Here are some stories by an Associated Press journalist who does some freelance writing from time to time. Scroll down and click images to load stories in a new tab/window. Contact me: stroudjournalism [at] gmail.com

After nearly a century, W.Va. coal battle rages on

From the Associated Press:

At the dirt road entrance to the Mingo Logan Coal Company site along Route 17 in rural West Virginia, a white metal sign hangs, riddled with bullet holes, announcing “NO TRESPASSING” in red lettering. Kenny King doesn’t much care. The 59-year-old has been trespassing here about weekly since 1991. That’s when he first began an effort to transform this place — on top of a mountain in the middle of dense forest about 50 miles south of Charleston, West Virginia — from a coal mine into a national monument.

Read on via the San Francisco Chronicle.

Mobile radar systems to patrol US boundaries, keep undocumented immigrants out

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From The Verge:

To Worsley, that exodus — which reports put closer to 100,000 — was a sobering sign. Arizona voters seemed to agree. Soon after SB1070’s passage, it was revealed that Russell Pearce had crafted much of the bill with helpful suggestions from both the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison company that stood to profit from the detention of undocumented immigrants. In 2011, a recall election for Russell Pearce’s senate seat was approved after a successful local petition gathered more than 18,000 signatures. Fifteen months later, Pearce was out and Worsley was in.

Read on.

Radioactive kitty litter may have ruined our best hope to store nuclear waste

From The Verge:

Some of the most dangerous nuclear waste in the US is currently scattered between 77 locations all over the country, awaiting permanent storage. Until February, many experts suggested that the best place to put it was a facility about 40 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico, called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). For 15 years, WIPP has operated as the first and only permanent, deep geologic nuclear waste storage facility in the country, holding “low level” radioactive materials — mostly clothing and tools exposed to radiation from nuclear weapons production — in steel barrels more than 2,150 feet below the Earth’s surface. But earlier this year two emergencies brought that suggestion — and WIPP’s future — into question. And now it seems kitty litter may be to blame.

Read on.

Parents are going to prison for a medical diagnosis that may not exist

From The Verge:

But that attention has by no means inspired consensus about SBS. Questions about SBS’s validity have deeply divided segments of the medical community. That uncertainty is then dissected in criminal trials and translated to juries, who are then asked to make a decision about whether to throw someone into prison. Josh Miller’s case was a particularly confusing example of that scenario.

Read on.

How lobbying dollars prop up pyramid schemes

From The Verge:

The New York Times acknowledged that “Herbalife has mobilized its own army of lobbyists to defend itself against Mr. Ackman’s charges.” But it didn’t emphasize that Herbalife spent nearly 800 percent more on lobbying in 2013 than Ackman did. It also didn’t mention that Herbalife’s intense lobbying effort last year is part of an influential, decades-old political strategy undertaken by the multi-level marketing (MLM) industry — a group of companies and industry groups like Herbalife that promote so-called “direct sales” businesses, which sell products in tandem with the opportunity to sell products. This political strategy — with ties to dozens of current congressional representatives who have received handsome donations from MLM companies and industry lobbyists — has pushed federal regulators away from investigating these companies. It’s also encouraged federal regulators to avoid defining the explicit difference between a legal MLM and an illegal pyramid scheme.

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