January 30, 2015


Beefs over food in Georgia jail feed outsourcing debate. One prisoner said he eased hunger pangs by eating toothpaste. One complained he got so little food that he trembled at night in his cell. Another filed grievance after grievance, each consisting of a single word: “Hungry.” These complaints, all from the Gordon County Jail in Calhoun, Georgia, highlight a growing debate involving correctional institutions nationwide. In an era of tight government budgets and little sympathy for the incarcerated, three square meals a day in jail are giving way to aggressive cost-cutting through outsourcing of food services. The Detroit News

IN: Indiana Toll Road driving toward a sale. Lawyers for the bankrupt operator of the Indiana Toll Road on Thursday told a judge they could have a final offer on the table for the 157-mile expressway in as little as two or three months. Lawyers for Indiana Toll Road Concession Co. told Federal Bankruptcy Judge Pamela Hollis there are “many” interested parties participating in the bidding process for the 75-year lease for the interstate but kept the names confidential. Judge Hollis also approved without objections an incentive bonus plan for top Indiana Toll Road executives that could have them splitting a multimillion dollar bonus pool if the road fetches a rich price. nwitimes.com

NC: State extends toll-lanes financing deadline. The deadline for the developer of the planned high-occupancy toll lanes on Interstate 77 to secure financing for the project has been extended three months, documents obtained from the N.C. Department of Transportation show. The project calls for Cintra, a Spanish company, to build private toll lanes on the remaining public right-of-way and operate them under a 50-year contract. Under the original terms Cintra was required to secure financing by Jan. 22 or forfeit a $15 million security deposit to NCDOT. Mooresville Tribune

NC: Opinion: Google Fiber deal not in best interest of NC public. The announcement of a deal with Google to bring ultra-fast Internet to the Triangle is being hailed like rain in the desert. Amid an economy that, flashes of optimism aside, remains in stagnation, we imagine that the super-fast Internet will super-charge our businesses, our schools, our very lives. . . .The upshot of the Google deal is that an enormously valuable piece of public infrastructure, which ought to be owned in common by the public, is handed over lock, stock and barrel to a private company based in California. This same company was deeply involved in the illegal, secret surveillance of all our Internet usage by the NSA. Its entire business model is founded on the premise that Google has the right to meticulously monitor and record every morsel of data that passes within its reach. Do we in North Carolina share this premise? News & Observer

AK: Kodiak fishermen say privatization not helping. . .Study participants cited privatization as a significant change that had divisive, negative impacts in the community, Carothers found. Nearly all the Kodiak fishing participants interviewed for the study expressed concerns about the future of fisheries access, with substantial financial barriers to entry being the reason. Just 13% of participants said privatization had stabilized the local economy, made for better fish prices and safer fishing or higher pay and more jobs; while 77% said privatization had a negative effect on Kodiak. Undercurrent News