WBEZ | Ohio http://www.wbez.org/tags/ohio Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Meet the Most Pampered Vegetables in America http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/meet-most-pampered-vegetables-america-114699 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/CUCAMELON_CREDITRyan Kellman_NPR.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res462829269" previewtitle="Microgreens and flowers grown by Chef's Garden are prepared by chefs from Walt Disney World."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Microgreens and flowers grown by Chef's Garden are prepared by chefs from Walt Disney World." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/tweezersdyp_slide-084d2a071b830dc2fd787696bebe474f0c0252f6-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Microgreens and flowers grown by Chef's Garden are prepared by chefs from Walt Disney World. (Michelle Demuth-Bibb/Chef's Garden)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>There&#39;s a small corner of the restaurant world where food is art and the plate is just as exquisite as the mouthful.</p><p>In this world, chefs are constantly looking for new creative materials for the next stunning presentation.</p><p>The tiny community of farmers who grow vegetables for the elite chefs prize creativity, too, not just in what they grow but in how they grow it. They&#39;re seeking perfection, in vegetable form and flavor, like this tiny cucumber that looks like a watermelon &mdash; called a cucamelon.</p><div id="con463167901" previewtitle="cucamelon"><div id="res462840158" previewtitle="The cucamelon is a tiny cucumber that looks like a watermelon."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The cucamelon is a tiny cucumber that looks like a watermelon." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-5.1_custom-a861d53687621abe471b6dfccf825d1ad6401ac8-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The cucamelon is a tiny cucumber that looks like a watermelon. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div></div><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chefs-garden.com/">Chef&#39;s Garden</a>&nbsp;is a specialty vegetable farm in Huron, Ohio, about an hour west of Cleveland. It&#39;s a family farm, where three generations of the Jones family work side by side with about 175 employees. It&#39;s a place where vegetables are scrupulously selected and then painstakingly coaxed from the ground.</p><div id="res462837962" previewtitle="Rows of lettuce at Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Rows of lettuce at Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-11_custom-405ab7c832aa1be43fdb39aeaafbab7a607d782f-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Rows of lettuce at Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>This farm produces an extraordinary selection of vegetable varieties, ranging from the familiar to the exotic, like the cucamelon. In the summer, they can offer chefs 80 varieties of tomatoes. Through the year, they&#39;re growing more than a dozen kinds of lettuce of different textures and colors, like Merlot, in their greenhouses.</p><div id="res462829202" previewtitle="Merlot lettuce is one of many varieties of lettuce grown by Chef's Garden."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Merlot lettuce is one of many varieties of lettuce grown by Chef's Garden." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-6_custom-198fd13ec89019bc67d508c7cce3b486a37d4ecb-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Merlot lettuce is one of many varieties of lettuce grown by Chef's Garden. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><h3>&quot;What we&#39;re trying to do is offer new colors of paint to the chef. It&#39;s not just about color ... it&#39;s flavor and texture. It needs to taste good, and if it doesn&#39;t it has no place,&quot; says Lee Jones, who runs Chef&#39;s Garden with his father and brother.</h3><div id="res462829182" previewtitle="Farmer Lee Jones inside a tomato greenhouse on his farm in Huron, Ohio."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Farmer Lee Jones inside a tomato greenhouse on his farm in Huron, Ohio." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-1_custom-54d37b795eee3543fbc7e0b4264268205b46b16c-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Farmer Lee Jones inside a tomato greenhouse on his farm in Huron, Ohio. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>When Lee Jones (who wears this ensemble of blue overalls, white shirt and red bow tie every single day) was a teenager, his family grew ordinary vegetables for the wholesale market, like a lot of their neighbors. Then in 1983, the Joneses went bankrupt and lost almost all their land. All they could do with the few acres that were left was supply a small stand at local farmers markets.</p><p>One of their customers was a food writer in Cleveland desperate to find the squash blossoms she&#39;d tasted in France and couldn&#39;t find in America. So they went back to the zucchini patch and picked some for her. She was ecstatic, and they began to realize there were unmet needs in the world of fine dining.</p><p>It wasn&#39;t too long before the Joneses began to get connected to chefs around the country &mdash; people like Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller. The great French chef Jean-Louis Palladin at the Watergate in Washington, D.C., told them, &quot; &#39;Your food is s*** in America,&#39; &quot; Lee recalls. In particular, he was talking about the vegetables. And he told them they could seize the opportunity to grow vegetables to the standards of chefs like him.</p><h3>There&#39;s a movement now of farmers like the Joneses who &quot;really aspire to be the best, where it&#39;s not a commodity anymore &mdash; it&#39;s actually about the process that will result in something extraordinary,&quot; says Chef Thomas Keller.</h3><p>The farm covers 300 acres and supplies chefs all year round, with the help of greenhouses and hoop houses that can be moved from plot to plot in the winter.</p><div id="res462829194" previewtitle="The farm covers 300 acres and supplies chefs all year round, with the help of greenhouses and hoop houses that can be moved from plot to plot in the winter."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The farm covers 300 acres and supplies chefs all year round, with the help of greenhouses and hoop houses that can be moved from plot to plot in the winter." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-4.5_custom-b6e7591312375f84e069c5554de53f07ae1e0f59-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The farm covers 300 acres and supplies chefs all year round, with the help of greenhouses and hoop houses that can be moved from plot to plot in the winter. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>The Joneses say they need to always have something new to offer the chefs. So they have a &quot;secret&quot; experimental garden and greenhouse where they test new varieties. Visitors are not allowed inside.</p><h3>&quot;When we find a new crop, we have two years before [other farmers] start to copy us,&quot; says Bob Jones Sr., Lee&#39;s father and the patriarch of Chef&#39;s Garden.</h3><p>Attention to detail flows through every step of the farming, harvesting and shipping process. And it all starts with the soil.</p><h3>&quot;If you don&#39;t have good soil, you have nothing,&quot; says Bob.</h3><div id="res462829186" previewtitle="Bob Jones Senior in a field of Sudan grass that's been planted as a cover crop. Underneath is about a foot of topsoil that he's built up over the years."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Bob Jones Senior in a field of Sudan grass that's been planted as a cover crop. Underneath is about a foot of topsoil that he's built up over the years." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-23_custom-152d2e688239a2d3f622fbbb010c9ae9bc1bb11e-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Bob Jones Senior in a field of Sudan grass that's been planted as a cover crop. Underneath is about a foot of topsoil that he's built up over the years. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>The soil on this farm gets remarkably special treatment.</p><p>The Joneses are fortunate that their farm is located just a few miles inland from Lake Erie. That means they started with some of the richest sandy loam soil in the world, formed from thousands of years of deposits from the lake bottom.</p><p>But they&#39;ve dedicated themselves to improving it by resting the soil and adding nutrients to deepen the layer of topsoil year after year.</p><p>The way they do that is by planting only one-third of their land (100 acres) with vegetables at any one time.</p><p>The remaining 200 acres are sown with cover crops like Sudan grass, oats and clover that return nitrogen and other nutrients that the vegetables take out.</p><div id="res462829179" previewtitle="The Joneses plant only one-third of their land with vegetables at any one time.The remaining 200 acres are sown with cover crops for one to two years before they're planted with vegetables again."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Joneses plant only one-third of their land with vegetables at any one time.The remaining 200 acres are sown with cover crops for one to two years before they're planted with vegetables again." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-22_custom-2fcd1cae254cfe0b0db78e2c8031059f9b5004be-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The Joneses plant only one-third of their land with vegetables at any one time.The remaining 200 acres are sown with cover crops for one to two years before they're planted with vegetables again. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><h3>&quot;If you would talk to the farmers around here, they think we&#39;re crazy. They think we&#39;re absolutely ready for the loony bin,&quot; says Bob, &quot;because we do things so much different.&quot;</h3><p>Rotating crops and cover cropping this way is one of the secrets to the vegetables&#39; distinctive flavor, Bob says.</p><p>The Joneses, like the chefs, are always looking for surprising new varieties. Lee tries out the latest seeds from plant breeders and combs through dusty agricultural books.</p><div id="res463182994" previewtitle="(Left) Lee finds unique varieties of vegetables to grow by combing through old agricultural books. (Right) Lee surveys a field of lettuce."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(Left) Lee finds unique varieties of vegetables to grow by combing through old agricultural books. (Right) Lee surveys a field of lettuce." