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Stories for March 1, 2013

The Sequester That Wasn't Meant To Happen Begins

March 1
Frank James / NPR

It was never supposed to happen, but now it has. With President Obama's signing of the order to commence the sequester spending cuts of $85 billion from this fiscal year's federal budget, what was once unthinkable is now hard reality.

Border Patrol Bosses Quietly Getting Raises Before Sequestration

March 1
By Michel Marizco
Tease photo

Sequester cuts that began Friday threaten to reduce Border Patrol staffing, but the agency’s union says that just days before the cuts, Border Patrol managers were quietly given raises.

Air Force Will Pay $50 Million To Service Gulfstream Jets

March 1
Bill Chappell / NPR
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The Air Force will pay Gulfstream nearly $50 million to maintain its C-37 executive jets, in a contract announced Thursday, the day before the U.S. government was set to absorb $85 billion in automatic spending cuts to military and domestic programs. The C-37 is based on the Gulfstream V; according to an Air Force fact sheet, the service has nine of them.

How Hospitals Can Avoid Surgical Mistakes

March 1
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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Surgical errors, like operating on the wrong body part, or leaving sponges in patients, should never happen...but they do.

'People for a Safe Community' Calls For Stricter Federal Gun Laws

March 1
By Alison St John
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A group formed after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary will meet in Hillcrest Saturday to call for changes in federal gun laws.

Documents Show Thousands Of Detained Immigrants Released

March 1
By John Rosman
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Homeland Security Department released more than 2,000 detained immigrants facing deportation. They plan to release 3,000 more during March, according to the Associated Press.

Michigan Officials Take Control Of Detroit's Empty Wallet

March 1
Quinn Klinefelter / NPR
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In a small public TV studio before an invitation-only audience of 30 people, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made his case Friday, for taking control of Detroit's finances away from the city's elected officials.

Finding Billy Elliot

March 1
Finding Billy Elliot  Tease photo

"Finding Billy" is the story of a nationwide search for the three boys who will play the leading role in "Billy Elliot the Musical" on Broadway. From the early auditions through rehearsal and opening night, we follow these talented boys as they face the challenges and joys of starring in a Broadway musical. With music by Elton John, story by Lee Hall and stage direction by Stephen Daldry, "Billy Elliot" went on to win 10 Tony Awards including the Best Actor in a Musical Award for the three original Billys.

Drought-Stricken Plains Farmers 'Giddy' Over Heavy Snow

March 1
Frank Morris / NPR
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Two rapid-fire snowstorms belted Kansas with more than 2 feet of snow this week. They caused thousands of accidents and all kinds of hardships -- but they also produced very broad smiles from some quarters.

Natural Gas Dethrones King Coal As Power Companies Look To Future

March 1
Christopher Joyce / NPR

The way Americans get their electricity is changing. Coal is in decline. Natural gas is literally bursting out of the ground in record amounts. And the use of wind and solar energy is growing fast. All this is happening as power companies are trying to choose what kind of energy to bet on for the next several decades.

Finger Pointing As Obama, Republican Lawmakers Take No Action To Stop Sequestration

March 1
JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press
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A combative President Barack Obama blamed Republican lawmakers Friday for failing to stop automatic spending cuts from beginning to kick in late in the day.

Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Headed To Extinction, Report Warns

March 1
By Susan Murphy
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The Pacific Leatherback turtle faces extinction in 20 years if conservation efforts aren’t expanded. Scientists say the species survived the extinction of dinosaurs but is struggling to survive the impact of humans.

Construction Executive Who Provided Gifts To School Board Members Sentenced To Probation, Volunteer Work

March 1
KELLY WHEELER, City News Service
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A construction company executive who provided gifts, meals and entertainment event tickets to members of the Sweetwater Union High School District to influence the school board's decisions in granting construction contracts was sentenced today to three years probation and ordered to do 100 hours of volunteer work.

