WBEZ | Around the Nation http://www.wbez.org/tags/around-nation Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mississippi's Jobs Program: A New National Model? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-04/mississippis-jobs-program-new-national-model-92824 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-04/miss_steps2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As President Obama sells his jobs initiative across the country, people in Mississippi point to a program they say is already creating jobs. Mississippi has attracted attention because economists like the way the state got employers to share the cost of hiring workers.</p><p>Under the Subsidized Transitional Employment Program and Services, or STEPS for short, the state pays part of the cost of workers' salaries in the hopes that the subsidy will lead to full-time jobs.</p><p>Some analysts say this could be a national model, but it comes with a price tag.</p><p><strong>From Unemployed To Full-Time</strong></p><p>In the STEPS program, which started last year, the state used federal stimulus money to pay 100 percent of salaries in the first month of employment, down to 25 percent six months later. Companies hired new workers who met poverty guidelines and had at least one child under 18 in their home.</p><p>Jamita Washington, a single mother with four kids, was unemployed for two years before the program came along.</p><p>"I had bills that I had to pay. I was getting evicted. It was hard; I couldn't find a job anywhere," Washington says.</p><p>When STEPS ended, Washington got a full-time job making minimum wage with Magnolia Metal & Plastic Products in Vicksburg, Miss. She's one of about 60 people working at the plant, which makes window screens and other parts for windows.</p><p>Washington later got a small raise and now works as a clerk in the shipping department. She says STEPS gave her a chance even though she had been unemployed for a long time.</p><p>"You go in there, you do the best that you can do," she says. "You show that you are appreciative for that opportunity. You prove yourself and employers [will] pay attention."</p><p><strong>A Long-Term Answer?</strong></p><p>Chuck Williston, the operations manager at the plant, says the company was happy with the people it got through the program.</p><p>"I think they did a really good job of screening people," he says.</p><p>The plant took a hit as the housing industry declined, and Williston laid off employees a few years ago. He acknowledges the unemployment rate is high here, above the national average, but says he would have filled his opening without STEPS.</p><p>"I'm not sold 100 percent on it but it worked for our employees and it worked for us," he says. "Long term, is that the answer? I don't know."</p><p>Williston says two of the four people he hired through STEPS are still working here. And Mississippi officials say more than half of the 3,200 who got jobs were still employed last spring, six months after the program ended.</p><p>Stan McMorris with the state Department of Employment Security says these people are now in unsubsidized jobs, and that's the point.</p><p>"We had 1,800 permanent jobs created," McMorris says. "They're now a taxpaying, wage-earning individual that have been lifted up to the point [where] they're being successful."</p><p><strong>Persuading Companies To Take Action</strong></p><p>Analyst LaDonna Pavetti with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington research group, says the program gets companies that are reluctant to hire to take action.</p><p>"Even if it's short term, it has huge benefits," Pavetti says. "And the reality is, for somebody who is unemployed, six months of employment is better than nothing. And for the businesses that are struggling, what you hope is that six months may ... allow them to generate enough business that they'll be able to hire somebody at the end."</p><p>Some small businesses with one or two employees complained of too much paperwork and too many rules, like having to pay for workers' compensation insurance.</p><p>"My problem is ... the restrictions, really, that I see whenever they do these programs," says Greg Cronin, owner of Cascades Racquet Club in the suburbs of Jackson, Miss. "I'm probably more of the small company who would love to make a step forward, who watches other companies get the breaks [and] get these assistive programs but still not have something except an increase in property tax on me."</p><p>Cronin says the government is using taxpayer money to help certain companies, rather than creating a stable environment for all businesses to thrive. The state spent about $20 million on the program.</p><p><strong>'For Me It Means A Future'</strong></p><p>Yet it was so popular that after a yearlong hiatus, a new, yet much smaller version started a few weeks ago, called <a href="http://mdes.ms.gov/Home/docs/STEPS2Web_v1/STEPS2_web_v1.html">STEPS 2</a>. This time, it's a four-month job subsidy. Multicraft International, a company that makes auto parts and supplies in Pelahatchie, Miss., is one company taking advantage of it.</p><p>The company also downsized because of the economy, but CEO Andrew Mallinson says it's is now hiring back and using STEPS to do it.</p><p>"It just takes a bit of the sting out of the cost of hiring another person," Mallinson says. "We're happy to do that when the business conditions allow but this does stimulate us to perhaps take action earlier than we might otherwise."</p><p>Multicraft just hired Brian Vandevender, who has done electrical work for builders but for the past couple of years has been doing odd jobs because he couldn't get a full-time position.</p><p>"Now I'm 40 hours a week and they gave me the opportunity," Vandevender says. "I ain't going to let nobody down."</p><p>Vandevender works in the warehouse, and there's no promise of a full-time job once the state stipend runs out, but that's clearly what he's hoping for.</p><p>"For me it means a future. I would say it means a future here," he says.</p><p>Funding for the Mississippi STEPS program runs out in December, but Obama's jobs bill contains a proposal that would give states $5 billion for job training and subsidized employment. The question is whether Congress is willing to pay for it. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317765553?&gn=Mississippi%27s+Jobs+Program%3A+A+New+National+Model%3F&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=Around+the+Nation,Economy,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=141046490&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20111004&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 16:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-04/mississippis-jobs-program-new-national-model-92824 Wall Street Protesters Plan For The Long Term http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-02/wall-street-protesters-plan-long-term-92723 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-02/127716565_8950733_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A protest in New York dubbed "Occupy Wall Street" appears to be settling in for the long term. Twice a day, protesters leave the tents, makeshift kitchen and free bookstore set up in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan and begin a slow march down the sidewalk.</p><p>Anywhere from hundreds to thousands of supporters are showing up for marches each day. A protest on the Brooklyn Bridge Saturday resulted in about <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/10/01/140983353/about-500-arrested-after-protest-on-brooklyn-bridge">700 arrests</a>. Another major demonstration is set for mid-week as union members join protesters.</p><p>Pick just about any cause, including the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/09/21/140675230/with-a-few-hours-left-before-troy-davis-execution-protests-mount">execution of Troy Davis</a> in Georgia in September, and it's likely represented here. The primary focus is on corporations, the wealthy and income distribution.</p><p>The objective, as protester Mike Luciano from Pennsylvania puts it, is "taking the big cats down, bringing down Wall Street, changing how the government works and the dirty deals are done."</p><p>Luciano says he belongs to a union. Given recent reports that local organized labor is starting to get behind the protest, he expected to see more fellow union members.</p><p>Next Wednesday afternoon, several unions are planning a march from City Hall to the protest site. That day there likely will be only one march.</p><p>"We have been in the past doing two — one at 9 and one at 4 ... for the opening and closing bells," says Victoria Sobel, a college student at Cooper Union and a protest organizer. "I believe we are moving toward one march a day to have a bigger march."</p><p>That does not mean this protest is winding down. Sobel says organizers hope to improve infrastructure for the estimated 200 to 300 people who are living at the protest site so they can stay here for months. There's a makeshift kitchen already set up, but few options for bathrooms.</p><p>Despite organizers' intentions, the big question is how long the city will let the protesters occupy the park. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not yet answered that question definitively. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317560341?&gn=Wall+Street+Protesters+Plan+For+The+Long+Term&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140986180&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20111002&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=10&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Sun, 02 Oct 2011 07:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-02/wall-street-protesters-plan-long-term-92723 'The Gift Of Detroit': Tilling Urban Terrain http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-01/gift-detroit-tilling-urban-terrain-92722 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-02/mizuna-harvesting1_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Detroit is a surprisingly green landscape during the spring and summer months. The site of many houses that are crumbling, boarded up or missing altogether is tempered by community gardens and even some urban farms.</p><p>There are some serious urban gardeners in this country, but few can match the agricultural output of Paul Weertz.</p><p>"I farm about 10 acres in the city, and alfalfa's my thing. I bale about a thousand bales a year," he says.</p><p>That's alfalfa grown within Detroit city limits. The 58-year-old public school teacher lives alone in a single-family house in the Farnsworth neighborhood.</p><p>There are a dozen chickens and 10 beehives on Weertz's property that belong to a neighborhood honey co-op. An acre of land behind his house used to be occupied by other single-family homes but is now covered with fruit trees, vegetables and a pungent patch of basil.</p><p>Weertz has been buying abandoned homes and vacant parcels in his neighborhood, where lots go for as little as $300. He's been encouraging young people who want to farm to move into the neighborhood. Weertz's neighbor, Carolyn Leadley, runs Rising Pheasant Farms when she's not caring for her 10-month-old son.</p><p>"We're definitely micro-farming, but we're making a living off a sixth of an acre," Leadley says. "I've been very pleased — pleasantly surprised at how much I've been able to pay myself per hour. We took on an employee. I'm like, 'OK, We're a real business now. We have to pay taxes and do things right.' "</p><p>Leadley grows tomatoes and ornamental flowers outdoors on two vacant lots she's trying to buy from the city. She also has trays of sunflower shoots growing in her attic. Leadley's location inside Detroit allows her to deliver her produce to the city's huge farmers market and local restaurants by bicycle.</p><p>In a neighborhood where drug dealers are as resilient as weeds, one neighbor finds Leadley's farm an eyesore. The 28-year-old urban farmer persists.</p><p>"I hope what I'm doing makes the neighborhood more attractive — that people would want to move into the neighborhood — because, at this point, there is no reason why anyone would want to move into this neighborhood," she says. "There are no stores besides liquor stores in this entire neighborhood."</p><p>Over in the North Corktown section of Detroit, the leaves of an edible Japanese plant called mizuna are harvested with a pair of scissors. Greg Willerer farms 12 city lots — about an acre of land.</p><p>"I take this whole growing food for my neighbors and friends and other people in the city very seriously," he says, "and I'm going to eat this stuff, too."</p><p>Willerer's business, Brother Nature Produce, sells about 200 pounds of salad greens a week, and there are 27 families in his community-supported agriculture co-op who get produce from him. He's farming abandoned lots that he has adopted but does not own. Willerer says he has been trying to buy the lots from the city of Detroit for more than a year.</p><p>"The city could, literally, at any time come in and say, 'We're going to develop these lots and you're going to have to move,' " he says.</p><p>Indeed, a community garden in a section of Detroit known as the Cass Corridor will soon be uprooted because the two city-owned lots it occupies have been sold to a doggy day care operation.</p><p>Ashley Atkinson works for a gardening advocacy group called the Greening of Detroit and is a member of the city planning commission's Urban Agriculture Workgroup. Atkinson says that farming in the city is not illegal, but it's not totally legal either.</p><p>"It's a policy vacuum. So, there's no policy to protect them, but there's lots of policy that could result in tickets and fines for an activity like high vegetation in a residential neighborhood," she says.</p><p>City Council member Kenneth Cockrel Jr. says he supports urban agriculture and is hopeful that the council will enact regulations by the end of the year. Yet he says that even now the city has not been issuing violations to urban farmers.</p><p>Back in the Farnsworth neighborhood, Andrew Kemp tends a lush garden on seven city lots he owns. His wife, Kinga Osz-Kemp, has a cottage industry making herbal salve with beeswax from the neighborhood hives and herbs from their garden. The family says it never has to buy garlic or honey. The Kemps also get all the eggs they need from four hens that wander around their yard.</p><p>"It could never happen in another city. I mean, this is ridiculous to think about this much land," Kemp says. "There are very few houses that have another house next to them. So everybody can have at least an extra yard, you know. That's really the gift of Detroit." <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317549539?&gn=%27The+Gift+Of+Detroit%27%3A+Tilling+Urban+Terrain&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140903516&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20111002&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=10&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Sun, 02 Oct 2011 03:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-01/gift-detroit-tilling-urban-terrain-92722 Hundreds Arrested After Protest On Brooklyn Bridge http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-01/hundreds-arrested-after-protest-brooklyn-bridge-92721 <p><p>More than 700 protesters demonstrating against corporate greed, global warming and social inequality, among other grievances, were arrested Saturday after they swarmed the Brooklyn Bridge and shut down a lane of traffic for several hours in a tense confrontation with police.</p><p>The group Occupy Wall Street has been camped out in a plaza in Manhattan's Financial District for nearly two weeks staging various marches, and had orchestrated an impromptu trek to Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon. They walked in thick rows on the sidewalk up to the bridge, where some demonstrators spilled onto the roadway after being told to stay on the pedestrian pathway, police said.</p><p>Legal observers with the National Lawyers Guild watched the events and plan to offer legal assistance. Bina Ahmad, wearing a bright green cap to signify her role as a Guild observer, said she saw police using unnecessary violence.</p><p>"There was one person who was being pulled and thrown to the ground by the police," she told WNYC's Stephen Nessen. "There was another man whose shirt had gotten pulled up, and he was dragged on his bare skin on the bridge. I don't know if I saw blood, but it definitely looked vicious."</p><p>The NYPD denies there was any violence. The majority of those arrested were given citations for disorderly conduct and were released, police said. The NYPD called in out-of-service MTA buses to take them away.</p><p>Some protesters sat on the roadway, chanting "Let us go," while others chanted and yelled at police from the pedestrian walkaway above. Police used orange netting to stop the group from going farther down the bridge, which is under construction.</p><p>Some of the protesters said they were lured onto the roadway by police, or they didn't hear the calls from authorities to head to the pedestrian walkway. Police said no one was tricked into being arrested, and those in the back of the group who couldn't hear were allowed to leave.</p><p>"Multiple warnings by police were given to protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway and that if they took roadway they would be arrested," said Paul Browne, the chief spokesman of the New York Police Department.</p><p>Several videos taken of the event show a confusing, chaotic scene. Some show protesters screaming obscenities at police and taking a hat from one of the officers. Others show police struggling with people who refuse to get up. Nearby, a couple posed for wedding pictures on the bridge.</p><p>"We were supposed to go up the pedestrian roadway," said Robert Cammiso, a 48-year-old student from Brooklyn told the Daily News. "There was a huge funnel, a bottleneck, and we couldn't fit. People jumped from the walkway onto the roadway. We thought the roadway was open to us."</p><p>Protesters trekked through the pouring rain to One Police Plaza, but soon dispersed to head back to Zucotti Park to regroup.</p><p>Earlier Saturday, thousands who joined two other marches crossed the Brooklyn Bridge without problems. One was from Brooklyn to Manhattan by a group opposed to genetically modified food. Another in the opposite direction marched against poverty organized by United Way.</p><p>Elsewhere in the U.S. on Saturday, protesters assembled in Albuquerque, N.M., Boston and Los Angeles to express their solidarity with the movement in New York, though their demands remain unclear. Occupy Wall Street demonstrators have been camped in Zuccotti Park and have clashed with police on earlier occasions. Mostly, the protests have been peaceful, and the movement has shown no signs of losing steam. Celebrities including Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon made recent stops to encourage the group.</p><p>During the length of the protest, turnout has varied, but the numbers have reached as high as about a few thousand. A core group of about two hundred people remain camped throughout the week. They sleep on air mattresses, use Mac laptops and play drums. They go to the bathroom at the local McDonald's. A few times a day, they march down to Wall Street, yelling, "This is what democracy looks like!"</p><p>Earlier clashes with police have resulted in about 100 arrests. Most were for disorderly conduct. Many were the subject of homemade videos posted online.</p><p>One video surfaced of a group of girls shot with pepper spray by NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna. The woman claimed they were abused and demanded the officer resign, and the video has been the subject of several news articles and commentary. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said internal affairs would look into whether Bologna acted improperly and has also said the video doesn't show "tumultuous" behavior by the protesters.</p><p>A real estate firm that owns Zuccotti Park, the private plaza off Broadway occupied by the protesters, has expressed concerns about conditions there, saying in a statement that it hopes to work with the city to restore the park "to its intended purpose." But it's not clear whether legal action will be taken, and police say there are no plans to try to remove anyone.