Serious workplace violation fines low

Marc Chase of The (Northwest Indiana) Times used OSHA data to investigate workplace safety violations. They found “that fines at or below the minimum are the rule, not the exception, in cases involving what OSHA considers serious violations. The average fine from 1991 to 2003 was $862.74 per serious violation, $637.26 less than the minimum…

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New York City employees still use cars, despite mayor’s boast

David Seifman of the New York Post obtained city records to show that “more city workers are commuting in their government-owned cars, despite Mayor Bloomberg’s boast that his administration is slashing spending while maintaining services.” The number of civilian NYC employees who commuted in their city-provided cars increased 11 percent from 2003, even as the…

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Crime data compares parolee data by ZIP code

Jeremy Finley of WSMV-Nashville compared prison parolee data to ZIP codes in the Nashville area, uncovering a trend that is populating felons together and trapping ZIP codes in a “cycle of violence.” He found the highest number of felons living in the 37207 ZIP code. “There are more than 200 convicted criminals in this ZIP…

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Traffic stop study raises racial profiling questions

Karisa King and Kelly Guckian of the San Antonio Express-News analyzed 12 months’ of traffic and pedestrian police stops, finding that “blacks were more than three times as likely as whites to face certain types of police searches. Yet police found contraband in the searches at about the same rate for both races, a finding…

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Ohio drunk driver program flawed

Sheila McLaughlin of The Cincinnati Enquirer evaluated an Ohio program that requires drunk drivers to put special license plates on their vehicles, finding that “a year after Ohio started requiring the special tags, a sampling of more than 300 local cases and interviews with lawyers, judges, police officers and legislators indicate that the law is…

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Poor districts failing despite recent education reforms

Mc Nelly Torres from the San Antonio Express-News investigated the progress of a Texas public school reform legislation dubbed “Robin Hood”. She focused on the Edgewood School District, where the high school has an hispanic population of 97 percent. She found that the “total revenue per student was $8,729 last year, compared with $4,315 in…

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Land deals raise nepotism concerns

J.M. Kalil of the Las Vegas Review-Journal used local property records to find that the grandson of a former Las Vegas mayor has been able to quickly profit from land deals that may have involved inaccurate appraisals. Scott Gragson “has obtained a total of 104 parcels in 20 land exchanges with the county. In each…

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