TIME Economy

One Ohio City’s Growth Strategy? Immigrants

Dayton puts out the welcome mats

In old North Dayton, It’s easy to spot the newcomers. Over the past few years, about 3,000 Turkish refugees have settled here and set about rebuilding this blighted neighborhood. Decaying houses with weed-choked lawns are giving way to tidy dwellings with colorful paint jobs. As his minivan winds through the streets, businessman Islom Shakhbandarov points out the white picket fences the Turks favor–a sign that they have achieved the American Dream. “This,” he says from the front seat, “is the Ellis Island of our region.”

Southwest Ohio has never been much of a melting pot. Even now, Dayton’s proportion of foreign-born residents is among the lowest of any large U.S. city. But economic decline is the mother of reinvention. Dayton’s population has plunged 40% since 1960, as the loss of manufacturing jobs hollowed out its middle class. “We were hit really hard,” says city manager Tim Riordan. And so in 2009, Dayton began plotting an unlikely path to renewal–growing its economy by courting immigrants.

Two years later, the city adopted a series of policies designed to lure new residents: tutoring for foreign students, support networks to help entrepreneurs clear complex bureaucratic hurdles, and translation services to help immigrants integrate into the community. Libraries began stocking books in new languages. Police officers were directed not to check the immigration status of victims or witnesses of crimes, or of people suspected of minor offenses.

The push to repopulate the city by wooing foreigners was an unusual move at a moment when states from Alabama to Arizona were requiring cops to detain suspected undocumented immigrants. City officials braced for an outcry against the proposal, but few residents balked. (The only pushback at public meetings came from nonresidents who warned that the city could become a magnet for the undocumented.) The initiative, known as Welcome Dayton, won unanimous support from the city commission. “We made a policy decision to be open,” says Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “This is a city that will welcome you.”

Word of mouth helped. A handful of Ahiska Turks, a stateless ethnic minority that was granted refugee status to escape persecution in Russia, resettled in Dayton in 2006, lured by cheap housing and solid jobs. They told friends that neighbors were tolerant of their Muslim faith. Now the Turkish community’s leaders have become some of Dayton’s best boosters, working to court foreign investment and pumping their own cash into the local economy through new trucking, logistics and real estate businesses.

Dayton is also home to robust communities of Central Africans, Indians and Hispanics, many of whom have started businesses or cultural agencies of their own. City officials have sought to stitch them into the cultural fabric with celebrations of diversity like a new annual parade to commemorate the Mexican Day of the Dead. And the lenient approach to law enforcement has soothed nerves. “They’re not chasing people or trying to focus on their legal status,” says Gabriela Pickett, an art-gallery owner and Mexican immigrant who has lived in Dayton since 2001. “That’s a battle they don’t want.”

None of this has required much money, and the economic gains have been relatively modest. But the new approach is paying off. In the year after enacting the policy, Dayton’s immigration rate grew by 40%, nearly six times the state average. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lauded Dayton as one of seven “enterprising cities.” And Dayton has plans to expand its approach by recruiting immigrant entrepreneurs, using a visa program that offers green cards to foreigners who invest in rural or cash-strapped areas.

Dayton’s model is attracting copycats elsewhere in the Midwest. And the experiment has “changed the culture and the way people perceive immigrants,” says Tony Ortiz, vice president of Dayton’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the head of Latino Affairs at nearby Wright State University. “Instead of a burden, they see these folks as potential taxpayers and contributing members to the area. Instead of chasing them away, all we have to do is make them feel welcome.”

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TIME Security

A Year After the Snowden Leaks, the Online Community Is Still Fuming

Protesters hold masks depicting Snowden during demonstration in Berlin
Protesters hold masks depicting former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden during a demonstration in Berlin on May 22, 2014 Tobias Schwarz—Reuters

A massive online campaign against data surveillance begins on Thursday, with the support of Edward Snowden himself

A year ago, the classified documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden went public. It’s been a less-than-tranquil 12 months for those who feel personally impacted by the leak: for the American people who view the disclosed surveillance programs as a violation of individual freedoms, for the U.S. government that has spent much of its time both condemning Snowden’s actions and attempting to justify its own, and for those vigilantes of personal liberties who have flocked to the Internet to champion Snowden as a patron saint of their cause.