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/bookslee_custom-31719b2c17abc4c46f990b19cf97fc1e5a7a58fb-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 620px;" title="Left, Lee finds unique varieties of vegetables to grow by combing through old agricultural books. And right, Lee surveys a field of lettuce. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><h3>&quot;We didn&#39;t discover any of these &mdash; we&#39;re uncovering, rediscovering, reintroducing. There&#39;s thousands of species of eggplant out there to be explored,&quot; says Lee.</h3><p>Another thing the Joneses try to tightly control is the seeds they put in the ground. If you buy thousands of them in bulk the way they do, many are bound to fail.</p><p>They check every batch for their germination rate to try to ensure they&#39;re putting only the seeds most likely to succeed in the ground.</p><div id="res462829257" previewtitle="The Joneses monitor seed vitality by germinating each batch they receive. Here, Helios radish seeds are checked for their germination rate."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Joneses monitor seed vitality by germinating each batch they receive. Here, Helios radish seeds are checked for their germination rate." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-28_custom-fd3c6cd6d9e1cc54413f0c24c47506614191ae60-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The Joneses monitor seed vitality by germinating each batch they receive. Here, Helios radish seeds are checked for their germination rate. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>They also have a machine to sort seeds for size and weight to help them eliminate the weakest ones. The goal is to guarantee chefs a consistent product every time they need it.</p><h3>&quot;All this comes down to getting dependable production. We can&#39;t get to February and say, &#39;Aw, Chef, we can&#39;t do it because the seed wouldn&#39;t germinate.&#39; That doesn&#39;t work,&quot; says Bob.</h3><p>There&#39;s a whole lab at Chef&#39;s Garden with a small staff dedicated to monitoring and measuring the seeds and the soil.</p><p>It&#39;s just one branch of Chef&#39;s Garden&#39;s highly specialized staff, focused on different aspects of quality control. All together, they give this farm an unusual ratio of workers to acres: about one person per half-acre.</p><p>About 25 of the 178 employees are temporary workers who come mostly from the Aguascalientes region of Mexico to work nine months a year.</p><div id="res462956721" previewtitle="About 25 of the 178 employees of Chef's Garden are temporary workers who come mainly from the Aguascalientes region of Mexico to work on the farm nine months a year."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="About 25 of the 178 employees of Chef's Garden are temporary workers who come mainly from the Aguascalientes region of Mexico to work on the farm nine months a year." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/13/mondayedit-36_custom-a34767213b0a65a44342f7d427bcfa44ba622cb8-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="About 25 of the 178 employees of Chef's Garden are temporary workers who come mainly from the Aguascalientes region of Mexico to work on the farm nine months a year. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>These workers pick everything to order &mdash; from the microgreens to the tiny eggplants and cucamelons.</div></div></div><p>Chefs ask for miniature versions of their favorites because when they&#39;re small, they pack more flavor and make for stunning garnishes. And picking these crops is labor-intensive.</p><div id="res463183465" previewtitle="(Left) Chefs ask for miniature versions of their favorites, like these tiny purple eggplants. (Right) Cucamelons on the vine."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(Left) Chefs ask for miniature versions of their favorites, like these tiny purple eggplants. (Right) Cucamelons on the vine." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/eggplant-and-tomato_custom-848f506a1b5ad6d01b1ae8106d32ac87ae408968-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 620px;" title="Left, chefs ask for miniature versions of their favorites, like these tiny purple eggplants. And right, cucamelons on the vine. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>But if a chef wants 100 nasturtium flowers the size of a dime, Lee is happy to oblige &mdash; in part because he has the manpower to pick them.</div></div></div><p>Since there are so many stages in a plant&#39;s life, the farm has developed an eight-stage, patented set of sizes, including micro, petite, young, flowering and seeded. Some vegetables come in every single size.</p><h3>&quot;At every single stage of the plant&#39;s life, it offers something unique to the plate. We&#39;ve learned how to look at that plant in a way that says, &#39;Why not?&#39; &quot; says Lee.</h3><p>The precise moment the crops are picked also matters if they&#39;re going to be perfect. Take, for example, the squash blossoms, which are harvested during a narrow hour-and-a-half window in the early morning.</p><div id="res462829190" previewtitle="The farm has developed an eight-stage, patented set of sizes for vegetables like squash it offers chefs. The sizes include micro, petite, young, flowering and seeded."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The farm has developed an eight-stage, patented set of sizes for vegetables like squash it offers chefs. The sizes include micro, petite, young, flowering and seeded." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-34_custom-96087b5534122e284ef1e7587a0a9cd3893cebef-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The farm has developed an eight-stage, patented set of sizes for vegetables like squash it offers chefs. The sizes include micro, petite, young, flowering and seeded. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><h3>&quot;You&#39;re trying to walk past those ones that are waning, if you will, and pick that one that&#39;s right today, in this particular moment, in this particular hour, the perfect squash bloom, so that it can go onto the plate and blow the guest away of that chef,&quot; says Lee.</h3><p>The same goes for the lettuce, which is harvested at dawn, when the air, the ground and the plants are coolest. The goal, particularly in the summer, is to harvest them at the lowest possible temperature so they can stay fresh longer.</p><div id="res462829261" previewtitle="Workers at Chef's Garden pick squash blossoms only at their peak, which is a narrow hour-and-a-half window in the early morning."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Workers at Chef's Garden pick squash blossoms only at their peak, which is a narrow hour-and-a-half window in the early morning." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/squash-3_custom-a349e678c8e35de78ab7d2d4ca0631688c24aa9f-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 622px; width: 620px;" title="Workers at Chef's Garden pick squash blossoms only at their peak, which is a narrow hour-and-a-half window in the early morning. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>By the time the vegetables reach the packing room, they&#39;re treated like jewels.</div></div></div><p>Bob Jones Jr., Lee&#39;s brother, oversees this stage, where lettuce rosettes are carefully packed with insulation. If the box is filled with tomatoes, it&#39;s fitted with foam padding. In the summer, ice packs go into the boxes to keep the vegetables cold if they&#39;re headed to hot locales.</p><div id="res463183792" previewtitle="The shipping room at Chef's Garden, where vegetables are carefully washed and packed for their overnight journey to chefs around the country and even abroad."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The shipping room at Chef's Garden, where vegetables are carefully washed and packed for their overnight journey to chefs around the country and even abroad." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/mondayedit-15_custom-ba11dcb6c72b3f1a726e1ed52321850b7fba8dc8-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The shipping room at Chef's Garden, where vegetables are carefully washed and packed for their overnight journey to chefs around the country and even abroad. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>Nearly all the vegetables that leave here by truck or airplane reach kitchens within a day of coming out of the ground.</div></div></div><p>Shipping vegetables from Ohio to California or New York or Florida means these vegetables most certainly won&#39;t be local once they reach diners. They&#39;ll have quite a few additional greenhouse gas emissions attached to them, too.</p><div id="res462829198" previewtitle="A box of heirloom tomatoes is fitted with foam padding before being shipped overnight to a chef."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A box of heirloom tomatoes is fitted with foam padding before being shipped overnight to a chef." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-14_custom-a60b74f104a909fe3263004b1c089f176f0a8ff1-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A box of heirloom tomatoes is fitted with foam padding before being shipped overnight to a chef. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>And if you&#39;re buying this precious produce, it will, of course, cost you. The Joneses say their costs are probably 2.5 times as great as a regular production system&#39;s, where every acre is farmed every year. A two-pound box of lettuce from Chef&#39;s Garden goes for about $24.</p><p>But chefs will pay top dollar for these exquisite vegetables.</p><h3>&quot;If we&#39;re not willing to pay for the extraordinary ingredients, then we&#39;re not going to have the extraordinary ingredients,&quot; says Chef Thomas Keller.</h3><p>Chef&#39;s Garden is starting to sell directly to consumers via mail order. And Lee is hopeful about this new frontier for the business.</p><h3>&quot;We know in the U.S. there&#39;s a movement toward more healthy and fresh vegetables, so we&#39;re trying to anticipate that and be ready for it. The chefs we work with can drive those trends. It is a trickle-down effect,&quot; says Lee.</h3><p>This has been a special multimedia project of NPR&#39;s food blog,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/">The Salt</a>.