Pfeffer News


A Newcomers Guide to Washington

Washington, D.C.

WAMU – The nation’s capital draws a higher rate of new arrivals than any of the 50 states. In 2008, nearly 8-percent of the District’s population consisted of Johnny-come-latelies. One of 2009’s ‘Jane’-come-latelies is reporter Rebecca Sheir. After moving to DC this past summer, she found herself asking all sorts of questions about her new home. Questions many newcomers might be asking – and many long-timers might think they can answer.

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Timber Theft on the Rise

Birmingham, AL

WBHM – From Washington State to New York, timber theft is on the rise. Perhaps it’s the bad economy. A load of wood chips is worth up to $600. States are starting to crack down and many are watching Alabama, where proposed regulations are causing a dust-up. Tanya Ott reports.

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As American as Fruitcake

Corsicana, TX

KERA – Today as many families celebrate they’ll include a tradition that is the target of a lot of jokes. Shelley Kofler takes us to the world’s largest fruitcake factory right here in Texas, where bakers take the slights and ribbing all the way to the bank.

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Reuniting Families: Lawyers and Social Workers Team Up

Brooklyn, NY

WNYC – When it comes to cases of child abuse, sympathy clearly goes first and foremost to the children. But the parents also need help. Even those who are vilified for terrible acts.

Alisa Chang reports.

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The Cardinal: A Peace-Loving Superhero

Gaylord, MI

Interlochen Public Radio – Violence is a typical attribute and plot line in comic books and super-hero movies, from The Dark Knight to Iron Man. But Kurt Kolka’s The Cardinal is different.

Brad Aspey has more.

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Demand for Food Stamps, Services Soars

Denver, CO

KUNC – Demand for emergency assistance programs is at historic highs. Colorado, for instance, has the fifth fastest growing caseload for food stamps in the country. That’s putting a strain on scores of human services agencies. And even as the economy begins to turn around, many worry things will get much worse, before they get better.

Kirk Siegler has more.

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Staying in School to Keep Health Insurance

Berkeley, CA

The California Report – With unemployment at 12 percent in California, many young college graduates are unable to find jobs, let alone jobs with health insurance. So some are opting to stay in school and take classes just to remain on their parents’ health plan. Sarah Varney Reports.

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Boleros: The Tragic Love Ballad

Richmond, VA

WCVE – Peter Solomon filed this report on a newly formed group that specializes in performing boleros. The term bolero can mean many things, but in this instance it refers to the tradition of tragic love ballads, which are popular throughout Latin America.

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Schools Grapple with Brave New World

Aurora, OR

Oregon Public Broadcasting – North Marion School District board members have voted to allow teachers to communicate with students using social networking sites, like Facebook.

Ethan Lindsey reports about tensions with these new technologies.

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A Holiday Party for the Unemployed

Chicago, IL

WBEZ – It’s the season for holiday office parties. Awkward standing around…maybe some late night craziness with co-workers. This year, millions of people are without work and without an office party to attend. But, being without a job didn’t stop some Chicagoans from celebrating.

Adriene Hill joined the party and filed this report.

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Rangers Make the Case for a Dark Sky

Bryce Canyon, UT

KUER – For 10 years, the National Park Service has been measuring light pollution, how bright lights obscure views of the heavens. They’ve been educating park visitors and local communities in southern Utah about the benefits of preserving natural darkness.

Ross Chambless has the story.

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Rethinking Drive Time

St. Paul, MN

Minnesota Public Radio – Even with the advent of light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit – not to mention talk of new rail links from Duluth to Chicago – Minnesotans still overwhelmingly depend on their cars. Dan Olson reports that changing car culture is a key component to achieving a reduction in carbon emissions.

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Finding Firefighters in a Blaze

Amherst, MA

WFCR – Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was in Worcester to commemorate the deadly Cold Storage Warehouse blaze of ten years ago. Researchers at a nearby college, meanwhile, say they’re closer to developing a sophisticated system for locating firefighters who become lost or trapped in a burning building. Bob Paquette reports.

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Tomato Harvesters March for Wage Increase

Lakeland, FL

WMNF – A group of Florida farm workers is taking their demand for a wage increase directly to the state’s biggest grocery chain. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers marched to the Lakeland headquarters of Publix.

The tomato harvesters are asking for an additional penny per pound but so far have met with resistance from the grocery chain. Glenn Pendergrass has the story.

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Media Cashes in on Medical Pot Industry

Denver, CO

Rocky Mountain Community Radio – Colorado’s booming medical marijuana industry is doing more than just benefiting dispensaries that sell the drug for a profit. Some media outlets hit hard by the recession are cashing in on the so called gold rush, finding a new source of advertising. Others are taking a wait and see approach to the somewhat controversial revenue stream.

Bente Birkeland reports.

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Students’ Dilemma: Sports vs. Academics

Eugene, OR

Oregon Public Broadcasting – This week’s Civil War football game between Oregon and Oregon State will bring in big bucks for both schools, because of TV contracts. But as Ryan Knutson reports, the timing leaves some students in an academic pinch.

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Movie Theaters Cater to Autisic Audience

Miami, FL

WLRN – If you’re a film-lover you probably know the drill – between the trailers and the main feature, there’s usually an on-screen reminder that “Silence is Golden.” But fitting that mold can be difficult for children with autism or other disabilities. And that’s why some South Florida theaters are accommodating autistic children so they don’t miss out on the movie-going experience.

Chris DiMattei has more.

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