</p><p>Seasoned activists said the ad-hoc protest could prove to be a training ground for future organizers of larger and more cohesive demonstrations, or motivate those on the sidelines to speak out against injustices.</p><p>"You may not get much, or any of these things on the first go-around," said the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, a longtime civil rights activist who has participated in protests for decades. "But it's the long haul that matters."</p><p><em>WNYC's Stephen Nessen contributed to this report, which contains material from The Associated Press</em> <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317531543?&gn=Hundreds+Arrested+After+Protest+On+Brooklyn+Bridge&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140983353&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20111001&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Sat, 01 Oct 2011 20:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-01/hundreds-arrested-after-protest-brooklyn-bridge-92721 Like The Lions, Detroit Finally Has A Winning Season http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-01/lions-detroit-finally-has-winning-season-92719 <p><p>After many awful seasons this year's Detroit Lions are — can you believe it — undefeated. To add to the glory, each of the Detroit car makers is showing signs of health with increased quality and profitability. It's long-awaited good news for a city that's been through bad times.</p><p>There's no denying that Detroit has had an image problem for quite a while. A whole cottage industry has sprung up over the years with many people from all walks trying to help turn that image around.</p><p>Charlie Wollborg is kind of a professional cheerleader for the Detroit region. He runs a marketing firm called Curve Detroit. He likes to tell this story from Detroit's past:</p><p>"At the turn of the century, our chief export had fallen out of vogue, and everybody wrote Detroit off as, you know, 'They're done.' But you know, we moved out of the fur trade," he laughs.</p><p>Wollborg says Detroit has been reinventing itself for centuries. His sees his beloved Detroit Lions as tied up with the new story of Detroit, because everybody pretty much wrote them off as a team that was "meh."</p><p>"When you listen to them in the locker room, they know that they are a good team," Wollborg says. "They know they're better together. And you look at the city, and the city's been kind of written off. But if you talk to the young entrepreneurs here, there's that sense of optimism – they don't believe the bad PR about Detroit.</p><p>There are a lot of people who don't believe all the bad PR. Brandon Walley is an artist and activist who's trying help revive the city. As a matter of fact, he's building a statue of the science fiction cyborg Robocop for Detroit. The city needs every positive, he says.</p><p>"I think this city, you know, overall it needs so much that yeah, a winning team – anything that's going to bring people from the suburbs down to Detroit, even if they're going to the game, is a plus," he says.</p><p>Detroit residents Jeff Smith and his wife Melita Alston Smith are Tigers fans.</p><p>"We have good ball players," Jeff says, standing outside one of Detroit's hip new barbecue restaurants. "That's what it is, good ball players. It's not about turning the city around, it's about some really good ball playing."</p><p>Jeff says everybody knows the problems of Detroit — unemployment, flight of the middle class — but right now he's just rooting for a repeat of the 1984 Tigers' World Series win.</p><p>But, his wife says, "That's how Detroit is going to be regardless of how the sports teams are performing."</p><p>The Smiths say they'll definitely take a win. After all, you've got to root for Detroit. And the Tigers and Lions, too. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317506344?&gn=Like+The+Lions%2C+Detroit+Finally+Has+A+Winning+Season&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=Around+the+Nation,Sports,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140979642&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20111001&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Sat, 01 Oct 2011 14:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-01/lions-detroit-finally-has-winning-season-92719 A Losing Battle? The Fight To Save The Postal Service http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-01/losing-battle-fight-save-postal-service-92718 <p><p>More than half a million people work for the U.S. Postal Service making it the seventh largest employer in the world. But like a lot of other businesses, this one is being hit hard by the tough economy and transformed by the Internet.</p><p>Today, only three percent of what the Postal Service handles is actually letters. Just in the last four years mail volume is down 20 percent, so the agency is struggling to reinvent itself. But change isn't easy. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe went to Congress recently to ask for help, but his plan could mean layoffs, post office closings and the end of Saturday delivery.</p><p>Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) blames the leaders of the Postal Service for its problems and wants the service to be under tighter controls. He says the agency's $15 billion in debt – their credit limit — is a sign that they have "more than a small cash flow problem."</p><p>Issa's plan would create a "control board" that could, among other things, re-negotiate union contracts. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) agrees there's a problem with the Postal Service, but the solution he's proposing is very different.</p><p>"Part of what we need to do is to enable the Postal Service to take the steps that are appropriate [and] right size their enterprise for the 21st Century, much like the auto industry did a couple of years ago," Carper told weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin.</p><p>One of the Postal Service's current complications is 2006 legislation that says the agency must set aside upwards of $5 billion to $6 billion to have on hand to pay for health benefits for retiring employees. Carper says almost no state or local governments — and very few private companies — do something similar.</p><p>Carper says one solution could be taking money from one of two pension plans that he says the Postal Service might have overpaid into. If that is indeed the case, he says that money could instead be used to absorb that cost of health care benefits for retirees.</p><p>"The money could be drawn down from one of the overpayments and used over a number of years to prepay retiree health benefits for pensioners," Carper says.