Tribune News Service

News Budget for papers of Sunday, July 14, 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.

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


^A retired teacher found some seahorses off Long Beach. Then he built a secret world for them<

SCI-SEAHORSES-TEACHER:LA — Rog Hanson emerges from the coastal waters, pulls a diving regulator out of his mouth and pushes a scuba mask down around his neck.

"Did you see her?" he says. "Did you see Bathsheba?"

On this quiet Wednesday morning, a paddle boarder glides silently through the surf off Long Beach. Two stick-legged whimbrels plunge their long curved beaks into the sand, hunting for crabs.

But Hanson, 68, is enchanted by what lies hidden beneath the water. Today he took a visitor on a tour of the secret world he built from palm fronds and pine branches at the bottom of the bay: his very own seahorse city.

Hanson is a retired schoolteacher, not a scientist, but experts say he probably has spent more time with Pacific seahorses, also known as Hippocampus ingens, than anyone on Earth.

2100 by Deborah Netburn in Long Beach, Calif. MOVED



^Feds don't regulate election equipment, so states are on their own<

ELECTIONS-EQUIPMENT:SH — Behind nearly every voter registration database, voting machine and county website that posts results on Election Day, there's an election technology company that has developed those systems and equipment.

By targeting one of those private vendors, Russia, China or some other U.S. adversary could tamper with voter registration rolls, the ballot count or the publicly released results, potentially casting doubt on the legitimacy of the final tally.

Nevertheless, there are no federal rules requiring vendors to meet security standards, test equipment for vulnerabilities or publicly disclose hacking attempts. With the 2020 presidential election approaching, security experts, lawmakers and even election vendors themselves are calling for more rigorous testing of election equipment and stricter security standards for the private companies that provide election-related services.

1450 (with trims) by Matt Vasilogambros in Washington. MOVED



^Sobering up: In an alcohol-soaked nation, more seek booze-free social spaces<

SOBER-SOCIALIZING:KHN — Not far from the Anheuser-Busch brewery, Joshua Grigaitis fills a cooler with bottles and cans in one of the city's oldest bars.

It's Saturday night, and the lights are low. Frank Sinatra's crooning voice fills the air, along with the aroma of incense. The place has all the makings of a swank boozy hangout.

Except for the booze.

Pop's Blue Moon bar, a fixture of this beer-loving city since 1908, has joined an emerging national trend: alcohol-free spaces offering social connections without peer pressure to drink, hangovers or DUIs. From boozeless bars to substance-free zones at concerts marked by yellow balloons, sober spots are popping up across the nation in reaction to America's alcohol-soaked culture, promising a healthy alternative for people in recovery and those who simply want to drink less.

1350 (with trims) by Laura Ungar and Jayne O'Donnell in St. Louis. MOVED


^Over 400,000 Apollo workers helped the US land on the moon. Here are some of their stories<

MOON-ANNIVERSARY-WORKERS:OS — It took more than 400,000 scientists, engineers and technicians across the United States, an army of workers that together tackled what seemed like an invincible foe: Getting a spacecraft to break free of the iron grasp of Earth's atmosphere into lunar orbit and then, with pinpoint precision, onto that powdery surface we now know makes up the moon.

The three men who took the journey became the faces of the achievement — arguably humanity's greatest. But it was the men and women who worked in factories and offices across the nation over the better part of a decade — people like Frances "Poppy" Northcutt, the first woman in NASA's Mission Control, and Bill Moon, a Chinese American flight controller who was the first minority to work in Mission Control — that took the moon landing from presidential challenge to tangible reality.

2150 by Chabeli Herrera in Orlando, Fla. MOVED



^Minuscule microbes wield enormous power over the Great Lakes. But many species remain a mystery<

ENV-GREATLAKES-MICROBES:TB — Near the deepest spot in Lake Michigan, the crew aboard the research vessel Blue Heron lowers a device outfitted with a cluster of 8-liter bottles into the dark blue waters until it disappears from sight.

After a 10-minute descent, the metal-framed contraption known as a rosette finally lands on the muddy bottom roughly 860 feet below the surface. Between Green Bay and Traverse City, Mich., lies a place devoid of sunlight, where temperatures still hover around 39 degrees.

On the trawler's deck, marine techs reverse the winch, and the rosette lurches upward, deploying canisters to retrieve water samples from the abyss.

While the lake water appears crystal clear, the team of scientists from the University of Chicago know it's teeming with life. Each drop contains a plethora of species so small that dozens could fit on a speck the width of a strand of human hair.

Despite their minuscule size, microorganisms — including, bacteria, viruses and algae — are among the most prolific environmental regulators on the planet.

1800 by Tony Briscoe in Chicago. MOVED




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


^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


^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


^China has a new casino: The Philippines<

PHILIPPINES-CHINA-GAMBLING:LA — Gambling is illegal in China, but that didn't prevent Fan Zheng from betting tens of thousands of dollars online.

The 30-year-old store clerk from the island province of Hainan learned about the opportunity early last year from marketing agents who, Fan believes, contacted him because he played no-stakes online card games.

At first, the agents persuaded him to bet on card games. That added thrill and a chance of making money to something he was already doing for fun.

But the card games were slow, and Fan kept losing. The agents suggested that he try a game called Tencent Every-Minute-Lottery. As the name suggests, there is a new chance to win every minute.

