Extra Extra : Mapping

Six years after Hurricane Ike, Texas coast remains vulnerable

Hurricane Ike sent a clear message that the people and vital energy industry of greater Houston, one of America's largest urban areas needed protection from rising seas. Six years later, it remains an easy target as storm surges grow increasingly more destructive. Many major coastal cities are in the same boat.

A Reuters analysis of RealtyTrac data for the third installment of the “Water’s Edge” series found that at least $1.4 trillion worth of businesses and homes line the country’s tidal shores, yet the U.S. lacks a unified national response to rising sea levels. The ...

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Landslide safety all over the map in Washington

The deadly Oso landslide in March sparked a debate over Snohomish County’s apparent failure to protect residents at the base of a known landslide zone.

But Washington state is dotted with landslide-prone slopes, and many counties and cities do less than Snohomish County to keep homes away from harm.

A joint KUOW-EarthFix investigation found that local rules vary widely around the state, leaving some communities with much smaller margins of safety than others.

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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For a million fugitives, freedom starts at county line

Across the United States, local police are routinely allowing well over a million fugitives to escape justice simply by moving to another county in the same state, often just a few miles from where they allegedly committed their crimes, a USA TODAY investigation shows. The fugitives include thousands wanted for domestic violence, sexual abuse, manslaughter, repeat drunken driving and even rape.

 

Learn more about this series

Go behind the story and learn how USA TODAY reporter Brad Heath pieced together a confidential FBI database to count fugitives who go free.

Pedestrians dying at disproportionate rates in America's poorer neighborhoods

A national analysis of traffic fatality data finds that, in most areas, it’s the poorer neighborhoods that experience the highest pedestrian death rates.

Governing magazine analyzed accident location data for more than 22,000 pedestrian fatalities reported in federal data from 2008-2012. Within metro areas, low-income census tracts recorded fatality rates approximately twice that of more affluent neighborhoods. Similarly, tracts with poverty rates below the national rate of 15 percent registered 5.3 deaths per 100,000 residents over the five-year period. By comparison, poorer neighborhoods where more than a quarter of the population lived in poverty had a ...

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'Staggering' pain claims in Brooklyn stoke suspicion

A USA TODAY analysis reveals that some of Medicare's top-earning specialists are in the New York City borough and sharing thousands of Medicare patients in volumes much higher than the norm. In hundreds of cases, patients have seen several pain specialists on the same day, shuffling between therapists who have billed Medicare for tens of thousands of procedures. In one case, a chiropractor and an occupational therapist saw the same patients on the same day more than 11,000 times in 18 months.

These high-earning occupational therapists, chiropractors and physical therapists have given Brooklyn an unusual distinction. It either ...

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Unfit for flight: Lies and coverups mask roots of small-plane carnage

A USA TODAY investigation shows repeated instances in which small aircraft crashes, deaths and injuries were caused by defective parts and dangerous designs, casting doubt on the government's official rulings and revealing the inner workings of an industry hit so hard by legal claims that it sought and won liability protection from Congress.

Wide-ranging defects have persisted for years as manufacturers covered up problems, lied to federal regulators and failed to remedy known malfunctions, USA TODAY found. Some defective parts remained in use for decades — and some are still in use — because manufacturers refused to acknowledge or recall the ...

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IRE members work to boost transparency, cooperation in Kenya

Land Quest is an experiment in cross-border investigative journalism by two European, two Kenyan and one American journalist that seeks to redefine both the focus and the audience of development reporting.

The data reveals Kenya as the battlefield between two competing financial interests: the flow of aid money from Europe to Kenya, and multinational profits from Kenya to Europe. Aid money flows into Kenya to help strengthen institutions and private companies, from agro-industrialists to oil barons.

The project, funded by a grant from the European Journalism Centre, is designed to raise awareness about the need for developed and developing countries ...

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Federal loopholes, local challenges complicate response plans for rural oil disasters

The federal government does not require U.S. railroads to have comprehensive plans for a worst-case oil disasters, according to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.

That means no one knows if the railways that carried 4.2 million barrels of crude oil through the state last year are prepared for a catastrophe.

A handful of factors – including a declining number of volunteer firefighter/first-responders and a lack of information – complicate planning efforts in rural states like Maine.

Read the story here.


Reporting on hazardous materials?

Get data from NICAR's recently updated hazardous materials database.

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Extra Extra Monday: The billion-dollar trophy deer industry, election spending, missing radon tests

Trophy deer industry linked to disease, costs taxpayers millions | Indianapolis Star

In less than 40 years, a relatively small group of farmers has created something the world has never seen before — a billion-dollar industry primarily devoted to breeding deer that are trucked to fenced hunting preserves to be shot by patrons willing to pay thousands for the trophies.

An Indianapolis Star investigation has discovered the industry costs taxpayers millions of dollars, compromises long-standing wildlife laws, endangers wild deer and undermines the government's multibillion-dollar effort to protect livestock and the food supply.

More than 100 publicly funded charter schools fail ...

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