Tribune News Service

News Budget for papers of Sunday, July 15, 2018


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.


^5 Picassos went missing from the Los Angeles Times. What happened to them?<

MISSING-PICASSOS:LA — The downtown complex that has housed the Los Angeles Times for decades is filled with notable spaces: the pristine test kitchen, the bustling newsroom and the historic Globe Lobby with its 10-foot-high murals, busts of past publishers and hulking linotype machine.

Then there's the community room, a drab, workaday gathering spot for employees and visitors that inspires few selfies. But for years, something remarkable resided in this otherwise unremarkable space, largely unseen.

It was art, five pieces framed as one, often hidden behind a lowered projection screen.

The artist was Pablo Picasso.

The artwork was a physical manifestation of the company's immense power and momentum in those halcyon days, said author Margaret Leslie Davis.

Reporters had cause to revisit this history earlier this year when then-incoming Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong announced plans to relocate the paper to El Segundo.

Some staffers began to explore the historic property on nostalgia-laced, self-guided tours. And a visit was paid to the community room to see the Picasso lithographs, perhaps for a final time.

But there was a problem: They were gone.

2250 by Daniel Miller in Los Angeles. MOVED



^Why 'orphan' oil and gas wells are a growing problem for states<

ORPHAN-WELLS:SH — When Bill West drives his weed sprayer over wheat and hay fields at his ranch northwest of Gillette, Wyo., he bumps into the occasional debris from the more than a hundred defunct natural gas wells on his 10,000-acre property.

The company that owned the wells went out of business four years ago, leaving behind fuse boxes, internet boxes and thousands of feet of underground pipe.

"They just walked away and left everything sitting," said West, 85. "It's up to the state to take care of it now."

So-called "orphan" oil and gas wells, which have been abandoned by defunct companies that cannot pay to plug them, are a growing problem in many states thanks to a recent slump in energy prices that has forced marginal operators out of business.

1850 (with trims) by Sophie Quinton in Washington. MOVED



^State prisons fail to offer cure to 144,000 inmates with deadly hepatitis C<

^PRISONS-HEPATITISC:KHN—<State prisons across the U.S. are failing to treat at least 144,000 inmates who have hepatitis C, a curable but potentially fatal liver disease, according to a recent survey and subsequent interviews of state corrections departments.

Many of the 49 states that responded to questions about inmates with hepatitis C cited high drug prices as the reason for denying treatment. The drugs can cost up to $90,000 for a course of treatment.

Nationwide, roughly 97 percent of inmates with hepatitis C are not getting the cure, according to the survey conducted for a master's project at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Advocates say this ignores a 1976 Supreme Court ruling that determined an inmate's medical care is a constitutional right.

2000 by Siraphob Thanthong-Knight. MOVED


^What happens to the sites of mass shootings depends on where and what they are<

SHOOTINGS-SITES:BZ — The schools in Sandy Hook, Conn., and Nickel Mines, Pa., were torn down. The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., is evolving into a memorial for the 49 people slain there. The rooms in the Las Vegas hotel where a gunman shot down into an October music festival are sealed and the hotel no longer even lists a 32nd floor.

Two weeks after a shooting left five dead at the Capital Gazette newspapers in Annapolis, it's unclear what will become of the first floor office at 888 Bestgate Road, but the newspapers won't be returning.

There have been many mass shootings in recent years carried out by disgruntled employees, terrorists and inexplicably violent people. And while each may provide a guide for subsequent shootings for authorities and survivors, there is no template for what to do with the places where people died.

1500 (with trims) by Meredith Cohn in Baltimore. MOVED



^To save the world's rarest marine mammal, conservationists seek ban on Mexican seafood imports<

ENV-VAQUITA:LA — A decade of rescue crusades by conservation groups, hard-core eco-activists and the U.S. Navy have failed to prevent the world's rarest porpoise from becoming fatally entangled in gill nets set for seafood in Mexico's northern Gulf of California.

Now, with less than 20 vaquita left in the wild, the prospect of the species' extinction within two years has prompted a last-ditch effort with significant economic and political consequences for the United States and Mexico.

Conservationists on Tuesday asked an international trade court judge in New York for a preliminary injunction banning imports of an estimated $16 million worth of fish and shrimp harvested with gill nets in an area of the gulf roughly a third the size of Los Angeles County and just three hours south of the border.

900 by Louis Sahagun in Los Angeles. MOVED




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


^The other victims: first responders to horrific disasters often suffer in solitude<

^DISASTERS-FIRSTRESPONDERS:KHN—<The day a gunman fired into a crowd of 22,000 people at the country music festival in Las Vegas, hospital nursing supervisor Antoinette Mullan was focused on one thing: saving lives.

Proud as she was of the work her team did, she calls it "the most horrific evening of my life" — the culmination of years of searing experiences she has tried to work through, mostly on her own.

Calamities seem to be multiplying in recent years, including mass shootings, fires, hurricanes and mudslides.

Many of the men and women who respond to these tragedies have become heroes and victims at once. Some firefighters, emergency medical providers, law enforcement officers and others say the scale, sadness and sometimes sheer gruesomeness of their experiences haunt them, leading to tearfulness and depression, job burnout, substance abuse, relationship problems, even suicide.

1300 by Heidi de Marco. MOVED


^Walking drunk can be deadly<

DRUNKENWALKING-RISKS:SH — It's 11 p.m. on a typical Saturday on U Street and music is blaring from the glittery bars and clubs. Many of the partiers, decked out in their finest, will stick around till the bars close at 3 a.m., then pour out onto the sidewalks — and sometimes into the streets.

