10 brightest ideas of the week: Sept. 21, 2008

1. Tackling truancy

City officials consider a daytime curfew to get kids back in school.

The details: While city and school officials pursue a number of ways to encourage students to not cut class, the idea of a daytime curfew has emerged from the Mayor’s Office. Used by cities nationwide — including a newly passed curfew in Benicia last week — the laws impose a penalty on students who are found playing hooky, including fines and, in some cities, loss of driving privileges. With thousands of students missing 10 or more days of school each year — which also siphons millions of dollars in per-pupil revenue from the district’s cash-strapped coffers — a daytime curfew should be discussed.

2. Up, up and away

SFO breaks ground on long-awaited Terminal 2.

The details: Sitting there dimly lighted and strangely cavernous for years, Terminal 2 has been waiting for a new life at San Francisco International Airport. Now, ground has been broken on a remodel that will prepare the terminal for planes and travelers within 30 months. With tourism the No. 1 industry in San Francisco, expanded capacity at the airport will allow more visitors to flock to the sites (and stores) of The City.

3. Zoo rescue

Supervisors vote against changing mission of The City’s zoo.

The details: A proposal by Supervisor Chris Daly to convert the San Francisco Zoo into an animal rescue center was rejected by his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors this week. Investigations following last December’s fatal tiger attack proved more oversight was needed on the attraction’s animal care, financial priorities and infrastructure needs, but a complete reorganization is not the solution. Mayor Gavin Newsom’s suggestion to add two “animal welfare” seats to the zoo’s oversight body should be implemented, however.

4. Not mad money

Federal Reserve holds interest rates steady.

The details: With all of the turbulence flying around the financial markets, it is good that the Fed kept a level head and did not lower interest rates. Another cut to the rates could have signaled to investors around the globe that the U.S. government is overly concerned about the shaky economy.

5. Sweet notes

‘Bonesetter’s Daughter’ opens with fanfare.

The details: A world premiere of an opera in San Francisco that had its libretto written by local author Amy Tan. Not only are those facts impressive, but the opera, based on Tan’s best-selling novel, was also well received.

6. Keeping waters clean

San Francisco waterways not on list of polluted spots.

The details: San Francisco is one of the few cities in the Bay Area that filters trash from its storm-water runoff, helping to keep it off the list of polluted waterways. The City’s bans on plastic bags in some retail locations and Stryofoam takeout containers were also listed as possible reasons for the cleaner waterways.

7. Shipments derailed

U.S. works to prosecute illegal technology exports to Iran.

The details: U.S. officials unsealed a federal indictment that charges 16 people and companies overseas with shipping sophisticated American-made electronics to Iran despite a 1995 ban. Prosecutors say Iranian citizens in Germany, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and other locations duped American companies into shipping the so-called dual-use products — which could be used for commercial or military purposes — to Iran.

8. Taking the right course

Michelle Wie tries to earn her way onto LPGA.

The details: After exhausting all of her sponsor exemptions, talented-but-underachieving Michelle Wie took another step toward becoming a full-time member of the LPGA Tour. The part-time Stanford student, who has famously tried to make a cut on the men’s tour while still looking to establish herself on the women’s tour, was easily among the top 30 players who advanced from the sectional qualifier at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage. Her next step is a final qualifying event in December. Wie seems to finally be focused on her LPGA career.

9. Book ’em, Danno

Fugitive murder suspect nabbed in Texas.

The details: Josue Raul Orozco, the youngest person ever to be charged with murder in San Mateo County, made headlines when he escaped from the Youth Services Center in an unincorporated part of the county. He was caught in San Antonio after police here tipped off police in the Lone Star State that a fugitive was in their midst. Orozco also appears to have been committing crimes during his stay in Texas — the police had several warrants for his arrest under an alias. He should be shipped back here to face trial after he goes through the Texas legal process.

10. Going and saving green

New greenhouse emissions rules will save money, according to state report.

The details: The state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas by 2020 will eventually reap economic benefits to Californians and the state, according to a new report released this week by the state’s Air Resources Board. Contributing to the state’s economic health would be jobs created due to new emissions regulations and cost savings due to more energy-efficient vehicles and homes.

Niners shock Packers to advance to NFC Championship Game

Late-game blocked punt turned the game around

The downturn persists: Examiner analysis reveals that S.F.’s economy has a long road to recovery

‘If you don’t keep downtown a vibrant place, it has cascading consequences on all the neighborhoods’