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Extra Extra Monday: Costly deals, controversial treatments, unequal foundations for college

The Indianapolis Star
Star Watch Investigation: Vectren's costly coal deal is a profit for company, pain for ratepayers
“At a time when coal prices were at record highs, Vectren locked into expensive, multiyear agreements to buy almost all of its coal supply from its own wholly-owned mining subsidiary, Vectren Fuels. And ratepayers paid the price. Experts say Vectren disregarded the common industry practice of staggering its coal purchases through shorter-term contracts to hedge against unusually high prices.”

The Salt Lake Tribune
Utah Highway Patrol discipline problems go beyond Lisa Steed
“While the case of Cpl. Lisa Steed, the one-time Trooper of the Year who is suspected of falsifying arrest reports and lying on the witness stand, has grabbed headlines, an investigation by The Salt Lake Tribune revealed wider problems in how UHP investigates and adjudicates accusations of misconduct among its 425 troopers — a number that puts it neck and neck with the Salt Lake City Police Department to be the largest police force in the state.”

Welcome to IRE's roundup of the weekend’s many enterprise stories from around the country. We'll highlight the document digging, field work and data analysis that made their way into centerpieces in print, broadcast and online from coast to coast.Did we miss something? Email suggestions to web@ire.org

Bloomberg
Wall Street Kept Winning on Mortgages Upending Homeowners
The biggest lenders are doing better than ever while those with the least, many of them black borrowers, are struggling the most. One dividing line for this widening gap is the dotted one where millions of home buyers signed their names to loans they couldn’t repay. With the dream of home ownership snatched away, they and their communities may never be the same.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Advair boomed amid health risks
A Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today investigation found the growth in Advair sales followed new asthma treatment recommendations that were written largely by doctors who received money from GlaxoSmithKline and other companies that market the drugs.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia schools lay unequal foundations for college
The paths of these top students illustrate the uneven preparation for college provided by Georgia schools. The challenges of rural districts have been a long-standing concern, but an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis focused on college readiness. It found that rural students are more likely to need remedial help in college and to score lower on the SAT, a predictor of college success.

NBC Bay Area and KNBC Los Angeles
California National Guard Culture Questioned

“A joint-investigation by NBC Bay Area and KNBC-TV in Los Angeles has uncovered a disturbing hidden culture in the California National Guard where some guard members say sexual assault and racism at times go unchecked, and where retaliation is a frequent method of discipline.”

Reuters
New Jersey railway put trains in Sandy flood zone despite warnings
"New Jersey Transit's struggle to recover from Superstorm Sandy is being compounded by a pre-storm decision to park much of its equipment in two rail yards that forecasters predicted would flood, a move that resulted in damage to one-third of its locomotives and a quarter of its passenger cars."

The Baltimore Sun
City's lucrative speed camera program dogged by problems
"While the city reaps millions from motorists who believe their only practical option is to pay up, the evidence used to issue speed camera tickets is not nearly as unimpeachable as many drivers and lawmakers think, The Sun found. Even some city District Court judges criticize the program."

The Center for Public Integrity
Study spotlights high breast cancer risk for plastics workers
"Women employed in the automotive plastics industry were almost five times as likely to develop breast cancer, prior to menopause, as women in the control group. These workers may handle an array of carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. They include the hardening agent bisphenol A (BPA) — whose presence in polycarbonate water bottles and other products has unnerved some consumers — plus solvents, heavy metals and flame retardants."

KING5 Seattle
Traces reveal leading seller of 'crime guns' seized by police
"After a wave of unprecedented gun crime in Seattle during the first half of the year, KING television began a series of investigations into how criminals get their guns.  In the latest installment, the KING 5 investigators used federal gun trace records to find the firearms dealer who sold the most guns that ended up in the hands of criminals in Seattle."

The Dallas Morning News
State’s cancer-fighting agency funded projects of Perry campaign contributor
"A month after Texas voters approved a 10-year, $3 billion program to fight cancer, a Dallas businessman and several of his associates began to pour tens of thousands of dollars into the campaign funds of Gov. Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Millions from a new state agency would flow to two firms founded by that businessman, David Shanahan, The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday. The $13 million in awards would come on top of more than $8 million Shanahan’s firms had received from funds controlled by Perry’s office: Texas Enterprise Fund, a little-known fund to assist communities with military bases, and the state’s Emerging Technology Fund."

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