Connecting the Dots: top news stories for Monday, August 30

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Deep-water rigs in the Gulf of Mexico are so complex that some experts are questioning whether they are safe…

Safety was on the minds of a nine-member review panel charged with reviewing toxic chemicals – that is, before five of them were dismissed from their positions. An anti-environmental legislation group has taken credit for the shakeup…

It’s a toxic environment up in Sacramento, where legislators aren’t anywhere close to breaking the state’s budget deadlock. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s anyone’s guess as to when a spending plan will be passed…

Meanwhile, California’s budget crisis has impacted the number of workers hired by the state. In the past year and a half, only about half as many full-time employees have been hired as have retired. Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman would like to continue that trend and cut the state’s workforce by 40,000 over the next four years…

Even for state workers who have survived rounds of layoffs and furloughs, times are tough. To help its employees in need, the California Environmental Protection Agency has set up a food pantry stocked with food and household necessities…

The state’s fiscal woes may also be putting ocean swimmers, surfers and divers at risk. Monitoring at state beaches is at its lowest level since becoming law more than a decade ago, according to the Los Angeles Times…

The state tries to keep its citizens safe, but two prisoners at San Quentin were found dead from suicide in the past week…

Surprise, surprise – teenagers are not averse to jeopardizing their health. Although tobacco use among teens has dropped over the past decade, the trend has slowed in recent years…

Some teens grow out of smoking, but there’s one thing that they can’t get enough of – technology. Six students have enrolled this year in San Jose’s first online education program

Technology is defining the future, and Apple has a few tricks up its sleeve to capture the market. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Apple’s 3-year-old operating system is reshaping the company into a post-PC leader…

The promises of high tech are still driving development in San Francisco. Mayor Gavin Newsome would like to turn Pier 70 on the edge of Mission Bay into a hub of modern technology.

Connecting the Dots brings together the day's news.