The New York Times
Ruled a Threat to Family, but Allowed to Keep Guns
“Advocates for domestic violence victims have long called for stricter laws governing firearms and protective orders. Their argument is rooted in a grim statistic: when women die at the hand of an intimate partner, that hand is more often than not holding a gun.”
OECD Enables Companies to Avoid $100 Billion in Taxes
“With little outside attention, it also plays a pivotal role enabling global corporations such as Google Inc. (GOOG), Hewlett- Packard Co. and Amazon.com Inc. to dodge taxes by shifting profits into offshore subsidiaries, costing the U.S. and Europe more than $100 billion a year.”
The Bay Citizen
Catch shares leave fishermen reeling
“Sweeping the globe is a system that steadily hands over a $400 billion ocean fishing industry to corporations.”
The Denver Post
Colorado system for investigating ski accidents raises concerns
“Despite having only informal accident-investigation training, as well as potential conflicts of interest, ski patrollers and their reports are often relied on by local law enforcement agencies when they respond to calls on the mountains, The Denver Post found after reviewing Colorado accidents and lawsuits.”
The Austin American Statesman
Texas all over the map when it comes to drones
“Even as both Texas senators in Washington were joining a filibuster that raised questions this month about the Obama administration’s policy on drone strikes on U.S. soil, the prevalence of the small unmanned aircraft in their own state was growing — and similarly fraught with political and privacy implications.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Botched signature on paratransit bid takes taxpayers for $8.6 million ride
“Taxpayers will shell out nearly $8.6 million more than they should on rides for Milwaukee County residents with disabilities over the next three years. The reason: a botched signature on a bid.”
The Salt Lake Tribune
Utah lawyers: Historic ruling’s legacy at risk
“On Monday, Gideon v. Wainwright — often heralded as one of the most important legal rulings in the history of the United States — turns 50. But its anniversary, experts say, is no cause for celebration. Gideon’s legacy has been battered and bruised nationwide, and certainly in Utah.”
Medical marijuana: Pot-infused products gaining lucrative niche, but Oregon doesn't track businesses
“Pot-infused products are a growing, lucrative market in places where medical marijuana is legal, currently 18 states and Washington, D.C. Yet states often overlook cannabis-infused products in their medical marijuana programs, industry experts say. Oregon does not regulate or even track businesses that make or sell such products.”
The Star Tribune
A gun at 14, then a senseless killing
Two young lives are swept away in Minneapolis by a relentless flow of illegal firearms.
A rural housing program city slickers just love
Reuters finds that from Ewa Beach, a comfy resort community just outside Honolulu, to Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C., homebuyers are enjoying a strange perk: no-money-down home loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A USDA program was set up decades ago to ensure that low-income rural folk could get access to financing for a new home, but as Reuters found, tens of thousands of the loans have gone to homebuyers in areas deemed urban by the Census Bureau, and many more to people in “mixed” areas. Further, many of the loans have gone to borrowers who don’t meet eligibility requirements in terms of income and credit-worthiness. The upshot: This tiny program has ballooned in recent years as a sweet deal for homebuyers, homebuilders and lenders alike – and delinquencies are rising.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports on a growing conflict between Montana's bar owners and craft brewers: "The draft bill is currently sitting in a pile of papers on a legislative staff attorney’s desk in Helena, but the rough outline has caused some upheaval among Montana’s craft brewing industry. It would combine two bills previously lobbied for by the Montana Tavern Association, which represents the retail end of the state distribution system, and build legal walls around the state brewers to keep them on the manufacturing side of the distribution system.
Dozens of Internet sweepstakes cafes are owned and operated by people who are in so much financial hot water that they couldn’t land a job at an Ohio casino. The pseudo gambling parlors have flouted a decades-old state law that requires businesses to register with the secretary of state. And most cafe owners snubbed an affidavit requested by the Ohio attorney general’s office last year to obtain more information about owners and their businesses; most provided little more than a street address. The Columbus Dispatch investigated the backgrounds of both the businesses and the names of owners supplied to the attorney general’s office last summer on “affidavits of existence” and found a trail of red flags. For two years, state lawmakers have wrangled about what to do about such establishments, which now are entrenched and unregulated in the state.
The Sacramento Bee
Guns rule street in west Lemon Hill neighborhood
“Between January 2007 and November 2012, no other similarly sized area in Sacramento County had more reports of two categories of gun crimes: assault with a firearm and shooting into an occupied dwelling or vehicle.”
The Denver Post
Denver's 911 call review shows a pattern of problems
In nearly 240 of the calls reviewed for performance, police officers never received crucial scene information from the dispatchers or call takers. This included situations where they failed to notify officers that suspects were armed and had been violent in the past.
Crime inside NFL stadiums hidden from police
A months-long investigation by KIRO-TV in Seattle (CBS/Cox Media Group) found that many local police departments are helping the NFL’s cause, by either failing to create crime reports or underreporting incidents that occur in the stands and nearby parking lots during football games.
