Extra Extra : July 2009

Report shows missteps by Army left troops vulnerable in Afghanistan

Hal Bernton and Cheryl Phillips of The Seattle Times reported on an unreleased study that concluded Army missteps directly contributed to one of the bloodiest battles in the Afghanistan war. Army historian Douglas Cubbison "noted suspect decisions by commanders, who allowed an understaffed platoon to plant itself in hostile territory without adequate support." Nine soldiers were killed and 27 were wounded in the battle on July 13, 2008.

Many bad bridges not receiving stimulus funds

Some rape victims failed by Violence Against Women Act

Projects get stimulus funds despite limited economic impact

A report by Michelle Breidenbach of The Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) shows that in many cases stimulus funds funneled through the National Institutes of Health are going towards previously unfunded proposals with no regard for job creation or economic impact. In one example, a formerly wait-listed grant for $500,000 was awarded to Cornell University for the purchase of new equipment manufactured outside the U.S. While stimulus road projects require the use of American-made steel, no such stipulation exists for equipment acquired with research grants. "It's likely in the scientific world that a lot of equipment is not ... Read more ...

Nurse drug prevention program loosely monitored

In their continuing investigation into failed oversight of California's nursing board, ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times found problems within the state's drug diversion program. Diversion is intended to help nurses overcome substance abuse problems without losing their nursing license. The investigation found "participants who practiced while intoxicated, stole drugs from the bedridden and falsified records to cover their tracks. Since its inception in 1985, more than half the nurses who have entered the program haven't completed it."

Violence follows some soldiers home from war

A two-day series by Dave Phillips of The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette retraces the steps of soldiers who have returned from war and ended up incarcerated for crimes they committed upon their return to civilian life. Ten soldiers from Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team have "been arrested and accused of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter since 2006. Others have committed suicide, or tried to." Phillips conducted months of interviews with soldiers and their families. He also reviewed court, military and medical records for this series. 

Dunlap, convicted of killing Don Bolles, died in prison

The Arizona Republic reported that Max Dunlap, convicted of killing Don Bolles, died at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Tucson on Tuesday. "Dunlap, 80, was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in 1993. He was serving a life sentence. Dunlap was unresponsive Tuesday morning in the Rincon medical unit in Tucson. Staff performed CPR before Dunlap was declared dead of what appears to be natural causes."

Superfund sites threaten water supply in Mid-South

Keli Rabon and Jim O'Donnell of WREG-Memphis, Tenn. investigated two Superfund sites in Shelby County, Tennessee. The team uncovered a lack of action from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up one of the sites, even though the deadly toxins had already leached into a local water supply. The other site, a former pesticide manufacturing plant, was certified "clean" 12 years ago by the EPA. The area was recently turned into a park for kids. While the soil at the site was deemed safe, the groundwater beneath it is still contaminated.

Many Pentagon contractors go unnamed

"The Pentagon’s unnamed contractors placed 14th on the Defense Department’s ranking of top contractors for 2008, according to an Aerospace Daily analysis of an independent national database of government contracting data," reports Michael Fabey. The analysis also showed that all work associated with these unnamed contractors was completed in either Iraq or Afghanistan. The Federal Contracts data used for this story was provided by the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR).