Ashley Gross is KPLU's business and labor reporter, covering everything from Amazon.com and Boeing to garbage strikes. She joined the station in May 2012 after working for five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.

She studied history at Brown University and earned a master's in international affairs at Columbia University. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two sons.

Business
4:16 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Boeing Contract Offer Could Prompt Engineers Strike

A Boeing 787 under construction inside a production facility at a Boeing plant in Everett, Wash., last year.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 2:18 pm

Boeing is scrambling to figure out why batteries malfunctioned on its 787, prompting officials to ground the airplane this month. And at a time when Boeing most needs its skilled engineers, they're weighing a possible strike. Union leaders are considering the company's final contract offer.

The standoff between Boeing and about 23,000 engineers and technicians — mostly in the Seattle region — has been brewing for months. Dozens of them recently packed a union hall south of Seattle for training in how to run a picket line.

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Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent  for NPR based in New York City.

Pesca enjoys training his microphone on anything that occurs at a track, arena, stadium, park, fronton, velodrome or air strip (i.e. the plane drag during the World's Strongest Man competition). He has reported from Los Angeles, Cleveland and Gary. He has also interviewed former Los Angeles Ram Cleveland Gary. Pesca is a panelist on the weekly Slate podcast “Hang up and Listen”.

It's All Politics
3:18 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Cabinet Picks Show A Shift In How U.S. Wages War

President Obama shakes hands with his nominee to head the Defense Department, former Sen. Chuck Hagel, at the White House on Jan. 7. John Brennan, Obama's choice for director of the CIA, looks on.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 8:34 am

Chuck Hagel, who spent more than a decade in the Senate asking witnesses questions at hearings, will be the one answering them Thursday as his confirmation hearing to be secretary of defense begins.

His hearing follows that of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who was confirmed this week to be secretary of state.

Kerry and Hagel have a prominent biographical detail in common: service in Vietnam.

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Sports
3:17 am
Thu January 31, 2013

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Colin Kaepernick?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick throws before the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 20.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 7:55 pm

There's always a question surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Years ago, people wondered whether the talented athlete would be good enough to start in college.

Then there was the question of what role he would play in the NFL. And after the 49ers took him, fans questioned whether he could throw enough to be more than a backup.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Ben Harper And Charlie Musselwhite Get Muddy

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite's new collaborative album is titled Get Up!
Danny Clinch Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 1:12 pm

Ben Harper grew up roaming the aisles and restoring guitars at his family's music store, the Claremont Folk Music Center. Going on its 60th year of business, the storefront in Southern California is where Harper first discovered the harmonica playing of blues legend Charlie Musselwhite.

"We had Charlie's records stacked high at my family's store and at my house," Harper tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

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The Record
8:03 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Patty Andrews, Leader Of The Andrews Sisters, Dies

The Andrews Sisters (from left, Maxene, Patty and LaVerne) in the 1940s. Patty was the star of the sibling act.
GAB Archive/Redferns Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 1:40 pm

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National Security
7:31 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston discusses counter-terrorism and the changing battle against Al Qaida

BP natural gas plant in Algeria where hostages were taken in January
Credit AP photo

NPR correspondent Dina Temple-Raston covers counter-terrorism, including legal issues, national security and the changing nature of groups like Al Qaida. Temple-Raston will speak at Western Michigan University’s Fetzer Center at 11:00 Monday morning

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Music News
6:09 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Remembering Butch Morris, The Man Who Conducted Improvisation

Butch Morris leads a conduction at the 2007 Skopje Jazz Festival in Macedonia.
Samir Ljuma for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:18 pm

The jazz musician Butch Morris was beloved by his fellow musicians and acclaimed by critics and fans for his ability to conduct improvisation. While that may sound like a contradiction, Morris pulled it off — with jazz musicians and symphony orchestras around the world.

A resident of New York City, he died yesterday in a Brooklyn hospital of cancer. He was 65 years old.

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Business
6:09 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Grounding Of 787s Creates Doubts About 'Business As Usual' At Boeing

Investigators are still looking into the cause of fires and overheating aboard Boeing's new 787s.
Shizuo Kambayashi AP

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 7:39 pm

Boeing generated more cash than expected last year and reclaimed the top spot over rival Airbus as the world's biggest airplane maker.

But all that was overshadowed by the fact that its entire fleet of 787s is grounded after batteries on two of its planes either overheated or caught fire.

"For 2013, our first order of business, obviously, is getting the 787 back into service," Boeing CEO James McNerney says.

