Urban News

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  June 6, 2002 at 4:00 AM
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(MIAMI) -- Two separate plans to set up a civilian oversight board to monitor local police jurisdictions in south Florida have been nixed by the Miami-Dade County Commission. The Miami Herald says that in both cases the 8-4 votes were along racial lines, with black leaders failing in their bid to have the commission set up.

The reason for such a group, according to proponents, was the recent fatal shootings of civilians by officers and charges of misconduct within the police forces of both Miami and surrounding suburbs.

An earlier plan offered to the commission had been labeled as "too vague" by many local black leaders.

Some have criticized a black member of the board, Dorrin Rolle, for not being active enough in trying to keep proposals alive, possibly asking for later consideration of both.

(EL PASO, Texas) -- When you think of El Paso, Texas, the first thought on your mind is likely not classic works of art. One of the last American cities to shirk the image of the Old West, El Paso has, nonetheless, a thriving arts community. Now, according to the El Paso Museum of Art, a major exhibit of works by the French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir is headed for that gallery.

The museum, on its Web site, reports that the display will be mounted in the fall and will continue at the west Texas facility through mid February of next year.

The Renoir "show" was to have been placed in the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art this fall, but arrangements could not be made. El Paso jumped at the chance to host the important exhibit.

It is projected that hosting the collection will cost the museum more than $100,000 -- for publicity, carpentry and, of course, added security.

(SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.) -- As the only major urban area on the California coast between the San Francisco Bay area and the Los Angeles area, San Luis Obispo's general hospital is vitally important to many in the region. But, according to The Tribune newspaper in that city, the fate of the medical facility is hanging in the balance.

It seems that the hospital's board of supervisors met for more than two and a half hours this week to discuss the center's fate. The major questions addressed centered on whether the region could actually save money by closing the antiquated facility. Secondarily, questions arose about how emergency and charity cases would be handled were the hospital to shut its doors in September, as is the current plan.

Meanwhile, supervisors say they are being presented with conflicting financial data on the complex and can't reach any decision until they are sure the "numbers" are correct.

(FT. WAYNE, Ind.) -- The urban center of Ft. Wayne, in northeastern Indiana, has two airports. The larger is Ft. Wayne International, capable of handling large aircraft and currently home to a variety of scheduled flights to hub cities in the Midwest. The city's "second" airport is Smith Field, home to many light planes and small commercial jets. Lately, according to the Ft. Wayne News-Ledger, there has been talk of phasing out Smith because of the expected cost of bringing it up to new federal standards.

The publication says that some, though, are against spending any money on Smith because it would take away from the commercial viability of the city's major jetport.

Additionally, the projected bill for refurbishing the older field would be millions of dollars. And there are concerns that local citizens might not agree to an increase in taxes that could be necessary to foot the bill for improvements. Proponents of Smith are calling for construction of a third runway and a new set of hangars.

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