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Stories for December 16, 2013

Big Sur fire destroys 15 homes, forces 100 to flee

Dec. 16, 2013
Associated Press

A wildfire burning Monday in the Big Sur area of California destroyed at least 15 homes and forced about 100 people to evacuate as it chewed through dry vegetation on its way toward the ocean.

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Judge: San Diego To Receive $77M In $1B Lead Paint Ruling

Dec. 16, 2013
Associated Press

Lead-based paints were barred from the U.S. market in 1978, but millions of homes painted before then still pose a health risk.

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Lions Cubs on Limited Display at San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Dec. 16, 2013
By City News Service

The unnamed male and female were born Dec. 6 and the first cubs born at the zoo since 2007.

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Cardiff State Beach Named Dirtiest In San Diego County

Dec. 16, 2013
By City News Service

Cardiff took over the dubious top spot from Mission Beach, the dirtiest last year, while La Jolla Shores was named the cleanest.

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Wallis Simpson: The Secret Letters

Dec. 16, 2013

For the past 75 years, Wallis Simpson has been cast as the scarlet woman of 20th century British history – the siren who seduced Edward VIII and caused him to give up his throne. But a trove of secret letters in "Wallis Simpson: Secret Letters," suggest that the story of their infamous marriage may not be entirely factual.

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Navy Helicopter Crash In Japan Injures Two Crew Members (Video)

Dec. 16, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

The Navy is investigating why one of its helicopters crashed in Japan on Monday. Two of the four crew members inside the MH-60S Knighthawk were injured when the helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing 10 miles southwest of Yokosuka Naval Base.

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San Diego City Council To Determine Fate Of Barrio Logan Plan Tuesday

Dec. 16, 2013
By City News Service

San Diego City Council members are scheduled to decide Tuesday how to handle the update of the Barrio Logan Community Plan, which they approved on a pair of 5-4 party-line votes in separate actions in September and October.

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New Year Likely To Ring In Old Debt Ceiling Fight

Dec. 16, 2013
Frank James / NPR

At the moment, Washington fiscal policy is a good news, bad news story.

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It's Called 'Africa.' Of Course It's About Race, Right?

Dec. 16, 2013
Eric Deggans / NPR

The email arrived with the kind of snarky tone reserved for a moment when the author is sure he -- and it's usually a he -- thinks he's hoisted you with your own petard.

San Diego City Council To Consider Feb. 11 Runoff Election For Mayor

Dec. 16, 2013
By City News Service

The City Council on Tuesday will consider scheduling a Feb. 11 runoff election for San Diego mayor, which pits two of its members against each other.

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Pastor Says He Will Minister To Gays Even If He's Defrocked

Dec. 16, 2013
Scott Neuman / NPR

A Methodist minister in Pennsylvania who was suspended after defying church authorities by presiding over his gay son's wedding has vowed to continue his work as a clergyman even if he is defrocked.

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MARTHA BAKES: Custards

Dec. 16, 2013

Learn to create the finest desserts and goodies in your own home. In the series MARTHA BAKES, Martha Stewart shares the best baking tips and techniques, giving you the confidence to create delectable baked goods — from scratch — in your own kitchen. Custard has never been so tempting as with Martha’s many variations. Join Martha as she shares her recipes for a classic crème brûlée, a cherry clafouti, crème caramel — and to top things off, mocha custards.

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Flags Lowered At California Capitol To Honor Fallen Camp Pendleton Marine

Dec. 16, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered flags above the state Capitol lowered to half-staff in honor of Camp Pendleton Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Rodriguez.

Report: San Diego County Report reveals strong farm-to-school food movement

Dec. 16, 2013
By KPBS News

The report found that 18 San Diego County school districts purchase local, regional or California-grown products and 11 districts purchase directly from a grower.

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All Aboard! Real-Life Polar Express Chugs Through Michigan

Dec. 16, 2013
Tracy Samilton / NPR

Every sight and sound of the magical Christmas train in the 2004 film The Polar Express is based on a real-life steam locomotive. The Pere Marquette 1225 has its own Christmas story to tell -- and it involves a very close call with the scrapyard.