</p><p>Regardless of what plans the Postal Service moves forward with, Carper says the bottom line is that they cannot continue to do business as usual.</p><p><strong>Thinking Globally</strong></p><p>So what model would work for the U.S. Postal Service? James Campbell, co-editor of the Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform, says the U.S. could learn lessons from postal systems in other countries.</p><p>Campbell says that what's happened in other industrialized countries is similar to what's happened in the U.S. – most notably the decline in mail.</p><p>"In general, other countries have looked at this situation and decided [they] have to allow the post office to become more commercial and make them become commercial," Campbell says.</p><p>Campbell cites postal systems in Germany, Sweden and New Zealand that have allowed their post offices to become more profitable, more commercial and more customer oriented in order to survive.</p><p>Germany in particular has rethought its transportation network, sorting systems and has expanded globally. In 2002, Deutsche Post, Germany's postal service, acquired leading international transportation company DHL.</p><p>"Their view is that the express business and package business is a global business," Campbell says.</p><p>The U.S. Postal Service is beginning to act more commercial through partnerships with Federal Express and UPS, Campbell says. It's a natural partnership because Federal Express has an excellent collection system, while the Postal Service has a great household delivery system.</p><p>Post offices are another area where other postal systems have streamlined. In Germany, Deutsche Post only operates a single post office, Campbell says. All of the remaining post offices are operated by small businesses or retail stores.</p><p>"They find that they wind up providing better service [and] longer hours at lower cost by this sort of a system," he says. "It's possible to imagine in the U.S. that the post office adapts and transforms into another useful, important operation – but it's not going to be a carrier of letters and sentiments."</p><p><strong>The Rural Post</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>Though trimming the number of post offices in the U.S. might save the Postal Service money, the loss could be felt in other ways.</p><p>Tom Gamble has been with the Postal Service for 24 years, currently as a rural carrier along a route in Middleton, Ohio. Gamble is also the president of the state's Association of Rural Letter Carriers.</p><p>Gamble says the loss of post offices in rural communities would have a devastating effect there.</p><p>"There are a lot of people in the rural community that rely heavily on the post office," Gamble says, "we carry feed, livestock, seed – a lot of things that the rural community depends on."</p><p>Gamble has delivered everything from baby chickens to rabbits and even crickets to rural customers. He says for some folks in rural communities the postal carrier might be the only person they see for weeks.</p><p>"There's countless stories of carriers that have been looking out for some of their older customers and saved the lives of customers because their mail started to build up the mailbox," he says. "We kind of keep an eye on the neighborhoods."</p><p>Gamble says as the Postal Service evolves and the pressure builds to do more in less time, carriers have less time to communicate with their customers. He says he feels like he's part of the family with some customers, but that could all start to change.</p><p>"I know who's in trouble and who's not, just by the mail that comes out. I know who's having a birthday and who's lost a loved one," he says. "You just can't replace those kinds of things." <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317502812?&gn=A+Losing+Battle%3F+The+Fight+To+Save+The+Postal+Service&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140979167&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20111001&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Sat, 01 Oct 2011 13:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-01/losing-battle-fight-save-postal-service-92718 Recycled Water Quenches San Antonio's Thirst http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-30/recycled-water-quenches-san-antonios-thirst-92713 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-01/asrsunset_9491a_edit_vert.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gliding along in a flat-bottom boat on the San Antonio River thorough the heart of downtown San Antonio is a beautiful and authentic Texas experience.</p><p>There's one thing a boat tour guide is not going to mention, however. Texas is in the middle of a historic drought, and the river that tourists are cruising along with ducks, big bass, catfish and perch is actually treated sewage water.</p><p>Despite widespread water restrictions, many large Texas cities and especially their well-to-do suburban neighbors are using up to 200 gallons per person per day. San Antonio is using much less.</p><p>"During wet seasons, the river functions like any other river would," says Steve Clouse, the chief operating officer of the San Antonio Water System. "But during the dry seasons, we used to pump from water wells to make sure we had a river — otherwise there wouldn't be water here."</p><p>To keep the river flowing, the city used to have to pump up to 5 million gallons a day from its precious supply, the Edwards Aquifer. Now, by using a state-of-the-art water treatment plant, the city produces high-quality, recycled water that's just shy of being drinkable.</p><p>San Antonio's River Walk is not alone in using the treatment plant. Big industrial customers like the Toyota manufacturing plant, Microsoft Data Center, USAA Insurance and the city's golf courses also take part. More than 60 miles of recycled-water pipeline built in the last decade now snake through San Antonio.</p><p>"We have a goal to save a billion gallons of water every single year by working with all of our customers," says Karen Guz, the water system's director of conservation. She says the plant is hitting that goal. "We are a community that has figured out that it is better to save water than to worry about having to always just acquire more water."</p><p>Guz says it started in the early '90s when the Sierra Club sued the city in federal court to protect an endangered species — the blind salamander — that lived in the water supply of the Edwards Aquifer.</p><p>When the judged ruled in favor of the Sierra Club, San Antonio politicians and newspapers spitted with rage. Twenty years later, the current San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro says his city has learned the judge was right.