BREAKING NEWS- Woolonian Traditionalist Rebels attack at Woolbridge bus station, Temporary Freedemian embassy in Woolport with synthetic bia-bia poison

WOOLBRIDGE, WOOL COUNTY, WOOLONIA – Within a month of a statement from President Ferdinand Sealy warning against complacency in the war with the Woolonian Traditionalist Rebels, two attacks occurred in Wool County that reminded the nation that they were still at war.

The Central Woolbridge Transit Center in Woolbridge and the Freedemian embassy in Woolport were stormed within hours of each other, poison darts flying. At the Freedemian embassy the perpetraters were immediately tranquilized and taken into custody. One ambassador was injured, but was only grazed by the dart and survived after being bused to a nearby hospital. Eight died at the scene at the Central Woolbridge Transit Center, 7 by poison darts and one who ran into traffic trying to get to safety.

The damage from the attacks was minimized by a newly established bia bia antidote that acts as fast as the poison (helping save the Freedemian ambassador), as well as the fact that it appeared the synthetic poison was not as potent as the natural poison from the bia bia plant.

Names of the victims have not yet been released. The nation of Woolonia, as well as ally Freedemia who has been targeted for their ties to Woolonia, are both on high alert.

President Sealy released a brief statement talking about the concerns of the WTR having synthetic poisons at their disposal and the fact that all Freedemians and Woolonians need to be ready for anything and never let their guards down. He also said that he had a very important announcement to make at a later time.

The attack with synthetic poisons marks another departure from the WTR’s normally strictly traditionalist means of warfare, which has many in Woolonia concerned that a larger attack could be imminent.

President Sealy warns against complacency in fight against Woolonian Traditionalist Rebels

PASTUREVILLE, PASTURE COUNTY, WOOLONIA– President Ferdinand Sealy of Woolonia was in Pastureville early this morning to give a speech about the current state of the Second Woolonian Civil War.

Pastureville had been one of the areas hit hardest at the start of the war. The Woolonian Traditionalist Rebels’ primary stronghold is the Pastureville Highlands, which is a large rural area outside of the city that includes the city of Sabara. Rebels had pushed in as far as the Pastureville City Limits before Woolonian forces successfully pushed back.

Things have been relatively quiet since Operation Firewolf back in October, when Woolonian forces and drones successfully took out every known stash of bia bia poison and bia bia plants in the nation, a poison that the Woolonian Traditionalist Rebels generally use as their primary weapon. As a whole, the war appears to have died down. There have been no attacks since Operation Firewolf, no statements have come from the WTR, and no further incidents have been noted, in Woolonia nor in ally Freedemia, whom the WTR also declared war on back in July. Some have even gone so far as to celebrate the “end” of the war. However, in his speech, President Sealy explicitly warned against complacency, and reminded the nation that the threat is just as real today as it was at the beginning of the war.

“By all standards and indications, we are still at war. Technically, our ally Freedemia is still under imminent threat of war. The minute that we become complacent, the second that we step back and say “Well, I guess we won!”, the very moment we let our guard down, is the moment they’ll attack.  This isn’t over!!! The Woolonian Traditionalist Rebels still have control of most of the Pastureville Highlands. Sabara is still a stronghold. Autoroute 56 is still closed. Government security is still at an all time high. And our ally Freedemia has still had war declared on them for the first time in history. Government officials and civilians have been killed. Freedemian politicians have had failed assassination attempts against them. We have not reached a resolution. We may have won this battle, but if we become complacent now and forget what’s at stake, we will lose this war.”

It has yet to be shown whether Woolonians will heed President Sealy’s message.

QUARTA beta-testing Stop Request buttons at bus stops serving multiple routes

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIA– Bus riders waiting at stops home to multiple routes may see a new feature coming within the next month. QUARTA, with the help of Trenchent company Trannovation Solutions, LLC., is rolling out Stop Request buttons to bus stops across the city.

This is being done primarily with the idea of saving time and making bus service more efficient. Currently, if there’s someone waiting at a bus stop home to multiple routes, every bus has to slow down, just in case the person at the stop wanted that particular route. This leads to a lot of lost time- many times, the individual is waiting for a particular bus, but every bus in between still has to slow down and pull towards the bus stop, just in case.

The idea behind Trannovation’s StopRequest Kiosk, a post designed to match the design of the QUARTA bus stops and with a button to request each route, is that the rider can request which bus they need from the bus stop ahead of time. This means only the route requested by the rider will have to slow down and pull over.

