Pfeffer News


Shortening the Wait for Health Care

Pinole, CA

The California Report – Critics of the “public option” for health insurance insist a government-run system will lead to long wait times for treatment. But people with private coverage may already face substantial delays in getting treatment. In California, the state is setting limits on how long those waits can be — the first state in the nation to do so.

Sarah Varney reports.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.

Hopi Try to Create Culturally Compatible Tourism

Flagstaff, AZ

KNAU – A couple weeks ago there was a big hand painted sign stuck on the side of the road on Second Mesa, on the Hopi Reservation “Snake Dance closed to non-Indians.” Village leaders cited a lack of respect for Hopi traditions. It’s not a new problem. But it underscores a difficult balance for the Hopi how to encourage tourism while also protecting their ancient culture.

Daniel Kraker has the story.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.


“Twilight” Town Sees Tourist Boom

Forks, WA

NWPR – The best-selling “Twilight” books series and last fall’s blockbuster movie created a boon for the tourism industry in Forks, Washington. The small timber town on the Olympic Peninsula is the setting for the vampire saga. Now, at a time when most tourist destinations are hurting, Forks is embracing the vampire theme and transforming its image along the way.

Barbara Leidl reports.

Click here to listen to the story.


Walk-to-School Program Gains Traction

Kansas City, MO

KCUR – Forty years ago, about half of all children walked or biked to school, and childhood obesity rates were low. Nowadays, only about one in seven get to school on their own power, and about a third of kids in Kansas and Missouri are overweight.

Walking to school saves gas, and it burns calories. As local governments and parents tighten their belts in this economy, many Kansas City area parents are looking to walk-to-school programs.

Elana Gordon reports.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.


A Taste of the Homeland

Lowell, MA

WBUR – The historical hotbed of America’s Industrial Revolution, Lowell seems an unlikely place to launch a social experiment in agriculture, but the city is teeming with recent immigrants who hunger for a taste of food from their homelands.

Chris Burrell reports.

Click here to listen to the story.


Budget Cuts May Exacerbate Marijuana Problem

Coalfax, CA

KXJZ – Authorities fear the problem of marijuana farms on public lands will worsen as law enforcement agencies scale back in the tough economy. In addition, California may close up to 100 state parks.

Marianne Russ reports.

Click here to listen to the story.


Bladesmithing Program in Demand

Washington, AR

KUAR – For more than two decades, people from around the world have been making their way to Washington, Arkansas, to study knifemaking at the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing.

Karen Tricot-Steward has a report on the school, where instructors are widely regarded as some of the best knife makers in the country.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.


Changing Fortunes in the New York Governor’s Race

Albany, NY

North Country Public Radio – Governor David Paterson is marking a year and a half in office. In that time, his popularity has slipped to historic lows. Polls over the last few months show Attorney General Andrew Cuomo would trounce the Governor in a Democratic primary.

Karen DeWitt takes a look at the changing fortunes of these two politicians.

Click here to listen to the story.


Gun Ownership Growing in Oklahoma

Oklahoma, OK

KOSU – The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says somewhere between 82 and 83,000 Oklahomans currently have concealed-carry licenses and that number is growing. New and renewing applications jumped from about 18,000 in 2008 to nearly 34,000 in 2009.

Michael Cross reports.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.


Gift Fair Reveals Retailers Cautiously Optimistic

New York, NY

WNYC – Christmas shopping is probably the last thing on your mind right now, unless you are a buyer who stopped by The New York International Gift Fair, where store owners met their wholesale suppliers this.

Lisa Chow has the story.

Click here to listen to the story.


Money for Section 8 Drying Up

Manchester, NH

NHPR – Federal funding for the nation’s largest rental assistance program- Section 8- could dry up for some housing authorities before year’s end. The shortfall has forced some low-income families to pay higher rents, and put others in jeopardy of losing their vouchers altogether.

As for the hundreds of thousands currently on multi-year waiting lists nationwide, Dan Gorenstein reports their waits are now even longer.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.


