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September 28, 2009

Georgia forces sex offenders to relocate to muddy forest

Homeless Ga. sex offenders directed to woods -- | ajc.com
MARIETTA, Ga. — A small group of homeless sex offenders have set up camp in a densely wooded area behind a suburban Atlanta office park, directed there by probation officers who say it's a place of last resort for those with nowhere else to go. Nine sex offenders live in tents surrounding a makeshift fire pit in the trees behind a towering "no trespassing" sign, waiting out their probation sentences as they face numerous living restrictions under one of the nation's toughest sex offender policies. "It's kind of like a mind-game, it's like 'Survivor,'" said William Hawkins, a 34-year-old who said he was directed to the campsite two weeks ago after being released from prison for violating probation by failing to register as a sex offender in Georgia. The muddy camp on the outskirts of prosperous Cobb County is an unintended consequence of Georgia law, which bans the state's 16,000 sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, parks and other spots where children gather.

September 27, 2009

The Bay Area News Project promises to be a New York Times West Coast

KQED, UC Berkeley J-School Prepares to Launch “Bay Area News Project” This is pretty awesome. And hugely ballsy considering the recent fate of print journalism. But maybe the marriage of print and online--with the print being a "best of online"--has legs?
In a completely non-ironic and potentially exciting move, KQED and the University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism have snatched $5 million in kindling to start the Bay Area News Project. The money is being fronted by the Hellman Family Foundation to create online (and sideline print) media outlets as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan publicly supported news organization.” The first post on their fledgling Twitter account (@bayareanewsproject) announces that they’ve joined forces with the New York Times and the rumor is that it’ll be basically a New York Times West. The veritable Grey Lady herself said — one day after the NYT’s involvement was announced — opines that it’ll be “the largest and most ambitious of dozens of similar local news operations that have cropped up around the country.” The venture is set to launch next year, which is really just around the corner in old media time, and to get a good sense of what the various people involved have to say about the scope and intention of the next possible Chron/Gate/Examiner killer, there’s a lot to be gleaned in KQED’s roundtable audio interview from Friday. Forum’s recent episode with host Dave Iverson The Future of News? is worth a listen. The topic of local news coverage here in the heart of technology (and the Hollywood of tech) is nothing if not a morbid topic, and there have been many contenders for the title they’re going to be more than a few rounds in the ring for. They’re hiring for freelancers right now (email: jobs at bayareanewsproject dot org). Although on Iverson’s show, when directly asked by a caller self-identified as a journalist, they said there would be compensation but were not transparent about any pay scale. I guess we’ll have to wait until they choose a name for more details (BANP is a temporary title). But they do tell us that distribution will be through a website, mobile applications, KQED will funnel them through radio and television dissemination, and they’re “exploring” print options with the NYT.

Roman Polanski arrested in Switzerland, will be extradited to the U.S.

Swiss arrest Polanski on US request in sex case - Yahoo! News
ZURICH – Director Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police as he flew in for the Zurich Film Festival and faces possible extradition to the United States for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, authorities said Sunday. Polanski was scheduled to receive an honorary award at the festival when he was apprehended Saturday at the airport, the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a statement. It said U.S. authorities have sought the arrest of the 76-year-old director around the world since 2005. "There was a valid arrest request and we knew when he was coming," ministry spokesman Guido Balmer told The Associated Press. "That's why he was taken into custody." Polanski, the director of such classic films as "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby," fled the U.S. for France in 1978, a year after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with the underage girl.

September 26, 2009

San Francisco cracking down on truancy

Truancy crackdown swings to S.F. parents, teens
In San Francisco, 94 percent of the city's homicide victims under age 25 were high school dropouts, Harris said. The truancy effort "has everything to do with public safety and public resources," she said. "It's a crime we're prepared to prosecute." This is the fourth year of the district attorney's effort to target the city's truants. Last year, nearly 4,800 of the San Francisco school district's 55,000 students were considered either habitually truant with 10 to 19 unexcused absences or chronically truant with 20 or more. That's down from 5,400 students the year before. City and district efforts have included a better school attendance tracking system, phone calls and meetings with families, and legal action - with a focus on the elementary grades, where families play a greater role in a child's attendance. Similar actions will now be taken with high school truants, Harris said.