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Shots - Health News
5:36 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Gut Microbes May Play Deadly Role In Malnutrition

Researchers followed 300 sets of twins in Malawi for the first three years of their life. In many cases, only one twin developed severe malnutrition, while the other remained healthier.
Photograph courtesy of Tanya Yatsunenko

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 10:44 am

There's a part of our body that's only now getting mapped: the trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria, that live in our guts.

Some scientists describe this community as a previously unnoticed vital organ. It appears to play a role in how quickly we gain weight and how well we fight off disease.

A study published in the journal Science suggests that changes in this community of microbes also may cause kwashiorkor, a kind of deadly malnutrition.

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Shots - Health News
4:03 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Bellevue Hospital's Slow Comeback After Superstorm Sandy

When Superstorm Sandy came ashore, Bellevue Hospital was quickly submerged. Inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency marked the flood line in the basement with orange tape or spray paint. In some areas, water was 14 feet deep.
Fred Mogul NPR

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:18 pm

When a ferry crashed in lower Manhattan earlier this month, ambulances took dozens of people to hospitals around the island.

Bellevue Hospital took in 31 passengers, but they all had minor injuries. The most seriously hurt patients from the crash went elsewhere. Dr. Suzi Vassallo said that's because Bellevue still can't handle serious traumatic injuries.

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Music Reviews
3:27 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

A 1969 Bootleg Unearths Miles Davis' 'Lost' Quintet

Miles Davis' Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 is a compilation of previously unreleased material performed by a short-lived incarnation of his touring band.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:18 pm

After a slew of multidisc sets devoted to key points in the career of Miles Davis, you'd think Columbia Records would have unearthed every speck of consequential music by now. But not quite.

This week, Columbia brings out Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 — a three-CD, one-DVD set devoted to the jazz maverick's "lost" quintet, his touring band from 1969.

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SW Michigan
3:26 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Newark Mayor Cory Booker tells Kalamazoo to "get involved"

Newark, NJ, Mayor Cory Booker (file photo)
Credit The Associated Press

The mayor of Newark, New Jersey, has a message for people in Kalamazoo: get involved in the community. Cory Booker was one of the speakers at the annual “Catalyst University” event sponsored by Southwest Michigan First. MLive Kalamazoo, which sponsored Booker’s address, says he urged people not to sit back and assume that others will step up to address the community’s problems. Booker has said that he’s considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2014.

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World
2:41 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Israeli Election Rekindles Debate Over Military Service

Ultra-Orthodox Jews are not required to perform military service in Israel, and the issue is subject to intense debate following the country's election last week. Here, ultra-Orthodox men sign up for alternate civilian service earlier this month.
Baz Ratner Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 12:51 pm

The rise of a new Israeli political party after last week's elections has set the stage for renewed conflict over the country's military draft.

That new party, Yesh Atid, or "There is a Future," campaigned on a promise to draft thousands of ultra-Orthodox students who are currently exempt from military service.

And with the number of ultra-Orthodox students in Israel on the rise given the community's high birth rates, this longstanding debate has become a critical post-election issue.

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Politics
2:07 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Immigration, Gun Legislation And The Shakeup In Iowa

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 2:27 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. An African-American governor appoints an African-American senator; immigration moves to the front burner, and Bobby Jindal scolds the GOP. It's Wednesday and time for a...

GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL: The stupid party...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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Mental Health
2:03 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Balancing Work, Medication And Mental Illness

With a proper balance of medication and therapy, some people diagnosed with mental illness can succeed in the workplace.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 6:04 pm

Thirty years ago, when Elyn Saks was diagnosed with schizophrenia, her doctors told her she would never be able to hold a job.

"The idea was that I should lower my expectations," she tells NPR's Neal Conan. "I was advised to be a cashier for a year or two and then think about another job or possibly going back to school."

She didn't listen.

Despite hospitalization, years of psychoanalysis and continued delusions, Saks discovered that work was essential to managing her psychosis. She is now a professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

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Asia
2:03 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

The Role For The U.S. In The East China Sea Dispute

The Senkaku Islands, as they are called in Japan, sit in a strategic location between Okinawa and Taiwan.
Matt Stiles/NPR

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 3:57 pm

The dispute between Japan and China over small islands in the East China Sea is escalating. The two nations first dispatched unarmed vessels to stake their claims, then patrol boats, and then, unarmed aircraft.

Most recently, both countries sent fighter jets to the islands — known as the Senkaku in Japan, and the Diaoyu in China. The islands are uninhabited, but sit in a strategic location between Japan and Taiwan.

