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Humans know what it’s like to go out one day, encounter a disorienting substance and find themselves unable to figure out how to get home. It’s called getting drunk and usually a friend helps guide the way.

Honeybees need some friends like that.

Known for an astonishing navigation system, bees everywhere have not been able to find their way back to seemingly healthy honeycombs. And this is threatening all kinds of crops and orchards who depend on the colonies of worker bees to pollinate.

Reseachers at UCSD are suspicious of a pesticide that might be crippling the bees’ renowned ability to find their way back. Others aren’t so sure that it’s the culprit. We have an in-depth story on the fascinating phenomenon and the effort to alter it.

In other news for this Monday morning:

  • Three times in the last two months, a distraught San Diego resident has threatened to jump from a freeway overpass or bridge. The incidents snarl traffic and frustrate motorists, but as a retired crisis negotiator put it: If they were intent on committing suicide, they’d just do it. But they’ve instead essentially asked society to send help.

    The police won’t talk much about the recent incidents so we interviewed a retired crisis negotiator who described how he went about talking someone down from the ledge.

  • Your real estate and economics analyst Rich Toscano notes that there are fewer homes on the market than at any time in several years. He and others tried for months to identify if there was a so-called “shadow inventory” out there of homes that were being kept off the market as their fates in foreclosure were decided. But if that inventory exists, he says, it certainly hasn’t come out of the shadow.

Elsewhere:

  • KPBS is reporting that local high-school students and leaders are still piping up about SDSU’s decision not to guarantee local graduates a spot at the university if they met minimum standards. Now, locals will compete with people from elsewhere to get enrolled. “It almost seems unethical,” says one student the station quotes.
  • The Palm Springs Desert Sun has a longer piece out today covering the background of a trial starting in Sacramento today that will — its litigants hope — either settle all legal challenges to a landmark 2003 water deal for once, or deem it illegal. The Quantification Settlement Agreement represented the largest transfer of water rights from rural users to urban distributors when the Imperial Valley farmers who have priority over Colorado River water agreed to allow San Diego agencies to take some in exchange for money and other benefits.

    It was a massive deal that the state, the federal government and four agencies painstakingly negotiated for years. But if the Imperial Valley uses less water, then less water will flow to the artificially created Salton Sea, which now teems with wildlife. Part of the historic agreement was meant to save the Salton Sea but farmers are now trying to argue the deal was illegal because the state could never follow through on that promise.

    That is only one of the major issues being litigated.

  • And finally today, a bizarre story from the Houston Chronicle about a man who disappeared from the San Diego based USS Princeton while the guided missile cruiser was underway. An investigation recently ended and its report was obtained by the newspaper. But it concluded nothing more than that he was dead and lost. Nobody knows what happened to him. His wife, who he met at a San Diego mall but never actually lived with, received insurance benefits but didn’t go to his funeral and refused to talk to the paper.
SCOTT LEWIS

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