Extra Extra : Government (federal/state/local)

Analysis of lottery data reveals problems, prolific winners

Some lottery winning streaks in Massachusetts defy belief, according to a Boston Globe analysis of lottery data. One family claimed 340 lottery tickets in less than two years. Another man has cashed in more than 12,000 tickets worth $600 in the past decade. Statisticians doubt it's luck. The lottery suspects they are "Ten Percenters" - cashing tickets for other people for a fee. The story follows a Palm Beach Post investigation in March that found some people cashing in hundreds of tickets in the Sunshine State.

Memo details problems in the Omaha VA police department

A memo obtained by KETV-Omaha helped the station shed light on problems with the police department attached to the VA’s Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System.

The document accuses command staff of “unfair and unethical” hiring practices and describes a fight in the police squad room. The station also talked to officers with experience working in the Omaha VA police department.

Watch the story here.

Extra Extra Monday: ATF stings, voter fraud and the new subprime bubble

Investigation: ATF drug stings targeted minorities | USA TODAY

The nation's top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not ...

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Red light cameras tag thousands for undeserved tickets

Thousands of Chicago drivers have been tagged with $100 red light fines they did not deserve, targeted by robotic cameras during a series of sudden spikes in tickets that city officials say they cannot explain, a Chicago Tribune investigation has found.

The Tribune's analysis of more than 4 million tickets issued since 2007 and a deeper probe of individual cases revealed clear evidence that the deviations in Chicago's network of 380 cameras were caused by faulty equipment, human tinkering or both.

New York officials sold graves of delinquent boys in a land deal

They were delinquent and unwanted boys sent to a state-run school in Rush to be reformed. When they died there, the state buried them on school grounds – then sold their graves in a land deal.

Now, the 14 dead boys buried in the woods in Rush are stirring uneasy feelings in the rural town, and forcing the state to confront its past and figure out what to do about the boys' neglected final resting place.

Relying on census records, news archives, death certificates and internal school documents, the Democrat and Chronicle pieced together the lives and deaths of these boys ...

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Reports reveal safety violations at many bioterror labs

Recent glaring safety lapses involving anthrax, smallpox and a dangerous strain of bird flu are the latest violations at a half-dozen laboratories run by federal health agencies, 11 labs run by universities and eight more operated by state, local or private entities, according to government reports stamped "restricted" obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.

The reports by the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cited inadequate security procedures, lax inventory records for germs that could be used as bioterror agents and training concerns. Auditors warned in reports issued ...

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Tracking federal, state aid money after the deadly Oklahoma tornadoes

An investigation by Oklahoma Watch and KGOU found that almost three-fourths of the people who applied for FEMA aid following the killer twisters in Oklahoma last year were rejected.

While tens of millions of dollars in state and federal aid were released following the storm, the process of receiving and using those funds hasn’t always gone smoothly.

According to Oklahoma Watch:

“At least three cities and a school district had requests denied because the damage was determined to be unrelated to the disaster. Others were turned away because the project was too small, under $1,000, to be eligible ...

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Commissioner uses Tennessee state troopers as chauffeurs

Tennessee Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons is using state troopers as chauffeurs, according to a hidden-camera investigation by WTVF-Nashville.

State officials stand by the decision, saying that the commissioner’s time is valuable and that the drivers provide more time for him to answer emails.

Emails show that troopers drove Gibbons at least 31 times in a two-and-a-half year period.

Extra Extra Monday: Investigations highlight problems at homeless shelters, group homes, jails

Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn’t | The New York Times

A New York Times examination of the case, based in part on hundreds of pages of disciplinary proceedings — usually confidential under federal privacy laws — offers a rare look inside one school’s adjudication of a rape complaint amid a roiling national debate over how best to stop sexual assaults on campuses.

Whatever precisely happened that September night, the internal records, along with interviews with students, sexual-assault experts and college officials, depict a school ill prepared to evaluate an allegation so serious that, if proved in a court of law ...

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No one held accountable for deadly blast in Washington

Four years after one of the state’s worst industrial accidents, no one has been held publicly accountable for the deaths of seven workers at the Tesoro refinery on the outskirts of Anacortes, Washington.

According to Puget Sound Public Radio:

Refinery owner Tesoro agreed to pay millions to families of the dead, but the company continues to fight government accusations that it willfully put its workers in harm’s way. The families have also sued Lloyd’s Register Energy Americas, a company that advised Tesoro on how to inspect the refinery’s maze of high-temperature, high-pressure machinery.

With legal proceedings ...

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