"I've seen drunk people wandering into the street around 2 or 3 in the morning like zombies," said Austin Loan, a bouncer checking IDs at Hawthorne, a restaurant with five bar areas and DJs on the weekends. "When you get drunk you think you can rule the world. You may not be paying attention to anything else."

That could have deadly consequences.

Whether they're emptying out of bars, going home from football watch parties, or trying to get across the highway, drunken walkers are dying in traffic crashes nationwide at alarming numbers.

1050 by Jenni Bergal in Washington. MOVED


^The world has never seen a Category 6 hurricane, but the day may be coming<

SCI-HURRICANES:FL As a ferocious hurricane bears down on South Florida, water managers desperately lower canals in anticipation of 4 feet of rain.

Everyone east of Dixie Highway is ordered evacuated, for fear of a menacing storm surge. Forecasters debate whether the storm will generate the 200 mph winds to achieve Category 6 status.

That is one scenario for hurricanes in a warmer world, a subject of fiendish complexity and considerable scientific research.

1300 (with trim) by David Fleshler in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^Meth, 'the devil's drug,' is back and killing more people than ever<

^METH:SL—<While the opioid crisis takes the spotlight, prosecutors and police say they also have been coming to grips with the devastating rebound of meth, which is killing more people in America today than in the mid-2000s when it was the national drug problem that got the most attention.

Deaths related to stimulants — mostly meth — were up nationwide by more than 250 percent from 2005 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1800 (with trims) by Joshua Sharpe. MOVED


^At the US-Mexico border, a notebook holds asylum seekers' key to entering America<

IMMIGRATION-ASYLUM-NOTEBOOK:LA — The notebook holds nearly 2,000 names of foreigners waiting to seek asylum in the United States. It's origins are unclear, but it was created after U.S. border officials began to limit the number of asylum seekers allowed to enter the San Ysidro port of entry.

All conversations stopped when they saw the notebook.

Men, women and children — asylum seekers from Central America, Mexico, Africa and beyond — parted to make way for its keeper.

The Mexican woman named Gaby waded through the crowd.

Mothers scooped up their toddlers. Older children dropped their toys. Fathers hushed infants.

The notebook holds the names of hundreds of asylum seekers — from Guadalajara to Ghana — all trying to make their case at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

2050 by Cindy Carcamo in Tijuana, Mexico. MOVED


^Once zealously controlled by a religious sect, a small town tries to rehab its image — with beer<

POLYGAMOUSSECT-TOWN:LA — The religious leader predicted many an apocalypse in his time as the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There was supposed to be one in 2005. Then it was delayed until 2012. Scratch that — 2016.

Each time, the destruction was to be the same. Earthquakes. Fire. Swift and dramatic — in the later years springing Warren Jeffs from prison and returning him to Colorado City, where his breakaway polygamist flock awaited.

But Jeffs, convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting two child brides, is still behind bars, serving a life sentence. And a different kind of apocalypse is slowly descending on the town, fueled by hops, barley and grains.

Edge of the World Brewery and Pub opened in March on Center Street — a development unthinkable even a year ago.

In November, there will be four seats open on the seven-member Colorado City Town Council. Of the 11 candidates running, none is FLDS, assuring the sect no longer will hold a majority.

1350 by David Montero in Colorado City, Ariz. MOVED


^A baby was treated with a nap and a bottle of formula. The bill was $18,000<

HOSPITALS-TRAUMAFEE:KHN — On the first morning of Jang Yeo Im's vacation to San Francisco in 2016, her 8-month-old son, Park Jeong Whan, fell off the bed in the family's hotel room and hit his head.

There was no blood, but the baby was inconsolable. Jang and her husband worried he might have an injury they couldn't see, so they called 911, and an ambulance took the family — tourists from South Korea — to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

The doctors at the hospital quickly determined that baby Jeong Whan was fine — just a little bruising on his nose and forehead. He took a short nap in his mother's arms, drank some infant formula and was discharged a few hours later.

Two years later, the bill finally arrived at their home: They owed the hospital $18,836 for a visit lasting three hours and 22 minutes, the bulk of which was for a mysterious fee for $15,666 labeled "trauma activation," also known as "a trauma response fee."

A trauma fee is the price a trauma center charges when it activates and assembles a team of medical professionals that can meet a patient with potentially serious injuries in the ER.

2250 by Jenny Gold and Sarah Kliff. MOVED


^Palliative sedation, an end-of-life practice that is legal everywhere<

MED-PALLIATIVE-SEDATION:SH — Toward the end, the pain had practically driven Elizabeth Martin mad.

By then, the cancer had spread everywhere, from her colon to her spine, her liver, her adrenal glands and one of her lungs. Eventually, it penetrated her brain. No medication made the pain bearable. A woman who had been generous and good-humored turned into someone hardly recognizable to her loving family: paranoid, snarling, violent.

Sometimes, she would flee into the California night in her bedclothes, "as if she were trying to outrun the pain," her older sister Anita Freeman recalled.

Martin fantasized about having her sister drive her into the mountains and leave her with the liquid morphine drops she had surreptitiously collected over three months — medicine that didn't relieve her pain but might be enough to kill her if she took it all at once. Freeman couldn't bring herself to do it.

But Martin did have one alternative to the agonizing death she feared: palliative sedation.

Under palliative sedation, a doctor gives a terminally ill patient enough sedatives to induce unconsciousness. The goal is to reduce or eliminate suffering, but in many cases the patient dies without regaining consciousness.

1500 (with trims) by Michael Ollove in Washington. MOVED




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