On June 5, a year from when the Washington Post and the Guardian broke the story that would win them a Pulitzer, the digital-rights-advocacy group Fight for the Future will commemorate the anniversary by leading a campaign against mass government surveillance that will urge the use of encryption tools to keep Internet users protected online.

The organization is calling the initiative Reset the Net, and it’s gaining momentum through the support of some vocal online communities — Anonymous, Reddit — and, via a statement presumably written from his place of asylum in Russia, Snowden himself.

“Today, we can begin the work of effectively shutting down the collection of our online communications, even if the U.S. Congress fails to do the same,” Snowden wrote. “This is the beginning of a movement where we the people begin to protect our universal human rights with the laws of nature rather than the laws of nations.”

On Thursday, more than 200 websites, including such Internet figureheads as Google and Imgur, will display a “splash screen” — in this case, sort of a PSA pop-up — that’ll offer their visitors “tips on ensuring web privacy” and a download link for encryption software directly from Fight for the Future’s website, Russian news agency RT reports.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Google announced its support for the push for more secure Internet use, especially in email services.

“When you mail a letter to your friend, you hope she’ll be the only person who reads it. But a lot could happen to that letter on its way from you to her, and prying eyes might try to take a look,” the post reads. “Gmail has always supported encryption in transit … and will automatically encrypt your incoming and outgoing emails if it can.”

TIME Transportation

Two Killed in Crash of WWII-Era Plane

The two-seater wrecked in Washington state

Two men were killed Wednesday when a small World War II-era airplane crashed in Washington state.

The two-seater aircraft crashed at about 3:30 p.m. in a wooded area after sputtering and flying low, a local station reported. The Federal Aviation Administration identified the plane was a North American AT-6C, King 5 News said.

The National Transportation Safety Board has reportedly been informed of the incident.

[King5 News]

TIME States

Dengue Fever Infections in Florida Make Health Experts Wary of Mosquito-Borne Outbreak

Deadly disease on the rise in the Sunshine State

After 42 Floridians came down with dangerous mosquito-borne diseases, state officials advised citizens on Wednesday to take steps to protect themselves against bug bites.

The Florida Department of Health announced 24 confirmed cases of dengue fever as of last week, and 18 confirmed cases of chikungunya, both viruses that do not have vaccines to prevent them and have not typically been found in North America, the CDC says.

All Floridians infected had traveled to the Caribbean or South America, and officials believe they may have contracted the diseases there, but epidemiologists worry that Florida mosquitos may be spreading the illnesses, which could lead to a potential outbreak, Reuters reports.

Dengue is a potentially fatal disease and both can cause long-term problems.

“The threat is greater than I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Walter Tabachnick, director of the Florida Medical Entomological Laboratory in Vero Beach. “Sooner or later, our mosquitoes will pick it up and transmit it to us. That is the imminent threat,” he said.

[Reuters]

 

 

 

TIME justice

Montana Judge to Be Censured Over Rape Comments

G. Todd Baugh
Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh reads a statement on Aug. 28, 2013 apologizing for remarks he made about a 14-year-old girl raped by a teacher in Billings, Mont. Matt Brown—AP

The Billings judge said a 14-year-old rape victim was “older than her chronological age”

A Montana judge will be publicly censured and suspended without pay for 31 days for saying a 14-year-old rape victim was “as much in control of the situation” as the 47-year-old teacher who raped her, the state Supreme Court announced Wednesday.

“There is no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them,” Chief Justice Mike McGrath wrote in a court document filed June 4.

