Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Random Pixels Sunday Page One Sampler

After you've finished with your local Sunday paper, you might want to check out these interesting stories that made the front pages of Sunday newspapers in the rest of the country:

San Francisco Chronicle: Gun sales booming in Nevada
by Justin Berton
Reno -- A customer inside Mark Hessler's crowded gun shop in Reno pointed to the few remaining AR-15 rifles on a display wall and asked Hessler if he'd sent President Obama a thank-you card for hinting at a ban on assault weapons.

Hessler almost had to shout over the din of bustling salesmen, credit cards snapping on glass countertops and cash registers that spat out receipts.

"Obama is the best gun salesman since Bill Clinton," Hessler said, drawing laughs from his audience. "Every time a liberal opens his mouth and says something stupid about guns, I sell a gazillion of them."

As the Newtown, Conn., massacre sparked a national debate about gun control and the availability of assault weapons, gun sellers in Nevada enjoyed booming sales.

Lakeland Ledger: Sales of Assault Weapons Rise After Conn. Killings
by Scott Wheeler
LAKELAND | A bell hangs from the entrance of The Gunshed, heralding each customer's arrival with a small ding.

It played a rapid melody this week to a stampede of customers who had their eyes trained on a row of tall, black assault rifles leaned upright in a corner, their muzzles to the ceiling.

The rush began quickly after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre.

The day of the killing left employees numb.

"You feel a sense of helplessness," said Alex Wold, manager of the store at 1704 E. Edgewood Drive. "The idea of getting killed is awful."

Suppliers had a shortage of weapons and ammunition after the shooting, he said, and store workers taped signs on every shelf of bullets telling customers they were limited to five boxes.

Since then, The Gunshed has been able to replenish its stock of assault rifles. The long brown boxes stood behind a counter Friday. One sat open with a brand new rifle resting inside.

Louisville Courier-Journal: Downtown Louisville arena struggling to meet debt payments
by Marcus Green
It was supposed to be a reliable way to help cover the cost of a new downtown arena: The building’s events would bring throngs of people downtown who would eat, drink and shop nearby. Their sales taxes would be captured to help pay for the KFC Yum! Center.

But the arena hasn’t added as much to tax revenues as expected during its first three years — producing less than one-third of the amount originally projected.

Arena officials have scraped together cash to deal with the shortfalls, nearly emptying a building renovation fund and notifying Louisville metro government that more city money may be needed as early as next spring.

The troubles have captured the attention of the bond market, with rating agency Standard & Poor’s lowering its confidence in the authority’s ability to repay the project’s debt to “negative” from “stable” over concerns about the sales tax revenue from the arena neighborhood.

Meanwhile, arena debt payments are scheduled to rise, totaling more than $800 million over the next three decades — in some years exceeding $30 million, compared with about $19 million now.

St. Paul Pioneer Press: IntoxBox lets potential drunken drivers see their 'score' before they drive
by Marino Eccher
If you have to ask the box how drunk you are, Shamrock's bar co-owner Ted Casper figures, "you already know it's time to get a cab."

But for some, a reminder might not hurt.

The "box" is the IntoxBox, a commercial device that measures blood-alcohol content when someone blows into it. It has made its way into about two dozen Twin Cities bars.

Its Eden Prairie-based makers bill it as a combination of entertainment and public safety designed to make potential drunken drivers think twice.

"It made sense to try to give people a resource at the point of decision to know when they should and shouldn't be driving," said Ryan Walden, co-founder and president of Walden Innovative Resources.

Walden, 24, got the idea while he was a student at Cornell College in Iowa. A friend went tailgating at a football game, stopped drinking for hours and left the game certain he was under the legal limit for driving, Walden said. But he still got pulled over for drunken driving.

Walden saw a niche for a product that could turn the guesswork on blood-alcohol content into a firmer answer. He explored existing devices but didn't find them appealing -- or accurate.

The Wichita Eagle: Recovering from stabbing, loss prevention officer recounts attack
by Amy Renee Leiker
Chase Camarena gingerly placed his palm over his chest and grinned.

“I have two weird scars,” the soft-spoken 26-year-old said, tracing an “x” over his right pectoral.

One is from the knife blade that pierced his skin that Saturday night, he explained.

A tube doctors used to drain blood from his right lung left the other.

At times, Camarena laughed as he spoke of an attack that left him in a Wichita hospital fighting critical injuries for eight days.

He joined the J.C. Penney loss prevention team a little more than a year ago. A tax preparer by day, Camarena decided to pair his degree in business administration with a bachelor’s in accounting. He needed money to pay for more schooling.

Working part time as a loss prevention officer — hired by retailers to recover stolen merchandise — added excitement to his otherwise orderly work day.

But on Nov. 10, following a confrontation with an armed shoplifter, he lay in the parking lot of Towne East Square, unsure he’d live to see Nov. 11.

Hartford Courant: Dawn Hochsprung's Devotion To Family, Sandy Hook School Never Wavered
by Alaine Griffin
Dawn Hochsprung kept politics out of her professional life.

But after the November election, Hochsprung, a registered Democrat, couldn't help sounding off to her Facebook friends in an exuberant post using the pseudonym "Dinna Fash," a term for "don't worry."

"Happy for my daughters, whose right to make decisions about their own bodies are preserved for four more years. Just happy."

Five weeks later, the president would hold Hochsprung's 6-month-old granddaughter, Alyson, and pinch her little cheeks during a meeting with loved ones of those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

"She was the biggest Obama fan," Hochsprung's daughter, Erica Lafferty said in an interview with The Courant on Tuesday night. "That would have been the highlight of her life."

Family and friends gathered Thursday for Hochsprung's funeral in Woodbury, where she lived with her husband, George. The hilly Litchfield County town of nearly 10,000 residents is about 15 miles from the Newtown school where she and 20 children and five school staff members were killed Friday.

Tuesday night, solemn mourners holding burning candles stood in pouring rain on the town green in Naugatuck, where Hochsprung graduated from high school in 1983, to remember the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal's life — 47 years marked by a string of both personal and professional milestones.

Loving daughter. Hard-working student-athlete. Passionate, award-winning teacher. Admired school principal. Devoted wife. Dedicated mother and grandmother.

And someone who ran toward the gunfire instead of away from it, an act worthy of acknowledgment by the president of the United States.

"We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate," President Obama said in a memorial service last week in Newtown.

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