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Stories for May 28, 2013

Senators Tussle Over Proposal To 'Unpack' Key D.C. Court

May 28
Carrie Johnson / NPR
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More than 75 years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt caused an uproar with his plan to "pack" the Supreme Court with friendly justices. It was an audacious effort to protect his New Deal initiatives.

For Ailing Vets In Rural Areas, Tele-Medicine Can Be The Cure

May 28
Quil Lawrence / NPR
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Howard Lincoln of White Mountain, Alaska, doesn't always hear it when people knock on his door. He's 82 and he's still got a little shrapnel in his jaw from a mortar shell that nearly killed him in the Korean War 60 years ago.

Immigration Measure Faces Test In Senate, Rival Bill In House

May 28
David Welna / NPR
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Members of Congress are back in their home states this week for a Memorial Day recess. It's a chance to talk with constituents about what could become the year's biggest legislative story: the push on Capitol Hill to fix what Democrats and Republicans alike agree is a broken immigration system.

Natural Gas Export Plan Unites Oregon Landowners Against It

May 28
Jeff Brady / NPR
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A radical shift in the world energy picture is raising environmental concerns in the United States.

One More Swing: 'Casey At The Bat'

May 28
Ernest Lawrence Thayer / NPR
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Frank Deford puts aside his gripes this week to pay tribute to the poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, first published in the San Francisco Examiner 125 years ago June 3.

37-Mile Special Olympics Torch Run Begins

May 28
By Dwane Brown
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The annual Special Olympics torch run and fundraiser got started in Chula Vista on Tuesday with a 37-mile run to Del Mar.

U.S. Embassy Officials Wounded In Caracas Nightclub Shooting

May 28
Scott Neuman / NPR

Two U.S. officials were shot during an altercation at a strip club in the Venezuelan capital, but a State Department spokesman says their injuries were not life-threatening.

San Diego City Unions Tentatively Agree To Five-Year Pact

May 28
Midday Edition
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The six unions that represent city of San Diego employees have tentatively agreed to a five-year labor deal that is expected to save the city millions of dollars and largely end a 6 percent salary cut implemented several years ago, it was announced Tuesday.

U-T San Diego Lays Off Workers, Will Maintain Southwest Riverside Presence

May 28
By Hailey Persinger
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The U-T San Diego laid off several journalists and members of its sales team Tuesday as part of the "process of finalizing its transition following the North County Times acquisition," according to an internal memo shared with inewsource.

Head Of White House Economic Council To Step Down

May 28
Scott Neuman / NPR
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Alan Krueger, the chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, says he will step down to return to Princeton to resume his post as a professor of economics.

Gulf Coast States Get Creative With BP Oil Spill Money

May 28
Debbie Elliott / NPR
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Gulf Coast states are lining up to spend $1 billion from BP on coastal restoration. The money is part of BP's legal responsibility to restore the Gulf of Mexico's natural resources in the aftermath of the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.

For Chris Christie, Obama Connection Has Risks, Rewards

May 28
Liz Halloran / NPR
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President Obama's second trip to New Jersey to meet with Republican Gov. Chris Christie post-Superstorm Sandy was accompanied Tuesday with a familiar flurry of speculation.

Cruise Industry Adopts Passenger 'Rights' As Incidents Mount

May 28
Jim Zarroli / NPR
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About 2,200 passengers were being flown back to Baltimore on Tuesday, a day after their cruise ship caught fire on its way to the Bahamas. There were no injuries aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas.

Little Dog Does A Big Job In Oregon

May 28
Bill Chappell / NPR
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He can't see, and he's not very big -- but as dogs go, Xander the pug is having a big impact on his community in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The blind pup has even made the front page of the local paper, for bringing empathy and happiness to people for whom such things are in short supply.

Forgotten For Decades, WWII Alaskans Finally Get Their Due

May 28
Quil Lawrence / NPR
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Alaskan Clyde Iyatunguk grew up hearing stories about the U.S. Army colonel, Marvin 'Muktuk' Marston, who helped his father trade his spear for a rifle, to protect his homeland during World War II.

After Long Wait For Combat, Tad Nagaki Became POW Liberator

May 28
NPR Staff / NPR
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Sixteen millionmen and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Consideredis remembering some of the veterans who have died this year.

