Many stroke patients are getting treatment with a drug that dissolves blood clots. The approach was once controversial. But giving the drug to eligible patients within a few hours of a stroke's first symptoms can prevent disability.
Javier Sanchez did not admit any guilt, but has agreed to do 32 hours of community work. He was accused of taking $200 in cash from envelopes in the congresswoman's office.
At a private school in Texas, an investment club gives students practice managing a stock portfolio. But unlike so many other student portfolios that are essentially the fantasy football leagues of the stock market, students at the Greenhill School in Dallas have set up a portfolio that uses real money. Yes, real money -- as in 100,000 actual dollars, chipped in by board members and other stakeholders. With Greenhill starting its academic year this morning, Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio speaks with one of the students running the portfolio, Lewis Carlson, an incoming senior.
The season to hunt wild alligators in the Bayou State opens Wednesday. The one-month open season is big business for fishermen and people like Tony Howard, a nuisance alligator hunter. He legally hunts alligators year-round. Inside the walk-in cooler behind his house in rural Sarepta, La., is a mound of neatly coiled and cured alligator skins ready for market.
“Whole alligators are kept in here until they are processed,” Howard says. “This keeps them at a constant temperature, and it gives me more time to skin them.”
Howard runs a processing business on the side. He’ll skin dozens of alligators this season and then sell the hides at the best price. He says the cost of a whole alligator could jump 10 percent over last year. A 10-footer might fetch about $400.
“We’re not out to make a killing," he says. "We’re not out to retire off of it. This is just a commodity, and you have to shop it, and try to get the best price you can out of the commodity."
That’s attracted more alligator buyers to the market, according to Howard. About 34,000 wild alligators will be harvested from Louisiana this year. Meanwhile, luxury goods companies are buying alligator and crocodile farms and tanneries around the world. They want more control over their raw material. Christy Plott Redd, vice president of sales at American Tanning and Leather in Griffin, Ga., says this is good for business.
“Luxury brands that buy tanneries typically use alligator and crocodile every season, year after year, and it lends stability to our industry and also increases demand for the skins,” Redd says.
Demand is strong, and Redd is trying to get an edge over other buyers. Her tannery is awarding $10,000 to the fisherman who brings her the biggest catch and all their alligators for this season -- regardless of what they look like. Like grading diamonds, according to Redd, there are good ones and bad ones. Her tannery will eat the cost on ones that aren’t perfect enough for her fashion house customers.
“Maybe less than 10 percent of the alligators that we buy are really first-grade skins. You sell those at a premium price,” Redd says. “But the ones that are bad, they stack up on your shelves for years and years.”
A typical handbag may take two or three alligators. European craftsmanship drives up the price. There’s also a thriving secondary market for collectors of alligator handbags, according to Thomai Serdari, who teaches luxury marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business.
“There is a constant exchange in a very small group of people who tend to actually increase the prices," Serdari says. "We have alligator bags that have hit the market that go as high as $130,000, which is absurd.”
Soaring prices are driven by a strong demand from luxury consumers in Asia, Serdari says. But in bayou country, gator hunter Tony Howard just hopes that temperatures remain summerlike so the big ones bite, and the season isn’t a bust.
“The only time that I enjoy this is whenever I’m leaving the buyer with check in hand," Howard says. "The rest of this is all a job.”
His part is not glamorous, but it pays the bills.
Serena Williams dispatched Francesca Schiavone, 6-0, 6-1, from the first round of the U.S. Open Monday night, joining her older sister Venus in the second round. It's just the second time this year that both players got past the first round of a Grand Slam event.
Parent advocates and a new federal law making accessible play areas a civil right are changing the landscape for public playgrounds.
NPR Education Correspondent Claudio Sanchez opens up his notebook to share some of the education stories he's been covering this year. He talks with host Michel Martin about claims of segregation in Memphis schools, and the controversy over new education standards.
Host Michel Martin hears from a group of teachers about how education policies and technology are changing today's classrooms. She's joined by fifth grade teacher Rafe Esquith, third grade teacher Tequila Pennington-Calwise and school librarian Elissa Malespina.
Tell Me More checks in with the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, about the biggest challenges educators, parents and students face in schools today. He talks with host Michel Martin about education as a civil rights issue.
A community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds. So far, we've identified more than 1,200. Help us find more.
From Urban Outfitters to Oreo Cookies, a growing number of brands are experimenting with Vine to interact with their customers. The app lets users shoot-and-share six-second videos, and now it’s at the center of a new marketing campaign from Airbnb. The travel accommodations website is asking people to help make the first-ever short film using Vines.
Airbnb is calling its short film campaign “Hollywood & Vines” in a kind of homage to the famous intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Los Angeles -- an epicenter of the film business almost a century ago. “We thought of Hollywood as, you know, the legacy of storytelling, and Vines as the future of storytelling in video form,” says Vivek Wagle, the company’s head of brand strategy.
He won’t reveal the plot but Wagle says the theme is “finding your place in the world.” Airbnb is posting a list of shots on its website and people can submit their Vines on Twitter. The final product will air on the Sundance Channel.
“This is sort of the next evolution of brands trying to engage with consumers,” explains Matt Britton, CEO of the social media marketing firm MRY. He says Airbnb is getting people to interact with its brand. “You know, if they can do that then at the end of the day also have great content which they can then bottle up, repackage and share, well then that’s even more of a win," he says.
Britton says the campaign helps Vine too, adding Airbnb’s customers to its growing user base.
Even before the earthquake back in 2010, Haiti was no easy place. Hardships and poverty, instability and violence are a long part of its history. Throw in some wrenching family reality, and that's a good part of the plot of Edwidge Danticat's new novel, "Claire of the Sea Light."
The book centers on the story of a young Haitian girl named Claire whose father is considering giving her away in the hopes of getting her a better life. On the day he finally makes the heart-wrenching decision, Claire disappears. As the novel unfolds, we learn more and more about the people in her town, and what they do to make it by day-to-day.
In some ways, poverty and aspiration themselves are a character in the book.
"This idea of wanting better, wanting better for oneself, for one's child, in an environment where the actual environment, the political environment, the financial opportunities are villains" is an important part of the book, says Danticat. "Dreaming, aspiring, working hard -- are all parts of the fabric of this book."
Claire's father, in the novel, must make the difficult decision to give her away.
"The father, thinking about market, thinking about money, writes a letter to Claire saying' I'm not selling you' because he realizes there are situations in which people do sell their children," says Danticat.
That the book mentions the possibility of slavery is no coincidence, says Danicat, who is quick to point out that "our society in Haiti that were initially formed out of a very terrible transaction, the horrible slave trade is so deep a part of our history. Whenever elements of it emerge in our day to day transactions, it is very painful and uncomfortable, even in the present."
In October, online health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, will open for business. As the start date nears, people's questions about the particulars of buying insurance on the exchanges are streaming in.