Times report. The largest "home" is a double-gymnasium-sized cavern under the Interstate 10 freeway in the suburb of Baldwin Park. That space is nearly inaccessible, requiring squeezing through a rusty grating, traversing a narrow ledge, and descending a ladder to reach "a vast, vault-like netherworld, strewn with garbage and syringes," with toys and rattles and a cat carcass visible on an upper platform marginally harder for rats to reach. Authorities shy away from the area, out of fear, but every few years, state officials try to seal the entrance (which the homeless quickly unseal as soon as the officials leave).
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was livid in June when he learned that inmate Tuvia Stern, housed in the city's notorious lockup The Tombs, had arranged a privately catered, 50-guest bar mitzvah for his son inside the facility's gym, officiated by a prominent rabbi and assisted by five jail guards. The caterers were even allowed to bring in knives for food preparation and dining. It was not surprising that it was Stern who pulled it off, because at the time he was awaiting sentencing for running two slick business scams.