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12:51 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer will not run for governor next year

Lead in text: 
Former Congressman and state lawmaker Mark Schauer of Battle Creek is among the Democrats who have said they may run for governor in 2014.
LANSING, MI -- Michigan Democrats say they are discouraged that Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing will not run for governor in 2014, but they believe they still have a good opportunity to challenge Gov. Rick Snyder. "I'm disappointed," said Sen. Bert Johnson of Detroit. "It's not just her personality.
Music Reviews
12:51 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Paloma Faith's 'Fall To Grace' Is A Keeper

Singer-songwriter and actress Paloma Faith's new album is titled Fall to Grace.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 4:22 pm

In culling through albums released late last year that I still play with pleasure, Paloma Faith's Fall to Grace was a real keeper. In contrast to my joy, Faith was singing about her agony: her broken heart, her wracked sobs about ruined affairs, her choked goodbyes to lovers who'd left her. She made all this sound tremendously intense and exciting. Not for nothing did she title her previous album Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?

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Television
12:38 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

'House Of Cards' Is Built To Last

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright star in the new Netflix original series House of Cards, which premieres Feb. 1.
Patrick Harbron Netflix

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 9:06 am

This week brings two new high-profile drama series. One is The Americans, premiering Jan. 30 on the FX network; it's about sleeper KGB agents living in the U.S. during the Reagan era. The other is House of Cards, a new series premiering Feb. 1.

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Cara Lieurance
12:23 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Western Brass Quintet presents new music, new tubist

The Western Brass Quintet
Credit Western Brass Quintet

An interview with Lin Foulk, Jacob Cameron, and Pierre Jalbert

The Western Brass Quintet premieres two new works Wednesday night, including Brass Quintet by composer Pierre Jalbert. 

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Wisdom Watch
12:04 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Before Michelle Obama, There Was Ella Jenkins

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:39 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Now, we want to tell you about a performer who may have been a big part of your life when you were still in short pants, if I can use that expression.

Before there were OzoKidz and Raffi filling packed houses, there was Ella Jenkins. For more than 50 years, she's been using the power of song to educate children and teach them lessons about life and the importance of staying active.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STOP AND GO")

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Politics
12:02 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Immigration: Did Senators Get It Right?

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. An estimated 11 million people live in the U.S. without documentation. During the 2012 election, voters urged both major political parties to do something about what's often called our broken immigration system.

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Movies
12:02 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Wu-Tang's RZA On Iron Fists and Westerns

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Finally, you know those movies you and pull out time and time again when you have nothing else to watch? Our colleagues at WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED regularly ask filmmakers and actors about the movies they never get tired of watching.

Today, one of the founding members of the rap group the Wu-Tang Clan shares one of his favorites.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC, "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY")

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Around the Nation
12:02 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Black Africans Feeling Left Out

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll talk about how to protect kids' privacy when it comes to social media and how some of the old rules aren't keeping up with new tech. That's in just a few minutes.

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Television
12:01 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

William H. Macy Is 'Shameless' On Showtime

In Shameless, William H. Macy is the dysfunctional father of six.
Cliff Lipson Cliff Lipson/SHOWTIME

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 2:05 pm

William H. Macy is the first to admit that he has played his fair share of losers. His latest role, as the alcoholic, narcissist Frank Gallagher — the single dad of a dysfunctional six-kid family — on the Showtime series Shameless, adds to the list of hapless characters Macy has portrayed on screen and stage.

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11:40 am
Wed January 30, 2013

State Superintendent Promotes Increasing Teacher Salaries to Lure More Math and Science Teachers

Lead in text: 
The state superintendent says a lot of students don't see teaching as high-paying career, but this could change if teaching salaries become more competitive.
LANSING, MI -- State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says bumping teacher salaries up to $100,000 would encourage more qualified math and science students - as well as working professionals - to consider a career in education.
Economy
10:44 am
Wed January 30, 2013

In 4th Quarter, Economy Shrank For First Time Since '09

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.

Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

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10:21 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Grand Rapids Business Advocacy Nonprofit Receives $450,000 to Improve Economic Development

Lead in text: 
The nonprofit points to MadCap Coffee Shop in Grand Rapids, as an example of the kind of business development that enhances the idea of how "placemaking" works.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - A business advocacy nonprofit in Grand Rapids is getting nearly half a million dollars from the state to study and promote new economic development principles like "placemaking" in three West Michigan communities. On Tuesday, Jan.

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