</p></p> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 10:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/meet-most-pampered-vegetables-america-114699 Movement to Pay-it-Forward with a Cup Of Coffee Spills into U.S. http://www.wbez.org/news/movement-pay-it-forward-cup-coffee-spills-us-114213 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/drinktokens_custom-ee36db7602bfb7b2710f824936164343de88ffe3-s1600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res460009942" previewtitle="Kofenya Coffee in Oxford, Ohio, has been operating a token-based pay-it-forward scheme for around six months. Customers pay for a cup of coffee in advance for a stranger."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Kofenya Coffee in Oxford, Ohio, has been operating a token-based pay-it-forward scheme for around six months. Customers pay for a cup of coffee in advance for a stranger." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/16/drinktokens_custom-ee36db7602bfb7b2710f824936164343de88ffe3-s1600-c85.jpg" style="height: 529px; width: 620px;" title="Kofenya Coffee in Oxford, Ohio, has been operating a token-based pay-it-forward scheme for around six months. Customers pay for a cup of coffee in advance for a stranger. (Courtesy of Tim Stiffler-Dean)" /></div><div><div><p>On March 27, 2013, John Sweeney, a plumber from Ireland, started a Facebook page called<a href="https://www.facebook.com/SuspendedCoffeess">&nbsp;Suspended Coffees</a>. His message was simple: Buy a cup of coffee for a stranger, because an act of kindness can change a life. Eight hours later, the page had attracted more than 20,000 likes.</p></div></div></div><p>Suspended coffee, or&nbsp;<em>caffe sospeso</em>,&nbsp;is a tradition that comes from Naples, Italy, and dates to at least the turn of the 20th century. When customers buy coffee, they also pay in advance for a cup to be given to somebody else&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;usually someone&nbsp;who otherwise couldn&#39;t afford it.</p><p>As The Salt has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/04/24/178829301/eu-embraces-suspended-coffee-pay-it-forward-with-a-cup-of-joe">reported</a>, the idea of &quot;paying it forward&quot; with a cup of coffee experienced a revival across Italy in 2011. That&#39;s when Neapolitan authorities introduced an official &quot;Suspended Coffee Day&quot; to be celebrated each December. The previous year, a group of small Italian festivals had set up the Suspended Coffee Network to encourage community and solidarity in response to state budget cuts in the cultural sector.</p><div id="res460030397"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>Two years later, Sweeney heard about the concept from a friend who&#39;d come across it at a cafe,&nbsp;and it inspired him to promote suspended coffee on Facebook. As the page went viral, he found himself at the center of a modern movement in Europe and quickly became an English-language spokesman for the cause. To date, Sweeney&#39;s Suspended Coffees page has inspired the purchase of over 15 million coffees for strangers in 34 countries, according to data he has collected.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s grown bigger and bolder than I ever imagined it would. New cafes are still signing up and joining the movement every day,&quot; he says. &quot;Less than a year after starting the page, we had over 250,000 followers on Facebook and a website continually generating tens of thousands of hits. The message that kindness matters has connected with people across the globe.&quot;</p><p>Though spontaneously occurring pay-it-forward chains at coffee shops have occasionally&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/08/21/342228894/one-womans-pay-it-forward-moment-inspires-11-hours-of-kindness">made headlines</a>&nbsp;in the U.S., more formal adoption of the Suspended Coffee movement has been slower in America than in Europe.</p><p>But the movement is beginning to gain momentum. Of the 2,000 coffee venues that have registered as part of Sweeney&#39;s Suspended Coffees campaign, almost a quarter are based in the United States, in cities as far apart as Seattle and New York.</p><p>&quot;The generosity of Americans is exceptional. One of my favorite stories is of a barista giving a suspended coffee to a well-dressed regular who was having a really tough day because his wife had left him,&quot; Sweeney recalls. &quot;When he was back on his feet, he donated $500 to the cafe&#39;s scheme, because the barista&#39;s kindness had such an impact on him at such a low time in his life.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://kofenyacoffee.com/">Kofenya Coffee</a>&nbsp;in Oxford, Ohio, has been operating a token-based &quot;pay it forward&quot; scheme for around six months. &quot;My passion is being able to use coffee to connect people and support the local community, so it felt natural to introduce the idea of suspended coffee,&quot; says coffee shop manager Tim Stiffler-Dean. &quot;We have people taking part almost every day, so I estimate we&#39;ve sold around 150 suspended coffees so far. Our customers tell us they like it a lot.&quot;</p><div id="res460009687" previewtitle="John Sweeney, a plumber from Ireland, heard about Italy's suspended coffee tradition in March 2013 and decided to make it his mission to help spread the movement."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="John Sweeney, a plumber from Ireland, heard about Italy's suspended coffee tradition in March 2013 and decided to make it his mission to help spread the movement." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/16/johnsweeney_custom-a1d7dd81925e9708c75efbe741b23f27533fffc1-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 339px; width: 540px;" title="John Sweeney, a plumber from Ireland, heard about Italy's suspended coffee tradition in March 2013 and decided to make it his mission to help spread the movement. (Courtesy of John Sweeney)" /></div><div><div><p>But while suspended coffee works well for some cafes, others are more dismissive of the idea. &quot;We&#39;re not-for-profit and very community-focused, but we&#39;ve never adopted a pay-it-forward scheme,&quot; says Glenn Winkler, owner of<a href="http://www.homerscoffeehouse.com/">&nbsp;Homer&#39;s Coffee House</a>&nbsp;in a suburb of Kansas City, Mo. &quot;I&#39;ve heard about the idea, but I&#39;m not sure that our customers know about it. I guess it&#39;s something that&#39;s just never really happened for us.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>One challenge to making kindness through coffee a staple of American culture is that &quot;we&#39;re a society that isn&#39;t very comfortable, culturally, with asking for help,&quot; observes Jason Burton, who runs annual<a href="http://www.caffeinecrawl.com/">&nbsp;Caffeine Crawl</a>&nbsp;events with independent coffee shops all over the U.S.</p><p>&quot;The people who could really benefit from a suspended coffee probably aren&#39;t the kind of people who visit the premium coffee spots offering it,&quot; he says.</p><p>When a cafe signs up, Sweeney&#39;s organization sends out supporting materials with ideas on how to get suspended coffee programs off the ground. But he admits that lack of awareness is one of the biggest challenges to widespread adoption, especially in the U.S.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re constantly working on new ways to encourage customers to get involved. When people realize what the movement&#39;s about, they almost always react positively, so the work lies in raising awareness,&quot; Sweeney explains. &quot;Giving out suspended coffees randomly, having some kind of token or coin to represent a suspended coffee, and arranging mornings dedicated to suspended coffee all help to spread the word.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/17/460001377/movement-to-pay-it-forward-with-a-cup-of-coffee-spills-into-u-s?ft=nprml&amp;f=460001377" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 17 Dec 2015 16:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/movement-pay-it-forward-cup-coffee-spills-us-114213 State ballot initiatives: from animal trafficking to marijuana legalization http://www.wbez.org/news/state-ballot-initiatives-animal-trafficking-marijuana-legalization-113636 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1103_ohio-voting-624x410.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95443"><img alt="A voter casts his ballot at Orange High School in Moreland Hills, Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. (Tony Dejak/AP)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1103_ohio-voting-624x410.jpg" style="height: 407px; width: 620px;" title="A voter casts his ballot at Orange High School in Moreland Hills, Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. (Tony Dejak/AP)" /><p>On this off-year election, voters in a number of states will decide on ballot initiatives.</p></div><p>In&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thepostathens.com/news/ohio-s-marijuana-legalization-ballot-issue-could-cause-legal-clash/article_10c4dcc4-80db-11e5-8645-33bff0634486.html" target="_blank">Ohio</a>, the legalization of marijuana is at stake. In&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/02/us/washington-state-weighs-far-reaching-law-on-animal-trafficking.html" target="_blank">Washington State</a>, the trafficking of animal products from endangered species, and in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/mississippi-voters-decide-schools-funded/" target="_blank">Mississippi</a>, how public schools are funded.</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/underhillwendy" target="_blank">Wendy Underhill</a>, program manager for elections at the <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/" target="_blank">National Conference of State Legislatures</a>, joins&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now&#39;s</em> Robin Young to take a look at state ballot initiatives.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/03/state-ballot-initiatives" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 12:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/state-ballot-initiatives-animal-trafficking-marijuana-legalization-113636 Among the lucky few: Syrian family rebuilds in 'America's Heartland' http://www.wbez.org/news/among-lucky-few-syrian-family-rebuilds-americas-heartland-113439 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Capture_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Top: Omar Al-Awad holds his daughter Taiba, 4, as they walk to their home in Toledo, Ohio, where they were recently resettled after fleeing Syria and living in a Jordanian refugee camp for two years. Left: The only possessions Omar brought from Syria were baby photos and his grandmother's identification card. Right: Omar's wife Hiyam watches as the family of five gets ready for school." