Extra Extra : April 2009

Grand jury indicts bakery leader in murder of Chauncey Bailey

The San Francisco Chronicle and The Chauncey Bailey Project report that Yusuf Ali Bey IV, leader of the defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery, was indicted by an Alameda County grand jury. "Prosecutors are likely to bring the case with special circumstances – allowing them to seek the death penalty against Bey IV, 23. He allegedly told two of his followers that in exchange for killing Bailey, he would teach them how to file fraudulent loan applications that could reap hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Girl’s death leads to scrutiny of police department

The Fayetteville Observer investigated a police department's mishandling of a child abuse case. The department's actions ultimately led to its loss of felony arrest powers, scrutiny from the Cumberland County district attorney and a grand jury probe of corruption. The death of 3-year-old Anijah Burr had never been reported and was kept hidden behind a wall of secrecy, but the newspaper pieced together the story by talking with current and former Spring Lake police officers and reviewing hundreds of pages of unpublished police notes, reports and medical records.

Unescorted prisoners transferred on public buses

An investigation by KSTP-Minneapolis/St. Paul  discovered that federal prisoners are being transferred unescorted on public buses unbeknown to  the bus companies or the public.  In the past three years, the Bureau of Prisons has transferred almost 90,000 prisoners unescorted across the U.S. "It was only after prisoners escaped while en route from one prison to another that Greyhound Bus Lines learned their buses were being used to move unescorted prisoners."

Airports with high rates of bird strikes pinpointed

National Public Radio combined the Federal Aviation Administration's wildlife-strike reports with airport activity figures to calculate airport "strike rates," an industry measure that is not publicly available and that standardizes bird strikes according to the amount of traffic at an airport. They also provided an interactive map for Web users to find out strike rates at major airports.

New teachers twice as likely to teach in poor D.C. neighborhoods

"Students in the region's poorest neighborhoods are nearly twice as likely to have a new or second-year teacher as those in the wealthiest, a Washington Post analysis has found. The pattern means some of the neediest students attend schools that double as teacher training grounds." University of Virginia economist James Wyckoff described this trend as "remarkably consistent" across the nation.

Cities and county failed to inspect fire hydrants

An investigation by Matt Dixon of The Villages Daily Sun (The Villages, Fla.) revealed that fire hydrants in Sumter County have not been regularly inspected.   A request for maintenance records by the paper revealed that none existed.  Municipalities county-wide had been under the impression that the county was responsible for the maintenance of fire hydrants.  But County Fire Rescue Chief Bill Gulbrandsen stated, "Sumter County Board of County Commissioners does not own any public water utility system and therefore owns no hydrants. At this time, Sumter County is responsible to inspect no hydrants."  In an effort to rectify the lack ... Read more ...

Newspaper reveals problems with narcotics-related warrants

Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker of the Philadelphia Daily News report that, “Again and again, supervisors in the Philadelphia Police Narcotics Field Unit signed off on cookie-cutter applications for search warrants, which are now the subject of an expanding FBI and police Internal Affairs Bureau investigation.” The article is part of “Tainted Justice,” a series that began in February when the newspaper published allegations that a narcotics officer had lied on search-warrant applications.

Tip leads to police corruption probe

Tony Kennedy and Paul McEnroe of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis wrote a four-part narrative investigation, “The Informant,” to chronicle a public corruption probe of Minneapolis police. Federal agents and the Minneapolis Police Department launched the investigation in late 2006 after an informant’s tip alleging that police officers were providing gang leaders with confidential police information in exchange for bribes and prostitutes. The series used confidential police internal affairs documents to piece together how the investigation unfolded and progressed.

Poisoned Waters

Poisoned Waters, a two-hour special by PBS Frontline, looks at the nation's two great coastal estuaries - the Chesapeake Bay and the Puget Sound - as case studies for water quality. Examining the growing hazards to human health and the ecosystem, the production team looked at U.S. Geological Survey databases for dozens of emerging chemicals found in waterways that are making it through water filter systems into drinking water. They also evaluated the U.S. Department of Agriculture databases that pinpoint hotspots of pollution from agricultural runoff.

Tracking pharmaceuticals in waterways inadequate

Jeff Donn, Martha Mendoza and Justin Pritchard of The Associated Press report that, "U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often provide drinking water — contamination the federal government has consistently overlooked." The scant tracking by the federal government of pharmaceuticals released into waterways is inconsistent as many pharmaceutical ingredients are also used in the manufacturing of non-drug products. The AP investigation, "identified 22 compounds that show up on two lists: the EPA monitors them as industrial chemicals that are released into rivers, lakes and other bodies of water ... Read more ...