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Stories for January 7, 2013

Indictments Announced In South Bay School Districts Public Corruption Case

Jan. 7
KELLY WHEELER, City News Service
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A county grand jury handed down indictments charging officials from three South Bay school districts with accepting gifts in return for favorable votes on contracts, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced today.

Republican Lawmakers: Not on the Sidelines

Jan. 7
Amy Quinton, Capital Public Radio

California Republican legislators returned to the Capitol today surrounded by a Democratic supermajority. Despite that, most Republicans say they don’t feel like they’re on the sidelines in the decision making process.

KPBS Mourns Loss of California Treasure Huell Howser

Jan. 7
By KPBS
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KPBS staff are mourning the death of California public television icon Huell Howser. The sad news comes less than two months after learning of his retirement.

Huell Howser, A Favorite Public TV Personality, Dies At 67

Jan. 7
Bill Chappell / NPR

Huell Howser, a fixture of public television in California, has died at 67. Howser hosted several public television programs, the most popular being California's Gold, which celebrated the state's unique stories and natural beauty.

San Diego Sets Special Election Date For District 4

Jan. 7
By Katie Orr
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San Diego will hold a special election at the end of March to replace former City Council President Tony Young. But the election is raising a couple sticky issues.

Legislators Propose More Ammunition Laws

Jan. 7
Amy Quinton, Capital Public Radio

A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would regulate ammunition sales. It’s among a number of bills designed to reduce gun violence.

NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals

Jan. 7
NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals  Tease photo

What happened when the first modern humans encountered Neanderthals 60,000 years ago? In 2010, a team led by geneticist Svante Pääbo announced that they had reconstructed much of the Neanderthal genome and the analysis showed that modern humans and Neanderthals had interbred, leaving a small signature of Neanderthal genes in everyone outside Africa today. NOVA explores the implications of this exciting discovery.

Governor Jerry Brown Wants Out-Of-State Inmates Back

Jan. 7
DON THOMPSON, Associated Press

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to end a 6-year-old program that has sent thousands of California inmates to private prisons in other states, although he may not get the chance unless he can persuade federal judges to revise an order limiting the number of inmates the state can hold.

Tentative Settlement Reached In Sara Kruzan Case

Jan. 7
By Amita Sharma
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Prosecutors and defense lawyers are scheduled to meet with a judge later this week.

Filner Introduces Staff To San Diego Public

Jan. 7
By Katie Orr
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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner introduced his top staff to the public today.

CIA Nominee Brennan Has Obama's 'Complete Trust'

Jan. 7
Tom Gjelten / NPR
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President Obama's choice of John Brennan to lead the CIA appears to be less controversial than his decision to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.

Why Hagel? Let Us Count The Reasons

Jan. 7
Frank James / NPR

So why did President Obama choose Chuck Hagel to be his new defense secretary?

Border Security Tops All Law Enforcement Spending

Jan. 7
By Michel Marizco
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A report released Monday shows immigration enforcement has ballooned into the biggest source of spending in federal law enforcement.

The Iranian Americans

Jan. 7
The Iranian Americans Tease photo

Filmed around the United States – from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. – this documentary chronicles the under reported history of a group of immigrants finding refuge, overcoming adversity and ultimately creating new lives in the United States. Even though Iran is in the news virtually every day, many Americans have little knowledge of the story of the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who live in the U.S.

What Lance Armstrong, And The USADA, Might Gain From A Confession

Jan. 7
Bill Chappell / NPR

The news that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong might be willing to confess to the doping charges he spent years denying has reopened interest in his case -- and in the question of whether his lifetime ban from competitive sports could be eased in exchange for Armstrong's cooperation.

Public Broadcasting Legend Huell Howser Dies

Jan. 7
KPBS News
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Huell Howser, 67, a public broadcasting legend best known for California's Gold, has died, according to his assistant, Ryan Morris.

POV: Reportero

Jan. 7
POV: Reportero Tease photo

“Reportero” follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media. In Mexico, more than 40 journalists have been slain or have vanished since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderón came to power and launched a government offensive against the country’s powerful drug cartels and organized crime. As the drug war intensifies and the risks to journalists become greater, will the free press be silenced? By Bernardo Ruiz.

Aurora Shooting Suspect Looked Like A Fellow Officer, Police Say

Jan. 7
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Moments after a deadly attack that turned an Aurora, Colo., movie theater into a scene of panic and tragedy, the police officer who found suspect James Holmes at first took him for a fellow police officer, due to the body armor Holmes was wearing.

Study: Billions of Earth-Size Planets In Milky Way

Jan. 7
Associated Press
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Astronomers hunting for Earth-like planets now have many places to look. A new estimate released Monday suggested the Milky Way galaxy is home to at least 17 billion planets similar in size to our planet.

