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Former county executive continues to rake in the cash

Monroe County Republicans consistently rake in more donations than many other county-level political parties in New York, the Democrat & Chronicle found. Campaign finance reports shed light on one reason for the party's fundraising prowess: Former county executive Jack Doyle. The party contracts with Doyle to work as a fundraiser, county Republican Chairman Bill Reilich said recently. Doyle works on commission, Reilich said, meaning that he earns a percentage of the donations he brings in.

A recent campaign disclosure report shows that the GOP paid Doyle — or John D. Doyle LLC — $45,593 in March for professional services. It was ...

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How Gangs Took Over Prisons

Originally formed for self-protection, prison gangs have become the unlikely custodians of order behind bars—and of crime on the streets, The Atlantic reports. The California prison system, which houses the second-largest inmate population in the country—about 135,600 people, slightly more than the population of Bellevue, Washington, split into facilities of a few thousand inmates apiece. With the possible exception of North Korea, the United States has a higher incarceration rate than any other nation, at one in 108 adults.

Among the fundamental questions about prison gangs—known in California-corrections argot as “Security Threat Groups”—is ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Florida law allows troubled charter operators to keep running schools

Shuttered: Florida’s Failed Charter Schools | Naples Daily News

As charter schools have boomed in Florida — 622 operated in 2013-14, up from 257 in 2003-04 — many have also busted. Since charter schools were first permitted in 1996, 269 out of nearly 900 opened charter schools have closed, a failure rate of about 30 percent. That tally includes six schools closed in Lee County and two closed in Collier County.

To better understand Florida’s charter school failings, the Daily News undertook a first-of-its-kind task, examining all charter schools that have closed since 2008. The newspaper reviewed hundreds of closure documents ...

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Taking children to the wrong trauma center can be a deadly mistake

Under Florida guidelines, children who suffer traumatic injuries are supposed to go straight to a trauma center that specializes in pediatric care. Studies show this gives children the best chance of survival.

But dozens of children each year aren't getting that chance, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found. Instead, paramedics are taking them to adult trauma centers that may be closer but aren't equipped to help children in need.

This is an unintended consequence of the recent expansion of Florida's trauma system which added six new centers that compete with the pediatric centers.

Check out the ...

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Some high-end designers use endangered species for fashion

In the thick of New York Fashion Week, models strut down the runway clothed in exotic leathers and snakeskins. But some of the most high-end designs never make it to the runway, the News 4 I-Team reports.

Workers at the Port of New York sort through more than 30,000 shipments a year to make sure items come from a sustainable source. Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, it is illegal to use endangered animals like sea turtles or elephants in any kind of commercial trade. But CITES does allow use of some protected animals ...

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San Diego school district gets armored vehicle through 1033 Program

Why did the San Diego Unified School District acquire an armored vehicle? According to inewsource, when the mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle (MRAP) became available through the Department of Defense’s Excess Property Program, or 1033 Program, the district jumped at the opportunity.

School officials said they wanted the armored vehicle to use for rescue operations. If there’s an active shooter, an earthquake or a fire, the school could use the MRAP to rip down a wall, a police captain told inewsource.

Students in a high school auto collision and refinishing program painted the MRAP, and the division plans to ...

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Flares in Eagle Ford Shale wasting natural gas

Using the state's own records, the San Antonio Express-News found that natural gas flares burning across the Eagle Ford Shale oil field incinerated enough gas over four years to supply every household that uses the fuel in San Antonio for a full year.

Analyzing more than 80 million oil field production records, the newspaper also found that the flares are emitting more pollution than all six oil refineries in Corpus Christi, and they are pouring out more ozone-creating compounds than 24 Texas oil refineries.

Despite the tremendous waste and pollution, seven of the 20 largest flaring operations escaped state ...

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Records show Las Vegas constable’s office misused confidential database

A deputy in the Las Vegas Township Constable’s office updated the agency’s policies on database searches of criminal histories on individuals in April 2013, four months after a felony was issued for her arrest, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

A high-ranking constable’s officer searched law enforcement databases for one person nine times over several months. That raised a red flag with state auditors in July 2013. An unrelated internal investigation that year found an account linked to another high-ranking officer had been used to search for porn actresses’ names in a private, nongovernment database that provides addresses ...

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Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes

They were pulled over for a minor traffic violation and, instead of getting just a ticket, they had their money confiscated by police. An aggressive brand of policing has led to the seizure of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from American motorists and others not charged with crimes. It’s a largely hidden side effect of the government’s push to have the police become the eyes and ears of homeland security on highways since the 9/11 terror attacks.

In a three-part series, The Washington Post examines how thousands of people have been forced to fight legal ...

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As the seas rise, a slow-motion disaster gnaws at America’s shores

"Missions flown from the NASA base here have documented some of the most dramatic evidence of a warming planet over the past 20 years: the melting of polar ice, a force contributing to a global rise in ocean levels.

The Wallops Flight Facility’s relationship with rising seas doesn’t end there. Its billion-dollar space launch complex occupies a barrier island that's drowning under the impact of worsening storms and flooding.

NASA's response? Rather than move out of harm’s way, officials have added more than $100 million in new structures over the past five years and spent ...

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