</p><p>"The city, over these last two decades, really has made lemonade out of lemons. In fact, the number of gallons per consumer in San Antonio per day that is used has gone down from just over 200 to about 130," Castro says.</p><p>Unlike the lush lawns of Dallas, there are yellow lawns everywhere in San Antonio. The entire city has a different mindset — neighbors narc out the cheaters next door to the water cops. After a warning, fines are steep. In San Antonio, everyone's in it together — whether or not they want to be.</p><p>At Sea World, they want to. They've cut their monthly water use from 8 million gallons to 4 million gallons in the last three years. When Shamu splashes the lower rows with fountains of water from his 5-million-gallon tank, the water that looks like it's going down the drain is actually headed for capture. In fact, Sea World has built its own on-site water-filtration system.</p><p>As important as the conservation is, what's really saving San Antonio right now is its aquifer-storage system. During times when the rains are plenty and the Edwards Aquifer is full, San Antonio aggressively pumps the water out and stores it 40 miles away in a sand formation called the Carrizo.</p><p>Nobody knows how much water the Carrizo could ultimately store, perhaps as much as 65 billion gallons. Now, in the midst of this devastating drought, the Carrizo's massive pumps are sending this rainy-day water back to the thirsty city from whence it came.</p><p>"It cuts down on the amount of water that San Antonio uses from the Edwards during a critical time, which is good for the entire region," says Jeff Haby, director of production. "I think it's a huge benefit. I'm very proud of it."</p><p>San Antonio's approach to its water has saved it this year, but as summer turns to fall and winter turns to spring, if the rains don't come, San Antonio and the rest of Texas are going to learn what the word "drought" really means. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317463145?&gn=Recycled+Water+Quenches+San+Antonio%27s+Thirst&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=Around+the+Nation,Environment,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140937267&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20111001&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=7&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Sat, 01 Oct 2011 03:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-30/recycled-water-quenches-san-antonios-thirst-92713 Data On Same-Sex Couples Reveal Changing Attitudes http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-30/data-same-sex-couples-reveal-changing-attitudes-92689 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-30/Same+Sex_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As bans on gay marriage and civil unions spread across the majority of America in the past decade, new U.S. Census figures reveal a starkly different trend: the number of same-sex partnerships skyrocketed even in the most prohibitive states.</p><p>Some 646,464 gay couples said they lived together in last year's Census, an increase of 80 percent from 2000, according to revised figures released this week. Same-sex couples make up just 1 percent of all married and unmarried couples in U.S., but as a group they nonetheless made large gains in every state.</p><p>The results include the first estimate of the nation's gay married couples. More than 131,000 same-sex couples identified themselves as husbands or wives, accounting for about one in every five gay couples who live together.</p><p>But the new numbers may not represent a real increase in gay couples as much as a change in attitudes. Some demographers say the stigma of homosexuality is easing, emboldening more people to disclose their same-sex partnerships. As evidence, some of the biggest increases in gay couples occurred in unlikely places.</p><p>"I think it tells us how same-sex couples view their relationships, as apart from the legal definition. Many of them view themselves as spouses but live in states that don't recognize them in any way," says demographer Gary Gates at the UCLA law school's Williams Institute, which analyzes Census data on gay and lesbian couples.</p><p>Gates, one of the demographers asked to confirm the data's accuracy for the Census Bureau, points to his own post-census survey that indicated increasing openness among gays and lesbians. His report found that 10 percent of same-sex couples declined to reveal their relationship to census takers, down from 20 percent in 2000.</p><p>The Census data provided plenty of room for interpretation among those on both sides of the debate over marriage rights for gays and lesbians.</p><p>"It shows an exponential increase in the number of same-sex couples that are standing up and being counted," Brian Moulton, chief legislative counsel for the gay rights' group Human Rights Campaign, says. "It continues to demonstrate to policymakers, in particular, that their families are out there, they do exist and need protection."</p><p>However, opponents say the small number of married same-sex couples fails to justify advocates' call for marriage rights.</p><p>"This shows that most same-sex couples living together don't choose to marry," says Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, a conservative group that opposes same-sex marriages and civil unions. "That suggests to me that the majority of homosexuals aren't really interested in participated in the institution of marriage, which calls into the place the whole movement for same-sex marriage, in my mind."</p><p>While same-sex partnerships remained most heavily concentrated in the socially liberal areas of the northeast and the West, many states in the South and Midwest with the most restrictive gay-marriage laws recorded big jumps in same-sex households.</p><p>Among the 10 states with the largest increases in same-sex couples, six of the states have laws or constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.</p><p>The largest population of same-sex couples resides in California, where a voter-approved ban on gay marriage is being challenged in federal court. The number of same-sex households there increased by 46 percent to more than 98,000 since 2000. The state briefly granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2008 before voters passed Proposition 8, which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. (California recognizes same-sex marriages and civil unions granted in other states.)</p><p>Florida and Texas, respectively, recorded the second- and third-largest numbers of gay couples. Both states have constitutional amendments restricting marriage to a man and a woman. Florida's total rose to 48,496 and Texas's jumped to 46,401, with the groups in each state posting an increase of more than 85 percent over the decade.