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Double-digit raise goes to tophigher ed officialOctober 8, 2012By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas and Keith M. PhaneufA top administrator in Connecticuts merged public college system received a nearly $49,000 pay increase lastweek -- a move that members of its governing board could not explain Monday, even as most state employeesremain under a wage freeze.And while top administrators for the Board of Regents for Higher Education failed to return multiple phone callsfrom The Mirror, a brief emailed statement indicated that the 27 percent bump given to Executive Vice PresidentMichael P. Meotti was part of a larger reorganization effort.The increase, which The Mirror confirmed with State Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo, also sparked an angryresponse Monday from leaders of the legislatures Higher Education Committee, who called it inappropriate giventhe states budget woes and recent cutbacks in student aid.Meotti, whose annual pay was $183,339, would earn $232,244 over the coming 12 months based on the new rateimplemented Friday, according to the comptrollers office.It was unclear Friday or Monday how the increase for Meotti was approved, or how many others receivedcompensation hikes.Lewis Robinson Jr., chairman of the Board of Regents, said during a brief interview Monday that he didnt knowhow pay raises in the central office are approved and referred all questions either to Meotti or to Robert A.Kennedy, president of the Board of Regents system.
What makes this newsworthy?Impact : This story has an impact on tax paying state residents andespecially those who are paying for state college education.Immediacy : This story just happened within the week.Prominence : Prominent people are involved such as Gov.Dannel P. Malloy, Executive Vice President Michael P. Meotti of theBoard of Regents for Higher Education.Novelty :This is a new and surprising development.Conﬂict : Meotti is prepared to receive a raise with tuitionincreases and major general fund deﬁcits going on, statewide, withinthe year.Proximity :The story involves public ﬁgures from right here inConnecticut.Emotional Proximity : This story could invoke anger amongststudents and taxpayers in this state.
Police searching for missing girl Jessica Ridgeway find body, unclear if it is herBy NBC News staff and wire reportsPolice searching for missing Colorado girl Jessica Ridgeway said late Wednesday that they had found a body, but itwas unclear whether it was the 10-year-old.The body was removed from Pattridge Park in Arvada -- an area dotted with abandoned coal mines -- by WestminsterPolice just before 9 p.m. Wednesday (11 p.m. ET), NBC station KMBC reported.Westminster Police spokesperson Trevor Materasso did not release the gender or approximate age of the body, thestation said.Police confirmed the discovery of the body to NBC News and said a statement would be issued at 6:30 a.m. local time(8:30 a.m. ET).Earlier Wednesday, authorities said they believed Jessica, a fifth-grader with blond hair and glasses who loves mathand gym class, had been abducted. She disappeared Friday on what should have been a short walk to school.After initially saying that the public didnt need to fear a kidnapper, the police said they were investigating whetherJessicas case might be related to that of another girl who was abducted for several hours Monday in Cody, Wyoming.In that case, a man lured the 11-year-old girl into a sport utility vehicle, saying he needed help finding his puppy. Thegirl was released four hours later and was discovered by hunters. Police there are looking for a white man, between 55and 60 years old, with short, strawberry-blond or white hair and a neatly trimmed mustache.
What makes this story newsworthy?Immediacy: Happened just last Friday with continued coverage up totoday.Novelty: It’s not every day a ten year old child is abducted from a saferural community.Emotional Proximity: Most of us have families and can empathizewith the pain this little girl’s family must be feeling.
Deadly crossing: Death toll rises amongthose desperate for the American DreamBy Hannah Rappleye and Lisa Riordan SevilleNBC NewsMISSION, Texas -- In the freezer of a small funeral home nearly 13 miles from the Texas-Mexicoborder, 22 bodies are stacked on plywood shelves, one on top of the other.The bodies wrapped in white sheets have names, families and official countries of origin -- Honduras,El Salvador, Mexico, sometimes China or Pakistan. The bodies in black shrouds are the remains of thenameless and unclaimed, waiting to be identified.For the past few years, the family-owned Elizondo Mortuary and Cremation Service in Mission,Texas, has been taking in the remains of undocumented immigrants found dead in nearby countiesafter crossing the border from Mexico. This year, however, they had to build an extra freezer. It’sbecome difficult to keep up with the rising tide of dead coming to them from across the Rio GrandeValley.Crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally has always been dangerous, but this year heat and droughthave made the journey particularly deadly. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, thispart of the border has seen a sharp rise in both rescues and deaths of people crossing the borderillegally. So far in 2012, agents have rescued more than 310 people, and found nearly 150 dead in theRio Grande Valley -- an increase of more than 200 percent over the last fiscal year.
This comes as migration across the U.S.-Mexico border has dropped to historic lows, falling nearly 62 percentover the last five years, according to numbers released by CBP. But the proportion of deaths to apprehensions isrising -- suggesting that while fewer are crossing, more are dying.Ground zero is over 70 miles north of the border, in Brooks County. Last year the remains of about 50 presumedundocumented immigrants were found in the county. This year, the tally has reached about 104, with nearly threemonths to go.The rising number of unclaimed corpses marks a growing crisis for this cash-strapped county of fewer than7,500 residents. Because Brooks has no coroner, it sends the bodies recovered on its vast cattle ranches toElizondo in neighboring Hidalgo County. It costs, according to county officials, about $1,500 for each body to beprocessed.
What makes this story newsworthy?Immediacy: the total number of deaths up until this month has just beendetermined.Proximity: This story involves Mexico, a bordering country to our own.Emotional Proximity: this being a human interest story can invokefeelings of sadness and empathy for those being effected by this.Novelty: a 200% increase in the death toll is new and unusual.