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Extra Extra Monday: American Indian casinos, oil field fatalities, student absenteeism

Suicide rate hits 25-year high in region | Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal

Craig Russell Wishnick is one of 238 residents of Dutchess and Ulster counties to die by suicide in the five years ending in 2011, 73 more than in the five years ending in 2003, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal analysis of death certificates over a 13-year period. That is an increase in harder-hit Dutchess of 62 percent and the first hike in the county rate after a quarter-century of steady and solid decline.

 

Does Utah’s air pollution increase school absences? | The Salt Lake Tribune

Health problems are a known contributor to absenteeism, and Wasatch Front students miss class at soaring rates when pollution levels are at their highest.

That’s according to an analysis of attendance records by The Salt Lake Tribune in collaboration with Brigham Young University economist Arden Pope, one of the world’s leading pollution scientists.

The Tribune obtained daily counts of school absences in 2012 and 2013 at four school districts — Salt Lake, Provo and Alpine, where residents endure winter bouts of unhealthy air, and Park City, which rests above the valley haze.

 

Domestic violence victims find criminal justice system to be cold, uncaring | The Tennessean

They are the “anecdotes,” the “unsubstantiated allegations,” the stories told in a brutally honest, 185-page report on domestic violence that Metro withheld and, once it was revealed, sought to minimize.

But to domestic violence victims, tales of an insensitive, intimidating and sometimes cold criminal justice system are all too real.

 

Drilling boom, deadly legacy | The Houston Chronicle

Despite hundreds of oil field fatalities, federal government does little to monitor or safeguard onshore workers.

 

Hospitals feel pressure as Eagle Ford injuries rise | San Antonio Express-News

With drilling increasing dramatically in the Eagle Ford Shale, patients from the region with serious injuries have turned up in fast-increasing numbers at San Antonio's top trauma hospitals.

 

Drug sentences in state vary by where you live, what judge you face | Minneapolis Star Tribune

State judges are routinely rejecting guidelines that are supposed to make drug sentencing uniform and equitable statewide, according to a Star Tribune analysis of more than 21,000 drug convictions in Minnesota from 2007 to 2012. The difference between getting prison or probation for the same drug crime often comes down to which county offenders live in, or which judge does the sentencing. In the 8th Judicial District in western Minnesota, offenders convicted of the most serious drug crimes face a 77 percent chance of getting the full prison sentence. In Hennepin County, only 27 percent get the toughest penalty.

 

Casinos pull Wis. tribes out of despair, but gaming hasn't been cash cow for all | The Green Bay (Wisc.) Press Gazette

Today, American Indian gaming is the biggest economic engine for the Menominee, and the other 10 Wisconsin tribes.

Twenty-five licensed Class III casinos across Wisconsin generated more than $1 billion for tribes in 2011. About $52 million of that money went to the state of Wisconsin’s coffers, the latest figures from the state show. The Ho-Chunk also operate a Class II bingo-slot facility in Madison.

 

Trauma transfers could put lives at risk | The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger

A for-profit hospital in south Jackson repeatedly transferred emergency patients it was paid by the state to treat, possibly violating state hospital regulations and federal law, a Clarion-Ledger investigation found.

The Clarion-Ledger obtained hospital transfer logs, patient charts and other documents leaked by whistle-blowers that depict a pattern of decisions at Central Mississippi Medical Center that may have put lives at risk.

 

New firefighter benefits stoke workers' comp debate | Baltimore Sun

A dispute between the City of Baltimore and a firefighter-paramedic with breast cancer spotlights a high-stakes debate over a law that presumes certain cancers are related to fighting fires. Firefighters say the provisions — which can lead to awards exceeding $500,000, including medical bills — rightly reflect the fact that they can encounter dangerous fumes and chemicals on the job.

But governments like Baltimore's, which spent $49 million last year on workers' compensation, call the law unreasonably generous and too difficult to challenge in hearings or in court. Officials also point to recent research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that casts doubt on whether there is a link between firefighting and most of the cancers listed in Maryland's law.

 

Denver police frustrated by number of unsolved hit and run accidents | The Denver Post

Despite traffic cameras, instant public notifications, sophisticated investigations and new, tougher laws, police remain frustrated by the dozens of hit-and-run cases, including the one involving the Khans, that might never be solved.

And the clock is ticking. Investigators are in a race against time to file charges before the statute of limitations expires on such cases — even the ones involving death.

 

Tutwiler prison employees charged with sex crimes against inmates typically pleaded to lesser charges, records show | The Birmingham News

Guards and other employees at Alabama's Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women accused in a U.S. Department of Justice report of demeaning, harassing and sexually abusing inmates typically pleaded guilty to lesser crimes, an AL.com examination of court records found.

 

Arizona's newborn-screening requirements less than other states | The Arizona Republic

Arizona’s screening now tests for 29 diseases or conditions, including hearing loss. That number places Arizona in the bottom third of states.

As of 2011, at least 15 states tested for more than 50 conditions, according to the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation, a national non-profit that advocates for newborn screening

 

Thousands of families left out of state funding to help with developmental disabilities | The Seattle Times

“No funding available” may best summarize the system for residents with developmental disabilities in Washington state, where some 14,600 families determined eligible for services don’t receive any.

 

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