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Connecting the Dots: Top news stories for Monday, May 21, 2012

(Bay Citizen) // The $68 billion bullet train project, destined to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles, is facing criticism after it was discovered that the light rail authority enacted a new policy to destroy emails after a 90-day period. Five years of emails were deleted in the midst of multiple inquires from local government and opposition groups in search of information on the train’s progress. While the light rail authority’s lawyer brushes off the new policy as insignificant, critics of the bullet train worry that vital details concerning the train’s development are being kept under wraps…

(SF Chronicle) // Five years after Muni was awarded $37 million to buy and install cameras intended to safeguard buses, rail stations, and maintenance yards, less than 50 of them have been installed. More than five hundred are sitting in a warehouse, unused because officials say they had to divert the installation funds to pay for much needed track repairs...

(San Jose Mercury News) // A decision by congress to cut Pell Grants for thousands of underprivileged college students is forcing many of them to have to quit school. At least 65,000 new college students without high school diplomas and 63,000 students who have spent over six years in college will have their Pell Grants taken away after July 1. These new reforms, pursued by Republican congressmen, will save billions of dollars over the next decade but will put the college dream on hold for thousands…

(SF Chronicle) // Yesterday, motorcyclists attacked a 19-year-old Prius driver after he crashed into them on a San Mateo County highway. The collision was brought on by the driver’s attempts to record the bike crew on his cell phone as he drove. It is reported that the motorcyclists not only beat the Prius Driver but also brandished a knife at him following the crash. Investigators are waiting for witnesses to step forward with more details regarding the incident…

(Contra Costa Times) // A woman from Ethiopia was the first to cross the finish line in the 101st annual Bay to Breakers race on Sunday. Mamito Daska, age 28, won with a time of 39 minutes and 2.4 seconds. The elite field of female runners were given a 4 minute head start, an equalizer put in place in 2006 to make the race more competitive between men and women. The leading male runner was Sammy Kitwara, holder of the world record, whose running time yesterday was 34:40:0.5.

(SF Chronicle) // An 1,800-square-foot mural by Diego Rivera at San Francisco City College is getting some well-deserved attention thanks to Will Maynez, a retiring physics lab manager at City College and devotee of the painting. Rivera’s work, entitled “The Pan American Unity Mural,” will hopefully be part of a new $20 million Center for Pan American Unity spearheaded by Will Maynez, City College and the Mexican government. Maynez says he wants young Latinos to see the mural’s strong depictions of their ancestral culture.

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