Nursing homes unmasked: Who owns California’s nursing homes? | Sacramento Bee
As private investment groups scoop up an ever-larger share of the nation’s skilled-nursing care market, it has become increasingly difficult to decipher who owns the nation’s largest chains.

Elder-care advocates will tell you this is no accident: A convoluted ownership structure, they say, is a way for owners to hide assets and shield themselves from civil and criminal liability when patients are abused or neglected in their care. Confusing lines of ownership also make it harder for regulators to detect worrisome patterns of care among facilities within a chain.


Lessons from child abuse deaths go unheeded in Minnesota | Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The deaths of 56 children from maltreatment in Minnesota since 2005 should guide changes in child protection. But an examination of state and county records shows little evidence that mortality reviews, required in each case, are stopping child protection failures. The reviews often take years to complete — and sometimes do not occur at all. What’s more, findings from such reviews are frequently sealed off from public scrutiny, despite a federal law requiring more disclosure.


How Battleground Texas hobbled the Wendy Davis campaign | Austin American-Statesman

The Wendy Davis campaign’s relationship with Battleground Texas resulted in internal squabbles and a complicated financial arrangement that hobbled her election effort, according to interviews with several people close to the campaign and a comprehensive analysis of her campaign finance data by the American-Statesman.

By every measurable outcome, Battleground Texas failed to live up to its promises. More women voted for Republican Greg Abbott than Davis, there was no surge in Hispanic registration or turnout, and the numbers of Democratic voters plunged.


California’s strawberry industry is hooked on dangerous pesticides | The Center for Investigative Reporting

California state pesticide regulators have allowed growers to blow through health limits on the fumigant 1-3-D, despite concerns from state scientists.

The decision has put people in more than 100 California communities at a higher risk of cancer, according to interviews with former state scientists and documents obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting. The system of exemptions, which has continued under two subsequent directors, runs counter to the department’s stated mission to protect the well-being of California residents.


Sessoms’ council votes benefited Townebank borrowers | The Virginian-Pilot

Mayor Will Sessoms, a president of TowneBank, has voted dozens of times with the City Council on matters directly benefiting developers who borrowed at least $140 million from the bank. The votes violate Sessoms’ promise not to let his duties to the bank conflict with his public obligations, and some may also violate state law.


Day care druggings raise enforcement questions | Indianapolis Star

A Star investigation shows that state officials expressed serious concerns about the safety of the children under Stephanie Gribble’s care long before she was arrested Feb. 14. They found her violating state law at least 13 times. More than 200 pages of government records and emails reveal state officials knew Gribble routinely watched more than twice as many children as allowed under law, moved from home to home and ignored repeated warnings to stop operating an illegal day care.


Habitual drunken driving: A culture of acceptance | Post-Crescent

Of the more than 26,000 Wisconsin drivers convicted last year of driving drunk, about 37 percent — more than 9,600 drivers — had been caught before.

Year after year, Wisconsin’s courts are clogged with habitual drunken drivers. Though the state has fewer drunken driving convictions overall compared to five years ago, 2013 marked the fourth consecutive year that the state had more than 800 drivers convicted of a fifth or greater offense of operating while intoxicated, according to Wisconsin Department of Transportation data.


Mansfield ISD schools used “Recovery rooms” hundreds of times for troubled children | NBC 5 Fort Worth

A four-month-long NBC 5 Investigation reveals a secret inside dozens of North Texas schools, small rooms used to calm students with behavior problems hundreds of times throughout the school year. In some cases students with autism or other learning challenges may be forced to sit in them for part of a school day and the state does not require schools to tell parents if their child is ordered into one.

Records Obtained by NBC 5 Investigates show the Mansfield Independent School District used those rooms hundreds of times last school year.


Redefining the Word: Examining a racial slur entrenched in American vernacular that is more prevalent than ever | The Washington Post

In the aftermath of the NFL’s controversial ban of the use of the n-word on the field, the Washington Post examined the history of this singular American word, its spread through popular culture and its place in the vernacular today. The project is built with innovative interactive elements, including a heavy use of video from conversations between a wide range of cultural voices.


Banks kept CPS in shaky bond market | Chicago Tribune

Chicago Public Schools ventured into the risky auction-rate bond market in the hope that it would save money over traditional fixed-rate debt. Instead, a Tribune analysis found that a 2007 auction-rate deal is likely to cost CPS an estimated $50 million more than the district would have paid on an equivalent fixed-rate bond.

In its unprecedented examination of the district’s $1 billion in auction-rate debt, the Tribune found that CPS stands to pay a high price for gambling on a risky and exotic borrowing strategy.