"It's not just bullets you need to watch out for."  For the public, gun ranges are the most common way of getting lead poisoning outside of the workplace. And with an estimated 40 million annual recreational shooters and 10,000 gun ranges in America, the risk of contamination, if left unchecked, is high. The Seattle Times, through a "first-of-its-kind" analysis of occupational lead-monitoring data, found that shooting-range owners repeatedly violated workplace safety laws and the agencies that are supposed to monitor lead poisoning have been slow to act. — The Seattle Times via @JimNeff4

Sick and vomiting residents. A chemical smell. A dead 18-month-old German shepherd. For years, state agencies ignored, dismissed and outright botched investigations into complaints by residents in southwestern Oregon about helicopters spraying weed killers near their homes. Last October, the state got so many complaints about a single incident that officials finally acted, fining a pilot $10,000 and revoking his spraying license for a year. — The Oregonian via @robwdavis

Tracking suspects in violent felonies, kidnappings, and you. This tracking device goes by names such as StingRay, Hailstorm, AmberJack and TriggerFish. It allows police to follow the cellphones of not only suspects but also anyone within range. A Charlotte Observer investigation, using heavily redacted documents, found that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are using this secretive surveillance system – and have been for eight years.  "It serves a legitimate purpose. I think the police don't abuse it," said a county judge who says he's approved hundreds of surveillance requests. — The Charlotte Observer via @dougobserver

Prone restraints can be deadly for adults, too. Over the last 15 years, at least 24 developmentally disabled adults have died after being restrained, most of them residential facilities and group homes, according to 100 Reporters. Nine of those were ruled homicides, yet charges were filed in only one of those cases. According to one disability rights advocate, "prosecutors are reluctant to bring cases they fear they can't win, relying heavily on staffers testifying against each other." — 100 Reporters (Also read ProPublica's coverage on schoolchildren being restrained and pinned down.)

What's behind the deaths listed as "medical" on Rikers Island? Ninety-eight inmates have died at Rikers Island in the last five years. An Associated Press review of hundreds of documents showed that in 15 of those deaths, lack of care was cited as a factor, even as experts say "New York City is better equipped to deal with inmate health needs than perhaps anywhere else." — The Associated Press via @JustinElliott

This cost-saving measure has resulted in the wrong people paying property taxes. Over the last 30 years, municipalities in Wisconsin cut costs by replacing their assessment offices with cheaper and more cursory outside contractors. The resulting sloppy work has cost residents 20 percent or more on property tax bills, a Journal Sentinel investigation found. "By them not policing assessors, they are screwing over millions of taxpayers across the state. It's a huge disservice," one assessor said. — Journal Sentinel via @Brizzyc

 

 

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Correction, Oct. 24, 2014: In an earlier version of this story we stated that residents were paying 20 percent more in property tax bills when in fact the analysis shows that 20 percent or more of residents are paying the wrong property tax bill.