Tribune News Service

News Budget for papers of Sunday, October 13, 2019


Updated at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 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.

This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Firefighting foam leaves toxic legacy in drinking water near military bases<

ENV-FIREFIGHTING-FOAM:LA — It was a Sunday tradition at Bethany Slavic Missionary Church. After morning services, Florin Ciuriuc joined the line of worshippers waiting to fill their jugs with gallons of free drinking water from a well on the property, a practice church leaders had encouraged.

"I take it for my office every week," said Ciuriuc, a 50-year-old Romanian immigrant and a founding member of the largely Russian-speaking church, which claims 7,000 congregants.

Church leaders boasted it was the cleanest water in Sacramento, according to Ciuriuc. In fact, test results showed the water contained toxic chemicals from firefighting foam used for decades on a now-shuttered Air Force base a mile away. Church leaders say they did not understand their well was contaminated.

The church's well is one of thousands of water sources located on and near military bases polluted with chemicals from the foam, which was used by the armed services since the 1960s.

2750 by David S. Cloud, Anna M. Phillips and Tony Barboza in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED



^As abortion opposition rallies, some activists are taking aim at in vitro fertilization, frozen embryos<

ABORTION-FERTILITY-CLINICS:TB — Rosaries in hand, a small group of abortion opponents gathered outside a medical facility to pray for the unborn.

It was a familiar ritual held at an unconventional location: a fertility clinic.

An annual Bike for Life fundraiser culminated on a recent Saturday at the Naperville Fertility Center, a site where technology and science are typically heralded for enabling life where it was once deemed impossible.

Yet the crowd out front expressed concern for the fate of frozen embryos inside — particularly those that might be discarded, cryo-preserved indefinitely or donated for research — as a result of in vitro fertilization, considered the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology.

1650 (with trims) by Angie Leventis Lourgos in Chicago. MOVED


^Nipsey Hussle was killed next to a school. His death still haunts students<

NIPSEYHUSSLE-STUDENTS:LA — Teens around Crenshaw and Slauson know the spot. Across the street from the Marathon Clothing store, through the gates of the high school, up the stairs to the south building balcony. That offers the clearest view of the spot where Nipsey Hussle was fatally wounded.

From the sidewalk, his store and surrounding strip mall are obscured by a new perimeter fence swathed in green mesh like a construction site, keeping out visitors and gawkers.

But from the balcony at View Park Preparatory Charter High School, students can see everything. They used to sit atop the balcony stairs, hoping to spot Hussle's car in the parking lot, then hop over to the store or Hungry Harold's to say hello to the rapper and business owner.

The teens who came to school the next day, and the day after that, and the weeks after that, would eat lunch on those balcony stairs, watching the hordes of mourning fans pose for a picture, then leave. Hussle's music blared from the procession of cars, a constant soundtrack of lyrics and beats rising to their balcony perch.

1800 by Sonali Kohli in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Opioid treatment scam may be coming to your state<

OPIOIDS-TREATMENT-SCAM:SH — Donna Johnson, a working mother of four who lives in a quiet upscale neighborhood in suburban Maryland, is determined to thwart an insidious addiction treatment scam that's spreading across the country.

It ensnared her son, then 21, in Florida five years ago when he was desperate for treatment for his addiction to opioid painkillers and heroin —and she was desperate to get him help.

Prompted by a man whom Johnson met online, she agreed to sending her son to South Florida, where he cycled through more than two dozen sober homes and treatment facilities over four years, receiving little actual therapy. He relapsed every time he was discharged, only to be picked up by another facilitator and admitted to another sober living program.

Now, Johnson fears that some of the same people who preyed on her son are setting up shop in Maryland, and she wants state elected officials to outlaw the deadly business scheme before it takes root.

1950 (with trims) by Christine Vestal in Frederick, Md. MOVED



^Violence, economy worry many Mexicans, but they try to keep the faith in their populist president<

MEXICO-LOPEZOBRADOR:DA — The human exodus here reached new heights over the summer as entire families hightailed it out of this once booming agricultural valley. They headed north in search of safety, away from violence, and far away from a nation grappling with the latest broken promises.