Soon he was hooked. Sometimes he bet $1.50. Other times, he bet $10,000.

Operating safely out of reach of Chinese authorities, the lottery website and its agents are based hundreds of miles away in the Philippines.

1550 (with trims) by David Pierson in Manila, Philippines, and Alice Su in Beijing. MOVED


^The moon is a graveyard of Apollo astronaut trash. Here's what we'll find when we return.<

MOON-ANNIVERSARY-WASTE:OS — The mission on the moon then over, astronaut Buzz Aldrin peeked out from the Apollo lunar module onto the powdery grey surface before him, the U.S. flag planted into it — just about the only color as far as the eye could see.

But as the ascent engines on the spacecraft came to life, carrying him and Neil Armstrong up, up, up, Aldrin caught a glimpse of something. Did the exhaust blow the $5.50 flag from its lunar foothold? Maybe. Probably.

Images taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera more than 40 years later proved Aldrin right.

When people do return to our celestial partner, they likely won't find standing the most famous item that was left behind. But they'll find other things: lunar landers and moon cars, camera gear and backpacks, a photo, maybe a few faded flags, some golf balls if they're lucky.

1350 by Chabeli Herrera in Orlando, Fla. MOVED


^Small-town defense lawyer, shaken by client's overdose, advocates tough new approach: Treat heroin dealers like terrorists<

DRUGDEALERS-LAWYER:TB — Defense attorney Eric Miskell represented numerous drug dealers over the years, and by his account he was good at his job. He knew how to find loopholes and technicalities that would get testimony stricken, evidence thrown out and charges dropped.

But three months ago, he underwent a radical change of heart about his work when a former client named Nickie Martin was found slumped over on a motel room bed. She had died from a heroin and fentanyl overdose.

Miskell was stunned. He had seen Martin only a few hours earlier, and as far as he knew, she was doing well.

Martin, 31, wasn't the first of Miskell's clients to die of an overdose, but the futility of the work that went into her recovery angered him. He was furious at whoever supplied the fatal drugs to Martin, believing if the dealer were ever caught, the punishment prescribed by law would be insufficient.

1750 (with trims) by John Keilman in Ottawa, Ill. MOVED


^My illegal abortion: One woman recounts ending her pregnancy pre-Roe v. Wade as more states pass near-bans on the procedure<

ILLEGAL-ABORTION:TB — Shortly after nightfall, the 17-year-old girl joined her mother in the back seat of an unfamiliar car driven by a stranger to an undisclosed location on the South Side of Chicago.

It was a summer weekend in 1966. The recent high school graduate, by then more than eight weeks pregnant, had made her choice. But it required much stealth and secrecy at the time.

"My gut said this is my only option to not ruin my own life," recalled Leta Dally, now 70.

The car parked at a designated spot. On foot, the male driver escorted the mom and daughter through an alleyway to the back door of a nondescript building. Dally never knew the name of the doctor who terminated her pregnancy that night or the address of the site, an underground abortion clinic operating in the years before the procedure was permitted by law.

1850 by Angie Leventis Lourgos in Chicago. MOVED


^Gay voters take pride in Pete Buttigieg's candidacy, but many question whether he can win<

BUTTIGIEG-GAYVOTERS:LA — When same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004, Mark LeMiere came to Provincetown, a storied gay mecca at the tip of Cape Cod, to tie the knot with his partner of 20 years.

The pair were there again Friday, amazed to be attending a rally for the first serious gay presidential candidate.

"I never in a million years thought we'd be allowed to be married, let alone see an openly gay man run for president," said LeMiere, 56.

Win or lose in the 2020 presidential race, Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., is energizing LGBTQ Americans. With his surprisingly strong run for the Democratic presidential nomination, he is helping a long-marginalized community advance in political stature and pride in a way some compare to the effect Barack Obama's presidency had on African Americans.

1500 (with trims) by Janet Hook in Provincetown, Mass. MOVED


^As Illinois determines whether to limit potency of legalized pot, drug gets increased scrutiny after link to psychosis<

MED-MARIJUANA-PSYCHOSIS:TB — As Illinois prepares to legalize marijuana next year, one key aspect of public health that regulators will consider is whether and how to limit the amount of THC — the chief component of cannabis that determines how high users get.

The new law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month to legalize sales Jan. 1 states that the Department of Agriculture will oversee cannabis growers, including "establishing limits on potency or serving size."

While the vast majority of adult marijuana users consume it without incident, advocates say, the link between THC potency and psychosis has generated increased concern recently among psychiatrists and researchers. Multiple studies have shown a persistent association between marijuana use and psychosis, including schizophrenia, with symptoms such as paranoia and hallucinations.

1200 (with trims) by Robert McCoppin in Chicago. MOVED


^City dwellers can have an outsized impact on curbing global warming<

SCI-CLIMATE-URBANITES:LA — It's no secret that city folk like to eat, shop and travel. But all that consumption adds up to a hefty climate bill.

On the flip side, that means urbanites have a lot of power to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. By changing their diets, their purchasing habits and how they get around, city dwellers can help avert the worst effects of warming.

A new report from C40 Cities — a coalition of nearly 100 local-level governments committed to addressing climate change — offers a sweeping plan for city leaders and residents to reduce the emissions associated with their consumption.

1300 by Julia Rosen. MOVED




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