The Omaha World-Herald
Sheehy steps aside after phone records reveal 2,300 calls to 4 women
“A monthlong investigation by The World-Herald uncovered a secret life during that travel, involving 2,300 phone calls to four women, other than his wife, during the past four years.
The Dallas Morning News
“Parkland Memorial Hospital is the nation's largest healthcare facility ever forced into federal oversight to remedy patient-safety dangers. How did the landmark Dallas County public hospital reach this precipice? The problems have been years in the making.”
The Seattle Times
Boeing 787’s problems blamed on outsourcing, lack of oversight
“Company engineers blame the 787’s outsourced supply chain, saying that poor quality components are coming from subcontractors that have operated largely out of Boeing’s view.”
To Recruit Cops, the NRA Dangles Freebies Paid for by Gun Companies
“Free memberships and insurance, steep discounts on gear. How could an officer say no?”
The Los Angeles Times
A fatal toll on concertgoers as raves boost cities' income
Struggling local governments welcome large music events staged by L.A.-based promoters, but reports reveal a tragic pattern of drug overdoses.
Crime lab backlogs weighing down court system
A mounting backlog of samples awaiting testing at the Austin Police Department crime lab is causing unprecedented delays in the resolution of criminal cases, preventing some from going forward for at least six months and stressing an already bustling county judicial system, documents obtained by the American-Statesman show.
Bloomberg News reports that corporate political action committees, such as those of Boeing and General Electric, waste no time in donating to winners of congressional elections after previously placing money on losing campaigns. Bloomberg reports that "at least eight corporate PACs that contributed to the losing candidate gave to the victor in the month following the 2012 elections, Federal Election Commission records show."
Consumer websites offer their users different prices and deals based on what data they have about the user, according to a Wall Street Jounal investigation. The Journal identified several companies, including Staples, Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone Inc. and Home Depot Inc., that consistently adjusted prices and product offers based on user characteristics they discovered, such as location.
Presented with the findings, companies told the Journal that their practices mirror real world store adjustments and that the changes reflect the cost of doing business in different locations. The practice is not illegal, save for a few exceptions for situations such as race discrimination.
The Washington Post
Review of FBI forensics does not extend to federally trained state, local examiners
The Washington Post reports that thousands of criminal cases at the state and local level may have relied on exaggerated testimony or false forensic evidence to convict defendants of murder, rape and other felonies, according to former FBI agents.
The Journal News
The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood
“In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and amid renewed nationwide calls for stronger gun control, some Lower Hudson Valley residents would like lawmakers to expand the amount of information the public can find out about gun owners. About 44,000 people in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam — one out of every 23 adults — are licensed to own a handgun.”
The Seattle Times
Prosecutors here cracking down on felons with guns
"Felons prosecuted for firearms face long prison sentences under federal law, and U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is using the law to crack down on career criminals in Western Washington. Cases referred for felons-with-guns charges have increased 45 percent here in the past three years."
The San Francisco Chronicle
Gun sales booming in Nevada
"State officials said 2,383 firearms transactions were recorded statewide last weekend, Friday through Sunday. It's unknown how many of those were assault weapons, like the kind used in the Connecticut shooting, because new laws - backed by Nevada's influential gun lobby - prohibit the state from collecting specific details on gun purchases."
The Tampa Bay Times
Gaps in gun laws a boon for felons in Florida, experts say
"Permissive in some respects, Florida firearms laws unequivocally aim to prevent gun ownership by convicted felons. But that prohibition is faltering."
The Sacramento Bee
Evaluation of UC Davis Medical Center's handling of neurosurgeons is scathing
“Investigators found hospital staff repeatedly failed to intervene or raise questions about three highly unusual surgeries on brain cancer patients, according to a Bee analysis of the findings, released earlier this month by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In its 92-page report, the federal watchdog agency detailed the secrecy and inaction that enveloped the ‘non-standard, experimental treatments.’”
The Asbury Park Press
How greed and politics nearly destroyed the coast
Countless homes and businesses could have been saved by better dune and flood protection - if not for the people, and government, that fought against them.
The Austin American Statesman
Management positions, salary increase at DPS while state trooper pay raises languish
For the past 10 years, the State Auditor’s Office has recommended that pay for state law enforcement officers be increased to compete with cities such as Austin, where the mid-range pay for a police officer is $74,705 per year compared to $61,793 for a state trooper. While trooper pay is capped at that level even after 20 years of service, veteran police officers can earn up to $95,464, according to the auditor.
Where LIPA's money went: Billions spent to get power; not enough spent to protect it
“No matter how hot it got on summer's hottest day, with all of the Island's air conditioners at full blast, the Long Island Power Authority wanted to have more than enough electricity to deliver to its customers. And it did just that -- even if it meant spending billions of ratepayer dollars on questionable deals, Newsday has found.”
The Boston Globe
The story behind Mitt Romney’s loss in the presidential campaign to President Obama
“A reconstruction by the Globe of how the campaign unfolded shows that Romney’s problems went deeper than is widely understood. His campaign made a series of costly financial, strategic, and political mistakes that, in retrospect, all but assured the candidate’s defeat, given the revolutionary turnout tactics and tactical smarts of President Obama’s operation.”