Tribes Look Beyond Casinos for Long-Term Profit

Milwaukee, WI

Wisconsin Public Radio – If you think Native Americans and economic development, you might picture casinos. The National Indian Gaming Association says the 233 tribes that own casinos ring up 26-billion dollars in gross profits a year. But a growing number of tribes aren’t betting on the black jack tables or slot machines to fill their coffers indefinitely.

Brian Bull reports many are cashing in on new venture.

Click here to listen to the story.


Discovery Of Opium Poppies Has Law Officers Concerned

McMinnville, OR

Oregon Public Broadcasting – Imagine an ocean of scarlet opium poppies dancing in the summer wind. Sounds like something you’d encounter on the rugged hillsides of Afghanistan. But investigators were surprised this summer to discover cultivated poppy fields growing in Oregon’s wilderness.

Several scenarios may explain these illegal back-country gardens, but law enforcement isn’t thrilled with any of them.

April Baer reports.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.


Catholics Go Elsewhere to Practice Their Faith

Tempe, AZ

KJZZ – A new, unofficial branch has grown out of the Roman Catholic Church in Tempe, Arizona. The fledgling movement includes about 300 Reformed Catholics who are fed up with the politics and policies of the mainstream church.

Peter O’Dowd reports.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.


Falling Land Values Create Conservation Opportunities

The Berkshires, MA

Vermont Public Radio – States are facing tough decisions about where to invest their shrinking budgets. In most cases protecting open space is not at the top of the list. But the downturn in the economy has also meant, in some places, a drop in land values.

Nancy Cohen of WNPR in Hartford reports that’s creating new opportunities to preserve land and curb development.

Click here to listen to the story.


“Cash for Clunkers” Could Hurt Nonprofits

Miami, FL

WLRN-Miami Herald – Just before the end of their useful lives, many old cars are donated to charities that either sell them to raise funds or make them available to people with low income. But, in an unintended consequence, people who might once have donated their smoky gas guzzlers are finding better deals from the Cash for Clunkers program. Rick Stone has more on a new problem for nonprofits.

Click here to listen to the story.


Niche Farmers Find Economic Success

Pescadero, CA

The California Report – It’s been a tough year for many farmers. Milk prices have collapsed, and cattle and almond prices are depressed. But along the northern Central Coast, a number of small farms are actually faring better than ever.

Lisa Morehouse reports.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked website.


Plastic Debris Pollutes Ocean, Food Chain

Honolulu, HI

Hawaii Public Radio – For more than a decade a scrappy research foundation has worked to raise awareness about marine debris. One pressing issue is plastic permeating the ocean and seeping into the food chain.

Ben Markus has the story.

Click here to listen to the story.

Graffiti Carved in Stone Obscures History

Flagstaff, AZ

KNAU – Graffiti doesn’t just happen in cities. Despite advice to leave nothing but footprints, each year thousands of visitors to southwestern natural areas scratch their names into boulders and cliffs. At Lake Powell and elsewhere in the west, that’s had historic consequences.

Tristan Clum reports.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.


High Tech Entrepreneurs Getting Younger

Redmond, WA

Northwest News Network – Social networking, blogging and internet video tools have become so simple that even a fifth grader can use them. In fact, students that young ARE using them and in some cases turning out pages more polished and professional than us grown-ups.

Tom Banse paid a visit to some young and talented bloggers and product reviewers in Redmond. He reports on the promise and peril companies face in a world where anyone with a website can be a critic.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.

Northwest News Network is a collaboration between public radio stations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. More information at


Hitting the Sweet Spot: Maple or Ash?

Minneapolis, MN

MPR – What do Major League Baseball players have in common with forest products researchers? They’re all preoccupied with, well, wood. Recently, the focus has been on tree-eating bugs and exploding baseball bats.

Brandt Williams joins the Twins for batting practice to learn more about their bats.

Click here to listen to the story on the linked web page.