Dr. Entomo's Palace Of Exotic Wonders Now Open

March 1
Evening Edition
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TheNAT just opened a new bug exhibit called Dr. Entomo's Palace of Exotic Wonders and it may not be what you expect to find in a museum setting. I'll take you up close and personal with some creepy crawlers. Watch the video.

Aaron Neville: Doo Wop: My True Story

March 1
Aaron Neville: Doo Wop: My True Story  Tease photo

Iconic soul and R&B vocalist and multiple Grammy Award-winning artist Aaron Neville is featured in a special concert performing songs from his upcoming doo-wop inspired album My True Story. Recorded at the Brooklyn Bowl in November 2012, this special features an array of musicians along with special guests Paul Simon, Joan Osborne, Eugene Pitt of the Jive Five and Dickie Harmon from the Del-Vikings.

Jedi? Vulcan? Mind Meld? Mind Trick? What Was Obama Thinking?

March 1
Mark Memmott / NPR
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He can't do "a Jedi mind meld" with Republicans and get them to see his way about taxes and spending, President Obama said Friday.

Roundtable: Superintendent Roulette; Sequestration Reality; Plaza Reroute; License-Plate Readers

March 1
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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The San Diego Unified School Board makes a stunning announcement. Sequestration cuts are coming; is anyone upset? The mayor wants no parking in Plaza de Panama. Local law enforcement is scanning our license plates.

Great Performances: Andrea Bocelli: Love In Portofino

March 1
Great Performances: Andrea Bocelli: Love In Portofino  Tease photo

International superstar Andrea Bocelli returns to GREAT PERFORMANCES once again to delight fans with a new concert special of classical favorites, pop standards and Brazilian jazz, this time from the breathtaking coastal setting of Portofino, Italy. With 16-time Grammy-winner David Foster as music director and at the keyboard, Bocelli is joined by trumpeter Chris Botti to perform a select collection of the world’s most famous love songs.

For Amina Sheik Mohamed, Women’s Health is First

Women's History Month: 2013 Honoree

March 1
By Monica Medina
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San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood is home to one of the largest Somali populations in the nation. Many arrived here as refugees in the early 1990s, during a time of civil war strife in Somalia. One of those who settled here at that time is Amina Sheik Mohamed. Today she is manager of the African American Campaign for the Network for a Healthy California operated locally from the University of California, San Diego. She is also a 2013 Women’s History Month Local Hero honoree.

5 Dates To Watch In Budget Showdown

March 1
David Welna / NPR
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Friday's deadline for President Obama to issue a sequestration order is neither the beginning nor the end of this year's budget battles in Washington. Here are five key moments to watch over the next seven months, and what's at stake in each:

Missing 14-Year-Old Calif. Girl Found Slain

March 1
AP / Associated Press

RED BLUFF, Calif. (AP) -- Police are investigating the death of a missing 14-year-old Northern California girl as a homicide after her body was found in a field near a local high school.

Plans Announced To Extend Chelsea’s Law To Illinois And Texas

March 1
By Katie Schoolov
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The father of murdered San Diego teenager Chelsea King and former assemblyman Nathan Fletcher announced today they hope to extend the heart of Chelsea’s Law to Illinois and Texas.

Ginita Wall and Candace Bahr Teach Women to Become Financially Savvy

Women's History Month: 2013 Honoree

March 1
By Monica Medina
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Two decades ago, in the throes of my divorce, I discovered a workshop that became my lifeline. It’s called Second Saturday: Divorce Workshop for Women, and for me, participating in it helped me get through one of the most difficult, wrenching periods of my life.

Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones Live

March 1
Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones Live  Tease photo

On November 22, 1981, the Rolling Stones arrived in Chicago prior to playing three nights at the Rosemont Horizon. Long influenced by the Chicago blues, the band paid a visit to see legendary bluesman Muddy Waters perform. It didn’t take long before Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Ian Stewart were joining him on stage. Later, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Lefty Dizz also played their part. Luckily, this amazing blues night was captured on camera and has now been restored from the original footage, with sound mixed and mastered by Bob Clearmountain.

