National News

Meet The High School Student Who Took Down A State Lawmaker

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 11:26

A week before graduating from high school, 17-year-old Saira Blair won the GOP primary in a conservative West Virginia district. Even the incumbent she defeated concedes she outworked him.

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The Turkish Mine Disaster: How Could It Happen?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 11:10

The accident that has claimed hundreds of lives appears to have causes that are all too familiar to mining experts in the U.S. and around the world.

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Oil booms have to be good for rural towns, right?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-15 11:03

New Mexico is the nation’s sixth largest oil producer. The industry is creating thousands of jobs in the southeast corner of the state. But all that activity is straining basic services. Housing is limited, classrooms are crowded and roads are more dangerous. Now cities are struggling to catch up.

At Puckett Elementary in Carlsbad, New Mexico a first grade class sang along with their teacher. They gather inside a portable classroom. Schools in Carlsbad are running out of space. Superintendent Gary Perkowski said in the last two years the district has enrolled 200 new students.

"All of a sudden it's going up and going up really quickly and very drastically," Perkowski said.

Carlsbad sits atop the fuel-rich Permian Basin. Dozens of new companies have come here to take advantage of high oil prices. That's attracted a bigger workforce. Crowded classrooms are not the only concern.   

"Last year we lost ten teachers that came to Carlsbad, signed contracts...and could not find housing," Perkowski said.

This town of 27,000 people is growing twice as fast as the rest of the state. Teachers are competing with other newcomers looking for a home.

"We had one guy that was trying to live with his family in a motel at a hundred and something dollars a night and that didn't last long," Perkowski said.

Because of the high demand, major hotel chains in Carlsbad charge rates comparable to New York City.  

At a popular Mexican restaurant Mayor Dale Janway digger into a plate of green enchiladas. He had just come from the oilfields himself where he works as a safety consultant.  

"This is one of the hot spots in the country right now and there are a lot of challenges," he said.

Janway said developers can't build fast enough. New apartments have waiting lists. Workers live in outlying RV parks. But it's not just the oil industry. This region is a major producer of potash, a component in fertilizer. A new mine should start construction this year. The U.S. Department of Energy also runs the country's only permanent nuclear waste facility just outside town.

"Anytime you have growth like we do you have more urgency calls, more fire calls, more police problems," Janway said.

Yet another issue is the traffic. It's especially busy along the 70 miles that separate Carlsbad from the neighboring town of Hobbs. Trucks hauling long cylinder tanks and heavy machinery are non-stop on weekdays mornings.

Ten people have died in traffic accidents this year, a high number in this mostly rural county. Carlsbad native Andrew Perez lost his brother in an accident two years ago.   

"My brother worked for an oilfield company, driving trucks and he worked very hard, long hours, didn't get sleep and ended up crashing his truck," Perez said.

His brother left a job in a corrections facility to become a trucker, Perez said. Before that he was Marine who served in Iraq.

"The day he died was the day that he found out he was going to be a father," Perez said.

An investigation by the Associated Press this year found that in some oil-rich states traffic fatalities have quadrupled in the past decade. In Southeast New Mexico, a coalition has formed a task force to address roadside deaths. A state representative is also pushing legislation that would fund highway improvements in oil-producing counties.

In Idaho, A Debate Like You've Never Seen Before

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 10:50

When two long-shots joined the top Republican candidates for governor at a debate Wednesday, they produced a night to remember.

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Chinese Nationals Flee Vietnam As Unrest Intensifies

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 10:46

Vietnamese mobs are destroying foreign-owned property and hunting down Chinese nationals in an angry response to Beijing's push to place an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters.

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Medicine Needs More Research On Female Animals, NIH Says

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 10:05

A bias toward using male lab animals and tissue samples from males may be limiting the effectiveness of medical research, according to top officials at NIH. They'll roll out new guidelines this fall.

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Wildfires In San Diego County Continue To Rage Out Of Control

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 09:07

Conditions improved Thursday, with winds dying down and the promise of a cooling trend beginning this weekend. But the latest major fire, near Cal State, San Marcos, is only 5 percent contained.

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Congratulations, you're pregnant! Now buy stuff

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-15 09:05

Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that Shutterfly, an online photo printing service, sent out a mass email with the subject line: "Congratulations, you're pregnant!" -- even to people who were not, in fact, pregnant.

According to a survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans will put an average of $241,080 into a child born in 2012 (incidentally, the average calf costs about $363.69). To mix animal metaphors, there's profit to be made off the nesting impulse. The global baby care market was worth $44.7 billion in 2011 and by some estimates, it could be as big as $66.8 billion by 2017.

Shutterstock.com

Shutterfly made the kind of honest mistake that keeps marketing departments up at night. The company's chief marketing officer has since sent an email with language like "Please accept our most sincere apologies... We know this is a sensitive issue."  

