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Local Reporting Network Archive

All entries from our Local Reporting Network.

Large Natural Gas Producer to Pay West Virginia Plaintiffs $53.5 Million to Settle Royalty Dispute

As our investigation detailed, EQT Corp. had been accused of deducting a variety of unacceptable charges from natural gas royalty checks. The company says it wants to “turn over a new leaf” in its relationship with the state’s residents.

What Do You Know About County Jails in California? Talk to Us.

ProPublica and The Sacramento Bee are spending the year reporting on resources, safety and crowding in California county jails.

Detective in Elkhart, Indiana, Wrongful Conviction Case Dies in Apparent Suicide

Steve Rezutko, the former Elkhart police detective, was central in an investigation that led to a high-profile pair of wrongful convictions.

In Elkhart, Indiana, Another Conviction Gets Tossed. The Star Witness Was Hypnotized, a Fact the Prosecutor Concealed.

The prosecutor who failed to disclose the use of hypnosis is now a judge. He knew the hypnotist from the Kiwanis Club.

Correction: Stories on Insanity Defense Included Factual Errors and Inaccurate Data

An inquiry from a reader prompted ProPublica to review the underlying data and assertions in stories we and the Malheur Enterprise published in November and December. We found errors of fact and analysis that need to be corrected.

Long-Lost Records Surface in Wrongful Conviction Case, Detailing Lead Detective’s Fondling of Informants

The reasons for the Elkhart, Indiana, detective’s forced resignation have been a mystery for years. This month, the records were finally turned over. An attorney wants the city punished for the delay.

What We Learned From the First Year of the Local Reporting Network

Reporters across the country are brimming with ideas for great stories to investigate. All they lack is time and support.

What I Learned Covering HUD: Oversight Failures Are Symptoms of Deeper Dysfunction

My goal this year was to explore HUD’s failure to enforce legal standards for decent, safe, sanitary housing. What started as a simple premise brought to light greater challenges: Years of congressional cuts have left the agency in a state of chaos as communities suffer.

When the Calendar Requires the Release of Insanity Defendants in Oregon, Harm Often Follows

Those freed without ongoing supervision and care because of a state time limit commit crimes at twice the rate as a smaller group freed because the Psychiatric Security Review Board specifically concluded they would not be a danger if on their own, according to a Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica analysis.

How a Consultant Said He Gamed HUD Inspections: Sweep Problems Behind a Wall

A housing consultant was recorded bragging about how he helped properties pass HUD inspections, likening it to a “chess game manipulation strategy.”

Powerless: What It Looks and Sounds Like When a Gas Driller Overruns Your Land

The gas rush is upending communities with traffic and noise, reshaping the way the state looks and sounds. Residents are often powerless to stop it.

In Louisiana, More Than a Third of Ex-Lawmakers Continue to Try to Influence Their Old Colleagues

Jim Tucker, Troy Hebert and Nick Gautreaux are among 35 past lawmakers since 2010 who became lobbyists, agency heads, legislative influencers or state board appointees.

Elkhart’s Mayor Says He Won’t Run for Re-election, Amid Revelations of Misconduct in the Police Ranks

Since November, two police officers have been charged with misdemeanor battery; news reports have detailed the promotion of many officers with disciplinary records; and the police chief has resigned.

HUD Took Over a Town’s Housing Authority 22 Years Ago. Now the Authority’s Broke and Residents Are Being Pushed Out.

As recently as last year, HUD had told officials in Wellston, Missouri, that they would get their local housing authority back. Then federal officials changed their minds. Wellston will join a growing list of HUD oversight failures, including the Illinois cities of East St. Louis and Cairo.

Elkhart’s Acting Police Chief Has Previously Been Demoted, Reprimanded and Suspended

Ed Windbigler was forced out as police chief this week. The interim head, Todd Thayer, was demoted in 2013 for saying an officer who opened fire could now check that off his “bucket list,” according to disciplinary records.

Stung by Controversies, Police Chief Resigns in Elkhart, Indiana

Ed Windbigler’s resignation as chief follows a videotaped beating of a handcuffed man and reports by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica that he had promoted officers with disciplinary histories.

An Elkhart Police Officer Was Convicted of Drunken Driving — Then the Chief Promoted Him

Last year, Chief Ed Windbigler said he doubted the case against the officer would stick. After the officer pleaded guilty, the chief didn’t discipline him. This year, Windbigler promoted him to detective without telling an oversight board.

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