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Stories for October 29, 2013

The Return of Virtual Reality Excites Gamers, Researchers

Oct. 29
By David Wagner
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In hardcore video gaming circles, virtual reality headsets are back! And that's good news for veterans with PTSD.

High-Tech FBI Lab In Sorrento Valley Receives International Accreditation

Oct. 29
By Peggy Pico

The FBI's internationally accredited San Diego Regional Computer Forensic Lab helps local law enforcement solve cybercrime and find digital evidence.

Early Voting Seen As Strong In San Diego Mayor’s Race

Oct. 29
By Joe Yerardi
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Some 363,000 early ballots for the Nov. 19 mayoral special election have been issued and about 52,000 ballots have been cast— a 14.2 percent return rate.

Raw To Ready: Mack Truck

Oct. 29
Raw To Ready: Mack Truck  Tease photo

The highway truck — a modern workhorse, a heavy hauler vital to commerce — carries an 80,000-pound payload and must operate in every condition from sub-zero cold to triple-digit heat. To survive, it must be strong, durable and fuel-efficient, like the Mack Pinnacle, an engineering achievement made possible by platinum, petroleum, copper, manganese and polyurethane.

For Somali Immigrants, All Politics Really Is Local

Oct. 29
Alan Greenblatt / NPR
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Not only is the city electing a new mayor on Nov. 5, it's also possible that a majority of the members of City Council will be freshmen.

Alabama Agrees To Permanently Gut Immigration Law

Oct. 29
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Opponents of Alabama's strict immigration law are declaring victory Tuesday, as the state agreed not to pursue key provisions of a measure critics had called an endorsement of racial profiling. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of a federal court's ruling that gutted the law.

Proposal To Ban Beach Access To La Jolla Children's Pool Postponed

Oct. 29
City News Service
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A proposal to prohibit people from going onto the beach at the Children's Pool in La Jolla during harbor seal pupping season was postponed.

School Officials Look Into Serra High Blackface Incident

Oct. 29
Midday Edition
By Susan Murphy
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Two San Diego Unified high school teachers will be investigated for allegedly wearing controversial Halloween costumes.

Community Supported Canning Gets Locavores Through Winter

Oct. 29
Christine Burns Rudalevige / NPR
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Community supported agriculture shares are moving out of the crisper and into the pantry.

Rose-Margaret Orrantia Finds Purpose in Helping American Indian Foster Youth

American Indian Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

Oct. 29
By Monica Medina
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Rose-Margaret Orrantia has spent a lifetime working to help American Indian children in the foster care system. After all, helping children is where her heart has led her. And helping to place these children in American Indian homes has been her way of giving back to her community and ensuring its future.

Insurance Cancellations Elbow Out Website Woes At Health Hearing

Oct. 29
Julie Rovner / NPR
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When the head of the agency responsible for the troubled Healthcare.gov went before Congress for the first time since its foibles became apparent Oct. 1, she probably didn't expect that many questions would be on something else altogether.

NOVA: Making Stuff: Colder

Oct. 29
NOVA: Making Stuff: Colder  Tease photo

Cold has always been the enemy of life, but now it may hold the key to a new generation of science and technology that will improve our lives. David Pogue explores the frontiers of cold science, from saving the lives of severe trauma patients and cooling a warming planet to ultracold physics, where bizarre new properties of matter are the norm and the basis of new technologies like levitating trains and quantum computers. In this brave new world, cold isn’t to be avoided. Cold is the new hot.

Illinois Files Suit Against Online Adoption Agency

Oct. 29
Jennifer Ludden / NPR
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The Adoption Network Law Center is based in California, but when someone in Illinois searches "adoption" on the Web, up it pops, right near the top.

Kumeyaay Elder Jane Dumas Keeps Language & Plant Lore Alive

American Indian Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

Oct. 29
By Monica Medina
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On a bright and clear weekend morning in early October, there’s a flutter of activity at San Diego’s Tecolote Nature Center as staff get ready for an annual family activity, “Baskets and Botany.” The one-day event, which has been held there since the mid-'90s, is a day for families to share the environmental and cultural connections of Tecolote Canyon.

Bloomberg's New Colorado Play: $1 Million For Tax Measure

Oct. 29
Adam Wollner / NPR
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Michael Bloomberg's time as New York City mayor may be coming to an end, but there's no evidence he's ready to leave the political arena.

USS Princeton Returns Home To San Diego After Extended Deployment

Oct. 29
By Beth Ford Roth
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The USS Princeton arrived home to San Diego on Tuesday after an extended seven-month deployment. The guided-missile cruiser departed San Diego on April 3, and had its return date postponed by tensions in Syria.

U.S. Did Not Spy On French, Spanish Citizens, Says Spy Chief

Oct. 29
Eyder Peralta / NPR
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The brewing scandal over allegations that the United States spied on millions of phone calls made by Spanish and French citizens took a sharp, surprising turn Tuesday.

Texas Asks Court To Reinstate Abortion Restrictions

Oct. 29
Scott Neuman / NPR
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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has asked a federal appeals court judge to grant an emergency ruling allowing the state to enforce an anti-abortion law struck down by a lower court on Monday.

