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Stories for January 9, 2013

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Escondido City Government On Firmer Fiscal Footing

Jan. 9, 2013
By Alison St John

The city of Escondido has made two announcements recently that suggest the city is on its way to firmer fiscal footing.

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California Officials Say Hands Are Tied Over Health Insurance Rate Hikes

Jan. 9, 2013
By Kenny Goldberg

California regulators aren't happy about it, but they don't have the power to block the latest Anthem Blue Cross rate hike from taking effect later this month.

Supreme Court Weighs Warrantless Blood Tests In Drunken-Driving Cases

Jan. 9, 2013
Nina Totenberg / NPR

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case testing whether the police must get a warrant before ordering blood to be drawn from an unwilling drunken-driving suspect.

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Baseball Hall Of Fame Voters Pick 'None Of The Above' For 2013

Jan. 9, 2013
Bill Chappell / NPR

The Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2013 will not have any new inductees from the ranks of the recently retired, despite a list of candidates that includes Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Those players, whose careers left their names at or near the top in the record books in multiple categories, are suffering from the lingering stigma of steroid use.

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How Google Earth Revealed Chicago's Hidden Farms

Jan. 9, 2013
Sarah Zielinski / NPR

Cities have plenty of reasons to care about how much food is being produced within their limits - especially now that community and guerilla gardeners are taking over vacant urban lots across the country. But most cities can only guess at where exactly crops are growing.

Review Of San Diego City Council's Committee Structure Begins

Jan. 9, 2013
City News Service

A review of the San Diego City Council's committee structure began today as part of an effort to modernize a decades-old system to make sure the panels fit the priorities of San Diego's elected officials.

Sebelius, Holder, And Shinseki Will Stay Put When Obama's Second Term Begins

Jan. 9, 2013
Bill Chappell / NPR

Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki plan to remain with President Obama's administration as his second term begins, according to a White House official. The news that the three will remain in their current posts comes amid the departure of other Cabinet officials, including Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who submitted her resignation today.

U.S. Ranks Below 16 Other Rich Countries In Health Report

Jan. 9, 2013
Richard Knox / NPR

It's no news that the U.S. has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than most high-income countries. But a magisterial new report says Americans are actually less healthy across their entire lifespans than citizens of 16 other wealthy nations.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis Announces Her Resignation

Jan. 9, 2013
Bill Chappell / NPR

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is resigning, opening up one more slot in President Obama's second-term administration. A former member of Congress, Solis was the first Hispanic woman to head a Cabinet-level agency.

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Tom K. Wong on Life as an Undocumented Youth

Jan. 9, 2013
By Monica Medina

Tom K. Wong is haunted by a childhood memory. It is of being awakened in the middle of the night by his mother, and being taken into the hallway, along with his older brother. There, she held them both tightly and sobbed while helicopters hovered overhead.

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Border Patrol Seizes 230 Pounds Of Illegal Cheese

Jan. 9, 2013
By John Rosman

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection patrolling the Santa Teresa port of entry were surprised to discover 230 pounds of cheese in a pick up truck late Friday night.

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Panda Cub Makes Public Debut At San Diego Zoo

Jan. 9, 2013
City News Service

Giant panda cub Xiao Liwu today showed some of the spirit that led San Diego Zoo officials to decide to put him on public display, ambling outside ahead of his mother for the first time and exploring his exhibit.

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Hungry? MCAS Miramar Hosts Gourmet Food Trucks

Jan. 9, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

Craving a butter-poached lobster grilled cheese? Or perhaps a freshly-made crepe with blue cheese and raspberries? Troops with refined appetites can head over to MCAS Miramar, where a corral of gourmet food trucks have been allowed on base to replace a food court under construction.

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Texas Legislature Reverses Course On Immigration Laws

Jan. 9, 2013
By David Martin Davies

A figurative memo went out to Texas Republican lawmakers -- introduce no bills that will embarrass the party with Latino voters.

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Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Expanding Medi-Cal

Jan. 9, 2013
By Maureen Cavanaugh, Megan Burke

San Diego family clinics are getting ready for a major transition. Early this year, kids and parents now in the Healthy Families Program will be transferred into an expanded version of Medi-Cal.