No Cyanide Detected In Chicago Lottery Winner's Remains

March 1
Mark Memmott / NPR
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The question of whodunit remains unanswered in the case of a Chicago lottery winner who died last July with a lethal amount of cyanide in his blood.

Is Tijuana The New Tech Mecca?

March 1
By Jill Replogle, John Rosman
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As far as tech expos go, this was no CES, but some at Tech Expo at the BIT Center really believe the border city has a future as an innovation mecca.

USS Freedom Leaves On Maiden Deployment (Video)

March 1
By Beth Ford Roth
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The USS Freedom is slated to depart from her homeport of San Diego today on her maiden voyage. The USS Freedom is the Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship.

Decrying 'Dumb, Arbitrary Cuts,' Obama Says 'We Will Get Through This'

March 1
NPR

"Washington sure isn't make it easy" for the American people and the American economy, President Obama told reporters late Friday morning as he and other lawmakers failed to reach a deal to avert $85 billion worth of automatic "sequester" spending cuts due to start at the end of the day.

SpaceX Reports Problem With Launch Of Dragon Capsule

March 1
Scott Neuman / NPR

The SpaceX mission to resupply the International Space Station has encountered a problem, the founder of the private space firm, Elon Musk, has announced via Twitter.

'Harlem Shake' On A Plane Has FAA Investigating; See The Video

March 1
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Shakes on a plane aren't all that funny to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Woodward: White House Dislikes Being 'Challenged Or Crossed'

March 1
Scott Neuman / NPR
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On a day when we're in the final countdown for sequestration, Washington is still abuzz over whether or not White House economic adviser Gene Sperling threatened journalist Bob Woodward.

Festival Highlight: Rich Moore At Spike And Mike

March 1
By Beth Accomando
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The Spike and Mike Festival of Animation 30th Anniversary Edition continues at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla through March 30 but tonight and tomorrow night you can meet an Oscar-nominated director.

Marine Corps Trials Start Today At Camp Pendleton

March 1
By Beth Ford Roth
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Hundreds of wounded warrior athletes are on hand at Camp Pendleton today for the start of the third annual Marine Corps Trials.

Sinkhole Swallows Sleeping Man In Florida

March 1
Mark Memmott / NPR
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There's a terrifying story from Florida this morning.

Deja Vu All Over Again As 'Sequester' Deadline Looms

March 1
Mark Memmott / NPR
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It's like Groundhog Day, as NPR's Ari Shapiro said on Morning Edition.

Two For One: Groupon Replaces CEO Mason With Board Members

March 1
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Hear Laura Sydell's report for Morning Edition by clicking the audio link.

Riverside Wildfire Is 30 Percent Contained

March 1
AP / Associated Press

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- A wildfire that damaged a house and left nearly 2,000 Southern California residents without power was 30 percent contained Friday as firefighters battled to surround it before winds kicked up.

Stay-At-Home Workers Defend Choice After Yahoo Ban

March 1
Jennifer Ludden / NPR

Yahoo's sweeping edict against telecommuting has been felt as a personal attack by some of the two-thirds of Americans who regularly work from home.

Administration Asks Supreme Court To End Calif. Gay-Marriage Ban

March 1
Nina Totenberg / NPR

The Obama administration has filed a friend of the court brief urging the United States Supreme Court to strike down California's ban on gay marriage. The government is arguing that the state's ban on gay marriage should be struck down as a denial of "equal protection under the law," but it does not call for the abolition of all state bans on same-sex marriage.

Sacrificing Sleep Makes for Run-down Teens -- And Parents

March 1
Allison Aubrey / NPR

When NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health asked parents and caregivers in our new poll whether getting a good night's sleep is important, families overwhelmingly told us that sleep is a high priority.