Extra Extra : January 2010

Breach of trust prompts legislation in Congress

A year-long investigation by Wendy Halloran from WHNT-Huntsville, Ala. is capped off with the introduction of U.S. House Resolution 4535, known as "The Diploma and Accreditation Integrity Protection Act." The investigation exposed the use of fake credentials in all levels of the U.S. Army. Soldiers and high ranking civilians at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (Redstone Arsenal) were caught buying fake degrees from diploma mills and turning them over for pay raises and promotions at taxpayer expense. The reports were the catalyst for New York Congressman Tim Bishop's (D-NY) legislation. U.S. Rep. Bishop ... Read more ...

Mistakes in radiation treatments can be dire

A report by Walt Bogdanich of The New  York Times looks at the risks associated with radiation treatments.  Advancements in how radiation is administered have made it a more effective treatment.  "The Times found that while this new technology allows doctors to more accurately attack tumors and reduce certain mistakes, its complexity has created new avenues for error — through software flaws, faulty programming, poor safety procedures or inadequate staffing and training. When those errors occur, they can be crippling."

Misuse of funds compromised tribal welfare program

An investigation by The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, Calif.) uncovered problems with the taxpayer-funded Torres-Martinez tribal welfare program."Beneath the surface of rampant poverty and joblessness on one of California's poorest American Indian reservations is nearly a decade of mismanagement and misuse of millions in taxpayer dollars meant for those needing the money most, federal and state documents show."

Judge orders Tacoma City Council to record executive meetings

The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) won what may be the first court ruling of its kind in Washington state, when a judge ordered the Tacoma City Council to video and audio record its executive sessions. The newspaper's lawsuit comes on the heels of reporting by the News Tribune's Lewis Kamb on the city council's appointment process, during which council members likely violated Washington's Open Public Meetings Act by taking a private vote on applicants seeking appointment to the council. The newspaper's ruling could have broader implications to help assure open government laws are being upheld ... Read more ...

Many children lack second dose of H1N1 flu vaccine

As many as 80% of children in some states who received a first dose of H1N1 vaccine haven't received a booster dose that's necessary to fully protect them from swine flu, according to a USA Today review of immunization registry data from 10 states. State health officials are worried growing public complacency could put these children at risk if a third wave of disease hits this winter. Because there are there are no national data on the second doses. USA Today sought data from the 14 states that the CDC says require all H1N1 doses be recorded in ... Read more ...

Feds make collection firms open debt sale records

Athletic departments thrive on subsidies while universities struggle

"More than $800 million in student fees and university subsidies are propping up athletic programs at the nation's top sports colleges, including hundreds of millions in the richest conferences," according to a report by Jack Gillum, Jodi Upton and Steve Berkowitz of USA Today.  At the same time, many of these school are facing financial hardship on other fronts - faculty salaries have dropped, financial aid is drying up and fees and tuition are on the rise.

Mistreatment of inmates at Chino prison investigated

KPCC.org, the Web site for Southern California Public Radio, investigated allegations of inmate mistreatment at the California Institution for Men in Chino following a bloody 11-hour riot Aug. 8, 2009. The riot left some 200 men injured. It took authorities until sunrise to contain the violence. In interviews and in letters obtained by KPCC, inmates complained of being kept outdoors in punishing heat and the freezing overnight cold for up to four days after the riot. Other inmates say they were held under similar conditions months before the riot. Others claim the prison continues to house prisoners in unsanitary ... Read more ...