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/20/toledo-top-grid-_custom-25793f5895a0bd92fc637d88ab0ff521882a67ab-s1000-c85.jpg" style="height: 627px; width: 620px;" title="Top: Omar Al-Awad holds his daughter Taiba, 4, as they walk to their home in Toledo, Ohio, where they were recently resettled after fleeing Syria and living in a Jordanian refugee camp for two years. Left: The only possessions Omar brought from Syria were baby photos and his grandmother's identification card. Right: Omar's wife Hiyam watches as the family of five gets ready for school. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Neatly trimmed lawns divide dozens of identical two-story brick buildings that make up the Kenwood Gardens apartment complex in Toledo, Ohio. The people who live here are college students, blue-collar workers and &mdash; as of recently &mdash; refugees from Syria&#39;s civil war.</p></div></div><p>It&#39;s where Omar Al-Awad and his family are settling into their new life in America. On a recent morning, the apartment is already bustling: a tea kettle is on the stove, and Omar&#39;s wife, Hiyam, is helping their three children review what they learned in their first day of American schooling.</p><p>&quot;I feel very happy, very excited and at peace inside,&quot; says Omar. &quot;I was overjoyed today.&quot;</p><p>Omar Al-Awad is a carpenter from the Syrian city of Homs. The war destroyed his house and business. His family spent two years at a refugee camp in Jordan.</p><p>&quot;There was no future in Jordan. None whatsoever,&quot; he says.</p><p>Finally the U.S. approved the family&#39;s medical exams, security checks and piles of other paperwork; they arrived in Toledo in September.</p><p>Fewer than 2,000 Syrians have come to the U.S., though the war has displaced more than 12 million since it began in 2011. The refugees in America are scattered widely across more than 20 different states. So far, eight families have come to Toledo. The Al-Awad family is the newest.</p><p>A group called&nbsp;<a href="http://waterforishmael.org/">Water for Ishmael</a>&nbsp;offers free language lessons for new arrivals and day care for the younger kids at a small local church. As the children head off to a classroom, Omar begins the long road to learning English. Omar and his family will come here a few times a week.</p><div id="con450250970" previewtitle="ESL"><div id="res450250844" previewtitle="Omar attends an English as a second language class offered by the Water for Ishmael, a Christian organization in Toledo."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Omar attends an English as a second language class offered by the Water for Ishmael, a Christian organization in Toledo." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/20/toledo-04062-edit_custom-dfbd9f27ed74023321dc62f8aa690a389ae84e8e-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Omar attends an English as a second language class offered by the Water for Ishmael, a Christian organization in Toledo. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/20/450221327/among-the-lucky-few-syrian-family-rebuilds-in-americas-heartland?ft=nprml&amp;f=450221327#" title="Enlarge">i</a></div><div><div><p>Janelle Metzger, the group&#39;s executive director, says the real challenge for them is building the capacity to take in all the new arrivals.</p></div></div></div></div><p>Two years ago, she says, there were no Syrian refugees in the group&#39;s program. But even then, it was already quite full, serving the immigrant population at the time.</p><p>&quot;So to add 36 people in one year &mdash; and they&#39;re talking about maybe double that next year &mdash; that&#39;s a huge influx for us to figure out how to serve,&quot; Metzger says.</p><p>Language training is just one small piece of this resettlement puzzle. A network of volunteers helps provide everything these new refugees need to get started.</p><p>On the outskirts of Toledo, a bunch of white-haired Midwesterners are unloading mattresses from a moving van into a warehouse full of used furniture; they call themselves the &quot;free loaders.&quot; They collect furniture donations and distribute them to people in need. They gave the Al-Awad family a kitchen table, chairs, beds, a sofa.</p><p>&quot;We greet them with a warm smile. That&#39;s a universal language,&quot; says Keith Webb, one of the organizers of the&nbsp;<a href="https://furnitureministry.org/Donate">Epworth Furniture Ministry</a>.</p><div id="res450245917" previewtitle="Volunteers from Epworth Furniture Ministry prepare donated mattresses for distribution in Perrysburg, Ohio. A tight-knit group of volunteers and assistance agencies in the Toledo area help incoming refugees and local families in need."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Volunteers from Epworth Furniture Ministry prepare donated mattresses for distribution in Perrysburg, Ohio. A tight-knit group of volunteers and assistance agencies in the Toledo area help incoming refugees and local families in need." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/20/toledo_101415_refugee_dg07_22690103-edit_custom-0e3daf0c9eebaafa575190c3311ccc3c176b9069-s1000-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Volunteers from Epworth Furniture Ministry prepare donated mattresses for distribution in Perrysburg, Ohio. A tight-knit group of volunteers and assistance agencies in the Toledo area help incoming refugees and local families in need. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;It helps them in part of their transition, provides a mechanism for them to feel that it&#39;s their home,&quot; he says. &quot;At the end of the day, they have a place to come home.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>All of these men are retirees or people with day jobs: After Webb finishes unloading this furniture, he&#39;ll go back to his day job as an engineer.</p><p>One woman in Toledo ties all these threads &mdash; English lessons, housing, furniture &mdash; together: Corine Dehabey, coordinator of&nbsp;<a href="http://ustogether.us/">Us Together</a>.</p><p>On a recent day, her station wagon is overflowing with donations: food, furniture, car seats, pillows, toys.</p><p>Dehabey is the only paid staffer at her organization; everyone else is a volunteer. She&#39;s constantly being pulled in 12 directions. Her phone rings nonstop. She met the Al-Awad family at the airport and she drives them to English lessons. And she does this for all the Syrian refugees in Toledo.</p><div id="res450236537" previewtitle="Corine Dehabey, a Syrian American, is the resettlement coordinator for Us Together in Toledo, where she places Syrian refugees in housing and helps them adapt to their new lives in the United States."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Corine Dehabey, a Syrian American, is the resettlement coordinator for Us Together in Toledo, where she places Syrian refugees in housing and helps them adapt to their new lives in the United States." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/20/toledo_101415_refugee_dg09_22690107-edit_custom-aba18ba84d947b545c3988542ac3981a9cde6172-s1000-c85.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 413px;" title="Corine Dehabey, a Syrian-American, is the resettlement coordinator for Us Together in Toledo, where she places Syrian refugees in housing and helps them adapt to their new lives in the United States. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Dehabey grew up in the U.S., and her family is Syrian.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;It&#39;s not easy to watch on TV and see your own people getting slaughtered,&quot; she says. &quot;As a Syrian, I feel like because I&#39;m here, and all the problem in Syria, I can&#39;t do anything from here to help my people there, at least I can help when I&#39;m here.&quot;</p><p>Last month, President Obama announced that the U.S. will&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/10/439246943/u-s-to-accept-10-000-syrian-refugees-next-year">increase the number of Syrian refugees it takes in to 10,000 over the coming year</a>. By comparison, 20,000 migrants arrived in Munich, Germany, in a single weekend recently.</p><p>Dehabey&#39;s organization is petitioning the U.S. to take in 100,000 Syrians.</p><p>Her group is funded by an organization called&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/04/437596917/hias-president-u-s-europe-treating-migrant-crisis-like-business-as-usual">HIAS</a>&nbsp;&mdash; which used to stand for &quot;Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society,&quot; because it was founded to resettle Jews fleeing persecution more than a century ago.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s real humanity. ... You want to help everybody, you put religion on the side. That&#39;s it, we&#39;re human before religion was formed,&quot; Dehabey says about this historically Jewish group taking mostly donations from Christian churches to help mostly Muslim immigrants. &quot;So that&#39;s what makes the United States unique because everybody comes together to help this person.&quot;</p><p>Some of the refugees who come from Syria supported the government of Bashar Assad. Others supported the rebels in the civil war. Dehabey&#39;s organization doesn&#39;t ask questions; they help everyone.</p><div id="res450236137" previewtitle="A man sits on a park bench near downtown Toldeo, which is home so far to eight Syrian refugee families."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A man sits on a park bench near downtown Toldeo, which is home so far to eight Syrian refugee families." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/20/toledo_101415_refugee_dg19_22690127-edit_custom-1fcd8404614e599ca80ae9a3960008b8beff8795-s1000-c85.jpg" style="height: 266px; width: 400px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="A man sits on a park bench near downtown Toldeo, which is home so far to eight Syrian refugee families. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><p>In some cities around the U.S., locals have pushed back against the idea of Syrian resettlement. They fear that people like the Al-Awad family could be terrorists trying to infiltrate the country.</p></div></div><p>Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz echoed that sentiment at a campaign rally in neighboring Michigan earlier this month.</p><p>&quot;It would be the height of foolishness to bring in tens of thousands of people including jihadists that are coming here, to murder innocent Americans,&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2015/10/ted_cruz_in_michigan_nothing_s.html">Cruz said in Kalamazoo</a>.