State Judge G. Todd Baugh, 72, drew criticism after he suspended all but 30 days of a 15-year sentence handed down to former teacher Stacey Dean Rambold, who was charged in 2008 with raping his 14-year-old student. The student committed suicide in 2010, before Rambold was convicted.

“Judge Baugh’s sentence and rationale, particularly his remarks that the 14-year-old victim was ‘older than her chronological age’ and ‘as much in control of the situation’ as her 47-year-old teacher, sparked immediate public outcry,” Justice McGrath wrote.

Baugh has been ordered to appear before the Supreme Court for public censure July 1. He plans to retire when his current term expires later this year.

TIME Military

Last of the Navajo Code Talkers Dies at 93

Chester Nez
Navajo Code Talker Chester Nez waits backstage for a speaking engagement at the Henderson Fine Arts Center at San Juan College in Farmington N.M. on Nov. 1, 2012. Jon Austria—AP

Chester Nez was one of 29 Native Americans whose work creating a secret code was instrumental in World War II

Chester Nez, the last surviving member of the original band of Navajo Native Americans whose code helped the Allies win World War II, died Wednesday. He was 93 and suffered from kidney failure, Reuters reports.

Nez was one of the original 29 Navajo recruited by the Marine Corps to develop a secret code based on their native language for use in wartime communication. Because the language is unwritten, spoken only in the American Southwest and known to less than 30 non-Navajo people, Reuters reports, American forces accurately predicted that Japan would be unable to crack the code.

“It saddens me to hear the last of the original code talkers has died,” Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly told Reuters. “We are proud of these young men.”

“I was very proud to say that the Japanese did everything in their power to break that code but they never did,” Nez said before receiving the Audie Murphy Award for distinguished service by the American Veterans Center last November.

Navajo code talkers served in all six Marine divisions and six were killed during the war.

[Reuters]

MORE: The Last Speakers of the Lost Whistling Language, Sylbo

TIME Drugs

Chicago Blames Big Pharma for Epidemic Addictions to Painkillers

Painkillers
James Brey—Vetta/Getty Images

The city fingers a new villain in the painkiller-addition epidemic

After a year of drug document subpoenas, interviews, and fact finding, the City of Chicago filed a lawsuit Monday against five pharmaceutical companies alleging that they deceptively marketed opioid painkillers like Percocet and OxyContin for chronic pain management, even though the companies knew the drugs were ineffective at treating chronic pain and carried a high risk of addiction.

The deceptive marketing practices have caused health problems in Chicago, the city alleged in a release, stating that opioid misuse resulted in 1,080 emergency room visits in Chicago in 2009. The city seeks to end deceptive marketing practices and seeks punitive damages. The city claims that the City’s Health Insurance plan “has reimbursed claims for approximately $9.5 million on these drugs since 2008.”

Chicago’s lawsuit has implications far beyond the city limits. If the allegations are true, they get at one root cause of the growing rates of addiction and death from opioid painkillers and heroin in the United States. Drug overdose deaths, the majority of which are caused by prescription painkillers, have more tripled since 1990, according to the CDC, and in 2010, prescription opioid painkillers caused 16,651 overdose deaths in the U.S.

In the 122-page complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Monday, the City of Chicago argues that the shift in medical use of opioid painkillers was the direct result of deliberately misleading marketing from pharmaceutical companies. (Earlier this month, two counties in California filed a similar suit.) According to the complaint, “in 2010, 254 million prescriptions for opioids were filled in the U.S.” (By comparison, in 2009, there were 44 million prescriptions filled for the anti-depressant, Xanax.) It also reports that “20 percent of doctors visits resulted in the prescription of an opioid.” According to the press release, this accounted for a quadrupling of sales for these drugs from 1999 to 2010.

The complaint argues that the five companies named in the suit—Purdue Pharma L.P., Cephalon, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Actavis plc—led to a huge market ($8 billion in revenues in 2010) for these drugs by telling doctors (incorrectly) that they were effective for chronic pain management, which now accounts for roughly 87% of the opioid prescriptions given out in this country.

