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County Leadership in Food Recovery



The challenge I’m about to describe is not new. In fact, your own county may be attacking this matter already, and there are organizations like ReFED, the Food Recovery Network, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the EPA and others that are heavily invested in solving the issue with education and science-based recommendations. For this, we are grateful and acknowledge these good works. Still, the matter I’m about to describe is a proving-ground for local leadership. WASTE FOOD The challenge I refer to is food waste, and the problem of food waste streams. A waste stream is a specific category of waste, defined by its sources and its terminus. One waste stream of note is food. It originates in our homes, schools, groceries, and restaurants. It too often ends up in a landfill. According to the USDA, approximately 133 billion pounds of food from U.S. retail stores, restaurants, and homes went...
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How to Answer the Hard Questions on Cannabis Control


Greg Felix, Accela’s vice president of strategic solutions, talks about tips and trends for cannabis regulation at CannaWest 2018 There are a lot of unknowns in the emerging world of legalized marijuana as governments try to identify their biggest challenges, decide state and local roles, and understand how technology will support regulation. To provide insights on these pressing questions, on Thursday Accela’s Vice President of Strategic Solutions Greg Felix spoke to the Stratton Report at  CannaWest, the annual conference dedicated to solutions in cannabis compliance, testing and product safety. With Accela’s pioneering efforts to enable cannabis permitting and licensing in California, Colorado and Michigan, Felix offered insights on key issues affecting the industry and how governments might overcome obstacles. “The greatest challenge right now is for governments to address this rapidly expanding legalization of cannabis across the country,” Felix told the Stratton Report. “This is causing government agencies to scramble...
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Agencies Advance Cybersecurity, Recruitment and Cost Savings with SaaS


  Accela and Microsoft define key benefits of SaaS and how it can revitalize and safeguard citizen services Technology should solve government problems, not create them.   That was the overarching message of Accela’s Chief Product Officer Troy Coggiola and Microsoft’s Executive Director for State and Local Government Solutions Kim Nelson as they spoke about the potential to cut costs, improve cybersecurity and attract talent through  Software-as-a-Service  (SaaS) solutions.    The two spoke at Accela’s June 13 webinar,  Why SaaS has Become the Standard for Government Agencies , that spotlighted some of the underlying forces driving the public sector to the cloud and how cities and local agencies can use SaaS solutions to rethink IT management and enable modern, high performance applications for residents.   “Our [government customers] repeatedly reiterate their goal to serve their citizens and improve their communities, helping their communities thrive,” Coggiola said. “The one thing that they do not typically talk about is the desire to manage a server farm, or data center, or do upgrades, or develop security practices, or all the other bits and pieces that come along with keeping software up and running in a...
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Michigan Ready to Issue First Medical Marijuana Licenses


The state’s more than 500 digitally processed applications act as a model for modernization and revenue generation With the first medical marijuana licenses expected for release on July 12 and 546 applications already processed, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced Wednesday that licenses can be distributed as soon as approval is given by the state’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board. LARA’s Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation used technology found in Accela’s Civic Application for Cannabis Regulation to process hundreds of medical marijuana license applications that were submitted since December 2017. The bureau’s Director Andrew Brisbo said the licensing system aided the state to handle the demands of applicants in an uncharted and developing industry. “Accela offered an out-of-the-box solution for the essential back office and customer-facing functions we knew were essential for a successful launch,” Brisbo said. “The system allowed us to be creative in our approach to...
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Why GIS Mapping may be the Next Game Changer in Marijuana Regulation

Denver active cannabis license map
Denver shows how Esri GIS and Accela’s licensing tools are accelerating cannabis license processing and transparency. For government, geography has an implicit connection to decision making. Geography directs how we navigate our streets, determines food choices, influences home prices, employment options, utilities and even the access we have to quality health care. With so much riding on location, maps have become a staple of government as agencies hunt for quick insights and competent solutions. Now, the public sector’s capacity for cartography is gaining new ground through the spread of legalized cannabis. There are 30 states and Washington, D.C., that have legalized medical marijuana, eight of these have approved it for recreational use and still more are considering legalization in some form. Mounting pressure to regulate the market has stirred the public sector to map cannabis distribution in same way it has leveraged mapping for transit planning, public safety, election boundaries and...
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Fresno Launches 'FAASTER' Planning and Permitting System


The city hopes to speed up its permitting process with a system that gives residents instant access to its building and planning services.   Accela's Senior Vice President and General Manager of Accela’s Environmental Health Division Darryl Booth, left, and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand celebrate the launch of the city's new permitting system. Officials in Fresno, California announced the launch of an interactive permitting and planning tool Thursday, a measure that replaces the city’s previous system while supporting Mayor Lee Brand’s effort to drive economic development through modern city services. Fresno calls the system, developed by Accela, the Fresno Accelerated Application System to Track Electronic Reviews, or FAASTER, to denote the quicker service residents and building developers can expect when submitting applications for business permits and construction plans online. FAASTER enables any applicant to submit, track and pay for their building permit online 24 hours a day. FAASTER uses technologies from Accela's...
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