"There are some communities — rancherias — that simply cleared out," and headed for the U.S., says Adan Flores, 22, a university student who traveled this region in the central state of Zacatecas as part of his field work as a psychology major. "We thought political change would automatically usher in a new country, but that hasn't been the case so far. Many people are leaving."

Flores was referring to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's promise to turn back the tide of poverty, corruption and violence in Mexico. But AMLO's promise is facing deep obstacles as the violence instead grows and the economy gradually slows.

1700 (with trims) by Alfredo Corchado in Juan Aldama, Mexico. MOVED




These stories moved earlier in the week and remain suitable for weekend publication.


^Lugging water into the desert for thirsty migrants unites this couple. Trump divides them<

IMMIGRATION-COUPLE-WATER:LA — When news about President Donald Trump flickers across their television, Laura and John Hunter know that one of them needs to leave the room.

They'd rather not quarrel about how Trump is handling an issue they both care about deeply: immigration.

John believes in Trump. Laura is a Mexican immigrant who dismisses Trump as a "despicable human being."

But there's one mission that continues to bind them.

About once a month, they travel into the desert east of San Diego with a handful of volunteers who are focused on one of the grimmest aspects of U.S. immigration policy — the deaths of those who are trying to cross the border illegally. The volunteers fill and maintain more than 100 water stations scattered along the sun-bleached California borderlands.

1950 by Cindy Carcamo in Ocotillo, Calif. MOVED


^American guns are stoking a homicide epidemic in Mexico<

MEXICO-VIOLENCE-GUNS:LA — The sun had not yet risen when dozens of gunmen stormed into the town of Ocotito in southern Mexico and started shooting.

Salvador Alanis Trujillo tried to fight back, but his shotgun was no match for their assault rifles. So he and his family fled.

This rugged stretch of Guerrero state had always been a little lawless, home to cattle rustlers and highway bandits. But by the time the gunmen seized Ocotito in 2013, the region was overrun with dozens of criminal groups battling for territory.

There was another key difference: The criminals were now packing AR-15s, AK-47s and other weapons of war.

Mexico is in the grips of a deadly arms race.

And the vast majority of guns have been smuggled from the world's largest gun market: the United States.

2250 by Kate Linthicum in Filo De Caballos, Mexico. MOVED


^Judges, lawyers say video justice is just adding to the mess within US immigration courts<

IMMIGRATION-COURTS-VIDEO:DA — In Fort Worth, a judge in a black robe sits in a small courtroom with no place for the public to watch the proceedings.

Thirty miles to the east in a Dallas courtroom, a government attorney sits before a judge's empty bench.

At a federal lockup hundreds of miles away in Big Spring, detainees in prison garb line up in front of a camera.

In all three places, their images are beamed back-and-forth to each other so that asylum-seekers and other immigrants can learn their fate on big flat-screen TVs. This is immigration court, where some attorneys and judges say a rapid expansion in the use of video conferencing — including in numerous new tent courtrooms along the border — is exacerbating difficult conditions in a system plagued by a backlog of more than 1 million cases.

2250 (with trims) by Dianne Solis in Dallas. MOVED


^Federally funded Christian medical chain prescribes abstinence to stop the spread of STDs<

MED-OBRIA-CONDOMS:KHN — Inside Obria Medical Clinics, conviction — not condoms — is summoned to stop the spread of chlamydia.

The Christian medical chain, awarded $1.7 million in federal family planning funds for the first time this year, does not offer hormonal birth control or condoms; instead, its doctors and nurses teach patients when they're likely to be fertile and counsel them in restraint.

Reproductive health care providers have bristled over Obria's inclusion in a federal program, known as Title X, established to help poor women avoid unwanted pregnancies. But clinics receiving money also are expected to detect, treat and prevent sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and Obria's prohibition against condoms means its prevention efforts — whether for single millennials or aging married couples — rest on abstinence.

1300 by Sarah Varney in Irvine, Calif. MOVED


^Trump's policies and anti-immigrant violence disturbed these Latinos. Now they're taking action<

IMMIGRATION-LATINOS-ACTIVISTS:LA — Adrian Rios was closing in on his dream job as a U.S. diplomat when the unexpected happened: Donald Trump entered the White House.