Grand Jury Criticizes Imperial Beach Finances

May 28
Khari Johnson
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The city "needs to take strong action to get their financial house in order," a report by the civil Grand Jury released Tuesday said.

Each Family May Have Schizophrenia In Its Own Way

May 28
Nancy Shute / NPR
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Schizophrenia runs in families, but scientists have been stymied in their efforts to nail down genetic changes that could be causing the often devastating mental illness.

San Diego Home Prices Rise 12 Percent Since Last March

May 28
City News Service

Home prices in San Diego rose 12.1 percent between March 2012 and the same month this year, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released today.

Group Aims To Curb Sex Trafficking In San Diego

May 28
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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Project Concern International, a San Diego-based humanitarian organization, launches a new study on sex trafficking and seeks prevention efforts.

Supreme Court Declines Review Of Planned Parenthood Case

May 28
Nina Totenberg / NPR
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In the first Planned Parenthood defunding case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices have refused to disturb a lower court decision that barred Indiana from stripping Medicaid payments to the organization.

Soldier Killed By Rocket Propelled Grenade In Afghanistan

May 28
By Beth Ford Roth
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National Guardsman Spc. Christopher R. Drake, 20, was killed over Memorial Day weekend in Afghanistan when a rocket propelled grenade hit his vehicle.

Cyber Security Expert - Increased Hacking And Personal Security

May 28
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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As news breaks that American weapons systems were compromised by hackers - we take a look at personal and national vulnerabilities with cyber security expert Jim Stickley.

Nike Is Cutting Ties To The Livestrong Charity

May 28
Mark Memmott / NPR
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A 9-year relationship is ending between athletic apparel giant Nike and Livestrong, the cancer charity founded by cyclist Lance Armstrong before his career imploded because of evidence that he had been doping for more than a decade.

Eyelid-Lift Payments From Medicare Rise, And Raise Eyebrows

May 28
Bill Chappell / NPR

The number of eyelid lifts paid for by Medicare more than tripled in a 10-year span, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity. The cost to U.S. taxpayers for the simple surgery rose to $80 million in 2011 from $20 million in 2001, according to the report.

Marine Veteran Of Darkhorse Battalion Makes Documentary 'For The 25' (Video)

May 28
By Beth Ford Roth
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Marine veteran Logan Stark was a member of Camp Pendleton's 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines - known as Darkhorse Battalion. Now a student on the G.I. Bill, Stark has made a documentary called "For the 25" as a tribute to the 25 Darkhorse Marines killed during their seven month deployment in Afghanistan.

Food Bank Study Reveals Face Of Hunger In San Diego County

May 28
By Susan Murphy
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A new report sheds light on the 350,000 people in San Diego County who depend on the Food Bank for their meals, and seeks to understand the demographic, economic and social factors driving that need.

Midday Movies: Frequency Film Festival

May 28
By Beth Accomando
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The Frequency Film Festival is living up to its name. It debuted in March and is already back for a second installment. The festival kicks off Thursday May 23 with the U.S. premiere of "Resurrection of a Bastard."

No Delay In Trial Of Man Who Killed Trayvon Martin

May 28
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Jury selection will begin June 10 in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of second-degree murder in the February 2012 death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin.

Former Troop Member Responds To Boy Scouts' Acceptance Of Openly Gay Youths

May 28
By Deb Welsh
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Chance Kawar, an Eagle Scout and former member of La Mesa's Troop 51, shares his thoughts on the Boy Scouts of America's recent vote to end its ban on openly gay youths.

US Air Force Pilot Survives F-15 Crash Off Okinawa

May 28
By Beth Ford Roth
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The Japanese military rescued a U.S. Air Force pilot from the Pacific Ocean Tuesday after he was forced to eject from his disabled F-15C fighter jet off the coast of Okinawa.

Summer-Like Conditions Are Fueling California Wildfire

May 28
Mark Memmott / NPR

As they battle the White Fire north of Santa Barbara that has covered more than 1,000 acres in less than a day, firefighters are contending with strong winds, low humidity, high temperatures and other dangerous conditions "like they'd normally see in August and September," our colleagues at Southern California Public Radio report.

