National

The Two-Way
7:37 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Wild Weather Warning: Tornadoes, Heavy Snows, High Winds

Where is spring? Icy branches partially blocked a city street Wednesday in Sioux Falls, S.D. More wintry weather is expected there Thursday.
Dirk Lammers ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • From St. Louis Public Radio: Tim Lloyd reports on the severe weather

While a "Minnesota winter that won't end is expected to dump up to a foot of snow in the Twin Cities by Thursday night," people in Missouri and Arkansas are "grappling with the aftermath of a series of storms that spawned at least two tornadoes."

And the wild weather is spreading to other parts of the nation:

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Business
3:21 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Texas Contractors Say Playing By The Rules Doesn't Pay

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 8:35 pm

This story is part of a two-part series about the construction industry in Texas. Find the first part here.

Homes in Texas are cheap — at least compared with much of the country. You can buy a brand new, five-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot house near Fort Worth for just $160,000.

But that affordability comes at a price — to workers, many of whom are in the country illegally and make $12 an hour or less, but also to business owners.

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It's All Politics
6:06 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Michelle Obama Steps Into Gun Control Debate

First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday speaks about 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed on the South Side of Chicago earlier this year.
Paul Beaty AP

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:19 pm

First lady Michelle Obama gave a personal and emotional speech Wednesday in Chicago as she stepped into the debate over gun control.

"Right now, my husband is fighting as hard as he can and engaging as many people as he can to pass common-sense reforms to protect our children from gun violence," she said.

The first lady was in her hometown to encourage business leaders to donate millions of dollars to programs for at-risk youth.

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Education
5:30 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

El Paso Schools Cheating Scandal: Who's Accountable?

Former El Paso Independent School District Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia is escorted by his attorneys into a Texas courthouse. He was found guilty of fiddling with El Paso schools' test scores for his own financial gain.
Ruben R. Ramirez/The El Paso Times AP

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 2:29 pm

No one knows if Atlanta's school superintendent or any of the people accused of falsifying test results will go to jail, but they wouldn't be the first if they do.

Lorenzo Garcia, the former superintendent of schools in El Paso, Texas, has been sitting in a federal prison since last year. He's the nation's first superintendent convicted of fraud and reporting bogus test scores for financial gain.

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The Salt
5:22 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Cities Turn Sewage Into 'Black Gold' For Local Farms

Thick jets of processed sewage arc out 30 to 40 feet from giant moving spreaders at Birmingham Farm in Kansas City, Mo.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 12:07 pm

On a normal day, Kansas City, Mo., processes more than 70 million gallons of raw sewage. This sewage used to be a nuisance, but Kansas City, and a lot of municipalities around the country, are now turning it into a resource for city farmers hard up for fertilizer.

After the sewage has been processed at a treatment plant, it's piped out to Birmingham Farm on the north side of the Missouri River.

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It's All Politics
4:34 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Some States Hike Gas Tax; Va. Tries New Route To Fund Roads

Drivers travel on Interstate 495, the Capital Beltway, near Tysons Corner in Fairfax County, Va., in November, just days before the opening of four new express lanes. Virginia is among 19 states that have approved or are considering legislation to increase transportation funding, according to Transportation for America.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:19 pm

It's no secret that many of the nation's roads are in pretty bad shape. In the latest report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the condition of America's highways rated a grade of D.

Congestion is a big problem, and so is upkeep. Most states rely on gas taxes to raise the money for repairs and new construction, but that funding source is not the stream it used to be, says James Corless of Transportation for America.

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Around the Nation
4:34 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

'Mayors Against Illegal Guns' Push For Background Checks

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The group Mayors Against Illegal Guns has launched a million-dollar media blitz to support new gun legislation. One TV ad features Neil Heslin, whose son, Jesse Lewis, was among those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

NEIL HESLIN: Oh, I feel it's something I owe to my son, Jesse, to speak up and I'm his voice. And I feel if I didn't, I would be letting Jesse down.

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Sports
4:34 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Honus Wagner Baseball Card Gained Value From An Early Recall

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:19 pm

A U.S. District court judge is wrestling with punishment for a sports memorabilia dealer. William Mastro is accused of altering a rare baseball card before selling it. The 1909 Honus Wagner card demands upwards of $2 million at auction. Melissa Block talks with memorabilia magnate Ken Goldin about the case and the card.

Business
4:34 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Postal Service Backs Off Ending Saturday Mail Delivery

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Turns out that Saturday first-class mail service isn't going anywhere. The Postal Service today backtracked on its decision to reduce deliveries in an effort to save money. But it says that's only because language in the bill funding the federal government currently bars such a change. As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, this means the service will be running even deeper in the red.

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Politics
4:34 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Agrees To Background Check Plan

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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