In Arizona:

The Arizona Republic/12 News (10/6/13) – “Some fire experts say Yarnell report lacks details to prevent future tragedies”

The Yarnell Hill Fire Serious Accident Investigation Team on Sept. 28 released a report detailing the factors that contributed to the deaths of 19 firefighters from Prescott’s Granite Mountain Hotshots while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013. The report highlights shifting winds and weather patterns, as well as communication challenges as factors that contributed to the disaster. It also details a 33-minute period where officials lost communication with the Hotshots.

The report contains recommendations for future wildfire safety, but the Arizona Republic and 12 News found experts who said these recommendations aren’t helpful enough. The experts said the report “failed to deliver the types of takeaways that previous post-fatal-fire investigations have.”


The Center for Public Integrity (10/1/13) – “Security clearance lapses stemmed from Washington’s heedless emphasis on speed over quality”

After 9/11, the rush to add more personnel created a backlog of background checks for government security clearances. To combat this backlog, Congress passed a law that said “agencies must process 90 percent of clearance applications within an average of 60 days, less than a sixth of the average 375-day wait in 2003,” according to The Center for Public Integrity.

Now, the backlog is virtually gone, but the investigations themselves may be hurried, leading to mistakes and errors within the system. The Center for Public Integrity looked at the prevalence of the problem and some notable cases, like Edward Snowden’s security clearance renewal, where the investigations weren’t done properly.

Center for Investigative Reporting (10/3/13) – “School meals face rules on fat, meat, veggies – but no limits on sugar”

The United States Department of Agriculture sets guidelines for most aspects of lunches at public schools across the country, but includes no guidelines for the amount of sugar allowed in these meals. Even if guidelines were put into place for sugar amounts, “schools would face the challenge of finding more healthful processed foods and the money to buy them,” according to CIR.

The Center for Investigative Reporting researched the reasons behind this omission, using reports and studies from various government agencies and nonprofit organizations. CIR also looks into the amount of sugar that’s considered healthy, the ways sugars are used in meals, and posits ways the problem can be solved.

Monday Muckreads compiled by Rachel Leingang, AZCIR.