</p><p>Socially and religiously conservative North Carolina and Georgia were among the states with not only the greatest increases, but the largest populations of same-sex households.</p><p>The number of North Carolina's gay couples soared 118 percent to 18,309, as the state earlier this month approved a ballot initiative for 2012, which aims to prevent constitutional challenges to existing law that already prohibits same-sex marriage.</p><p>Georgia had the sixth-highest number of gay couples, at 21,318, due to an 80 percent increase over the decade. Georgia voters approved a constitutional ban in 2004, following one of the nation's most widely watched demonstrations in support of it — notably because one of its leaders was the Rev. Bernice King, a daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. Her mother, civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, had been a public supporter of gay rights.</p><p>The Census Bureau issued the figures this week to correct its initial release in August, when it put the number of same-sex households at more than 901,000. The initial results also produced a far higher estimate of gay married couples, at a count of more than 349,000.</p><p>The bureau says the results were "artificially inflated" because some heterosexual couples checked boxes on the 2010 census form identifying themselves as same-sex couples. The bureau attributes the error to a poorly designed questionnaire that census takers used in recording people's information on door-to-door visits. Some demographers say the form may have produced similar mistakes in the 2000 count.</p><p>In all, 29 states have amended their constitutions to effectively outlaw gay marriage by defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. Twelve other states have laws against recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.</p><p>Roughly 19 states have laws against recognizing same-sex civil unions.</p><p>At the opposite end of the issue, six states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. Massachusetts was the first state to do so, in 2004. New York became the latest earlier this year. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317409206?&gn=Data+On+Same-Sex+Couples+Reveal+Changing+Attitudes&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140950989&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110930&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 13:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-30/data-same-sex-couples-reveal-changing-attitudes-92689 In Wood Pulp Country, A New Plan For Conservation http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-29/wood-pulp-country-new-plan-conservation-92650 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-30/millinocket-001.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For more than a decade, there's been talk of creating a new national park in the heart of the Maine woods. Most locals were opposed from the start, but as the economy here changes, opposition is softening.</p><p>For generations, Maine's North Woods have provided pulp for the state's paper mills and created plenty of good jobs in an area with little other economic activity. But now the paper industry is struggling and a mill job is no longer a guarantee.</p><p>It's been three years since work stopped at the mill in Millinocket, Maine, and there are signs everywhere of the toll that's taking: vacant storefronts; 50-percent-off signs; and on the block in front of the mill, several homes for sale, one with a handmade sign saying, "$25,000 as-is — make an offer."</p><p>Millnocket<strong> </strong>is<strong> </strong>known as the Magic City because it was carved out of the woods by lumberjacks almost overnight. But the area's two paper mills have changed owners several times, including just this month. Both have recently been idle. Residents are crossing their fingers about going back to work, but the local unemployment rate stands at 21 percent.</p><p>Millinocket Town Manager Eugene Conlogue, an opponent of the proposed national park, says residents are panicked over the economy. For Conlogue and others, distrust of the federal government and potential park restrictions on certain outdoor activities like timber harvesting are big concerns.</p><p>"We don't need preservationists here telling us how to keep our land and ... keep us off the land," he says.</p><p><strong>Attitudes Shift</strong></p><p>The national park is being proposed by Roxanne Quimby, co-founder of the natural products company Burt's Bees. After selling the company, Quimby used her newfound fortune to buy up land in Maine's North Woods from downsizing paper companies. Some local residents see her as a villain for closing off her land to hunting and snowmobiling — activities the paper companies have long allowed — and for taking it out of timber production.</p><p>Others are changing their minds.</p><p>"Without a doubt I was Roxanne's strongest critic when this all started. In fact, you're talking to a guy that had a 'Ban Roxanne' bumper sticker on his vehicle for a long, long time," says George Smith, former longtime executive director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, a powerful voice for hunters and anglers.</p><p>About five years ago, Smith says, he got an unexpected phone call asking him to take part in a series of stakeholder meetings with the woman he thought was his enemy.</p><p>"I thought it was some kind of a joke. There was no way Roxanne Quimby was calling me," he says.</p><p>As a result of those meetings, Smith has peeled the bumper sticker off his car. He now supports a park-feasibility study mostly because Quimby has backed away from plans for a vast park. Now her goal is to donate 70,000 acres to the National Park Service along with a sizable endowment to manage the park. As a hard-fought compromise with park opponents, Quimby is also proposing to buy an additional 30,000 acres, turn it over to the state of Maine and allow for hunting and snowmobiling.</p><p>But in the national park, she pictures more of a wilderness adventure limited to hiking, camping and fishing.</p><p>The Maine Legislature and the town of Millinocket recently passed resolves against the park, and most of the state's congressional delegation has expressed opposition to it. But the local chamber of commerce and some other groups have endorsed a feasibility study. Quimby counts that as progress.</p><p>"I think that I am starting to sense a shift in attitude with people who probably 10 years ago would have demonized me or demonized the beliefs that I had about conservation and recreation in the area," she says, "but they're sitting at the table with me now and talking about how can we make this work for everybody?"