Tribune News Service
News Budget for papers of Sunday, July 7, 2019
Updated at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 UTC).
These stories are recommended for weekend release, except where embargoes are noted. Please make sure you are adhering to embargoes on our stories in both your print and online operations.
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^Freshman House class brings less wealth and different economic perspective to Congress<
CONGRESS-FRESHMAN-WEALTH:LA — When wages temporarily stopped for thousands of federal workers during the government shutdown in January, nearly 100 lawmakers signed over or donated their paycheck to show solidarity.
But Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., elected just weeks earlier, literally couldn't afford the gesture.
"If you're a member of Congress who can say: 'I can forgo an entire paycheck,' more power to you," she said in an interview in her Capitol Hill office. But "this incoming class had probably quite a few people who were not in a position to say I will forgo a paycheck after having not worked for" months because of the demands of the campaign.
More often than not, members of Congress come from a moneyed pedigree, whether they made a fortune in business before starting a political career, married a wealthy spouse or inherited family fortunes.
A review of the financial holdings of freshman lawmakers — documents they were required to file when they ran for office — shows that on the whole, the class has more modest means than other elected officials in recent history.
1550 (with trims) by Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED
^Progress stalls for minor parties to get on state ballots<
BALLOTS-MINORPARTIES:SH — The first man to the microphone wore a Trump 2020 cap and a scowl.
"I want to vote for Donald P. Trump for president!" he roared, misstating the president's middle initial, and stepped aside.
"Thank you, sir. I'll take that as a 'no' on the bill," California state Assemblyman Marc Berman, a Democrat and chairman of the state Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee, said without missing a beat.
Senate Bill 27 was "the hot bill of the day" at the committee's June 19 public hearing, Berman said. The bill would require all presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release five years of income tax returns to the California secretary of state as a condition for appearing on California's primary ballot starting in 2020.
California is among 18 states that have considered tax return disclosure requirements this year for presidential candidates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), after 27 states considered such legislation last year.
1850 (with trims) by Marsha Mercer in Washington. MOVED
^Invasive grass increases wildfire threat in Western states<
WEST-WILDFIRES-GRASS:SH — After a wet spring, Western states are experiencing a massive bloom of cheatgrass, a yellowish, knee-high and highly flammable grass that carpets rangelands across 13 states. In Nevada, samples show up to 3,000 pounds of the invasive plant growing per acre, according to the Bureau of Land Management.
The profusion of the weed could fuel major wildfires this summer. "The people I talk with think it's more likely to be a rangeland fire year than a forest fire year," said Mark Brunson, an environment and society professor at Utah State University.
Some state and federal leaders want to do more to fight cheatgrass and are drawing up action plans. But beating back the plant requires coordination between different agencies and levels of government, sustained commitment and funding.
1500 (with trims) by Sophie Quinton in Washington. MOVED
^Inside the Terri Schiavo case: Judge who decided her fate opens up<
SCHIAVO-JUDGE:PT — The hearing on whether to remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was to start at noon.
But Judge George Greer, always punctual, wasn't there. Hours before, he and his wife had packed up their Yorkie, Mr. Bailey, and gotten on an airplane. The Pinellas County sheriff was that worried about Greer's safety.
Schiavo, 41, had been in a vegetative state for 15 years.
Her husband felt it was time to let her go. Her parents and siblings thought she was still in there.
It fell to Greer to decide whether she lived or died.
After his plane landed somewhere in Florida (he still won't say where), he got in a car wearing a bulletproof vest. He pulled out his cell phone, dialing into the hearing at the old courthouse in Clearwater. It was March 18, 2005.
He was about to deliver his final say in one of the most widely disputed end-of-life cases in history.
Greer knew how he was going to rule. That wasn't the hard part.
2900 by Leonora LaPeter Anton in Tampa, Fla. MOVED
^Florida is the latest Republican-led state to adopt clean needle exchanges<
FLA-NEEDLE-EXCHANGES:KHN — A green van was parked on the edge of downtown Miami, on a corner shadowed by overpasses. The vehicle serves as a mobile health clinic and syringe exchange, where people who inject drugs like heroin and fentanyl could swap dirty needles for fresh ones.
One of the clinic's regular visitors, a man with heavy black arrows tattooed on his arms, waited on the sidewalk to get clean needles.
"I'm Arrow," he said, introducing himself. "Pleasure."
