Business
4:34 am
Tue December 17, 2013

New Owner Promises Handmade Steinways For Years To Come

Some Steinway company representatives and employees — like Wally Boot, pictured here — have been working for the company for decades. Boot is the last person to touch every piano that leaves the factory in Queens, N.Y.
Craig Warga Bloomberg/Getty

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:30 am

For 160 years, the pianos made by Steinway & Sons have been considered the finest in the world. So when hedge fund billionaire John Paulson recently bought the company, it struck fear in the hearts of musicians: Would the famously handcrafted pianos be changed, for the sake of efficiency? Paulson, who owns several Steinways himself, says nothing will change.

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Business
3:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Economists, Unemployed Fret Over Long-Term Jobless Aid Lapse

Attendees of a job fair in California in October fill out paperwork.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:30 am

Democrats in Congress are promising to try to retroactively extend emergency unemployment benefits after the new year. With the House already in recess, the benefits are expected to expire at the end of the month.

The Senate is still in Washington working on a bipartisan budget agreement passed by the House before it left town last week, but the bill does not include a benefits extension.

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Number Of The Year
3:16 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Year In Numbers: The Federal Reserve's $85 Billion Question

On Tuesday, Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting where many analysts expect they will announce a reduction in the central bank's $85 billion monthly stimulus.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:30 am

Many economists and investors think there's a good chance that at the end of their two-day meeting that begins Tuesday, Federal Reserve policymakers will announce that they'll begin reducing their $85 billion monthly stimulus, their third round of quantitative easing, or QE3.

The analysts think recent economic data, like a drop in the unemployment rate to 7 percent and a budget deal in Washington, have brightened the outlook for the economy enough that the Fed can pull back.

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The Salt
3:15 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Forget Golf Courses: Subdivisions Draw Residents With Farms

The Bucking Horse subdivision in Fort Collins, Colo., will include a working CSA farm, complete with historic barn, farm house and chicken coop.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:00 am

When you picture a housing development in the suburbs, you might imagine golf courses, swimming pools, rows of identical houses.

But now, there's a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement: Farms — complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees — are serving as the latest suburban amenity.

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Local History
9:25 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Small town newspaper is historic, but still relevant

Editor of the Paw Paw Courier Leader Robin Griffin
Credit Nancy Camden

In small communities, people depend on the weekly newspaper for local news. The Paw Paw Courier-Leader carries on a long tradition that dates back to 1843. These days, obituaries are posted on their website as soon as they get them, but otherwise the pace is slow.

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Remembrances
8:06 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Country Music Legend Ray Price Dies At 87

Country music singer and songwriter Ray Price died Monday at the age of 87 at his ranch in Texas. Price was a Grammy Award Winner and who had more than 100 country hits in his decades-long career. A 1996 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, he was credited with pioneering a shuffle beat and walking bass line that became standard in Texas dance halls.

Around the Nation
5:17 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

All Aboard! Real-Life Polar Express Chugs Through Michigan

The Pere Marquette 1225 rolls into view in Owosso, Mich. It's been a local favorite for decades and especially gained popularity after inspiring the look and sounds of the train in a 2004 film.
James DeVleeschouwer Jr. Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 6:12 pm

Every sight and sound of the magical Christmas train in the 2004 film The Polar Express is based on a real-life steam locomotive. The Pere Marquette 1225 has its own Christmas story to tell — and it involves a very close call with the scrapyard.

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Movie Interviews
5:02 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Spike Jonze Opens His Heart For 'Her'

Joaquin Phoenix plays a man in love with an operating system in director Spike Jonze's latest film, Her.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 8:49 pm

Writer-director Spike Jonze's latest movie, called simply Her, is about a lonely man who falls in love ... with his operating system. The two lovers — Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) — never meet face to face. In fact Samantha has no face, not even an avatar.

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Shots - Health News
5:02 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Doctor Helps Iowa Couple Face Illness On Their Own Terms

Dr. Tim Ihrig, a palliative care physician, treats Augie Avelleyra, 93, at his home in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Courtesy of Paula Avelleyra

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:49 am

When Dr. Tim Ihrig crosses the threshold of the Avelleyras home in Fort Dodge, Iowa, he steps over a doormat that says, "One nice person and one old grouch live here."

