2:38pm

Wed March 21, 2012
Afternoon News Roundup

Connecting the Dots: Afternoon edition for Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The personal trials and political tribulations of San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi are getting plenty of attention at present, but county jails are in the news for another reason. California prison realignment is shifting inmates from state to county facilities, which are receiving $1.2 billion to help with the transition. But a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union says more of that money should be used for rehabilitation...

We've been hearing about signs of an improving economy recently. That includes housing, both in the construction and sales sectors. But that optimism may not be expressing the entire story because it doesn't include “shadow inventory.” CoreLogic, a California mortgage tracking company in Santa Ana, describes “shadow inventory” as properties that are delinquent by three months, along with foreclosures, and those owned by banks and other lenders. Nationally, that total number is down slightly from 1.8 million in January 2011 to 1.6 million now. But a full third of those troubled properties are located in only three states: Florida, Illinois, and California...

Yesterday, Cal State University trustees approved pay raises for two college presidents, sparking debate in cash-strapped higher education circles. Today the State Senate turned down legislation that would have capped such raises in the future....

Water reserves are expected to improve again this weekend if an expected storm system comes through, but Marin County officials still officially declared a water emergency on Tuesday. A report released by county Agricultural Commissioner Stacy Carlsen recognizes that area dairy ranchers have suffered a "50 percent loss in livestock forage as a result of adverse weather conditions" so far this year. The emergency resolution approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors opens up the possibility for federal disaster aid...

Other water issues are also attracting attention in Marin. Not the water itself, but what's in it. Increasing numbers of gray whales are being spotted near the shore off Tiburon and Sausalito. The Oceanic Society in Fairfax plans to begin a study next month to determine why whale numbers are increasing.

Connecting the Dots brings the day's news together.

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