</p><p>Toledo has a long history of immigrants from the Middle East, and the concern here is more nuanced.</p><p>Local Sharon Ostrowski says it doesn&#39;t bother her that immigrants are coming to live in her town, but she is bothered by what she perceives as pressure to change the way she lives to suit those people.</p><p>&quot;We shouldn&#39;t have to give up our things we like. If they&#39;re coming here, they need to adapt to our way. We can&#39;t have nativity scenes, I mean all this stuff. They get offended,&quot; Ostrowski says. &quot;Well then what are you in our country for?&quot;</p><div id="con450235475" previewtitle="Toledo Mayor"><div id="res450235396" previewtitle="Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson is welcoming Syrian refugees to her city and hopes they can add to its already diverse population."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson is welcoming Syrian refugees to her city and hopes they can add to its already diverse population." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/20/toledo_101415_refugee_dg08_22690105-edit_custom-5437cef2f9f8283efd54de0ac5f1d1ab7312b02c-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 266px; width: 400px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson is welcoming Syrian refugees to her city and hopes they can add to its already diverse population. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Other people complain that Americans&#39; tax dollars shouldn&#39;t be spent resettling people from Syria.</p></div></div></div></div><p>Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson has no patience for that argument.</p><p>&quot;By helping them we&#39;re helping everyone. We&#39;re a community, and so you don&#39;t carve out one individual group from another individual group,&quot; she says.</p><p>Back at the Kenwood Gardens apartment complex, Omar Al-Awad&#39;s family is already starting to feel at home &mdash; and in more ways than just one.</p><p>When they arrived in Toledo, they discovered something incredible: A family they&#39;d been friends with in Homs, a family that was in the same refugee camp in Jordan, had arrived in Toledo just three days earlier.</p><p>Omar the carpenter talks with Hilal the barber. Their children play together &mdash; just as they did in Syria, and in Jordan.</p><p>&quot;As long as I have Hilal by my side,&quot; Omar Al-Awad says, &quot;I&#39;m fine.&quot;</p><p>The next family from Syria arrives in Toledo on Wednesday.</p><div id="res450234981" previewtitle="Omar holds his daughter, Taiba, at the playground near the family's new home in Toledo."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Omar holds his daughter, Taiba, at the playground near the family's new home in Toledo." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/20/toledo_101415_refugee_dg11_22690111-edit1_custom-75922d8e6185036ebf63e7613566be4e76a5cb97-s1000-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Omar holds his daughter, Taiba, at the playground near the family's new home in Toledo. (David Gilkey/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/20/450221327/among-the-lucky-few-syrian-family-rebuilds-in-americas-heartland?ft=nprml&amp;f=450221327" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 20 Oct 2015 16:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/among-lucky-few-syrian-family-rebuilds-americas-heartland-113439 Cleveland’s struggle to diversify its police force http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-12/cleveland%E2%80%99s-struggle-diversify-its-police-force-113286 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/A%20new%20class%20of%20police%20officers%20lines%20up%20in%20Cleveland%20City%20Hall%20in%202015..jpg" title="A new class of police officers lines up in Cleveland City Hall in 2015. (Nick Castele/ideastream)" /></div><div><p>Two independent investigations have found that police were acting reasonably in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Rice, who was African-American, was carrying an airsoft pellet gun when he was shot by a white police officer in November 2014. A grand jury will decide whether the officer will face criminal charges.</p><p>Cleveland is now carrying out its police reform agreement with the Justice Department to diversify its police force and bring in more African-Americans, Hispanics and women.&nbsp;Nick Castele&nbsp;of&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now</em>&nbsp;contributor WCPN reports that the city&rsquo;s long history of police using force on black citizens makes it difficult to recruit.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/12/cleveland-police-diversity" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 11:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-12/cleveland%E2%80%99s-struggle-diversify-its-police-force-113286 Making the most of muck in the Cuyahoga River http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-06/making-most-muck-cuyahoga-river-113203 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/A tug moves dredged sediment through the Cuyahoga River.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><a class="lightbox" href="http://wcpn.ideastream.org/news/muddy-prospects-new-industry-surfaces-thatll-repurpose-river-sediment" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(44, 149, 199); outline: 0px; transition: opacity 0.3s ease 0s; font-family: 'Droid Sans', arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 19px;" target="_blank" title="A tug moves dredged sediment through the Cuyahoga River (Jim Ridge/Share the River via WCPN)"><img alt="A tug moves dredged sediment through the Cuyahoga River (Jim Ridge/Share the River via WCPN)" class="size-large wp-image-93704" height="339" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/10/1005_sludge-cuyahoga-624x339.jpg" style="border: 0px; width: 624px;" width="624" /></a></p><p>Twice a year, a six-mile stretch of the Cuyahoga River has enough sediment dredged out of it to fill about 18,000 dump trucks.&nbsp;This allows shipping traffic to continue between Lake Erie and Cleveland&rsquo;s industrial sectors.</p><p>But earlier this year, Ohio governor John Kasich signed an executive order prohibiting open lake dumping of dredged material.</p><p>From the&nbsp;<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/" target="_blank">Here &amp; Now</a></em>&nbsp;Contributors Network, WCPN&rsquo;s&nbsp;Brian Bull&nbsp;reports on alternative efforts to make use of all that muck.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/06/cuyahoga-river-dredging" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-06/making-most-muck-cuyahoga-river-113203 In Dayton, Ohio an economic comeback is in the water http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/dayton-ohio-economic-comeback-water-110520 <p><p>Dayton&rsquo;s Mad River wellfield is on a grassy island in the middle of one of the city&rsquo;s three major rivers. Phil Van Atta, head of Dayton&rsquo;s water treatment operation, says the wellfield, where Dayton pumps up groundwater from the <a href="https://www.miamiconservancy.org/water/aquifer_what.asp">Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer,</a> is one of his favorite places. The shallow sand and gravel aquifer in some places lies just feet below the ground, and its 1.5 trillion gallons of freshwater is constantly recharging from the rivers and rainfall.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got loads of capacity now,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We would love to see more demand, more industry come in. Not just to increase their demand for water, but also so there are more jobs available to people in this area.&rdquo;</p><p>Dayton is Ohio&rsquo;s sixth-largest city, but its population has stagnated in recent years due to the foreclosure crisis and loss of industry. In Dayton, both crises hit years before they tore apart the national economy. But now the city may be on the cutting edge again. As states like California face major water shortages, city officials in Dayton sense a business opportunity.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-and-center-water/drought-drives-drilling-frenzy-groundwater-california-110483">Drought drives drilling frenzy for groundwater in California</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Almost all local jurisdictions draw from the Great Miami Aquifer, and Dayton&rsquo;s water treatment system serves 400,000 in the city and surrounding Montgomery and Greene Counties. It&rsquo;s no Lake Michigan, but the self-filtering, self-recharging freshwater supply, along with the rivers, once made Dayton attractive to water-intensive industries in the 19th century.</p><p>Mills, factories, and countless little breweries lined the river before Prohibition, and Dayton was a hub of innovation and wealth. The airplane, the cash register, the self-start automobile ignition, and the pop-top soda can were all invented here. But now that&rsquo;s just a distant memory.</p><p>&ldquo;We lost all the GM plants and the Delphi plants and the parts plants associated with those plants,&rdquo; says Van Atta, turning the truck onto the gravel road that makes a loop around the island.</p><p>Tens of thousands of jobs evaporated &mdash; the final blow was when GM left in 2008. &ldquo;That was a big hit on our water demand,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Now Dozens of out-of-use wells dot this island; Van Atta says they rotate them in and out of use following a reduction in demand of over 25 percent since 2008.</p><p>And yet, Dayton is betting that in the future, water will be the key to turning things around.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dayton%20Water%201843.jpg" title="Water sits in softening ponds at the Dayton water treatment plant. The system's two wellfields supply water for 400,000 people in the area from the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer. (Lewis Wallace)" /></div><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&#39;We&#39;re running into limits&#39;</span></p><p>U.S. census numbers reveal that in recent years the population has been <a href="http://www.census.gov/dataviz/visualizations/043/">virtually flat or shrinking in places like Ohio, Illinois and Michigan</a>, where there&rsquo;s tons of water. The biggest areas of growth are in the west and <a href="https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb13-94.html">southwest</a>, where water scarcity is a growing emergency. Parts of Texas have seen the worst droughts on record for four years and counting, and California&rsquo;s facing much the same.