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Stories for May 23, 2007

Vista Police Look to Tasers Following Gun Death Controversy

May 23
By Joanne Faryon and KPBS Public Broadcasting

They've learned Spanish, re-opened a community sheriff's station, and began reading to kids in schools. They are all efforts made by the Vista Sheriff's Station to regain the trust of the community. A community that was suspicious of its own law enforcement after a series of deputy involved shootings. Deputies have even started using taser guns in an effort to minimize their use of force. Joanne Faryon is here with more.

Tales of a Working Mother: Microwave Mama

May 23
By Deanna Mackey and KPBS Commentaries

My mother is an excellent cook. She cooks everything from scratch roast pork with gravy, mashed potatoes, lasagna, black beans with garlic and a hint of chil, apple pie and mile-high chocolate cakes. She also does not believe a meal is complete unless it includes a protein, starch, vegetable and bread, lots of it. When I visit her home I amuse myself by going to the freezer and counting how many varieties she has. I remember once finding a dozen different bags of bread and rolls.

KPBS Commentaries

May 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego Beaches Well-Rated, But Reports Say Nine Very Polluted

May 23
By Heather Hill and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Just how polluted are our local beaches? Heal the Bay is releasing its annual beach report card and list of the 10 most polluted beaches in California. Full Focus reporter Heather Hill tells us how San Diego's beaches fare.

What to Do When When Disaster Strikes

May 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

While two-thirds of San Diego County residents believe they will be affected by a major disaster, only half have formally planned for one. We'll talk with the county emergency services director about what families need to do to protect themselves in case disaster strikes.

Corn a Major Factor in Hike of Food Prices

May 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Food prices are increasing at their highest rate in years. One reason why is the rising cost of corn -- as more and more of it is being used to make ethanol. Corn is the building block for much of our food supply, from animal feed to what’s used in many foods and beverages. We'll explore the link between rising food prices and our nation's policy to increase ethanol production with UCSD macroeconomist James Hamilton.

Justice Aide's Testimony Rekindles Attorney Firings Controversy

May 23
By Capital News Connection, Todd Zwillich and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Former San Diego US Attorney Carol Lam was a topic of controversy again on Capitol Hill Wednesday. This time it was Monica Goodling's turn to answer questions in the House Judiciary Committee. She's the former Justice Department aide who had a hand in the controversial firing of eight US Attorneys, including Lam. Todd Zwillich has more from Capitol Hill.

Council Approves Sewer Repairs for $150 Million Extra Annually

May 23
By Alan Ray and KPBS Public Broadcasting

The San Diego City Council has voted to accept a plan that would require substantial investment in the city's failing sewer system -- and end six years of environmental litigation. KPBS reporter Alan Ray has details.

State Insurance Commissioner Forcing Allstate to Defends Its Rates

May 23
By Jenny O'Mara, Capital Public Radio and KPBS Public Broadcasting

The State Insurance Commissioner is making good on his promise to force a major insurance company to defend its rates. Steve Poizner says the review could lead to refunds for customers. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

San Diego School Superintendents Urge Feds to Reform NCLB Act

May 23
By Ana Tintocalis and KPBS Public Broadcasting

The two most influential school superintendents in San Diego County sat down to talk a rare public meeting about the federal No Child Left Behind Act. KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

San Diego Gas Prices Slip About Nickel a Gallon

May 23
By Erik Anderson and KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego's average pump price slipped about a nickel a gallon in the past week. The Utility Consumer's Action Network reports the average price for a gallon of gas is now $3.41 a gallon.

New Fire Trucks for Dry, Dangerous Backcountry

May 23
By Andrew Phelps and KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego's backcountry fire departments got new fire trucks today. County officials secured $4.2 million to buy them. KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps checked out the trucks.

San Diegan Grand Jury Indicts Four Dozen for Smuggling Heroin

May 23
By Scott Horsley and KPBS Public Broadcasting
Tease photo

A federal grand jury in San Diego has indicted nearly four dozen people for allegedly smuggling heroin and other drugs from Columbia to the United States.

No "Beach Bummers" in San Diego County

May 23
By Ed Joyce and KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego County beaches received mostly good marks on an environmental group's annual report card. But nine beaches were given poor marks for high levels of bacteria. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

San Diego State University Home to Prominent War Memorial

May 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting
Tease photo

With the approach of Memorial Day, the focus turns to remembering those who have fought and died in wars involving the United States. One of the most prominent memorial tributes in San Diego is on the campus of San Diego State University, where SDSU’s librarian spent a year researching the stories behind the names engraved in stone. Many of the stories he shares paint pictures of a war-time and a close-knit culture very different from what we know today.

Traumatic Stress Disorder In-Depth

May 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

How can the United States improve the way it cares for its veterans? We speak to Donna Shalala about the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors (PCCWW).

Imperial Beach Asks for $56 Million to Replenish Sand

May 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Imperial Beach wants $56 million to replenish the beach with sand. Why does a beach need more sand and why does it cost so much? We speak with a coastal engineer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who says the beaches are starving for sand and sprawling development is to blame.

Oil Companies Push for Alternative Energy Research

May 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Oil companies are spending millions to fund alternative energy research at universities across the country, including here in California. Are oil companies setting the agenda for higher education? We speak with a consumer advocate who says Big Oil is "greenwashing" their dirty corporate image.

Global Warming May Cause Price of Milk to Rise

May 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Rising gas prices grab news headlines, but what about the rising cost of a gallon of milk? According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the cost of milk increased about 40 cents per gallon this year. The milk industry says that domestic ethanol production and tight supplies makes prices go up, while a local libertarian claims that special interests and price manipulation hurt the consumer.

Senate Subcommittee Approves $45.2 Million for High-Speed Rail

May 23
By Steve Lawrence and KPBS Public Broadcasting

A Senate subcommittee on Tuesday approved a $45.2 million budget for California's high-speed rail project, $40 million more than Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed but less than half the funding the rail board had requested.

High Tech High to Open Campus in Mission Valley

May 23
By Ana Tintocalis and KPBS Public Broadcasting

The San Diego school board gave High Tech High the go ahead to open a new charter school in Mission Valley. It will be the first public school in the area. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

State Wants To Spur Gas Alternatives

May 23
By Ed Joyce and KPBS Public Broadcasting
Tease photo

Need a break from the high gasoline prices? What if you had an option to use something other than gas? California's proposed Low Carbon Fuel Standard is geared to bring us more choices. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce tells us the policy is also designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.