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Here Are The Tech Execs Meeting With President Obama Tomorrow

Dec. 16, 2013
Elise Hu / NPR

A lot of big tech names have agreed to visit the White House for a chat tomorrow.

FDA Asks For Proof That Antibacterial Soaps Protect Health

Dec. 16, 2013
Nancy Shute / NPR

In hospitals, people are bathed with soaps containing the antibacterial triclosan to reduce the risk of serious infections in surgery. But that doesn't necessarily mean we should be using triclosan soap in the kitchen and the bathroom, the Food and Drug Administration says.

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Palliative Care Doctor Helps Iowa Couple With Tough Choices

Dec. 16, 2013
Jenny Gold / NPR

When Dr. Tim Ihrig crosses the threshold of the Avelleyras home in Fort Dodge, Iowa, he steps over a doormat that says, "One nice person and one old grouch live here."

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In Florida, A Turf War Blooms Over Front-Yard Vegetable Gardening

Dec. 16, 2013
Greg Allen / NPR

In tropical South Florida, it's growing season. Temperatures are in the 80s, there's lots of sun and good rain, and normally, Hermine Ricketts' plants would already be in the ground.

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Novice Neurosurgeons Train On Brains Printed In 3-D

Dec. 16, 2013
Maanvi Singh / NPR

There's no such thing as too much practice when it comes to brain surgery.

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AUSTIN CITY LIMITS: Juanes/Jesse & Joy

Dec. 16, 2013

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS continues its longstanding tradition of showcasing the best of original American music. In this episode, AUSTIN CITY LIMITS presents the best in Latin music with Juanes and Jesse & Joy. Colombian superstar Juanes performs a high-energy set of his best, while Mexico City’s sibling duo Jesse & Joy sing a selection of their greatest hits.

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Medical Tourism Booming In Baja California

Dec. 16, 2013
By Jill Replogle

Medical tourism to Baja California has risen nearly 18 percent over the past three years, but changes might be on the horizon as the Affordable Care Act kicks in next year.

Slippery Slope Between Campaigns and Super PACs In San Diego Mayoral Race

Dec. 16, 2013
By Sandhya Dirks

A look into the slippery slope of coordination between campaigns and the super PAC’s that support them in the San Diego mayor's race.

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Southern California Home Sales Dip In November

Dec. 16, 2013
By Tom Fudge

DataQuick reports the number of November home sales was down, while prices were up, compared to November 2012.

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Man Who Bilked Millions From Navy Charity Donors Gets 28 Years

Dec. 16, 2013
Scott Neuman / NPR

A man found guilty of masterminding a $100 million fraud involving a Navy veterans charity has been sentenced to 28 years in prison and slapped with a $6 million fine.

Southwest Announces New Nonstop Routes To New Orleans, Orlando

Dec. 16, 2013
By City News Service

According to Southwest, the airline will offer initial fares of $89 one-way to Portland and Seattle, and $149 one-way to New Orleans and Orlando.

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Holiday Football: Chargers Playoff Hopes To San Diego Bowl Games

Dec. 16, 2013
By Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh

We review the highs and lows of the San Diego Chargers 2013 season plus take a look at what teams are coming to town for a pair of college bowl games.

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Mount Soledad Cross Dispute Far From Over

Dec. 16, 2013
By Maureen Cavanaugh, Megan Burke, Peggy Pico

Last week a federal judge, following an appeals court ruling, ordered the cross removed from the Mount Soledad war memorial. But the order was stayed and more appeals are expected. We'll trace the history of this complicated San Diego legal case.

Help For San Diegans Dealing With Holiday Stress

Dec. 16, 2013
By Maureen Cavanaugh, Patty Lane, Peggy Pico

While the holidays can be a joyous time for many, it can also be stressful, especially if you have overcommitted yourself with tasks or perhaps are dealing with the loss of a loved one.

