As Perry Rises in the Polls, Prayer Event Poses Risk

Dallas, TX

KERA - As Governor Rick Perry moves closer to deciding on a presidential campaign, his popularity has shot up in a national Gallop poll. Likely Republican voters last week indicated that only Mitt Romney had more support for the GOP presidential nomination. Some 17% backed Romney, while 15% chose Perry. Shelley Kofler reports that Perry's star is rising as he plans for a prayer event that carries risk.

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Company Towns Alive and Well in 2011

The Changing Gears project is on the road, exploring towns where one company still affects everybody’s lives. Niala Boodhoo reports on the village of Kohler, Wisconsin at the peak of its busy tourist season.

Kate Davidson heads to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. That’s where North America’s biggest supplier of iron ore has been blasting the earth, and creating jobs, for more than 160 years. Her destination is the city of Ishpeming.  


Lawmakers Consider Proposals Banning Skin Shock Therapy

Canton, MA

WBUR - State representatives will hear a proposal today for a ban on so-called “skin shock,” or aversive therapy, for children attending the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton. The JRC is the only known school in the country that offers the skin shocks, which supporters say help developmentally disabled children who injure themselves and others. Rachel Gotbaum reports that over the years the center has been a targeted for shutdown by lawmakers, parents and advocates of the disabled, who say the practice amounts to the torture of children.

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Gas Region Residents Complain about Industry Sales Tactics

Garrett County, MD

WYPR -  An energy company representative shows up one day with a four or five page lease that offers to pay a certain amount per acre for mineral rights. Residents in the northwest corner of Maryland say they're told it’s the best price they're going to get and are urged to sign. But Joel McCord reports after the landowner agrees to the lease, he or she often finds out later their neighbors got more money, and in some cases more protections.

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Fla. Homeowners Continue to Experience Fallout from Chinese Drywall

Miami, FL

WLRN - A federal judge has given preliminary approval for a $55 million settlement over toxic Chinese drywall in Florida. If finalized, it would be one of the largest payouts in the continuing saga over the corrosive and potentially sickening drywall. But Kenny Malone reports some don't think the settlement is all it's cracked up to be.


Redeveloping Remains of Industrial Past Proves Challenging

Waterbury, CT

WSHU - Industry was once at the center of many Connecticut communities. Much of that industry has left the state, but the factories remain - crumbling reminders of the state's changing economy. Generations have passed without much effort to do anything about these contaminated and dangerous properties. Craig LeMoult reports a new effort is underway to turn them into something the communities can be proud of again.

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High Silver Prices Affect Native American Artists

Hopiland, AZ

KNAU - Global markets have pushed silver prices to record highs. For Native American silversmiths, the increase is having a very local effect. The spike is threatening not only their livelihoods, but also part of their cultural heritage. Claudine LoMonaco reports.

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U.S. Obstacles Lead to the Rise of Mexican Meth

Las Vegas, NV

Fronteras - Methamphetamine is the number one drug problem in Southern Nevada and much of the Southwest. And it’s been that way for the last decade. To combat the scourge, policy makers have made it harder to buy the ingredients to manufacture the highly addictive drug. Jude Joffe-Block reports it hasn't done much good: meth trafficking organizations constantly manage to adapt.

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Chicken Farm Relies on Mobile Slaughterhouse

Honeybrook, PA

WHYY -  In 2009 Dean Carlson traded a career in finance for one as a chicken farmer.  Last month he chased his first batch of 190 free-range chickens into their final round-up, but rather than transport his chickens to an industrial processing plant, he hired a mobile facility to come to his farm and process his chickens. Peter Crimmins has more.

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Mill Closure Spikes Dream of Young Entrepreneur

Grays Harbor, WA

N3 - The Northwest economy is improving, but rural counties continue to grapple with high unemployment. Nearly four years ago we brought you the story of young professionals moving back to timber-ravaged Grays Harbor County on Washington's central coast (Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page). These 20 and 30-somethings were betting on a future in a new, green economy.

Austin Jenkins follows-up with a visit to the Grays Harbor Paper mill where the American flag still flies out front, but steam no longer rises from the smokestack.

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The Story of a Town Submerged. Literally.

Flagstaff Village, ME

MPBN - Many Mainers come to Flagstaff Lake to kayak, hunt or snowmobile. But the story of the lake is largely untold. Sixty years ago, three small towns were submerged under the Dead River.  Anna Pinkert has the story of one of those towns.

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Fearing Reform, Teachers Retire Early

Cleveland, OH

WCPN - Efforts to reform education in Ohio are not sitting well with a lot of the teachers whose performance lawmakers say they’re trying to improve. And though some of those changes are months – or even years – away, they’re having an effect now, including an exodus of older teachers from the classroom. Ida Lieszkovszky has this report.

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Harbors Threatened by Dredging Backlog

Ann Arbor, MI

Michigan Radio - The Great Lakes form a sprawling ecosystem of nature and industry.  In a strong economy, ships can transport up to 200 million tons of cargo across these waters each year.  But now the shipping industry has declared a state of emergency.  Kate Davidson reports the cause is a region-wide dredging backlog.  Shippers worry sediment buildup threatens to choke some navigation channels.

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College Bans National Anthem at Sports Events

Goshen, IN

WBEZ -  You’ll no doubt be hearing a lot of  "The Star Spangled Banner" during this weekend’s Fourth of July parades and ceremonies. But one small private college in North Central Indiana is pulling the national anthem from its sporting events. It says the anthem doesn’t fit its religious outlook. But Michael Puente reports critics of that decision are calling the college unpatriotic.

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Searching for the King of Trees

Montgomery County, MD

WAMU - For the past 20 years, Joe and his friend Donna Will have been driving around the county in search of trees to nominate to the National Register, which evaluates champions for each species according to their circumference, height and spread. Jessica Gould has more.

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