Working poor face tough challenges

Heath Foster, Paul Nyhan and Phoung Cat Le of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have a series on the working poor in King and Snohomish counties, concluding that “nearly half a million people in King and Snohomish counties, about a quarter of them children, are surviving at no more than twice the federal poverty level

Legislators wine and dine at wholesalers’ expense

An investigation by the Detroit Free Press has found that beer and wine distributers are taking Michigan lawmakers with them every winter to a convention on a luxury resort. “The legislators fly for free to beachfront retreats like the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and the Hyatt Regency on Grand Cayman Island. They pay nothing…

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Campaign contributions still high despite law

David S. Bernstein of The Boston Phoenix analyzed campaign contributions to Massachusetts state legislative candidates, finding that “of the 650 registered lobbyists and 167 active PACs in the state, just 20 prominent lobbying firms and 10 large PACs collectively pumped more than $1 million into legislative candidates’ war chests in the past two years. And…

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FOI investigation finds most comply, but not entirely

Mark Chellgren of the Associated Press reported on an investigation led by the Kentucky Press Association and the Associated Press into “whether public offices are allowing citizens to view government documents. The investigation “showed most are obeying the state’s Open Records Act, but compliance is not uniform.” The results were mixed, varying from a smile…

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Finding faults in new homes

One of the most expensive purchases a consumer can make is his or her home. For buyers of-new homes, one benefit is not having to worry about repairs. However, an examination of house construction quality in the booming central Florida building market by the Orlando Sentinel and WESH-Orlando, found thousands of problems with the new…

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Data shows maintenance problems with planes

Soon after a heavily loaded US Airways Express Flight 5481 crashed in Charlotte shortly after takeoff, airline maintenance appeared as a likely cause. A mechanic at a small West Virginia repair station had recently adjusted the plane’s elevator control cables, a job he had never done on a Beech 1900B. His instructor was also his…

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New-teacher data boosts narrative project

I was several weeks into my narrative project that involved following a college student through 10 weeks of student teaching. The student was 54 years old and teaching was his third career. Not a normal situation so I thought. The data told me otherwise. After attending an lFiE and  Boot Camp this year, I figured…

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Property data analysis finds extra tax credits

Thousands of Indianapolis taxpayers cashed in last year on multiple homestead property tax credits even though this valuable break was intended to reduce taxes only on a homeowner’s primary residence. After analyzing computer records for nearly 210,000 propertles that received the break for owner-occupied homes we reported that more than 9,300 people benefited from as…

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