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re running into limits,&rdquo; says Peter Gleick, the head of the <a href="http://pacinst.org/">Pacific Institute</a>, a nonprofit research organization in Oakland, California. &ldquo;The Colorado River no longer reaches the sea in an average year because humans use all of the flow. We&rsquo;re over-pumping groundwater aquifers in the western U.S...In the past we&rsquo;ve sort of assumed enough water would always be available, and I think we can no longer assume that&rsquo;s going to be the case.&rdquo;</p><p>The parched conditions are affecting everything from food prices to energy spending and the intensity of wildfires. Climate change means this is probably just the beginning.</p><blockquote><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/158677537&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false" width="100%"></iframe><strong>Related: <a href="https://soundcloud.com/morningshiftwbez/water-issues-in-the-west-could">What water issues in California mean for the Midwest</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;Some of these south-western cities that not only have water scarcity problems but are gonna start to see more and more costs for energy, for cooling, more and more uncomfortable extreme heat days,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;In that kind of situation I think it&rsquo;s possible that we may see a change in the kind of migration we&rsquo;ve seen over the latter part of the 20th century, maybe back to some of these population centers in the midwest and in the east.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Dayton calling</span></p><p>&ldquo;Back to the midwest&rdquo; &mdash; that phrase is music to Karen Thomas&rsquo;s ears. Thomas is the head of water marketing for Dayton (yes, that&rsquo;s actually a job).</p><p>&ldquo;We have an abundant water source,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t believe that we would have to worry about water.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dayton%20Water%201750.jpg" title="The Mad River wellfield in Dayton sits on a wooded island between heavily industrial areas in northeast Dayton. (Lewis Wallace)" /></div><p>The water in the vast underground aquifer is usually out of sight, but it&rsquo;s up to Thomas to make it visible, and sell it. Efforts in the last few years have included a <a href="http://www.daytonwater.org/uploads/docs/SWPA%20Brochure.pdf">&ldquo;Take Back the Tap&rdquo;</a> campaign to encourage citizens to use Dayton tap water rather than bottled water. Officials have also reached out to companies in water-stressed areas, pushing Dayton as a cheap alternative.</p><p>Thomas thinks this is what could put Dayton back on the map.</p><p>&ldquo;Water is a public good, but it&rsquo;s also a commodity,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>An economic development team in Dayton has conducted talks with several food processors, manufacturers, and beverage makers that could use an inexpensive and abundant supply of water. Companies that choose Dayton would face little of the regulation placed on water diversions in the Great Lakes basin; here, if you can drill a well, you can drain it.</p><p>&ldquo;If they&rsquo;re looking for water, this would be a great place to relocate to,&rdquo; says Thomas.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">You can&#39;t make beer without water</span></p><p>Dayton&rsquo;s water pitch may sound like something out of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, but it&rsquo;s not all that far-fetched.</p><p>&ldquo;You know people turn on the tap and they think water&rsquo;s free, they just assume it&rsquo;s gonna be there,&rdquo; says Peter Kruger, master brewer at <a href="http://bearrepublic.com/news/using-space-technology-to-conserve-water/#.U8fOR41dWKI">Bear Republic brewery</a> in California, north of San Francisco.</p><p>&ldquo;There was a period in early February where the governor listed 17 cities in California that were within a hundred days of running out of water,&rdquo; he says, &ldquo;and our brewpub in Healdsburg was one of those towns, and our production brewery in Cloverdale was another.&rdquo;</p><p>In the brewing industry, water isn&rsquo;t negotiable &mdash; most of it is used for cleaning equipment and of course for the beer itself, which is why Kruger is nervous. I called him to hear about the work they&rsquo;re doing to conserve, but he says they are actually considering a move.</p><p>&ldquo;We have talked about other locations for a brewery that are not as water-stressed as California is.&rdquo;</p><p>They&rsquo;ve looked at Pennsylvania, Wisconsin &mdash; and yes, even Ohio.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-and-center-water/california-drought-renews-debate-regional-food-systems-110497" target="_blank">Will California drought prompt more Midwest agriculture?</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>But Karen Hobbs, a <a href="http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/khobbs/">senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council</a> is not on board with this idea.</p><p>&ldquo;These are difficult economic times. But the troubling part about marketing water resources I think is that it tends to devalue that asset,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Hobbs thinks clean water in the Great Lakes region comes too cheap. In Chicago, almost 2 billion gallons of water a day leave Lake Michigan for use in homes and industry, and drain into the Chicago River, never to be returned or recycled.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dayton%20Water%201848.JPG" title="Karen Thomas, the city of Dayton's full-time water marketer, holds up a brochure advertising Dayton's water supply. (Lewis Wallace)" /></div><p>Plus, the midwest is not immune to the effects of climate change, like drought or huge storms and floods, which can affect water quality as well as quantity. She says before companies just move to where the water is, they should work harder to reduce, reuse and recycle.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s lots, lots of low-hanging fruit in terms of improving water efficiency and increasing conservation that companies and individuals can take,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>But Peter Kruger says Bear Republic Brewery is doing a lot of that already (Hobbs actually referred me to its conservation efforts.)</p><p>&ldquo;Traditionally breweries have used anywhere from 10 to 15 gallons of water to make one gallon of beer,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Our ratio now is down to 3.5 gallons of water to make a gallon of beer.&rdquo; They get their water from the Russian River, which has been dramatically low; the company is now putting its own money into sinking a well to access groundwater at the edge of town.</p><p>Still, their water use may not be sustainable in the long run. Kruger says he&rsquo;d hate to leave beautiful sunny California, but this year has been a reality check.</p><p>&ldquo;Water is really gonna be the challenge our kids and grandkids deal with,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;As there are more people there&rsquo;s not gonna be more and more water, there&rsquo;s gonna be less and less clean water. That&rsquo;s anywhere. That includes Ohio or, you know, the wettest place in the world.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Betting on a future where water is king</span></p><p>Some people in Dayton believe they&rsquo;re walking on a liquid gold mine: people may have lost jobs, people, and whole industries, but the Great Miami aquifer is still here.</p><p>Though not entirely unthreatened: In the 1980s, the drinking water in Dayton was found to be contaminated with dangerous levels of industrial chemicals. A 1987 fire at a Sherwin Williams paint warehouse had to be allowed to burn for days on end to avoid dousing the plant&rsquo;s chemicals directly into the aquifer near the wellfield.</p><p>Following the fire, Dayton and the surrounding municipalities that use the water system passed stringent drinking water protections that incentivize industry to keep chemical contaminants away from the wellfields. Still, today the city sometimes cleans up industrial chemicals including trichloroethylene (TCE) from the water before it&rsquo;s sent to the tap.</p><p>Now a handful of local manufacturers are pushing to reduce some of those protections, saying the chemical limits treat smaller businesses unfairly. The city says reduced demand on the wellfields has shrunk the area in need of active protection, and has <a href="http://wyso.org/post/dayton-discuss-proposed-changes-drinking-water-protections">put forth a controversial proposal</a> to reduce that area by 40 percent.</p><p>Even as <a href="http://wyso.org/post/residents-speak-out-against-proposed-water-protection-changes-video">a public debate over water gets underway</a>, Dayton leaders aren&rsquo;t concerned about the future water supply. Karen Thomas&rsquo;s message for master brewer Peter Kruger? Come and get it.</p><p>&ldquo;To be able to turn the faucet on, to get a cup of coffee, to flush your toilet, to take a shower, and the water&rsquo;s there and it&rsquo;s clean, why not love water?&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Especially Dayton water!&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lewis Wallace is an economics reporter and host for WYSO, the public radio station for Ohio&rsquo;s Miami Valley region. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/lewispants">@lewispants</a>.</em></p><p><em>Front and Center is funded by The Joyce Foundation: Improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes region and across the country.</em></p></p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/dayton-ohio-economic-comeback-water-110520 Romney's shameless last-minute lie http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/romneys-shameless-last-minute-lie-103545 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6624_AP761363886569-scr.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney collects supplies for victims of superstorm Sandy at a campaign event in Kettering, Ohio, Tuesday. (AP/Charles Dharapak)" /></div><p>As most of the country focused on Superstorm Sandy&rsquo;s assault of the East Coast, Mitt Romney&rsquo;s campaign hit new shameless lows in Ohio this week.