Regional Wrap-Up 2/22/12

Christina Kelso

  • Times Union Finds 78 Percent of JTA Bus Drivers have Criminal Records
    • A recent investigation into the safety of Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) conducted by the Florida Times Union reported that 258 of JTA’s 330 bus driver employees had criminal records. These include a number of incurred driving violations before and after being hired, domestic battery, child abuse, sexual assault and prostitution. This investigation was sparked after a passenger was hit and killed by a downtown JTA bus in October. For the 25,000 people who routinely ride JTA busses including students commuting to Duval magnet schools, this brings forth major safety  concerns.
  • Clay County Detective Slain
    • A Clay County Sheriff’s Office narcotics detective was shot and killed Thursday night while raiding a confirmed meth lab in Middleburg, according to an article in the Florida Times Union. Detective David White was investigating a tip about the lab when the shooting occurred. He is the first Clay County Deputy to be killed in the line of duty since 1913. A town-wide funeral procession was held in Middleburg on Monday, where thousands, including Governor Rick Scott, were in attendance to pay their respects.
  • Ancient Plant
    • A Russian scientist team has grown living plants from the seeds of a frozen arctic flower that died 32,000 years ago, according to an article in the New York Times. The narrow-leafed campion seeds were excavated by scientists a few years ago, and the plant is now the oldest plant to ever be grown from ancient tissue.
  • Iran Cuts Oil Exports to EU and Britain
    • According to an article in Business Week, Iran cut off oil shipments to France and Britain Sunday in response to sanctions the EU imposed on Iran’s fuel exports.  Iran also threatened to backlash by stopping shipments in five other European countries: The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. The EU accounts for 18 percent of the nation’s oil exports.
  • Three States see Gas Prices Over $4 a gallon
    • Drivers in the three U.S. States of California, Alaska and Hawaii are facing pressure at the pump as average gas prices rise over $4 a gallon, according to an article in Time Magazine. High gas prices, while they are relevant throughout the country, are currently striking higher in coastal regions while falling lower in landlocked states.  This high price comes with an unusual timing as gas prices typically fall in February and rise by springtime.
  • Greece gets a Second Bailout
    • Eurozone finance ministers approved a deal for Greece’s second bailout Tuesday morning, according to a CNN article. This would include €130 billion ($173 billion) in new financing to help the country avoid potential default in the coming month.  This, however, only provides temporary relief to the government’s immense debt, which is at approximately 160 percent of the country’s GDP. This is the fifth year of the country’s recession.