To use an example, let’s say Jimmy is waiting at a bus stop home to routes A, B, and C. Jimmy wants to get on route C. Currently, Jimmy would just wait at the stop visible to the drivers of approaching buses, and they would automatically slow down and pull to the side. While Jimmy can wave them off, signifying he doesn’t need that route, by that point the buses have already reduced speed and got ready to pull over and stop. If Jimmy’s route C comes after routes A and B, then riders on those buses lost time that the bus used to slow down. While this seems like only a little bit, when that happens ten to twenty times along the route, it adds up.

However, with the new StopRequest Kiosks, Jimmy can directly select “Route C” from the bus stop, signifying that you want only the C bus to stop, freeing up routes A and B to skip the stop entirely unless someone is getting off. This means that coupled with new dedicated bus priority lanes, routes A and B can literally pass the stops full speed (unless someone is getting off) without pulling over, because they know that Jimmy is waiting for Route C. This could make a huge difference in timing and efficiency of each route. Little tweaks like that can help the QUARTA bus system run far more efficiently.

While QUARTA’s QLine Metro has become exceedingly more efficient in the past few years, QUARTA’s bus network has lagged behind. Along major corridors like Capitol Blvd West, many have crowded onto the subways because of the long commute times on the local bus. This has greatly improved with the creation of bus priority lanes, (lanes where only buses and cars immediately turning right are allowed) but it still needs large improvements to be an efficient and appealing alternative for commuters.

QUARTA hopes to have the entire system fitted with the first phase of these stop request buttons (on most major lines/corridors) by February, and the whole system if the test period is successful by June 2017. Trannovation is also rolling out this new system in Trenchent and San Grande as part of Lake Area Rapid Transit (LART), and Laneston and Vandover’s VAULT (Vandover and Urban Laneston Transit) is supposed to start testing in January 2017. Trannovation is also working on an app version that allows individuals to request a bus to stop from their phones or mobile devices. However, the app is still in development and is not being publicly tested. Employees of QUARTA and LART will have a chance to test out the first version of the app come mid 2017.

Roadway improvements along urban NW Freedemian Coast progressing steadily

VANDOVER, FREEDEMIA– Drivers today were able to drive for the first time on the new Vandover East Thruway. The freeway, also known as Unionway 308, connects from U-208 to U-108 and creates a new north-south freeway through central Vandover while creating a strong alternative for through traffic going to Laneston or Nature.

The project is part of a larger set of improvements to thru roadways along the northwestern Freedemian coast to ease traffic on the stretch of Unionway 4 between Laneston and Quentinsburgh. Several other projects are underway, including the widening and improving of parts of M-82 through Mathersboro, M-13 up through Haroldsborough and Fort Elwood, and southern Dansels Road (now M-23B) through southern Vandover. Improvements to M-23 (Laneston Lake Pkwy) in Laneston and Vandover are also underway.

One portion of the bigger project, the construction of the M-282 just east of Mathersboro, is nearing completion. The freeway will connect the U-204 directly to the M-82 to improve access to Mathersboro and create a stronger alternative to Unionway 4. The freeway then continues to provide a better connection to the relatively new Walter Sanderson International Airport.

The overall project, known as the Secondary Coastal Corridor, is a partnership between the Quentins Department of Transportation, the Reeds Department of Transportation, and the Freedemian Department of Transportation (since the project crosses state lines). While the overall goal of the Freedemian government is to continue to improve transit alternatives (such as the MetroWest Commuter Rail and Greenleaf Bus Lines) the need for alternative automobile routes along the most urban part of the nation was large enough that even the commuter options weren’t enough to fix the problem alone.

The project also has renewed interest in enacting tolls on U-4 between Laneston and Quentinsburgh, as there will not only be several viable commuter options, but a new roadway alternative as well. The Freedemian National Legislature is supposed to meet later this week to make a final decision, a meeting which originally wasn’t supposed to happen until January. A recent vote done during the Monday general elections passed with 68% in favor of the tolls as long as an effort was made to improve alternative routes.

road-improv-corridor
A diagram showing the current bottleneck situation (U-4 corridor in red, current alternatives in yellow-brown) and the alternative that the Freedemian Department of Transportation (and state departments) are trying to create with current projects. The area highlighted in green is undergoing new construction and road improvements. The green line indicates the corridor that they hope drivers will start to use as an alternative when complete.

