At Idea Center a lot of the programs and trends highlighted here are written about while they're still being piloted, and before they even catch on. Below are a few quick updates on three programs featured in the past that have been making headlines lately:
FED UP WITH GUNS Last year, Wilmington, Delaware, launched the joint law enforcement program Operation Fed-Up to prosecute convicted felons caught carrying guns in the city in federal court. During the past year, the program has resulted in 50 felons prosecuted, 55 guns confiscated and a 95 percent conviction rate. The city has also seen gun-related homicides drop 37 percent, from 16 to 10. With the first year a success, the city has created a fellowship to pay for the program into 2009. The fellowship will pay the U.S. Attorney's office to hire a lawyer to prosecute Fed-Up cases. To learn more, contact the police chief's office at 302-576-3940.
WILDLIFE CROSSINGS GO HIGH-TECH In 2006, Arizona began testing a new system that detected wildlife along roadsides and alerted motorists to their presence. When Idea Center featured the electric "wildlife crosswalk," it had already resulted in an 83 percent reduction in collisions between wildlife and motorists. Today, the reduction is at 92 percent, and the cutting-edge technology is the recipient of the 2008 National Environmental Excellence Award for Environmental Stewardship from the National Association of Environmental Professionals. It has also spawned similar efforts in Minnesota and New Jersey. For more information, e-mail Norris Dodd of the Arizona Game and Fish Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE YELLOW ARROW DEBUTS The flashing yellow arrow, which allows waiting motorists to make a left-hand turn after yielding to oncoming traffic, was first piloted by Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon and several other states in 2006. Two years later, Michigan's Department of Transportation has gone a step further, mandating it throughout the state to replace its flashing red left-turn signals. It is also being piloted in North Carolina this year, indicating the flashing yellow arrow may be coming to an intersection near you.