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Live From Lincoln Center: New York Philharmonic Gala With Yo-Yo Ma

Dec. 16, 2013
By Jennifer Robinson

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER rings in the new year with a special broadcast of the New York Philharmonic’s opening gala concert featuring music director Alan Gilbert and special guest cello soloist Yo-Yo Ma. The concert, taped on September 25 at Avery Fisher Hall, will feature dance-inspired orchestral works, including "Azul" by Osvaldo Golijov, a cello concerto written for Ma; the world premiere of an arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s "La serie del Ángel" by Octavio Brunetti, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic; and two classics by Maurice Ravel, "Alborada del gracioso" and "Boléro."

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What Has NAFTA Done In Its Twenty Years?

Dec. 16, 2013
By Jill Replogle

On NAFTA’s 20th anniversary, many are lauding its accomplishments in boosting commerce, but almost half of Mexico’s population still lives in poverty.

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Exploring Economic Inequality From Heart Of The Tech Boom

Dec. 16, 2013
Elise Hu / NPR

People disagree about how much it matters, but economic inequality in America is real and rising.

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FDA: No evidence antibacterial soaps stop spread of germs

Dec. 16, 2013
Associated Press

The FDA's preliminary rule only applies to personal hygiene products, but has implications for a $1 billion industry that includes thousands of antibacterial products, including kitchen knives, toys, pacifiers and toothpaste.

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Downtown San Diego DUI checkpoint leads to 29 arrests

Dec. 16, 2013
By City News Service

More than 1,700 motorists passed through two sobriety checkpoints this weekend in San Diego, but not all of them made it home.

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Report: US Military Used Dangerous Burn Pits In Afghanistan, Wasted Millions On Broken Incinerators

Dec. 16, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

A new reports says the U.S. military paid a contractor more than $5 million for unusable incinerators in Afghanistan.

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No Amnesty For Edward Snowden, White House Says

Dec. 16, 2013
Krishnadev Calamur / NPR

Looks like Edward Snowden won't get amnesty after all.

Harvard Buildings Evacuated Over Explosives Report

Dec. 16, 2013
Associated Press

Four buildings on Harvard University's campus near Boston were evacuated Monday after the school's police department received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside.

Navy expands sonar testing despite troubling signs

Dec. 16, 2013
Associated Press

The U.S. Navy plans to increase sonar testing over the next five years, even as research it funded reveals worrying signs that the loud underwater noise could disturb whales and dolphins.

SDSU police looking for cell phone thief

Dec. 16, 2013
By City News Service

San Diego State University police said they are on the lookout for a young man who snatched a student's cell phone from her hand Sunday and fled with the device.

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Controversial Otay Mesa Power Plant Proposal Under Scrutiny

Dec. 16, 2013
By Erik Anderson

The controversial Pio Pico power plant proposal gets a hearing in front of federal regulators Tuesday.

UC San Diego Gets $4M Grant For Stem Cell Research

Dec. 16, 2013
By Kenny Goldberg

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has given UC San Diego yet another multimillion-dollar grant for stem cell research.

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Second Opinion: How Will Feds Enforce Individual Mandate?

Dec. 16, 2013
By Megan Burks

Americans who want health coverage starting Jan. 1 have one more week to sign up for Obamacare. But how will the government know whether they do or not?

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Jacobs Center Concert Series Aims To Stimulate SE San Diego's Economy

Dec. 16, 2013
By Claire Trageser

A new concert series is coming to the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in southeastern San Diego.

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Restoring A Natural Connection In Chula Vista

Dec. 16, 2013
By Erik Anderson

Efforts to revive the natural habitat of the Otay River Watershed are moving forward in San Diego County. The area in southern Chula Vista has been devastated by fire and other human activity.

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Zoinks! Tracing The History Of 'Zombie' From Haiti To The CDC

Dec. 16, 2013
Lakshmi Gandhi / NPR

Each week, we take a look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story. You can see past "Word Watch" entries here.

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China Blames San Diego-Based USS Cowpens For Near Collision With Warship (Video)

Dec. 16, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

U.S. Navy officials say a Chinese warship almost collided with the San Diego-based USS Cowpens in the South China Sea on Dec. 5. However, China has a different story, with a state-run newspaper claiming the Cowpens was tailing and harassing the Chinese ship.