Military Sexual Assault Victims Asking for More Support from State

Oct. 29
Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Service members who’ve survived military sexual assaults are asking for more support from the state of California.

California Joins Climate Agreement With West Coast States, British Columbia

Oct. 29
Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed an agreement with Washington, Oregon and British Columbia to align climate change policies and promote clean energy.

'We Hurt A Lot Of People,' Westboro Pastor's Granddaughter Says

Oct. 29
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Nearly a year after breaking with the Westboro Baptist Church, two of Pastor Fred Phelps' granddaughters are enjoying a new freedom. But as they tell a Canadian newspaper, they also want to extend empathy to those they hurt in the name of a cause championed by the man they call "Gramps."

Meet The Mom Who Shamed A Pumpkin Thief

Oct. 29
Mark Memmott / NPR
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A photo of a Washington, D.C., mom's message to a pumpkin thief is resonating with many.

San Diego Housing Prices Up From Last Month, Year

Oct. 29
City News Service

Housing prices in San Diego rose 1.8 percent between July and August, and 21.5 percent between August 2012 and the same month this year, according to the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday.

Indian Firm To Pay Record Fine In Visa Fraud Settlement

Oct. 29
By Jill Replogle
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Indian tech outsourcing firm to pay largest ever fine for visa fraud.

Suspicious Envelope Prompts Evacuation At San Diego Navy Mail Facility

Oct. 29
By Beth Ford Roth
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Investigators have taken custody of the suspicious envelope that prompted an evacuation Tuesday morning at the Navy mail facility near Naval Base San Diego. The area has now been cleared, according to the base's Facebook page.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Begins Prison Term Several Days Early

Oct. 29
Bill Chappell / NPR
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Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has begun his prison sentence, resolving a brief period of confusion over his status. It seems that Jackson tried to turn himself in to federal prison officials Monday -- but he was four days early. The official deadline for his surrender for a 30-month prison term had been set for Friday.

How You Handle Screen, Technology Time With Your Kids

Oct. 29
Elise Hu / NPR
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Smartphones and tablets. You can't miss them, and your kids can't resist them. Even the smallest children -- 40 percent of kids 8 years old and under -- have used their parents' mobile devices, according to a survey out this week by the nonprofit Common Sense Media. This week, we're exploring the theme of raising digital natives, and you have already responded with many of your thoughts. A sample:

Startups Try To Reroute Food Waste To The Hungry

Oct. 29
Serri Graslie / NPR
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In an alley in Northeast Washington, D.C., hundreds of pounds of produce are piled haphazardly on pallets. Mexican Fruits, a discount grocer, can't sell the fruit and vegetables inside these boxes because the food has gone soft or is lightly bruised. Some will be donated, but most boxes are destined for a large, green Dumpster nearby.

Start-Ups Try To Reroute Food Waste To The Hungry

Oct. 29
Serri Graslie / NPR
Tease photo

In an alley in Northeast Washington, D.C., hundreds of pounds of produce are piled haphazardly on pallets. Mexican Fruits, a discount grocer, can't sell the fruit and vegetables inside these boxes because it has gone soft or is lightly bruised. Most boxes are destined for a large, green Dumpster nearby.

READ: Bi-Partisan Bill To End NSA's Domestic Bulk Collection

Oct. 29
Larry Abramson, Mark Memmott

Bi-partisan concern on Capitol Hill about data from Americans' phone and Internet records being vacuumed up by the National Security Agency has led to an unusual alliance involving a prominent House Republican and a veteran Senate Democrat.

How A Wandering Brain Can Help People Cope With Pain

Oct. 29
Nancy Shute / NPR

When some people are in pain, the experience is so intense that they can't think of anything else. But others can turn their minds elsewhere and feel better.

Steve Jobs' Calif. Home Gets Historic Designation

Oct. 29
Associated Press
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The Silicon Valley home where Apple co-founder Steve Jobs grew up and built some of his first computers is now on the city's list of historic properties.

Sriracha Factory Under Fire For Fumes; City Sues

Oct. 29
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Complaints from nearby residents about "burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches" have led the city of Irwindale, Calif., to ask a judge to order the company that makes Sriracha hot sauce to suspend production.

Food Stamp Cuts To Hit 270,000 In San Diego County

Oct. 29
Midday Edition
By Susan Murphy
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Food stamp benefits are set to shrink for thousands of San Diegans starting Friday. The change has food banks bracing for higher demand.

SF Firefighters Awarded Almost $4M In Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Oct. 29
Associated Press

A jury has awarded more than a dozen firefighters a total of $3.7 million in a case where the San Francisco Fire Department was accused of age discrimination.

Tuesday Political Mix: Obamacare Official In The Batter's Box

Oct. 29
Frank James / NPR
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Good Tuesday morning, fellow political junkies.

Marches Planned For Calif. Boy Fatally Shot By Deputy

Oct. 29
Associated Press

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Demonstrators are planning to march Tuesday to protest the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy by a California sheriff's deputy.

Who Has The Right To Know Where Your Phone Has Been?

Oct. 29
Larry Abramson / NPR
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You probably know, or should know, that your cellphone is tracking your location everywhere you go. But whether law enforcement officials should have access to that data is at the center of a constitutional debate.