The Arizona Republic
Saving Arizona’s Children: A system still in crisis
State leaders set out last year to reform the agency tasked with protecting Arizona's most vulnerable citizens. Twelve months later, Child Protective Services remains overwhelmed by children in need and the toll of budget cuts.
Los Angeles Times
Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment
“Burgeoning marijuana growing operations are sucking millions of gallons of water from coho salmon lifelines and taking other environmental tolls, scientists say.”
"In the latest installment in USA TODAY's "Ghost Factories" series, reporter Alison Young examines who is responsible for cleaning up lead contamination around old lead smelter sites."
"Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination, starting back in April 2012, by The New York Times found."
"The Times has now picked up where Wal-Mart’s internal investigation was cut off, traveling to dozens of towns and cities in Mexico and gathering tens of thousands of documents."
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Wrong-Way River
“Biologists predict the number of unwanted organisms moving on the Chicago canal will only grow until the waterway is somehow plugged. And it is much more than a Great Lakes problem because biological pollution travels both directions on this invasive species superhighway.”
The Morning Call
Amazon warehouse workers fight for unemployment benefits
“Its relationship with Amazon has made Integrity Staffing Solutions the biggest temporary-employment firm in the Lehigh Valley and one of the fastest-growing agencies of its kind in the country. Part of its role is fighting to keep its workers from collecting unemployment benefits after they have lost a job at Amazon.”
In Southern Towns, 'Segregation Academies' Are Still Going Strong
“In the 1960s and '70s, towns across the South created inexpensive private schools to keep white students from having to mix with black. Many remain open, the communities around them as divided as ever.”
The Indianapolis Star
The China Letter
“Now the one person who knew the whole truth was dead, leaving a trail of documents and stories on two continents. They provide a few answers. But they raise plenty of questions, not least of which is why a state agency hired a highly persuasive but not particularly accomplished interpreter for the delicate task of luring international investment and jobs to Indiana.”
The Orange County Register
Universities with connections win most stem cell money
Repeated independent reviews of the agency, including one by the Institute of Medicine released this month, have found that its board is rife with conflicts of interest. In fact, of the $1.7 billion that the agency has awarded so far, about 90 percent has gone to research institutions with ties to people sitting on the board, according to an analysis by David Jensen at the California Stem Cell Report, which closely follows the agency's operations.
Shale drillers eager to move wastewater on barges
The shale gas drilling industry wants to move its wastewater by barge on rivers and lakes across the country. But the U.S. Coast Guard, which regulates the nation’s waterways, must first decide whether it’s safe.
BP’s U.S. Suspension Allows Airport-Fuel Exception for Pentagon
“BP Plc (BP/)’s temporary ban from new U.S. government work now includes a bit of wiggle room for the Defense Department.
Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group Promised IRS It Would Spend ‘Limited’ Money on Elections
“In a confidential 2010 filing, Crossroads GPS — the dark money group that spent more than $70 million from anonymous donors on the 2012 election — told the Internal Revenue Service that its efforts would focus on public education, research and shaping legislation and policy.”
The Dallas Morning News
The Burden of Lead: West Dallas deals with contamination decades later
“The low-income neighborhood of older wood-frame homes in West Dallas is a far cry from the suburb of newly built brick houses in Frisco 30 miles to the north. But the two North Texas communities share a bond: Both were contaminated by industrial lead for nearly half a century.”
The Statesman Journal
When politicians gamble on developers with taxpayer money, who ends up paying?
“Public agencies often use tax-based resources to partner with private developers. Those deals can help transform blighted areas, but they also can become costly projects with dubious results. In a two-day series, the Statesman Journal explores local examples of how public-private partnerships have worked.”
The Columbus Dispatch
Federal student loans become constant burden
“But millions of others also are in default, and some have been there for years. To gauge the lingering consequences, The Dispatch collected and analyzed a random sample of 394 cases from the nearly 16,000 lawsuits that the U.S. government has filed against defaulted student-loan debtors since 2007.”
The Pioneer Press
Hooked on Opiates: More legal use leads to more addiction, crimes, deaths
“Last year, enough of the two leading painkillers -- oxycodone and hydrocodone -- was distributed in the state to provide 18 pills for every man, woman and child. That's up from two pills per person in 1997.”
Doctors face quandary of relieving pain, without feeding addiction
A growing number of health care groups in the Twin Cities are investing in strategies to make sure doctors don't serve as unwitting spigots of medications for addicts. But there's also concern that increased regulation could prompt physicians to stop prescribing medications to patients with legitimate pain-control needs.
The Charlotte Observer and the (Raleigh) News & Observer
Prognosis: Profits, The rising fortunes of Charlotte hospitals haven't always helped patients
"In the latest installment of their ongoing investigation into nonprofit hospitals, the Charlotte Observer and News & Observer of Raleigh reported Sunday that N.C. patients are likely to pay more for routine health care if their doctors are employed by a hospital."
You can find Charlotte's stories here and Raleigh's stories here.