Wooten-Whitaker edges out Walton for Graham Executive, Barbara Clint wins vacant Graham Poplator Seat, Andrew Carmichael wins seat in House of Equal Representation by Write-in

GRAHAM CITY, FREEDEMIA: The final results have come in from the Freedemian general elections on Monday. Graham State had some of the most watched races in the nation, as the area recovering from past corruption and the Graham City Financial Crisis chose new leaders to proceed with.

Graham State Executive

Diane Wooten-Whitaker managed to hold out over activist Grady Walton at the end despite a large chunk of supporters writing in Andrew Carmichael (the incumbent) in the race for Graham State Executive, winning 48.4% to 45.6%. Write-ins for Carmichael, who had dropped out of the race a week earlier, siphoned 6.2% of the vote away from Diane Wooten-Whitaker, making the race closer than expected.

Vacant Graham Poplator Seat

As expected, Barbara Clint, former mayor of Graham City, won the vacant Poplator seat by a landslide, winning 73.5% to 4.6% over Ellen Doofenschmidt.

Vacant Graham Representative Seat 1

The crazy one, though, was the race for the first open Graham Representative seat. Roger Pellerson, a somewhat unpopular Perrysville City Council member, was supposed to be running unopposed and win with a landslide. Pellerson was most alienating due to his random opposing of transit and infrastructure improvements in Perrysville, such as being the sole dissenter when the council voted to fix up a downtown street into a complete street. Strangely enough, Perrysvillians were dissatisfied and much of the massive Graham City population wrote in Andrew Carmichael as a candidate. He would win the position 41.5% to 31.9%. Carmichael was extremely shocked, but accepted the position. Pellerson seemed shaken up and declined to comment. Others have said that those write-ins were “unfair to those who actually ran” in the race. Grady Walton was furious that Carmichael was allowed to win the position after all of the scandals. “It’s not fair! He literally got kicked out of the Executive twice, and he shows a glimpse of change at the end and you vote for him for a completely different position??!!”

Vacant Graham Representative Seat 2

Lastly, for the second open Representative seat, a massive amount of candidates vied for the position. In the end, Kuri Mena, a community activist, author, nudist, and one of the first to push for Amendment 30, which legalized non-sexual public nudity everywhere in Freedemia, won the position. Her only official competition was Lamont DeCoste, another fellow activist and a member of Grady Walton’s Change for Graham group, who came in 2nd with 23.2% compared to Mena’s 27.5%. Three other candidates were in the race- Della McLina, a self proclaimed “Social Media Extraordinaire” (who came in third with 17.8%), Jim Johnsonson, a bus driver with 14.7%, and Jasmine Ernelmeyer, a security guard with 1.6%.

grahamresults-1
Election results for Graham State Executive, Graham Poplator, and the two seats for Graham Representatives.

Unexpected backlash over Restroom and Water Access Act (RAWAA) shows small rift of class divide in Freedemia

VANDOVER, FREEDEMIA- Freedemia has recently seen a surprisingly high amount of opposition to President Angela Rosenthal‘s  Restroom And Water Access Act (better known as RAWAA) in the last couple months. A recent poll found that while about 62% agreed with the law and about 10% had no opinion, about 23% of Freedemians, primarily the more wealthy and large business owners, were against making restrooms public across the board. The opposition seems to center around areas with the largest income inequality and class divides.

The law primarily focuses on three portions, making all public places with restrooms provide at least one public restroom to combat the shortage of public restrooms in many areas, banning employee-only and customer-only restrooms, and putting aside money for the renovation, upkeep, or construction of restrooms and water fountains in public places like parks.

RAWAA has been seen as common sense to many and has not been nearly as controversial as some of the unrelated restroom bills being discussed around the world, as the primary purpose of the law is simply to provide more public restrooms to those who need them. However, the law has brought out a divide that wasn’t expected as much in a nation like Freedemia.

Robert Burson of Burson and Cameron Law in downtown Vandover told us that it’s a matter of appearing credible and ready to handle the highest end clients. “We run a high scale law firm. We defend some of the largest figures in entertainment, industry, all around, and we need to be presentable. Appearance is everything. If we suddenly have all these ordinary-looking people walking through our firm to use the public bathroom it gives our company a completely different image.  We lose credibility. We lose jobs.”

“I don’t want any riff-raff coming in! There are so many who use ‘going to the bathroom’ as a way to come in and vandalize and steal and screw things up inside the business. If they aren’t shopping here, I don’t want them here!” one local business owner along the Laneston Beach boardwalk told PWN. The store, which sells beach supplies, already has negative ratings online for the owner treating customers and non-customers poorly.