This mobile unit in Miami-Dade County is part of the IDEA Exchange, the only legal needle exchange program operating in the state. But Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, signed a new law last week that aims to change that.
1250 by Sammy Mack in Miami. MOVED
^BEST OF NEWSFEATURES<
These stories moved earlier in the week and are suitable for weekend publication.
^A bomb blast, a phone call and a Navy family forever changed<
NAVY-BOMBSQUAD:SD — Standing in a hotel parking lot at Legoland, Lindsey Stacy felt her cellphone vibrate. She looked at the screen, recognized the area code and smiled.
Her husband, a 34-year-old master technician with the Navy's bomb squad, was on a six-month deployment in Syria, fighting Islamic State. He was due home in three weeks.
Childhood sweethearts from a small farming town in Ohio, Lindsey and Kenton had been married for 13 years. They had four children, two boys and two girls, and they'd managed the hardships — cross-country moves, frequent deployments, long separations — that come with a career in the post-9/11 military.
Being gone this time, in the summer and fall of 2017, meant missing son Mason's sixth birthday and the trip to Legoland.
The next morning, when Lindsey's cellphone buzzed, she figured it was Kenton with the next-best thing: a birthday call from Syria.
It was Kenton's commanding officer. There'd been an explosion.
3250 (with trims) by John Wilkens in San Diego. MOVED
^Migrants returned to Mexico describe 'impossible situation'<
IMMIGRATION-ASYLUM-MEXICO:SD — Maria del Carmen Perez is stuck in what she calls an impossible situation.
The 40-year-old single mother of two has been living in a Tijuana migrant shelter since April. She's one of more than 15,000 asylum-seekers sent back to Mexico while waiting for their immigration cases to be resolved under the Migrant Protection Protocols program, known as "Remain in Mexico."
Perez's next hearing is Aug. 10. In the meantime, she can't do much more than wait.
That's because she cannot legally work in Tijuana. Even if she could work legally, she cannot leave her two sons alone in the shelter.
Perez and the 5,300 other asylum-seekers in Tijuana — plus another 3,100 in Mexicali — are being forced to wait indefinitely in a strange and hostile country without stable housing or a source of income while their asylum claims move through an immigration court system bogged down by a heavy caseload.
1100 by Gustavo Solis in Tijuana, Mexico. MOVED
^A new top killer emerges in hurricanes, and many blame climate change<
WEA-HURRICANES-RAIN:FL — Ask anyone the most dangerous element of a hurricane, and they may mention wind. They may mention storm surge. But they're unlikely to name the biggest current killer: rain.
In the past three years, as the impact of climate change on hurricanes became more apparent, rain has pushed aside storm surge to emerge as the top source of deaths.
About 75% of the 162 fatalities in hurricanes and other tropical cyclones striking the United States from 2016 to 2018 were caused by rain-induced flooding, with most victims drowning in or near their vehicles, according to the National Hurricane Center.
1550 by David Fleshler in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED
^Disaster City sees storm warnings every day<
DISASTER-CITY:SH — It's a scene of utter devastation.
Smashed automobiles, derailed train cars and piles of rubble are scattered across an apocalyptic landscape. Hard-hatted responders cling to nylon ropes alongside a gutted high-rise. In the distance, an industrial fire sends flames and smoke into an otherwise bright blue sky.
Stretching across 52 acres just west of the Texas A&M University campus, Disaster City clearly deserves its name.
The mock municipality began taking shape in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Now, it is part of Texas A&M's nearly 300-acre Emergency Services Training Institute, which attracts firefighters and other first responders from around the globe.
A brutal surge of violent weather has swept much of the nation this year, underscoring the importance of training centers such as this one.
1250 (with trims) by David Montgomery in College Station, Texas. MOVED
^Sex crime case renews tension in Mexico between Catholics and evangelical church<
RELIG-LALUZDELMUNDO-GUADALAJARA:LA — The women kneel on the cool marble, their heads draped by shawls bearing the initials NJG. Their hymnals are inscribed with the letters, as is the soaring temple that serves as the headquarters of La Luz del Mundo.
In homes and businesses, along streets with names such as Nazareth, Jerusalem and Jericho, the face of "the apostle" — Naason Joaquin Garcia — beams from gilded frames. The faithful sing songs about him, one after another.
Guadalajara — the land of tequila and mariachi — long has been a bastion of Catholicism. For nearly 100 years, it also has been the cradle of the largest evangelical church in Mexico.
