Extra Extra : April 2007

NFL arrests consistent with general population rates

Brent Schrotenboer of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on an investigation into hundreds of news reports and public records since 2000 to compile an unofficial list of 308 arrests and citations involving NFL players for all offenses except speeding tickets. The paper "found that the league's biggest problems with the law are in many ways just as ordinary: drunken driving, traffic stops and repeat offenders. In addition, contrary to public perception, the arrest rate among NFL players is less than that of the general population, and fueled by many of the same dynamics, analysts say."

Wasting Away: Superfund's Toxic Legacy

The Center for Public Integrity has taken a look at the state of Superfund sites throughout the US. Twenty-seven years after the government developed a program to identify and clean up the worst of these sites, toxic waste remains a problem across the country. "A one-year investigation by the Center for Public Integrity reveals the beleaguered state of the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund effort, uncovers the companies and government agencies linked to the most sites and tracks progress of the clean up." Included in the content are searchable databases on EPA contractors, sponsored travel and congressional correspondence with EPA ... Read more ...

Administration aids GOP through election fraud claims

Greg Gordon of McClatchy's Washington, D.C., bureau, reports that the Bush administration tried to curb voter turnout in critical battleground states over the last six years, based on information from written documents and former department lawyers. As Democratic groups amped up voter registration, the administration increased claims of election fraud and created more stringent voter identification laws. Joseph Rich, former chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights section, claimed an unmistakable patterns emerged from the admistration's actions. He stated, "'As more information becomes available about the administration's priority on combating alleged, but not well substantiated ... Read more ...

OSHA decreases regulatory role under Bush

The New York Times's Stephen Labaton (with contributions by Ron Nixon) reports that, under the Bush Administration, OSHA has moved away from its regulatory role in workplace safety. Since George W. Bush became president, OSHA has issued the fewest significant standards in its history, public health experts say. It has imposed only one major safety rule. The only significant health standard it issued was ordered by a federal court. The agency has killed dozens of existing and proposed regulations and delayed adopting others.. Instead of regulations, companies are to use a "voluntary compliance strategy" that lacks any sort of ... Read more ...

Data links sports success and affluent booster clubs

As school sports leaders prepare to discuss new rules regarding booster club spending, Eric D. Williams of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., used data analysis to help demonstrate how money influences a school's ability to produce winning teams and state champions. The newspaper surveyed state title winners from Class 3A and 4A schools from 2002 to 2006, totaling 100 champions. "The analysis ranked public schools by median household income of its neighborhoods using numbers from the 2000 U.S. Census, and the percentage of students on a federal free or reduced-priced meal program from a May 2006 survey ... Read more ...

Records reveal reporter's criminal past

Joshua Benton of The Dallas Morning News used court records to show that Elizabeth Albanese, who recently stepped down as leader of the Press Club of Dallas, has a criminal record under the name Lisa Albanese centered on allegations of theft. Former co-workers described a history of spinning lies. She also has a record of mental illness and delusional behavior. " The investigation revealed that Ms. Albanese invented medical conditions, a kidney transplant and at least one college degree. According to the records, she was also jailed for felony thefts, forgery and putting false documents into circulation." The Press Club currently ... Read more ...

Parole failures go unpunished

Brendan J. Lyons of the Times Union in Albany, N.Y., obtained documents from an internal investigation revealing parole managers had incorrectly allowed convicted felons to remain free and commit new crimes. Despite these findings, the state agency's leaders took no action against those found responsible for parole errors and instead pursued charges against the people they suspected of leaking information to the paper. The whole affair unfolded after a July 2005 Times Union report revealed how parolees who violated the terms of their release remained free and went on to commit crimes such as rape and murder.

Numerous South Florida restaurants cited for critical health code violations

Mc Nelly Torres of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that nearly 2,500 restaurants in South Florida were cited for critical violations by state inspectors between July 2006 and January 2007. Since 1997, there has been a 66 percent increase in the number of confirmed food-borne illnesses tied to restaurants. "In December, the state issued disciplinary actions against 276 restaurants in the state -- 94 of them in South Florida -- and collected a total of $253,550 in fines, the Sun-Sentinel's analysis shows. South Florida's restaurants paid a total of $101,950 in fines." Included in the story is ... Read more ...

Arizona developer's checkered past

Mark Flatten of the East Valley Tribune in Phoenix completed a series on Jim Rhodes who has become in the most influential developer in Arizona's East Valley. In December of 2006, he purchased over 1,000 acres of state trust land. The $58.6 million purchase gave him the right to "master-plan 7,700 acres in the area and set the tone for development of 275 square miles of state land extending from the eastern edge of Maricopa County to Florence." State officials claim they did not know of Rhodes' checkered past, which includes charges of fraud and theft ... Read more ...