A poll showed that the areas with the most opposition were Perrysville and Graham City in Graham state, with Laneston and Vandover coming in a distant 3rd and 4th. All four areas are notorious for income inequality, although Graham City and Perrysville are significantly worse.

This is especially problematic for Vandover, a city that seems to be suffering the most from the restroom shortage. Vandover Beach has become one of the largest tourist attractions in the nation, with thousands of tourists and locals daily. However, there are large sections of the area that currently have few or no public restrooms. The city has been investing in building more public restrooms along the beach, most which should be complete by June. However, in the meantime, while many businesses have followed the mandate of RAWAA and opened their restrooms to the public, almost as many have protested the mandate, some even not following it at all.

Perrysville and Graham City especially have been nearly notorious for their class divides in contrast to the rest of Freedemia. A lot of the problems with the Graham City Financial Crisis went back to decisions made at the state and local levels that only benefited the “upper upper class”, a group more prominent in Graham City than anywhere else in the country.

Many are extremely disappointed in this response to the bill.

“I honestly thought something like this would never be an issue in Freedemia. It seemed like people were friendly to you no matter what your income or career, like a place where a fast food worker could walk into the lobby of a law firm, wave to the people behind the counter, have a good conversation, use the bathroom and leave. This doesn’t seem like what I would have hoped from Freedemians”, one father from Laneston explained to us.

“I had been out on the beach all day and I had to pee so bad,” a teenage girl from Vandover told us. “The beach restroom was a five minute walk away and the only thing really close nearby that looked open was a spa down the road, so I ran there, thinking that with the mandate, I should be able to go. When I got in, however, they told me I couldn’t go into the back without payment. I explained that I just really needed to use the bathroom and that I couldn’t hold it, and they were just so resistant. I brought up the law, how that if their lobby was public that they’re technically supposed to provide restrooms, and they just started telling me that I was trespassing and to leave before they called the police… I ended up not making it to a bathroom in time because of the incident.”

Not all areas have been as resistant. Quentinsburgh already had the largest amount of public restrooms out of the nation’s major cities, and businesses in the capitol city have, for the most part, happily complied. Cities like Trenchent, San Grande, and Franklinsburgh saw most businesses praising the decision as a “no-cost to low-cost solution to an epidemic problem”.

President Rosenthal said she would be glad to make a statement, but needed some time as to not give too hasty of a response. “I don’t want to say something in frustration that I’ll regret.”

Stay tuned to PWN News as we follow this issue.

Carmichael drops out of Graham State Executive Race, endorses Wooten-Whitaker

PERRYSVILLE, GRAHAM, FREEDEMIA- Today at a press conference in Perrysville, Andrew Carmichael officially dropped out of the race for Graham State Executive.  He told KGRN 32 and other local news outlets that he would be leaving the race, turning his focus on doing what he can while in office, and that he was endorsing Diane Wooten-Whitaker. Carmichael was actually met by a medium amount of boos from his largest pool of supporters upon making the announcement. Some at the event were wealthier supporters who disliked both Wooten-Whitaker and Walton.

It had already been implied that this would be Carmichael’s next move, as he hadn’t been very enthusiastic about being allowed back in the race in the first place and had not actively campaigned since being allowed back in. The endorsement of Wooten-Whitaker wasn’t surprising, either, as the two had actually worked together on several bills to improve on the Graham City Crisis, the most prominent being the Graham Funding Reallocation and Business Incentive Act, which actually was the first legal act that helped the overall situation begin improving. It seemed like a logical next step for Carmichael if he truly wanted the people of Graham to believe that he had changed and didn’t just care about reelection.

However, this move definitely outraged two groups- Carmichael’s wealthier, less understanding supporters, who wanted the old Carmichael back in office to push for their own agenda (Obviously not all of his wealthier supporters were detached and uncaring- many, like Kennedy Garrison, the CEO of Bank of Freedemia, have been making huge contributions to work towards fixing the Graham City Crisis) and Grady Walton and his supporters, who are furious at the prospect of the mass of Carmichael supporters flocking to Wooten-Whitaker.

While no official polls have come out since then, an unofficial internet poll by TweetBook showed that out of Andrew Carmichael’s 23% of the vote, about 11% would choose Wooten-Whitaker, about 8% would vote for someone else altogether or just not vote, and only 3% would choose Walton. That makes things worse for Grady Walton, meaning Wooten-Whitaker would be leading Walton around 55% to 32%.

Walton’s prospects in this race seem to be getting slimmer and slimmer as election day approaches. He isn’t out yet, but his chance to win is slipping away rapidly.