“They knew—and had known for years—that opioids were too addictive and too debilitating for long-term use for chronic non-cancer pain,” the complaint reads. “In order to expand the market for opioids and realize blockbuster profits, Defendants needed to create a sea-change in medical and public perception that would permit the use of opioids for long periods of time to treat more common aches and pains, like lower back pain, arthritis, and headaches.”

Purdue Pharma declined to comment. Teva, which owns Cephalon, Janssen, Endo, and Actavis could not be immediately reached for comment.

How did we get here? The recreational use of opioid painkillers began with a sea-change in the way doctors prescribed prescription painkillers, experts say. According to the CDC, there has been a tenfold increase in medical use of opioid painkillers for the treatment of pain since 1990.

This began, says Dr Jason Jerry, a psychiatrist and addiction expert at the Cleveland Clinic, with a cultural shift in the 1990’s in the medical community’s attitude toward pain and pain medication. Prior to that point, he says, most doctors wouldn’t have considered using prescription painkillers for problems like low back pain. “They were for end-stage cancer pain or patients who had recently undergone surgery,” he says, adding, “the marketing practices in the pharmaceutical industry shifted the culture of medicine to the point that there was a fifth vital sign in medicine: pain.”

The rise in use of prescription painkillers has also led to a resurgence in heroin use. A recent analysis from JAMA Psychiatry showed that prescription drug abuse has become a gateway for heroin use. In the 1960s, 80% of heroin users (who were mostly young city dwellers) initiated heroin first, but in recent years, as users have become older and more suburban; 75% of heroin users started using heroin after getting into opioid painkillers first.

Chicago’s lawsuit, if it succeeds, may mark a turning point in the epidemic of opioid abuse.

TIME Religion

Most Americans Say the Bible Is God’s Word

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Bally Scanlon—Getty Images

The Bible, most Americans say, is the either the actual word of God or inspired by God's words

About 3 in 4 Americans believe the Bible is either inspired by or is the actual word of God, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

About 28% of Americans think the Bible should be taken literally—only slightly down from the all-time low reached in 2007. About half of Americans think the Bible is inspired by God, but should not be taken literally.

On the other end of the spectrum, about 20% of Americans say the Bible is nothing more than a “ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man.”

Among Christians, however, 58% of those interviewed said they believe the Bible is the actual word of God, though “multiple interpretations are possible.” Overall, 9 out of 10 Christians say the Bible is connected to God.

Gallup’s data are based on phone interviews of 1,028 randomly selected adults between May 8 and 11.

TIME Military

Navy Pilots Passed Porn in Cockpit

Greg McWherter
Capt. Greg McWherter, commanding officer and flight leader of the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, responds to the crowd at the Guardians of Freedom Air Show in Lincoln, Neb., Sept. 10, 2011. Jen Blake—U.S. Navy/AP

The captain of the Blue Angels squadron was reprimanded for "anti-gay slurs and sexually-charged language"

A squadron of Navy pilots known for their impressive air shows is catching heat after an internal Navy report accused them of sexual harassment, homophobia and posting pornography in their planes.

The report, which was date last month but gained attention this week after a disciplinary hearing, focuses mostly on Capt. Gregory McWherter for his 2011-2012 command of the Blue Angels squadron. During his tenure, pornographic images (mostly of naked women) adorned the cockpits and the Blue Angels ready room. A group text message chat among pilots, including McWherter, also featured “anti-gay slurs and sexually-charged language,” the report said.

Pornography became such a facet of the Blue Angels during McWherter’s command, the report said, that the sight of it in a cockpit was taken as a sign of the “trust” and “bond” between a pilot and his crew chief.

“He failed himself, failed those that he led, failed the Blue Angels, and failed the Navy,” Admiral Harry B. Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, wrote in the report.

McWherter left his command of the Blue Angels in 2012, but he was reprimanded at a Navy disciplinary meeting this week. He has not commented to CNN, which reported the allegations Wednesday.

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