The church dominates life in this Guadalajara neighborhood. Markets don't sell cigarettes or alcohol, there is no graffiti marking the walls. There's a calm far removed from this city's buzzy din.
Among the nonbelievers, generations of questions and myths have swirled around Garcia and the two apostles before him — his father and grandfather.
1650 by Brittny Mejia in Guadalajara, Mexico. MOVED
^Jamaica allows medical marijuana, but now what? <
JAMAICA-MARIJUANA:MI — The tour bus pulls up in front of the "Legal Cannabis Sold Here" billboard at the entrance of the old Casa Blanca hotel along this resort town's popular tourist strip, when a young woman looking for a smoke jumps out.
The employee motions to his right. The young woman heads to a secure door, shows her ID and waits to be buzzed in. Inside, she walks over to a corner where a medical practitioner, who isn't even a doctor, poses a few questions and then, for $10, hands her a medical card that allows her to buy locally grown marijuana.
This is the medical marijuana experience in Jamaica, where permission to legally smoke takes all but five minutes. No local address needed. No medical record requested — not even a physical exam is required.
But two years after Jamaica began awarding cannabis licenses for medical, therapeutic and scientific uses, the country is still struggling to find its footing in the legal medical marijuana sphere.
1850 (with trims) by Jacqueline Charles in Montego Bay, Jamaica. MOVED
^Sikh drivers are transforming US trucking. Take a ride along the Punjabi American highway<
SIKH-TRUCKERS:LA — It's 7:20 p.m. when he rolls into Spicy Bite, one of the newest restaurants here in rural northwest New Mexico.
Locals in Milan, a town of 3,321, have barely heard of it.
The building is small, single-story, built of corrugated metal sheets. There are seats for 20. The only advertising is spray-painted on concrete roadblocks in English and Punjabi.
Palwinder Singh orders creamy black lentils, chicken curry and roti, finishing it off with chai and cardamom rice pudding. After 13 hours on and off the road in his semi truck, he leans back in a booth as a Bollywood music video plays on TV.
"This is like home," says Pal, the name he uses on the road.
There are 3.5 million truckers in the United States. As drivers age toward retirement — the average American trucker is 55 — and a shortage grows, Sikh immigrants and their kids are increasingly taking up the job.
2600 by Jaweed Kaleem in Milan, N.M. MOVED
^How a rural Oklahoma truck stop became a destination for Sikh Punjabis crossing America<
SIKH-TRUCKERS-STOP:LA — Truck stops run by Sikhs from the Punjab region of India have grown across the U.S. Truck Stop 40 in Sayre, Okla., is among the oldest, biggest and best-known.
Truck Stop 40 is easy to skip. Yellow billboards with bold red letters advertise it off Exit 26, halfway between Amarillo and Oklahoma City, promising a "truck and service garage" that sells sandwiches. But mechanics and fast food are easy to come by on Interstate 40 and by themselves are no reason to stop.
To hundreds of Indian American truckers passing by each day, the two words not in English are more appealing.
"Taji roti," they say in Punjabi. "Fresh food."
Today, as the number of Sikh truckers has grown, dozens of no-frill highway stops selling food from India's Punjab region have sprung up along U.S. interstates.
950 by Jaweed Kaleem in Sayre, Okla. MOVED
^How black pharmacists are closing the cultural gap in health care<
MED-HEALTHCARE-CULTURALGAP:KHN — After a health insurance change forced Bernard Macon to cut ties with his black doctor, he struggled to find another African American physician online. Then, he realized two health advocates were hiding in plain sight.
At a nearby drugstore here in the suburbs outside of St. Louis, a pair of pharmacists became the unexpected allies of Macon and his wife, Brandy. Much like the Macons, the pharmacists were energetic young parents who were married — and unapologetically black.
Black Americans continue to face persistent health care disparities. Compared with their white counterparts, black men and women are more likely to die of heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza, pneumonia, diabetes and AIDS, according to the Office of Minority Health.
But medical providers who give patients culturally competent care — the act of acknowledging a patient's heritage, beliefs and values during treatment — often see improved patient outcomes, according to multiple studies. Part of it is trust and understanding, and part of it can be more nuanced knowledge of the medical conditions that may be more prevalent in those populations.
1300 by Cara Anthony in Shiloh, Ill. MOVED
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