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Stories for July 23, 2007

Hope For Hemp -- A Banned Crop Could See Approval in California

July 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Hemp is a versatile crop: it can be used to make clothing, paper, food, body care products, biofuel -- even auto parts. It is considered more environmentally-friendly than growing plants like cotton. And, it is the only crop that is illegal to grow -- but legal for Americans to import. Reporter Elsa Sevilla brings us the story.

House Members Vote to Bar Their Spouses From Campaign Jobs

July 23
By Charles Babington and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Spouses don't belong on campaign payrolls, the House says, voting to end a practice that for years has benefited some members of Congress, including a half-dozen Californians.

El Cajon May Pass Ultra-Strict Anti-Smoking Law

July 23
By Heather Hill and KPBS Public Broadcasting

California has some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the country. El Cajon may be the next golden state city to make it even harder for smokers to light-up. Full Focus reporter Heather Hill has more on the proposed smoking ban.

Post-Libby, Former Nixon Aide Details Why Presidents Pardon

July 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

In the wake of the Scooter Libby commutation, we get an inside look at Presidential executive clemency actions. From Truman through Clinton, learn which presidents pardon -- and why.

How to Understand a Fluctuating San Diego Real Estate Market

July 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego County's real estate market continues to slump from month to month. Foreclosures are up, sales are down, and prices are wobbling. Rich Toscano, a financial advisor and columnist for voiceofsandiego.org, will help us make sense of what's happening with San Diego's housing market.

Holdout Senators Remain in Long Road to Approve State Budget

July 23
By California Capitol Network, Marianne Russ and KPBS Public Broadcasting

We're into week four with no state budget in place. Senate Republicans are the holdouts, and that's caused some analysts to question again just how much pull the governor has with his own party. From Sacramento, Marianne Russ reports.

Three-Judge Panel to Consider Cap on California Prison Population

July 23
By California Capitol Network, Marianne Russ and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Two federal judges have cleared the way for a possible cap on the number of inmates in California prisons. Marianne Russ reports from Sacramento.

Jacumba Homicide Dumping Method a Hallmark of Mexican Cartels

July 23
By Amy Isackson and KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego Sheriff's investigators are looking into why a man's body was dumped along Interstate 8 near Jacumba. Border Patrol agents found the body wrapped in a blanket Sunday morning. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Majority of Grocery Workers Vote to Approve New Contract Terms

July 23
By Erik Anderson and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Southern California grocery workers have overwhelmingly agreed to accept the terms of a new contract. Union officials say 87 percent of their members okayed the deal with Vons, Ralph's and Albertson's stores. Union workers got wage hikes and better health care benefits in the contract.

Projected Water Shortages Threaten San Diego Nursery Industry

July 23
By Ed Joyce and KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego County farmers are worried water shortages will hurt the $1 billion nursery industry. That's because water exports from the Sacramento River Delta could be cut up to 40 percent next year. The cutbacks are part of a proposal to protect endangered fish. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has details.

Two Marines Face Juries on Murder Charges

July 23
By Andrew Phelps and KPBS Public Broadcasting

The final two trials begin this week in prosecution of the "Pendleton 8." That's the group of Marines and a Navy corpsman who were charged in the kidnapping and killing of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania. Corporal Marshall Magincalda faces a military judge and jury today. He's on trial for murder. Tomorrow, opening arguments begin in the trial of Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins -- the seasoned leader of the "Pendleton 8." KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps takes a closer look.

Popularity of Gambling in Asian Communities a Growing Concern

July 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Asians make up a large number of casino clientele and it's no secret that casinos market to Asian communities. Asian leaders are upset, saying it's not right to market a vice to a particular race. Casinos say it's just niche marketing.

San Marcos City Council Approves Development in Toxin-Emitting Industrial Zone

July 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Politicians and residents consider Palomar Station, a large mixed-use residential, office, retail, and restaurant development in San Marcos, amidst safety and health questions. How do unhealthy toxins from nearby businesses impact the project's fate? We speak to the mayor of San Marcos who supports the project, and a community activist who questions the motives of the developer and the city council.

Sports Journalist Credits Father for Her Successful Career

July 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting
Tease photo

Christine Brennan is a sports columnist for USA Today and wrote the book "Best Seat in the House: A Father, a Daughter, a Journey Through Sports" and she recently spoke at the commencement ceremony for SDSU's Sports Business management MBA program.

Debate Over Controversial $50 Million Project Rages On in Solana Beach

July 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting
Tease photo

One of the smallest cities in San Diego is home to one of the biggest land use controversies. For the past five years, Solana Beach debated the proposal of a $50 million, mixed-use project. Why isn't Cedros Crossing underway? We speak to the mayor of Solana Beach, who wants to make sure the project moves forward in a legal and intelligent manner, and the frustrated developer who wants to see the project move forward quickly.

New Hybrid Vehicles Could Help Fuel Economy

July 23
By Ed Joyce and KPBS Public Broadcasting
Tease photo

Imagine driving a car that gets more than 100 miles a gallon. New gas-electric plug-in cars are now being tested in San Diego that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also save a lot of money at the gas pump. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce tells us the future may be here now for the new hybrid cars.