But the fact remains: Pregnant people (and their supportive counterparts) spend a lot of money. Why not wish for more of them? 

Companies do all sorts of marketing sommersaults to sell goods to expectant parents, despite the "sensitive" nature of species procreation.

A few strategies:

Pretend like you're selling luxury cars: Meet "The Leather Aston Martin James Bond Baby Stroller": It features "aluminum alloy wheels," is made of "fine leather and air-ride suspension," and costs $3,000. 

Go green, recycle: When a baby outgrows this $999.16 "pure wool felt" hanging tripod crib, the crib lives on organically: "grow something else, flowers or tomatoes.... A transparent hood, durable and lightweight, which turns it into a small winter plants shelter, in the garden or on the terrace."

Woodlyecodesign/Etsy.com

Use the words "all-in-one": Bonus points if you also include the phrase "multi-tasker," or "more than two hands." 

Take, for example, the Combi All In One Mobile Entertainer. It's not only a high chair, it's also a walker, noise-maker, and vintage car.

Toys'R'Us.com

Baby straight jackets: Aww.

Hulabye.com

Parents (or people who have had parents): If babies double as a money-making venture, what do you think it's important for companies to remember? What kinds of sales pitch works best?

Oldest National Park Ranger Shares 'What Gets Remembered'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:35

Betty Reid Soskin has seen World War II, the civil rights movement, and lived "lots and lots of lives." The 92-year-old shares what she's learned with guest host Celeste Headlee.

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Why This Octopus Isn't Stuck-Up

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:18

Some chemical in octopus skin acts as a repellent to the little suction cups on the arms, a surprise finding shows. Without it, the eight-armed creature would tie itself in knots.

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Solar-Powered Bike Lock Aims To Be The Airbnb Of Bike-Sharing

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:04

The Skylock can let you share your bike with others — and it'll send you a text if it thinks a thief has his hands on it.

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For Some Doctors, Almost All Medicare Patients Are Above Average

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:02

Recently released Medicare data show that 1,800 doctors and other health providers nearly always charge Medicare the highest rate for patient care. Experts challenge the legitimacy of the charges.

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PODCAST: The inflation-interest paradox

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:55

Today we're trying to resolve a paradox. Inflation is on the rise in America, yet interest rates are getting lower still. On the one hand, there's word this morning the Consumer Price Index went up three tenths percent in April, the most in 10 months.  Yet, look at benchmark interest rates. To look at this we turn to Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

And, we been covering an ongoing swarm of protests by fast food workers looking for higher pay in the U.S. Now the protests are going global, involving fast food workers across more than 30 countries, from Argentina to New Zealand. Marketplace's Krissy Clark has some international comparisons.

Meanwhile, in Jersey City and other towns along the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, small-scale entrepreneurs are taking aim at that urban ritual of waiting for the darned bus.  Private operators of mini-buses now ply the streets. Amid questions about safety and traffic, there are new regulations on the way. Marketplace's Dan Weissmann takes us to the "Wild West" of the Hudson.

 

A Sponge Cake's Long, Strange Trip: Germany To Denver, Via Japan

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:47

The baumkuchen is an odd yet tasty layered German sponge cake baked on a spit. It arrived in Denver last year via a long, strange tour of Asia. Its history is as complex as its many layers.

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Educating Girls: Big Payoff For $45 A Year

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:37

Girls without an education are six times more likely to marry young than those who've finished high school, according to a new report from the World Bank Group. Guest host Celeste Headlee learns more.

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Breaking Up Helped Ledisi Find 'The Truth' In Her Music

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:36

Grammy-nominated singer Ledisi pulls no punches when talking about a failed relationship. She says it even became the inspiration of her latest album.

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The Pact That Turned A Juvenile Delinquent Into A Medical Doctor

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:34

Not so long ago, Dr. Sampson Davis found himself in detention for a crime that could have sent his life in a completely different direction. He shares how his big break turned things around.

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FCC Gives Initial OK To New Internet Traffic Rules

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:31

The commissioners voted 3-2 to push forward with proposed rules intended to guide how Internet traffic is regulated. Public comments on the proposal are due by July 15.

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Statuettes and medals

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:20

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Friday, May 16:

In Washington, the Commerce Department reports on construction of new homes for April.

Viewers tune in to "The View" for Barbara Walters' final regular appearance.

Skip the gas pump. Fuel up on Wheaties instead. It's Bike to Work Day.

Gymnast Olga Korbut celebrates her 59th birthday. She wowed crowds with her gold medal winning moves in Munich at the 1972 Olympics.

And the first Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929. "Wings" took top honors for best picture, the only silent film to do so.

After Cory Booker, Newark Takes A New Turn

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:13

Ras Baraka was elected mayor of New Jersey's largest city after criticizing the charter schools and corporate interests that thrived when Booker, the high-profile mayor-turned-senator, had the job.

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