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Stories for May 4, 2007

The History of Blackwater USA

May 4
By Amita Sharma and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Some folks in the backcountry of San Diego County may have never heard of Blackwater USA, the budding private military contractor that wants to build a training center in Potrero. But award-winning reporter Jeremy Scahill has studied the company for several years and has recently written a book on Blackwater activities. KPBS reporter Amita Sharma has the story.

Spider-Man 3/Free Comic Book Saturday

May 4
By Beth Accomando
Tease photo

Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man returns to the big screen for the third installment of Sam Raimis comic book saga. Spider-Man 3 (opening May 4 throughout San Diego and in IMAX at the Edwards Mira Mesa Cinemas) has our super hero facing off against a trio of villains as well as against his own dark nature.

Red Road

May 4
By Beth Accomando and Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

Big Brother is watching. But in this case, the idea that cameras are watching all corners of a small community in Glasgow is not turned into material for political commentary but rather for an intimate thriller. Andrea Arnolds

Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

May 4
By Baccomando and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Unpredictable Housing Market Teases Buyers and Sellers Alike

May 4
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Condo sales are booming -- condos are sitting vacant. It all depends. Vacation home-buyers are snapping up condos and other properties for second homes, while some condo conversions are having trouble attracting buyers. And, as a whole, the drop in real estate prices (5 percent from late 2005) is having an affect on property tax assessments as homeowners petition for reductions in assessed valuation under Proposition 8, passed in 1979.

Low River Levels Make Water Shortage Threat Very Real

May 4
KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego's two largest water sources -- the Colorado River and the Sierra Nevada snowpack -- are at historic low levels. The Colorado River is in its 8th year of drought, so the state has relied heavily on the Sierra snowpack. But this year, the Sierra snow pack contains 40 percent of its typical water content. Although many experts believe the state has enough water for this year, if next winter is as dry as this one, water shortages are probable.

Scope of Shady College Loan Dealings Still Being Investigated

May 4
KPBS Public Broadcasting

New rules and rising costs have made the business of college loans extremely competitive. This has led to cozy relationships and quid pro quos between loan companies and college administrations. Two San Diego loan companies and several universities are involved.

Port Commissioners Candidate Laurie Black Widely Endorsed

May 4
By Alison St John and KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego's influential Port District Board of Commissioners has an opening, and city officials appear to be unanimous in their support of one candidate. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Reports Profiling High School Dropouts Will Measure Decision's Cost

May 4
KPBS Public Broadcasting

University of California researchers are taking on the issue of high school dropouts. They've launched a project that will look at the economic and social costs associated with dropping out of school. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

New Research Suggests Kids With Autistic Siblings Less Social

May 4
By Kenny Goldberg and KPBS Public Broadcasting

New research from UCSD suggests toddlers who have siblings with autism display different social behavior than other young children. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

State to Offer $200k Per-Day Bonus For Swift Fix of Bay Bridge

May 4
KPBS Public Broadcasting

The State Department of Transportation will offer incentives of $200,000 a day to the contractor who can quickly re-build the 580-connector in the Bay Area.

Latest IPCC Report Says Forestry Key to Fight Greenhouse Gases

May 4
By Ed Joyce and KPBS Public Broadcasting
Tease photo

The first roadmap to stop greenhouse gas emissions was approved in Thailand today. The report lays out plans to avert a disastrous spike in global temperatures. KPBS environmental reporter Ed Joyce tells us one of the recommendations is to plant more trees.

No Evidence of Gunfire Found at Vista School

May 4
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Sheriff's deputies found no evidence of gunplay on an elementary school campus Friday after a report of shots prompted a three-hour lockdown, authorities said.

Fire Consolidation, Gas Prices, Democratic Convention

May 4
KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego is experiencing one of its driest years on record, and to make matters worse the County is struggling to implement its plan to consolidate the various fire departments that serve residents in the backcountry. Also, gas prices in San Diego are at an all-time high. And, the California Democratic Convention took place in San Diego last weekend. What were the highlights and lowlights from the event?