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Chargers Hire New GM, Tom Telesco From Indianapolis Colts

Jan. 9, 2013
BERNIE WILSON, Associated Press

The San Diego Chargers have hired Tom Telesco from the Indianapolis Colts to replace fired general manager A.J. Smith.

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Census Asks: Is Latino An Ethnicity Or Race?

Jan. 9, 2013
By John Rosman

As the census rethinks how to identify Latinos, leaders in the community fear a change could affect their growing political clout.

San Diego Ordinance Would Require Businesses To Increase Recycling

Jan. 9, 2013
City News Service

San Diego County businesses that produce more than four cubic yards of garbage per week would be required to recycle more of their waste under an ordinance tentatively approved today by the Board of Supervisors.

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'An American Story' Tells The Tale Of Lincoln's Final Hours

Jan. 9, 2013
By Angela Carone, Claire Caraska, Maureen Cavanaugh, Peggy Pico

From movies to books, the life of Abraham Lincoln continues to fascinate many. And a new one-man play explores Lincoln’s last day from the perspective of the doctor who tended to him in his final hours.

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Retired Gen. McChrystal Opens Up On 'Daily Show' (Video)

Jan. 9, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, appeared on "The Daily Show" last night to promote his new memoir. McChrystal was forced to resign his post in 2010 after a controversial Rolling Stone article.

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California Isn't Getting Any Younger, New Report Shows

Jan. 9, 2013
By Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh, Peggy Pico

Fewer kids, more retirees. A new report shows California's child population is shrinking and will only make up a small fraction of the population by 2030.

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INSPECTOR GEORGE GENTLY: Season Two

Jan. 9, 2013
By Jennifer Robinson

Award-winning actor Martin Shaw stars as Inspector George Gently – an incorruptible, uncompromising cop transplanted from London’s Scotland Yard to England’s North Country in the mid-1960s. Gently’s reputation for honesty and relentlessness makes him almost as feared among his colleagues as he is among criminals. But he finds an odd ally in John Bacchus – an overeager, opinionated young sergeant who plays fast and loose with police procedures. Together the two tackle cases involving murderers, drug dealers, gun runners, and more. Gently is about to discover a whole new world of murder and intrigue in 1960s Britain, a place where everything is about to change, but the past is always present.

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Troops At Risk Can Now Be Asked About Gun Possession

Jan. 9, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

As suicides in the military continue to climb, commanders are now specifically authorized to ask their troops about firearms they may own privately.

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Can Police Force Drunken Driving Suspects To Take Blood Test?

Jan. 9, 2013
Nina Totenberg, NPR

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case testing whether police must get a warrant before forcing a drunken driving suspect to have his blood drawn.

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Iran Says It Hopes Chuck Hagel Would Improve Relations

Jan. 9, 2013
Associated Press

Iran’s Foreign Ministry says it is hopeful the appointment of former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon would improve relations between Tehran and the U.S.

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La Niña And Climate Change To Blame For Record Temperatures, Says San Diego Researcher

Jan. 9, 2013
By Susan Murphy

Last year was 3.2 degrees warmer in the United States than the average for the entire 20th century. California had its 4th warmest year on record.

Insurance Commissioner Says Anthem Rate Increase Unreasonable

Jan. 9, 2013
Amy Quinton, Capital Public Radio

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said a rate increase proposed by Anthem Blue Cross on small employers is unreasonable.

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Coaster Commuters Lose One Incentive, Gain Another

Jan. 9, 2013
By Alison St John

Getting some work done while you commute is a big incentive to ride public transit. But the wifi on the Coaster can’t keep up with demand.

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Desert Plan Could Fast Track Green Energy Projects

Jan. 9, 2013
By Erik Anderson

Several state and federal agencies are asking for more public input on a sweeping plan that could make it easier to build renewable energy projects in California's deserts.

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Elite Colleges Struggle To Recruit Smart, Low-Income Kids

Jan. 9, 2013
Shankar Vedantam / NPR

Across the United States, college administrators are poring over student essays, recommendation letters and SAT scores as they select a freshman class for the fall.