Sustained Outrage

Time for another round of reporting we admired this week:

After a decade of widespread abuse throughout Appalachia, the negative effects of addiction to “hillbilly heroin,” as opioid narcotic painkillers have been called, are being felt in a wider and wider area, McClatchy Newspapers reported. Part of the problem, as the Gazette’s Alison Knezevich has previously chronicled, is that drug traffickers have created an “OxyExpress,” transporting pills prescriptions issued and filled in Florida to other states to feed the growing demand. Congressmen from Kentucky and Florida are pushing for legislation that will impose harsher penalties on those who run “pill mills.”

A federal judge has ruled that the University of Illinois must release information to the Chicago Tribune about hundreds of applicants who appeared to get preferential treatment because of their political connections, the paper reported. The Tribune used hundreds of pages of information that the university had disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information Act request to produce its 2009 “Clout Goes to College” investigation. But the school refused to release applicants’ names, grades or ACT scores, as well as the names of (possibly influential) parents. The university wrongly applied the 1974 federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act to the state FOIA law, the judge concluded. FERPA “does not specifically prohibit Illinois from doing anything, so the university may not use the federal law as authority to withhold the records,” U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall wrote in her opinion.

Sports as the ticket out of poverty is a powerful myth that sometimes becomes reality, but what happens when the successful athlete returns home? The Boston Globe took a deeper look at an incident in South Apopka, Fla., that happened when New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather hosted a charity event in his hometown last month. Details are still vague, but two men with Meriweather were shot in the head when gunfire broke out during a fight at an early morning after-party.