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Stories for May 29, 2013

Engineer Builds Fake Poop Factory To Study Spread Of E. Coli

May 29
By David Wagner
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A new study out of UC Riverside really is full of it. But it's changing what we thought we knew about the spread of disease-causing bacteria.

Soldier Accused In Afghan Shooting Rampage To Plead Guilty

May 29
Scott Neuman / NPR
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Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, charged with the murder of 16 Afghan villagers in one of the worst atrocities of the American-led war in that country, will plead guilty as part of a deal to avoid the death penalty, his attorney told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

San Francisco Nonprofit Launches Carbon Challenge

May 29
KPBS News
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Californians who might think they know the best ways to cut carbon emissions throughout the state now have a chance to prove it.

Wellness Center Touted As National Model For Seniors

May 29
By Dwane Brown
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A San Diego senior wellness center has become a national model for dealing with the problem of senior citizens living in poverty.

U-T San Diego Phases Out North County Edition

May 29
By Alison St John
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U-T San Diego is reducing its coverage of local city government. The recent cuts in staffing also affects the North County Edition of the paper.

Health Officials Recommend Child Vaccinations After Chickenpox Outbreak Hits Carlsbad

May 29
City News Service
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An outbreak of chickenpox has sickened five kindergartners and an adult at Aviara Oaks Elementary School, the county of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency reported Wednesday.

A New State Of Mind: Ending The Stigma Of Mental Illness

May 29
A New State Of Mind: Ending The Stigma Of Mental Illness Tease photo

"A New State Of Mind: Ending The Stigma Of Mental Illness" tells the stories of hope, resilience and recovery for real Californians who battled stigma and discrimination associated with their diagnosis of mental illness. This documentary is narrated by award-winning actress Glenn Close.

Council Majority Favors Budget Deal, June 10 Eyed for Vote

May 29
City News Service

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - With City Council members backing five-year agreements with the city of San Diego's employee unions, council President Todd Gloria today tentatively scheduled a June 10 vote on the pact.

Police Say New York Mayor Bloomberg Sent Ricin-Laced Letters

May 29
Scott Neuman / NPR

Police in New York say preliminary tests of two threatening letters sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg contained traces of ricin.

Obama To Name Former Justice Official As FBI Chief

May 29
Carrie Johnson / NPR
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NPR has learned that former Justice Department official James B. Comey is in line to become President Obama's choice as the next FBI director, according to two sources familiar with the search.

Bachmann's Legacy: A Trailblazer, For Better And For Worse

May 29
Liz Halloran / NPR
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Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement Wednesday that she won't seek a fifth term unleashed a torrent of tweets and blog posts on the left lampooning the short-lived 2012 presidential candidate.

The 10 Biggest Tax Breaks (And How Much They Cost)

May 29
S.V. Date / NPR

The 10 biggest breaks, deductions and credits in the U.S. income tax code are costing the Treasury $900 billion this year, with more than half of that total benefiting the wealthiest 20 percent of taxpayers.

Bill To Expand Abortion Access Clears California Assembly

May 29
By Kenny Goldberg
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At a time when many states are restricting access to abortions, California may do just the opposite.

Why Obama Wants To Change The Key Law In The Terrorism Fight

May 29
Ari Shapiro / NPR
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Almost all of the federal government's actions against terrorism -- from drone strikes to the prison at Guantanamo Bay -- are authorized by a single law: the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

For Tuskegee Airman George Porter, Failure Was Not An Option

May 29
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'sAll Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who died this year.

A GROWING PASSION: Cycle And Recycle

May 29
A GROWING PASSION: Cycle And Recycle  Tease photo

What goes around comes around; that’s what recycling is all about. Recycling is a natural part of the growing process, whether its composting waste at home to big municipal recyclers, reusing and reclaiming water to irrigate plants, or finding novel new for organic waste products, host Nan Sterman show us how San Diego recycles green waster and gray water, to put them back to work growing more.

Public Employee Unions Take Issue With Immigration Overhaul

May 29
Brian Naylor / NPR
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A bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration laws is headed to the Senate floor early next month, where it will need all the friends it can get to pass. The measure would give the estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally a path to citizenship, as well as tighten border protections.

How OxyContin's Pain Relief Built 'A World Of Hurt'

May 29
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Prescription painkillers are among the most widely used drugs in America. In the decade since New York Times reporter Barry Meier began investigating their use and abuse, he says he has seen the number of people dying from overdoses quadruple -- an increase Meier calls "staggering."

Two Newspapers Battle It Out For The New Orleans Market

May 29
Eve Troeh / NPR
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Last year when New Orleans' main paper, The Times-Picayune laid off dozens of newspaper employees and cut its circulation to three times a week, residents were shocked.

What's The Meaning Of This? A New Twist In The Spelling Bee

May 29
Scott Neuman / NPR
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If Snigdha Nandipati, the 14-year-old who won last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee, had been asked to define her winning word, "guetapens," things might have turned out differently.

Cooking With Cicadas: No Weirder Than Eating Cheese?

May 29
Maria Godoy / NPR
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Earlier this month, we told you about a U.N. report that makes the case for insects to improve global food security: They're cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Now, the coming of the 17-year cicadas provides East Coast Americans, for whom bug eating is considered novel at best, with an opportunity to try local insect cuisine.

What's Under Youngstown May Help What's On Top

May 29
Marilyn Geewax, M.L. Schultze
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A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.

Court Rules It's Illegal For US Military To Make Sex Tapes

May 29
By Beth Ford Roth
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This one probably doesn't come as much of a shocker: The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces recently ruled it's illegal for anyone in the U.S. military to make a sex tape, even if no one ever sees it.