</p><p>In spite of promises to lay off politics for a few days while folks were dealing with Hurricane Sandy, this is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=xl77CapjzsA">loathsome radio ad</a> he&rsquo;s running in Ohio as of Tuesday:</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;"><em>Barack Obama says he saved the auto industry. But for who? Ohio, or China? Under President Obama, GM cut 15,000 American jobs. But they are planning to double the number of cars built in China &mdash; which means 15,000 more jobs for China.</em><br /><br /><em><em>And now comes word that Chrysler plans to start making jeeps in &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; China. What happened to the promises made to autoworkers in Toledo and throughout Ohio &mdash; the same hard-working men and women who were told that Obama&rsquo;s auto bailout would help them?</em></em><br /><br /><em>Mitt Romney grew up in the Auto Industry. Maybe that&rsquo;s why the</em>&nbsp;Detroit News&nbsp;<em>endorsed him, saying: &rdquo;Romney understands the industry and will shield it from regulators who never tire of churning out new layers of mandates.&rdquo; Mitt Romney. He&rsquo;ll stand up for the auto industry. In Ohio, not China.</em></p><p>This is not only a flat out lie, but Romney <em>knows</em> it&rsquo;s a lie. It&rsquo;s a deliberate attempt to play off people&rsquo;s fears about their own livelihood &mdash; a totally baseless fear refuted by Sergio Marchionne, cheif executive of Jeep&#39;s parent companies Fiat and Chrysler, who said in response, &ldquo;I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China.&rdquo;<br /><br />In fact, as Marchionne explained in a letter published in <em>Forbes</em> <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2012/10/30/marchionne-says-it-is-inaccurate-to-suggest-jeep-production-will-shift-to-china/">specifically refuting Romney&rsquo;s claims</a>, the company plans to <em>invest</em> $500 million in the Toledo Assembly Complex, bringing another 1,100 auto jobs to Ohio.<br /><br />&quot;The ad is <a href="http://http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/31/us/politics/2-american-automakers-rebut-claims-by-romney.html?_r=0">cynical campaign politics at its worst</a>,&quot; Greg Martin, a spokesman for General Motors, added. &ldquo;We think creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back in this country should be a source of bipartisan pride.&rdquo;<br /><br />What&rsquo;s the real story here? Romney used this China line at a couple of campaign events last week, but refused to answer reporters&rsquo; questions about it. Then he began to air a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=VQ8P04q6jqE">TV ad </a>with the same theme, which was <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/misleading-romney-auto-ad-backfires-with-media.php">widely panned</a>.<br /><br />But not even the absolute assurance of Jeep&rsquo;s chief executive was enough to shame Romney into pulling that TV ad. Instead, he doubled down with the radio ad, toughening the language and making a more direct suggestion that Jeep plans to move its operation to China.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s true that Jeep plans to open new factories in China &mdash; to meet Chinese demand for its cars. What that means to Ohio, where Jeep builds a series of unique parts, is that there will be even more U.S. jobs.<br /><br />And the <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121025/OPINION01/210250332#ixzz2AJbzwUQe"><em>Detroit News</em> endorsement</a> that Romney ad cites? Yeah, they really did endorse Romney &mdash; but not without calling him out on how <em>wrong</em> he was on the auto bailout. Here&rsquo;s the part of the editorial Mitt will never reproduce:</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;"><em>Don&#39;t assume that it was a no-brainer for a conservative newspaper to endorse a conservative presidential candidate. We recognize and are grateful for the extraordinary contribution President Obama made to Michigan in leading the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler. Had either of those companies been allowed to go under, Michigan&#39;s economic maladies would have become fatal.</em><br /><br /><em>The president stepped up with the support the two automakers needed to keep themselves and their suppliers in business. We have said in past editorials that while Romney rightly advocated for structured bankruptcies in his infamous &quot;Let Detroit Go Bankrupt&quot;</em>&nbsp;New York Times&nbsp;<em>op-ed, he was wrong in suggesting the automakers could have found operating capital in the private markets. In that article, Romney suggested government-backed loans to keep the companies afloat post bankruptcy. But what GM and Chrysler needed were bridge loans to get them through the process, and the private credit markets were unwilling to provide them. Obama put a rescue team to work and they were true to the task.</em></p><p>I&rsquo;ll say it again: Romney&rsquo;s lying, and he <em>knows</em> it. And he doesn&rsquo;t really care &mdash; what he cares about is scaring auto workers in Ohio enough to flip their vote.</p><p><br />***<br /><br />In other news, on Tuesday, I <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/sandy-forces-presidential-campaigns-change-tactics-103513#comments">mistakenly gave Mitt Romney the benefit of the doubt</a>:&nbsp;I said he&rsquo;d learned his lesson during national crises and was mostly shutting up and collecting Red Cross donations.<br /><br />On the surface, both of those things are true: At an event in Ohio, originally planned as a rally and then renamed a &ldquo;storm relief&quot; some or other, Romney did gather up canned goods and other donations for hurricane victims &mdash; except that the Red Cross, the intended recipient, <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/10/30/romneys_unhelpful_storm_relief/">doesn&rsquo;t actually accept any of the things collected</a>. What exactly will Romney do with that stuff? He hasn&rsquo;t said.<br /><br />Still, he managed to play his campaign video (campaign honcho Stuart Stevens <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/10/30/1112971/romney-campaign-plays-convention-video-at-non-political-storm-relief-event-in-ohio/">can&rsquo;t explain</a> how that happened) and to come off awful <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/mitt-romney-sandy-relief-politics.php?ref=fpnewsfeed">rally-like</a>.<br /><br />He is keeping his mouth shut all right &mdash; ignoring any and all questions about what&rsquo;d he do as president with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As a candidate in the primaries, he pledged to get rid of it. <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/30/romney-won-t-talk-fema.html">Fourteen times</a>, that&rsquo;s how often reporters directly asked Romney about this Tuesday; they were ignored each and every time.<br /><br />As to FEMA, here&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/109393/hurricane-sandy-fema-infrastructure-government-fugate-romney-obama">the bottom line</a>: But for one botched job (Katrina) during George W. Bush&rsquo;s tenure, when FEMA was run by a man who had no business being its head, the agency has been indispensable in national emergencies.<br /><br />If you have any doubt about Romney&rsquo;s position, here&rsquo;s a <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2012/10/romney-has-a-christie-problem-and-a-fema-problem.html#ixzz2AqX1fdzV">transcript</a> from the debates:</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;"><em>JOHN KING: What else, Gov. Romney? You&rsquo;ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Mo. I&rsquo;ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it&rsquo;s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we&rsquo;re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?</em><br /><br /><em><em>ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that&rsquo;s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that&rsquo;s even better.</em></em>&nbsp;<em>Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut &mdash; we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we&rsquo;re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we&rsquo;re doing that we don&rsquo;t have to do? And those things we&rsquo;ve got to stop doing, because we&rsquo;re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we&rsquo;re taking in. We cannot . . .</em><br /><br /><em>KING: Including disaster relief, though?</em><br /><br /><em><em>ROMNEY: We cannot &mdash; we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we&rsquo;ll all be dead and gone before it&rsquo;s paid off. It makes no sense at all.</em></em></p></p> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 09:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/romneys-shameless-last-minute-lie-103545 Driver licenses for undocumented youths? http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immigrant%20map.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 369px; width: 600px; " title="WBEZ asked eight states whether they are planning to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants who receive Social Security and employment-authorization cards as a result of President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy. (WBEZ map by Elliott Ramos)" /></p><p>Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are planning to provide driver&rsquo;s licenses to undocumented immigrants who get work papers under a new federal policy.</p><p>The Obama administration policy, called &ldquo;Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,&rdquo; will allow as many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to get Social Security and employment-authorization cards, along with a deportation reprieve. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications Aug. 15.</p><p>&ldquo;As long as the Social Security Administration issues an individual with a Social Security number, and they have the other documents that are required under Illinois law, then they can apply for a driver&rsquo;s license,&rdquo; said Henry Haupt, spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who oversees that state&rsquo;s driver licensing.</p><p>WBEZ surveyed eight Midwestern states about their response to the policy change. Along with the four states planning to provide licenses, Wisconsin and Iowa officials said they had not decided yet, while Minnesota and Missouri officials did not respond to numerous WBEZ inquiries.</p><p>The states planning to issue the driver&rsquo;s licenses differ from Arizona, Nebraska and Texas, where governors have vowed to block illegal immigrants from getting licenses.