New Laws On The Books For California In 2013

Jan. 7
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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A wide range of new laws go into effect that regulate home buying, contraceptives and even bear hunting.

Policy Change To Ease Green Card Process For Undocumented Spouses Of U.S. Citizens

Jan. 7
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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Many San Diego couples are eagerly waiting for a new immigration policy change to go into effect. The change will make it easier for spouses of U.S. citizens to apply for green cards.

Obama Taps Hagel For Pentagon, Brennan For CIA

Jan. 7
Associated Press
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President Barack Obama announced Monday he will nominate former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary, calling him "the leader our troops deserve." He also said he had chosen White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Midday Movies: 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Jan. 7
Midday Edition
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Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" opened over the weekend. It deals with the CIA's years long hunt for Osama Bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. The film has been racking up kudos from critics and awards organizations but has also drawn criticism for its depiction of torture.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Abolitionists

Jan. 7
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Abolitionists Tease photo

Vividly bringing to life the epic struggles of the men and women who fought to end slavery, "The Abolitionists" tells the intertwined stories of Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimké, Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown. Fighting body and soul, they led the most important civil rights crusade in American history. This three-part series, which tells the story largely through period drama narrative, airs 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in January 1863.

USS Thach Departs Tuesday For 6-Month Deployment

Jan. 7
City News Service
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The guided-missile frigate USS Thach will depart Naval Base San Diego on Tuesday for a six-month deployment to the Central American region, the Navy announced today.

Kulluk Drilling Rig Being Towed To Shelter In Alaska

Jan. 7
Bill Chappell / NPR

The Kulluk, the Shell oil-drilling rig that washed aground last weekend, is afloat and being towed to shelter on Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. The craft began its 30-mile trip late Sunday night. Examinations of the vessel have not found any signs of a leak.

Secretary Clinton Back At Work

Jan. 7
Mark Memmott / NPR
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After nearly a month of health problems that culminated with a stay in a New York City hospital for treatment of a blood clot in a vein between her brain and her skull, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was back in her office Monday morning.

Multi-Status Families Brace For Health Care Reform

Jan. 7
Evening Edition
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What do you do when one child can get health care and the other can't? It's a dilemma being felt more acutely as federal health reform opens access to care for millions, but not their undocumented family members.

Lee Harvey Oswald's Apartment Building Is Coming Down, Dallas Declares

Jan. 7
Mark Memmott / NPR
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After more than a year of legal wrangling, the city of Dallas has apparently decided enough is enough.

Veterans Face Confusion Using GI Bill At State Schools

Jan. 7
Allen G. Breed - Associated Press
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Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the federal government will pick up the full in-state cost for any honorably discharged service member wishing to attend a public college or university. But because the often intricate rules governing residency differ from state to state, and even within university systems, many veterans face a bewildering battle to exercise the benefits they've already fought for.

Del Mar Woman Fighting Fairground Gun Shows

Jan. 7
Associated Press
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A resident of tiny Del Mar in San Diego County town is taking aim at gun shows following the Connecticut school massacre.

Newly Elected San Diego Supervisor Sworn In Today

Jan. 7
By Alison St John and City News Service
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The first new member elected to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors since 1995 was sworn in today, along with two longtime members who were re-elected to the panel.

SDSU's Confucius Institute Honored With Grant

Jan. 7
By Kyla Calvert
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Confucius Institute at San Diego State University has earned international recognition.

Desal Plant Generates Jobs and Lawsuits

Jan. 7
By Alison St John
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Construction on the Carlsbad desalination plant will generate jobs locally, but it also continues to generate lawsuits.

San Elijo Drilling Project Has Mixed Result

Jan. 7
By Erik Anderson
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Water officials should know soon whether it makes financial sense to tap into an aquifer under the San Elijo Lagoon. Cost is a major consideration.

New Superior Court Judges To Take Office

Jan. 7
By Ryann Grochowski
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San Diego's Superior Court swears in three new judges today, including controversial attorney Gary Kreep.

Counterterrorism Adviser Brennan To Be Tapped For CIA

Jan. 7
Mark Memmott / NPR

President Obama will announce today that he plans to nominate John Brennan to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, an administration official with knowledge of the decision tells NPR's Tom Bowman.

Obama Expected To Nominate Hagel As Defense Secretary

Jan. 7
Julie Pace and Robert Burns - Associated Press
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President Barack Obama will nominate Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary, a senior administration official said Sunday, choosing a former Senate colleague and a decorated Vietnam veteran and signaling he's ready for a contentious confirmation fight likely dominated by questions about Hagel's stands on Israel and Iran.