Preview: 'American Mary'

May 29
By Beth Accomando
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A new late night film series kicks off this Friday at the Digital Gym’s micro cinema. It’s being presented by a group of programmers and myself and we call ourselves the Film Geeks. The first film is “American Mary” (screening May 31 and June 1 at 10pm) and represents tour dedication to genre films that push the envelope.

Preparing For Wildfires With Fire-Safe Home Construction And Retrofits

May 29
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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Having a home in the path of a wildfire doesn't necessarily mean that your home will burn. Fire scientists say increasing ignition resistance of houses based on non-flammable roofs and cleaning up around your home can make a huge difference.

Midday Movies: FilmOut

May 29
Midday Edition
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FilmOut, San Diego's LGBT Film Festival, kicks off its 15th year tonight with the teen comedy "BGF" at the Birch North Park Theater.

Bike Lanes And Buffers Could Make Montezuma Safer

May 29
By Tom Fudge
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Mayor Bob Filner has introduced San Diego to a set of bike lanes and traffic buffers that he says will make the infamous corner of Montezuma and Collwood a safer place.

Marines Say Human Error Caused Explosion That Killed 7

May 29
By Beth Ford Roth
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A command investigation into the deadly training explosion at the Hawthorne Army Depot that killed seven Marines has found human error was to blame. In addition to the seven Marines who lost their lives, eight other service members of 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, were injured in the March 18 accident.

Tempest Over A Teapot: JC Penney Removes 'Hitler' Billboard

May 29
Bill Chappell / NPR
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After receiving complaints that a billboard advertisement included an image resembling Adolf Hitler, JC Penney has reportedly taken the sign down. The move came after images of the billboard in California's Culver City spurred a controversy on Reddit and elsewhere online. The retailer says any resemblance to the late leader of the Third Reich was unintended.

U.S. Air Force Team Sets Record At Mount Everest (Video)

May 29
By Beth Ford Roth
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A team of U.S. airmen became the first group of active-duty American service members to summit Mount Everest. Sadly, illness forced Capt. Colin Merrin of Santee to turn back before he could summit with his team.

4.8-Magnitude Quake Shakes S. California Coast

May 29
Associated Press
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An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 has rattled part of the Southern California coast.

Health Differences May Explain Medicare Spending Variation

May 29
Jordan Rau / NPR
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The idea that uneven Medicare health care spending around the country is caused by wasteful practices and overtreatment -- a concept that has influenced portions of the federal health law -- took another hit in a study published Tuesday.

Smithfield Foods To Be Sold To Chinese Firm For $4.72 Billion

May 29
Bill Chappell / NPR
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The makers of Smithfield Ham, an icon on America's culinary scene for decades, are selling the publicly traded company to China's Shuanghui International Holdings Limited for about $4.72 billion in cash. The deal also includes an exchange of debt.

Phoenix Man Faces Challenge Of Retiring Abroad

May 29
By Peter O'Dowd
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Thousands of Americans are spending their Golden Years in Costa Rica. One Phoenix man risks his entire life savings to retire in paradise.

San Diego High Schools Will Share New Pools With Community

May 29
By Kyla Calvert
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San Diego Unified is looking to partner with community organizations to operate the district's first publicly funded swimming pools.

Assembly Bill Would Set Statewide Guidelines For Medical Marijuana

May 29
By Kenny Goldberg
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The California Assembly is considering a measure that would create a department to regulate the sale, distribution, and testing of medical marijuana.

Bill Would Require Calif. Gun Owners to Safely Lock, Store Firearms

May 29
Ben Adler, Capital Public Radio

The California Senate has narrowly approved a bill that would require gun owners to lock and store their firearms safely before leaving their property.

Do You Pay Extra Property Taxes? Mello-Roos: Who's Paying What (Video)

May 29
Evening Edition
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One in 10 San Diego property owners pays an extra property tax ranging between $35 and $8,700 a year. Find out if you're one of them.

Tuesday's Tornadoes To Be Followed By More Storms Wednesday

May 29
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Tuesday's warnings about more severe weather and the likelihood of tornadoes across much of the nation's midsection proved accurate.

Cleveland Hero Charles Ramsey Says No Thanks To Free Burgers

May 29
Mark Memmott / NPR
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We need to update the news that a dozen Cleveland area restaurants said they would give Charles Ramsey "free burgers for life" because of the way he helped rescue three young women and a little girl from the home where police say they had been held captive and brutalized for years.

Moms Are Now Primary Breadwinners In 40 Percent Of Homes

May 29
NPR

"A record 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family," the Pew Research Center reported Wednesday as it released data that certainly won't surprise many Americans but will underscore some dramatic shifts over recent decades.

Tea Party Favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann Leaving Congress

May 29
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Rep. Michele Bachmann, a hero to many conservatives and tea party advocates who saw her fortunes rise and fall quickly in the 2012 race for the GOP presidential nomination, announced early Wednesday that she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress.

SD General Fire

May 29
City News Service

BANNER GRADE (CNS) - Crews working to extinguish a wildfire that has blackened nearly 1,200 open acres in remote, rugged terrain southeast of Julian over the last four days had the burn area 90 percent contained today, authorities reported.

Firefighters gaining ground on California blazes

May 29
Associated Press

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) -- California firefighters took advantage of cooler weather Wednesday morning as they worked to surround a wildfire that blackened nearly 3 square miles of forest in the mountains above Santa Barbara.