Readers respond quick-poll question:

Are furloughs a reasonable way for elected officials to balance the budget?

We posed this question the day Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced that city employees will get the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year's Eve off without pay — for two years — to help offset a $470 million budget shortfall. Claiming the furlough will save 225 jobs, the mayor assured Chicagoans that workers will be called back in “if there's a big snowstorm or other emergency.”

President-elect taps former EPA head

Barack Obama has asked former President Clinton appointee Carol Browner to oversee the agency until his administration takes charge Jan. 20. A University of Florida College of Law graduate who once served as secretary of the state's Department of Environmental Regulation, Browner led the EPA from 1993 through 2000. She is currently chair of the National Audubon Society.

Group may protest ruling

Earthjustice plans to challenge the EPA's decision to not regulate percholate in drinking water.

California treatment plant wins award Wastewater treatment

Sixteen components at the wastewater treatment plant in Lodi, Calif., were affected by an award-winning project that cost $40 million to build and was undertaken to meet tougher discharge requirements and increase capacity. Major upgrades include tertiary filtration, ultraviolet disinfection facilities, expansion of the treatment capacity from 6.5 mgd to 8.5 mgd, and the addition of process improvements to provide full ammonia conversion and partial denitrification.

$25 million riverfront renewal earns top honors Buildings & facilities

Riverwalk Landing at Yorktown Waterfront in Yorktown, Va., is one of eight recipients of the Professional Grounds Management Society's highest honor in its annual Green Star Awards competition.

The revitalization, which opened in 2005, is the result of two decades of effort to transform a dilapidated commercial district and eroding shoreline. In 1988 the village board, trustees, and residents developed a master plan to address the issues and, after stalls in funding, improvements began in the 1990s.

Developed by York County and funded through low-interest bonds, tax credits, and grants, Riverwalk Landing is the master plan's $10 million centerpiece. The entire plan encompasses streetscape improvements, the renovation of the county's historic government building York Hall, shoreline stabilization, and a river walk.