Throughout his campaign, Trump had labeled migrants from Mexico as rapists, criminals and drug traffickers. That rhetoric set the stage for Trump's first months in office, as he took measures to crack down on both legal and illegal immigration, much of it flowing from Mexico and Central America.

"I couldn't represent the country under his administration," Rios said.

Instead, the 26-year-old Mexican American readjusted his plans: attend law school at UCLA, practice corporate law to pull his family out of poverty and provide free legal services to disadvantaged Latinos.

In the third year of the Trump presidency, many Latinos have found themselves in a state of reflection about their cultural identities, their place in U.S. society, and the need to act.

1700 (with trims) by Ruben Vives and Andrea Castillo in Los Angeles. MOVED


^For some Native Americans, no home address might mean no voting<

NATIVEAMERICANS-CENSUS:SH — At the end of a labyrinth of red dirt roads and surrounded by the rusty cliffs of nearby mesas, Marthleen and Shuan Stephenson live on an isolated desert homestead on the sprawling Navajo Nation.

Until last month, you couldn't find their home using a traditional address. Instead, the directions went like this: "Turn off U.S. Highway 191 between mile markers 1 and 2. It's a blue house with a tan roof."

The couple felt like they were living in the dark, separated from modern times.

Like the Stephensons', most homes on the Navajo Nation in southeastern Utah lack street addresses.

The impact on voting has many indigenous rights advocates deeply concerned.

2150 (with trims) by Matt Vasilogambros in San Juan County, Utah. MOVED


^Talk of reparations for slavery moves to state capitols<

SLAVERY-REPARATIONS:SH — Four centuries after the first African slaves landed on Virginia shores, state lawmakers across the country are taking up the debate over how to atone for what's been called "America's Original Sin."

This year, Democratic lawmakers in California, New York and Vermont — states that either outlawed slavery before the Civil War or never allowed it — have introduced legislation that would apologize for their state's role in slavery; recognize the lasting, negative impact of slavery on current generations of African Americans; and explore monetary reparations.

In April, Democratic lawmakers in Texas introduced a bill urging the passage of a federal reparations bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, also a Democrat, that same month. (Sponsors did not return Stateline calls for comment.) And in September, Florida lawmakers introduced a $10 million reparations bill for the descendants of victims of a specific, 1920 racial atrocity, the Ocoee massacre.

2100 (with trims) by Teresa Wiltz in Washington. MOVED


^Unpatriotic? Whistleblowers have been speaking up, and suffering the consequences, from the beginning<

WHISTLEBLOWERS:LA — It was 1777. The Revolutionary War was raging, and a small band of officers and seamen in the Continental Navy faced a dangerous dilemma.

Their commodore was one of the most powerful men in colonial America. But his subordinates had seen him engage in "barbarous" mistreatment — torture, in their eyes — of captured British sailors.

Eleven years before the U.S. Constitution was ratified, the 10 worried sailors became the new republic's first whistleblowers, reporting what they had witnessed to the Continental Congress — and getting legal protection to shield them from retribution.

"Whistleblowing is really in America's DNA — it's as American as apple pie," said Allison Stanger, a political scientist at Middlebury College whose book on the subject was published the same day last month that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, spurred by a whistleblower's complaint, announced the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The lonely individual speaking truth to power is an enduring American archetype.

1350 (with trims) by Laura King in Washington. MOVED


^Want to interview cartel hit men or human smugglers? These men and women can make it happen<

MEXICO-TIJUANA-FIXERS:SD — Margarito Martinez spent 10 nights sleeping inside his white minivan parked outside a Tijuana makeshift shelter last year when a caravan of Central American migrants reached the U.S.-Mexico border.

Inside the shelter, thousands of men, women and children were crammed into a park. When the winter rains came many slept on mud and disease spread throughout the shelter.

Martinez was working. He'd been hired by French journalists to be their eyes and ears in Tijuana.

Whenever the foreign press drops in to cover a big international story — be it a natural disaster in Southeast Asia, a civil war in Africa, or a humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border — they rely on local guides to show them around town, arrange interviews, scout locations, serve as translators, and sometimes even negotiate interview terms with local cartel bosses.

1300 by Gustavo Solis in Tijuana, Mexico. MOVED




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