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Lenience in juvenile court system may have cost one woman's life.

John Diedrich of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports on the disturbing facts of how some very violent juveniles slip through the cracks of our court system. One, Markus Evans, first encounter with the courts was when he was 7 years old, after stabbing his kindergarten teacher with a pencil. 10 years later, he is in court yet another time for allegedly murdering a 17-year-old woman.

"When you look at this case, it just says there ought to be a hell of a lot of more communication with those who interact with those kids - schools, cops, probation, prosecutors - everyone," said ...

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Washington state bans toxic asphalt sealants.

Washington state is now the largest government in the country to ban the cancer-causing industrial waste. The asphalt sealant is used on surfaces such as driveways, parking lots, and even playgrounds. One US Representative is seeking a nationwide ban.   "The Washington state legislation and Doggett’s drive for a nationwide ban flowed from studies by the U.S. Geological Survey, which showed that components of the toxic sealants are increasing in many waterways, while levels of most pollutants are declining."

Investigation shows Phoenix kidnapping statistics are skewed

Using Arizona's Open Records Law, Dave Biscobing of KNXV-TV in Phoenix recently uncovered discrepancies in kidnapping statistics used by the Phoenix Police Department to obtain more than $2 million in federal grant money. City leaders and Arizona Senator John McCain repeatedly cited the statistics, calling Phoenix the "Kidnapping Capital of the US." However, Biscobing's research found more than 100 of the 358 cases cited by Phoenix Police in 2008 were not kidnappings. The Phoenix Police Department cited vehicle impounds, assaults, and crimes that did not even happen in Phoenix as legitimate kidnappings. The morning after his initial report ... Read more ...

Analysis of aviation data reveals frequent safety problems

Investigative reporter Dusty McNichol dies at 54

Long-time IRE member Dunstan "Dusty" McNichol died unexpectedly Tuesday. He was 54. McNichol, who contributed to the IRE Journal and spoke at IRE Conferences, was an active member of IRE since 1998. McNichol  covered the New Jersey Statehouse for 10 years for the Star-Ledger "and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for the newspaper’s coverage of (then-New Jersey Gov. Jim) McGreevey’s resignation. In 2009, Mr. McNichol joined Bloomberg News and its Trenton-based State Government and Local Finance Team."

Loophole keeps gun dealer in business

From almost the time it opened, a Wisconsin gun store has been in trouble with federal authorities. After repeated warnings about problems, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revoked the store’s license in 2007. But as Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter John Diedrich reported, three years later the case is tied up in federal court and the store continues to sell thousands of guns a year – with the ATF's blessing. The case shows how laws enacted by Congress hobble the agency charged with policing gun stores and protect dealers who repeatedly break the law.

Investigation finds mercury in face cream

A Chicago Tribune investigation discovered high levels of mercury in skin lightening creams sold throughout Chicago. The newspaper sent 50 skin-lightening creams to a certified lab for testing, most of them bought in Chicago stores and a few ordered online. Six were found to contain amounts of mercury banned by federal law. Of those, five had more than 6,000 parts per million — enough to potentially cause kidney damage over time, according to a medical expert.

Personality disorder used to discharge soldiers, strip them of benefits

A report by Joshua Kors in The Nation explores the Army's fraudulent use of personality disorder diagnoses to discharge soldiers, thus stripping them of their disability benefits and long term medical care. The article details the case of Chuck Luther who suffered a concussion during a mortar attack in May 2007. After reporting his symptoms, his doctor claimed he was fabricating symptoms to avoid reconnaissance duty and eventually diagnosed him with personality disorder. In the past three years, at least two dozen other have been similarly discharged and denied benefits. "According to figures from the Pentagon and a Harvard ... Read more ...