Navy SEALS Killed in Benghazi Honored at Mt. Soledad Memorial Day Celebration

May 28
Michelle Mowad
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Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods, of Imperial Beach, and Glen Doherty, of Encinitas, were given memorial plaques at Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in La Jolla on Monday.

Top Water Officials Meet In San Diego Over Drought-Stricken Colorado River

May 28
By Susan Murphy
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As the Colorado River drought continues to worsen, federal officials are meeting in San Diego Tuesday to address water conservation by the seven western states that rely on the waterway for survival.

Home Prices Post Biggest Jump Since 2006

May 28
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Home prices in major cities across the nation were up 10.9 percent in March from March 2012, the biggest year-over-year increase since April 2006, according to the data trackers who put together the S&P;/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

Exotic Lice Causing Balding In California Deer

May 28
Associated Press
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California wildlife officials in say an invasion of aggressive lice is causing deer across the state to go bald and is linked to numerous deer deaths.

Encinitas Divided Over Growth

May 28
By Alison St John
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The debate over Encinitas' Proposition A highlights a divide over how communities should grow in the future.

San Diego's Tourism Engine Winding Up

May 28
By Erik Anderson
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San Diego economists say the region's tourism season is in full swing now that Memorial Day is past.

Rutgers Stands Behind New Athletic Director

May 28
Mark Memmott / NPR

Saying that "Julie's entire record of accomplishment ... is stellar," Rutgers University President Robert Barchi has issued a statement supporting the school's incoming athletic director -- who has come under intense scrutiny because of allegations about how she treated players she once coached.

Containment Of Fire Near Julian Expected Wednesday

May 28
City News Service
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Hundreds of firefighters worked today to quell a firearm-sparked brush fire that has charred nearly 1,000 open acres in remote terrain southeast of Julian since Sunday.

From Texas To Great Lakes, Severe Weather Due Again

May 28
Mark Memmott / NPR
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The warnings aren't as ominous as they were eight days ago in the hours leading up to the tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., but the National Weather Service is predicting "another round of severe weather for the Central United States on Tuesday."

Gusty Winds Expected In San Diego County's Mountains, Deserts

May 28
City News Service
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A trough of low pressure over the west will maintain strong onshore flow through Wednesday, bringing gusty winds to the mountains and deserts of San Diego County today, the National Weather Service said.

Sen. Boxer Lashes Out At Management At San Onofre

May 28
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer said Tuesday that she has lost confidence in the California utility that operates the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant, as she called for a federal probe into an equipment swap that eventually led to a radiation leak.

Obama's Next Big Campaign: Selling Health Care To The Public

May 28
Ari Shapiro / NPR
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President Obama often tells audiences that he has waged his last campaign. But that's not exactly true.

Navajo Schools Lose Funding Due To Sequestration Cuts

May 28
Laurel Morales / NPR
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When Congress enacted the across-the board budget cuts known as the sequester in March, they cut $60 million for American Indian schools across the country.

Hearing Aids: A Luxury Good For Many Seniors

May 28
Brenda Salinas / NPR
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More than 30 million Americans experience significant hearing loss, but only a third of them gets hearing aids.

Searching For Veterans On Alaska's Remote Edges

May 28
Quil Lawrence / NPR
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When he was in Vietnam, Isaac Oxereok's small build made him ideal for tunnel-ratting: running with a pistol and a flashlight into underground passages built by the Viet Cong. In 1967 he finished his tour with the Army and returned home to Wales, Alaska. Oxereok knew he wasn't quite right, but there wasn't anyone around to tell him how to get help.

Alimony Till Death Do Us Part? Nay, Say Some Ex-Spouses

May 28
Jennifer Ludden / NPR

Alimony dates back centuries. The original idea was that once married, a man is responsible for a woman till death. But that notion has shifted in recent decades, as more women have jobs and their own money. Now, a number of states are considering laws to end lifetime alimony.

Lull In Winds Aids Fight Against Los Padres National Forest Wildfire

May 28
Associated Press

Firefighters took advantage of a lull in winds on Tuesday to try to gain ground against a forest fire in mountains northwest of Santa Barbara, Calif., as some crews were diverted to a second fire.