It doesn't take long to figure out who the nice person is.

Phyllis Avelleyra grew up on a farm in western Iowa and met her husband, Augie, in "the big city," otherwise known as Fort Dodge. Population 25,000. The couple has been married for 60 years. They have five daughters, the oldest of whom is already a grandmother herself.

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All Tech Considered
5:02 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Is Silicon Valley Automating Our Obsolescence?

One of several robots at the University of California, San Francisco's hospital pharmacy helps manage and track its drug inventory.
Leland Kim/University of California, San Francisco

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 2:58 pm

This week, we're exploring the San Francisco Bay Area and the way income inequality is affecting the region. Check out the other pieces of the week, aggregated on this page.

Silicon Valley has created mind-boggling amounts of wealth. Entire industries have been invented here. Smartphones, search engines, cloud computing and cars that drive themselves are designed here.

Billionaires are minted annually, but inequality is rising rapidly.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

In Florida, A Turf War Blooms Over Front-Yard Vegetable Gardening

Hermine Ricketts says she gardens for the food and for the peace it brings her.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 8:06 pm

In tropical South Florida, it's growing season. Temperatures are in the 80s, there's lots of sun and good rain, and normally, Hermine Ricketts' plants would already be in the ground.

"By now, this should be probably Red Sails lettuce, which is a beautiful color lettuce, or purple mizuna, which is a beautiful filigreed purple leaf," she says.

But this year, Ricketts' vegetable planting has been derailed by a legal fight over what she can plant and where she can plant it.

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Music Reviews
1:40 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

A Former Girl-Group Singer Goes 'All Or Nothing'

With new songs and covers, La La Brooks' All or Nothing isn't just an attempted career comeback.
Jacob Blickenstaff Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 2:33 pm

A half-century on, La La Brooks still sings about boys and girls falling in love. At an age when other veterans of first-generation rock movements are thinking about retirement or oldies tours, Brooks has come up with a fresh, energetic collection that doesn't deny her past, but also refuses to succumb to mere nostalgia.

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Music Interviews
1:40 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Fresh Air Remembers Jazz Pianist Jimmy Amadie

Jimmy Amadie.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 2:39 pm

For decades, Jimmy Amadie played solely in his home, heard only by his students when he'd play for them during lessons. His performing career was derailed because of severe hand problems. But later in life, he achieved some fame for his albums — and for the story of what he'd had to overcome to make it possible for him to record. Amadie died of lung cancer on Dec. 10. He was 76.

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Music
1:40 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Holiday Music To Bring Folks Together

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. With so much contention in air around holiday get-togethers, jazz critic Ken Whitehead wonders if music might help bring together folks with opposing views. He has some listening and viewing recommendations for seasonal dinners.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TEEN TOWN")

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12:30 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Detroit bankruptcy judge allows appeal of eligibility and pension rulings

Lead in text: 
Judge Stephen Rhodes did not act on request o fast-track appeals
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes today allowed appeals of two of his critical rulings — finding Detroit eligible for bankruptcy and its pension systems subject to cuts to retirees — to proceed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
World
12:23 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

With Mandela Gone, How Will South Africa Go On?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, if you're shopping for Christmas gifts this week, you might have recent stories about racial profiling in your mind. We'll talk about what you should do if you think you are a target or you see someone else who is.

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Race
12:23 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Are Black Shoppers More Likely To Be Profiled?

Holiday shopping season is in full swing, but some people might be getting more than they paid for. Host Michel Martin talks about racial profiling, and what to do if you're a target. She's joined by Rutgers professor Jerome Williams and attorney Melba Pearson .

Around the Nation
12:23 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Community And Police Tension Boils Over In Miami Gardens

The police chief in Miami Gardens, Florida, has stepped down and the force is facing allegations of racial profiling. For more why the department is under fire and how residents are responding, host Michel Martin speaks with Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown and pastor Horace Ward.