</p><p>Quimby is not giving up on what she hopes will be her personal legacy. It took two decades to build Burt's Bees from a roadside stand into a multimillion-dollar company. And when it comes to creating a national park, she says, she's willing to be patient. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 Maine Public Broadcasting Network. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.mainepublicradio.org/">http://www.mainepublicradio.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317373159?&gn=In+Wood+Pulp+Country%2C+A+New+Plan+For+Conservation&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=Around+the+Nation,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140632021&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110930&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=495&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 03:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-29/wood-pulp-country-new-plan-conservation-92650 L.A. County Prepares To Take On State Prisoners http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-29/la-county-prepares-take-state-prisoners-92620 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-29/calif_prison_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The state of California will begin shifting responsibility Saturday for tens of thousands of prisoners to local officials. The unprecedented change is underway because the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state to reduce its dangerously overcrowded prisons.</p><p>County officials have had just months to plan for the influx of prisoners and parolees into their communities. Of all the prisoners and parolees leaving the state's system — the bulk are headed to Los Angeles County. Los Angeles is expecting to have to deal with 15,000 added criminals.</p><p>And with just days before the big shift begins, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is not happy.</p><p>"This has all the markings of a bait-and-switch," Yaroslavsky says.</p><p>The state is sending L.A. $120 million to take care of its prisoners for the next nine months. Yaroslavsky, who's been on the county board for 17 years, says he's seen the state play this game before.</p><p>"They promise us everything now, they shift this huge responsibility from the state to the counties now, and then a year or two or three from now, they will forget about that commitment, and it'll be — then was then and now is now — and we'll be left holding the bag," he says.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>Everything Is Under Control — Or Is It?</strong></p><p>Starting Oct. 1, that bag will start filling up quickly.</p><p>Criminals convicted of nonviolent crimes, mostly drug offenses, won't be sent off to state prison anymore, they'll be locked up locally. Officials say that will add about 7,000 prisoners to the already overcrowded jail. Plans are in the works to clear space with early releases and maybe rent jail space out of the county.</p><p>On top of more prisoners, there will also be more parolees. Nonviolent criminals released from state prison will now be placed under the supervision of L.A.'s already troubled probation department. In the first year, that could add as many as 8,000 cases to local officers' workloads.</p><p>Despite the startling statistics, L.A.'s Chief of Probation Donald Blevins has been telling residents everything is under control.</p><p>Last week, Blevins showed up at a South Los Angeles youth center to field questions from parolees and community members. He stood up and assured the crowd that the department is ready for the influx of parolees.</p><p>"I've been doing this for about 35 years. I've never seen a period of time where there is so much change with regard to the criminal justice system," he said. "I'll be honest with you. I think it's welcome change; I think it's time to do things differently."</p><p>Blevins said he's going to provide more rehabilitation programs and he's confident local officers can supervise parolees better than state officials. But within days of Blevins's upbeat comments, reports began surfacing that county supervisors were pushing him out and drawing up a severance package. Blevins is out of the country on vacation and couldn't be reached for comment. He is the fourth person to head the probation department in the past six years.</p><p><strong>A Call For The Sheriff To Resign</strong></p><p>On top of that turmoil, the county sheriff's office is under fire.</p><p>The FBI is looking into allegations of abuse of inmates in the county lock-up by sheriff deputies. And on Wednesday, three civilian volunteers at the main men's jail, including two chaplains, filed sworn affidavits that they witnessed deputies beating subdued inmates.</p><p>"Civilian witnesses have never come forward before to corroborate what inmates have been telling us," says Peter Eliasberg, the legal director for the ACLU, which has been complaining for years about alleged abuse by sheriff's deputies.</p><p>Eliasberg says concern is even greater now that thousands more prisoners will be supervised by sheriff deputies.</p><p>"Well, they can't handle the group that they have, so I don't see how they could possibly be deemed capable or competent of handling more," he says.</p><p>The ACLU is calling on Sheriff Lee Baca to resign.</p><p>For his part, Baca says he's not going anywhere. He says there is plenty of oversight of his department — he's never been hesitant to discipline deputies and his jails are open for inspection anytime.</p><p>"My word is probably the most trusted word of an elected official in this county," he says. "I'm not worried about my word. You know why? Because we have nothing to hide."</p><p>Baca says he's already cleared as many as 4,000 beds in the county for the new group of prisoners and he plans to use more home detention and electronic-monitoring systems.</p><p>"The criminal justice system here has been on gridlock for the last 30 years," Baca says. "We're used to too much to do with too little. So are we somewhat overwhelmed? No. Will we have some difficulties? Yes. But what's new?"</p><p>What's new are the estimated 15,000 additional prisoners and parolees coming to test L.A.'s already strained criminal justice system. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317326423?&gn=L.A.+County+Prepares+To+Take+On+State+Prisoners&ev=event2&ch=1091&h1=News+iPad,Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140922171&c7=1091&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1091&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110929&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Thu, 29 Sep 2011 14:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-29/la-county-prepares-take-state-prisoners-92620