11:58 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Motorcycle helmet use falls by 25% in Michigan

Lead in text: 
Drop follows change in law allowing some to ride without a helmet
Helmet use by motorcycle riders has fallen by nearly a quarter after the state approved legislation allowing riders to go without them. A new survey finds 73 percent of motorcycle riders in Michigan wear helmets, down from 99.4 percent in 2006 when the last statewide observation survey was conducted, according to finds from the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group.
11:39 am
Mon December 16, 2013

First week of prison food switch brings mixed reviews

Lead in text: 
Deal saves $12-million to $16-million a year, eliminates about 370 state jobs
LANSING - One week after the launch of one of state government's largest privatization moves in decades, prison officials said a contractor is doing a good job providing meals to Michigan's 45,000 prisoners, but union leaders said the transition has been a rocky one.
10:42 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Stabenow says "significant" movement on mental health bill

Lead in text: 
Legislation would allow community mental health centers to bill Medicaid for mental health treatments, like physical health services
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said a "significant" step was made last week toward expanding mental health care in the U.S. On Thursday, the Excellence in Mental Health Act passed the Senate Finance Committee as part of a bill that would allow Medicaid to help cover mental health care at community centers.
9:45 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Storm damage leaves Mattawan High School gym unusable for two more months

Lead in text: 
Boys' and girls' varsity home basketball games will be played at Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • Source: Mlive
  • | Via: Kalamazoo Gazette
MATTAWAN, MI -- Mattawan High School gymnasium is likely to be unusable until at least mid-February, as workers scramble to repair damage caused by a Nov. 17 windstorm, school officials say. The storm blew off part of the gym roof, causing water damage to the gym floor.
Games & Humor
7:35 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Video For Canadian Beer Pong Goes Viral

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene with another edition of we don't like to laugh at our neighbors to the north, but... This time, Canadian beer pong. Picture an air hockey table and at each end, holes for cups of beer. Shoot the puck into one of your opponent's cups, and he has to drink the contents. The guys who invented the game posted an image of their table over the weekend. It went viral.

Europe
7:31 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Retired Butler Doesn't Want To Spend Christmas Alone

A retired butler has been "completely overwhelmed" by the response to a story about him in The Irish Post. James Gray put an ad in the paper, saying he's spent the last 10 Christmases alone, and he wanted this year to be different.

6:15 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Men's basketball: Missouri 66 Western Michigan 60

Lead in text: 
Broncos are 5-4 on season
  • Source: Mlive
  • | Via: Kalamazoo Gazette
The Western Michigan men's basketball team was within reach of a major upset Sunday at No. 24-ranked Missouri, but the Broncos could not quite get over the hump against the Tigers.
Business
5:03 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Amazon's Workers In Germany Strike Over Pay

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:11 am

About 1,000 unionized Amazon workers in Germany are going on strike in the midst of the crucial holiday season. They're asking to be paid on a similar scale to the mail order and retail sectors.

Business
5:03 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Demand Grows For Trappist Monks' Beer

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:27 am

In Belgium, the Trappists produce Orval. Forbes Magazine reports there simply aren't enough monks to expand production of Orval. The abbey once had 35 monks, but today that number is down to just a dozen.

Europe
5:03 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Germany's Merkel To Be Sworn In Again As Chancellor

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:46 am

Weeks of post-election political limbo have ended in Germany. The country's main center-left party has voted to join the coalition government of Angela Merkel. The move clears the way for her to start her third term as chancellor.

Race
5:03 am
Mon December 16, 2013

'SNL' Looks To Add Black Woman To Comedy Show's Cast

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:47 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Comedy is a rough, cutthroat kind of business, makes no claims to be fair. But in recent months, the cry for better representation of black women on "Saturday Night Live" has grown louder.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In its 37 years on air, NBC's flagship sketch comedy show has had just four black female cast members, and there have been none for six years now. Pop-culture watchers argue that this matters because SNL is important springboard for young comedians.

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Movies
5:03 am
Mon December 16, 2013

What's Your Favorite Holiday Movie?

Hey, 1988's Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis, might not be the most conventional holiday movie, but it's a holiday movie nonetheless.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Photofest

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:36 am

[LATE-BREAKING CORRECTION: We misunderstood where the 24 hours of Elf was being planned. We thought it was USA, but it's actually Starz. Sorry, Starz!]

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