</p><p>The immigrants must meet several requirements to get the Social Security and work-authorization cards, including having been younger than 31 on June 15; having arrived in the U.S. before turning 16; having lived in the country continuously since June 2007; being a student or graduate, or having served in the military; and having no serious criminal record nor posing any public safety threat. The work authorization will last up to two years and, if the federal policy stays in place, be renewable. The policy does not provide a path to citizenship.</p><p>Assuming some of the immigrants have been driving illegally, states that enable them to get a license could make roads safer. &ldquo;They have to pass the road exam, they have to pass the written exam, and they pass the vision test,&rdquo; Haupt said about Illinois. &ldquo;We require so many different things of our young drivers and &mdash; by doing so &mdash; they, of course, become better drivers.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois also requires proof of liability insurance on the car the driver uses for the road test. So it&rsquo;s possible that allowing undocumented immigrants to drive legally could reduce the number of uninsured vehicles.</p><p>The immigrants themselves have more at stake. Karen Siciliano Lucas, an advocacy attorney of the Washington-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., points out that driver&rsquo;s licenses are vital for working and attending school in most regions of the country. &ldquo;Not only that, it is a state-issued identification that shows who you are,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The issue is complicated because most states require driver&rsquo;s&nbsp;license applicants to prove &ldquo;lawful status&rdquo; or &ldquo;legal presence&rdquo; in the United States. Officials in some states say the work authorization under the Obama policy will be sufficient proof. But a USCIS statement says the policy &ldquo;does not confer lawful status upon an individual.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s unclear whether courts will enable states to define lawful status differently than the federal government does.</p><p>States expecting Obama administration guidance about the driver&rsquo;s licenses could be waiting awhile. In response to WBEZ questions, the Department of Homeland Security sent a statement saying the department does not comment on state-specific matters.</p><p>Until federal courts weigh in, states are likely to face lawsuits no matter their course. &ldquo;We will see battles on this,&rdquo; Lucas predicted.</p><p>Making matters more complicated is the federal Real ID Act, a 2005 law aimed at fighting identity theft and keeping terrorists out of federal buildings and airplanes. Among other things, the act requires states to verify that driver&rsquo;s license applicants have lawful status in the United States.</p><p>The law is set to take effect in January, but it&rsquo;s not clear how the Obama administration will enforce it. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has fought for the measure&rsquo;s repeal, calling it unworkable.</p><p>That irks advocates for tougher immigration enforcement: &ldquo;If you want to protect against identify theft, you&rsquo;ve got to eliminate the fraud,&rdquo; said Janice Kephart, who focuses on national security policies for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. &ldquo;That means you have to eliminate the illegal-alien community out of that scheme. It doesn&rsquo;t mean that states cannot give driver&rsquo;s licenses to illegal aliens. It just means that they have to do it outside the Real ID Act.&rdquo;</p><p>Kephart praised Utah, which has created a &ldquo;driving privilege card&rdquo; specifically for undocumented immigrants.</p><p>At the moment the only other states that let undocumented immigrants drive legally are New Mexico and Washington, which provide them the same licenses that U.S. citizens can get.</p></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 Rustbelt city wants immigrants, skilled or not http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/3.JPG" style="width: 605px; height: 404px;" title="Deserted houses like this one mar Dayton’s East End. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p style="text-align: left;">Lifelong Dayton resident Monica Schultz, 36, brings me to the East End block where she grew up. “This whole street was full of families,” she says. “Kids were running around playing, all within my age range.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Now no kids are in sight.</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz points to a half dozen abandoned houses, including one right next door to her family’s place. She says the city has boarded it up a few times but stray cats keep finding their way in.</p><p style="text-align: left;">“We had a flea infestation problem,” she tells me. “People walking by could see the fleas or feel the fleas or get the fleas. All of the yards in the neighborhood here were becoming infested with fleas.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz says the city can’t keep up with houses like this. “It’s one of many that need to be bulldozed,” she says. “But it’s on a list.”</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers faring better in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars-94303">Using sound to find leaks and save dollars</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/gas-drilling-could-take-air-out-offshore-wind-93875">Gas drilling could take air out of offshore wind</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>Dayton’s population has been shrinking since the 1960s. Most of the area’s factory jobs are long gone. To save the city, Schultz has embraced a new idea: Help immigrants and refugees lay roots in Dayton.</p><p>Schultz, who owns a small marketing firm, helped lead community meetings that generated a 72-point plan called “Welcome Dayton.” City commissioners approved the plan this fall. The points range from better immigrant access to social services, to more translations of court materials, to grants for immigrants to open shops in a dilapidated commercial corridor, to a soccer event that supporters envision as a local World Cup tournament.</p><p>Schultz tells me the plan could revive a Dayton entrepreneurial spirit that sparked inventions ranging from the cash register to the airplane. “You would have small businesses,” she says. “You would have coffee shops and you would have bakeries and you would have specialty grocery stores.”</p><p>Dayton is among several rustbelt cities suffering from population loss and brain drain. To create businesses and jobs, some communities are trying to attract immigrants, especially highly educated ones. Dayton stands out for the attention its plan pays to immigrants without wealth or skills.</p><p>The plan even addresses people without permission to be in the country. One provision calls for police officers to quit asking suspects about their immigration status unless the crime was “serious.” Another point could lead to a city identification card that would help residents do everything from open a bank account to buy a cell phone.</p><p>City Manager Tim Riordan, Dayton’s chief executive, says welcoming all types of immigrants will make the area more cosmopolitan. “I think there would be a vibrancy,” he says. “We’d start to have some international investment of companies deciding they ought to locate here.”</p><p>Foreign-born residents so far amount to 3 percent of the city’s 142,000 residents. For a mid-sized U.S. city these days, that’s not many.</p><p>But Dayton’s immigrants and refugees are increasing their numbers and, Riordan says, they’re already making a difference. He points to a neighborhood north of downtown where some Ahiska Turks have settled. “They were refugees in Russia," he says. "Here they’ve bought houses. They’ve fixed them up. And, sometimes when I talk to hardware store owners, people will come in and they’ll buy a window at a time. ‘I’ve got enough money to put in another window.’ It’s slow-but-sure change.”</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 280px;" title="A Dayton pizza parlor run by Ahiska Turks adds life to a decaying neighborhood. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p>Not everyone in Dayton is on board with the plan.</p><p>In a corner tavern on the East End, a 62-year-old bartender serves the only customer what she calls his last can of beer for the night. It’s a Friday, just 11 p.m., but she’s closing. “The owner can’t pay me to stay any longer,” she tells me, speaking on condition I don’t name her or the bar.</p><p>The bartender says the tavern could be on its last legs and tells me what happened to three other East End bars where she worked. They all shut down. She says that’s because many of the neighborhood’s Appalachian families, who arrived for manufacturing jobs after World War II, have moved away.</p><p>“NCR closed down, Dayton Tire and Rubber closed down, GM and Delphi and Frigidaire,” she says, pausing only when her customer slams down the beer and bellows something about a “last paycheck.”</p><p>The bartender tells me she doesn’t like how Riordan and other Dayton officials are handling the exodus of families who’ve been paying local taxes for generations. “Why won’t he try to keep those kinds of people here?” she asks. “He wants to welcome the immigrants to come in here. What can&nbsp;they&nbsp;do? Where are they going to get the money to fix up anything? What jobs are they going to get to maintain what they fix up here? There are no jobs here. None.”</p><p>It’s not just locals like the bartender who have doubts about “Welcome Dayton.”</p><p>Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington group that pushes for strict immigration controls, acknowledges that attracting immigrants would increase the size of Dayton’s economy. “But that’s different than arguing that there’s a benefit,” he says. “Growing an area’s gross domestic product, but not the <em>per capita</em> GDP, doesn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t be very helpful. In fact, there might be problems with that.”</p><p>Camarota says the low-skilled immigrants would put downward pressure on wages for workers on Dayton’s bottom rungs.</p><p>But Italian-born economist Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis, says low-skilled immigrants would bring what Dayton seeks—and more: “One, they will increase the variety of local restaurants, local shops. Second, they will provide a variety of local services, such as household services, care of the children, of the elderly. Third, they will also develop and bring an atmosphere of diversity and higher tolerance.” Peri says these low-skilled contributions would all help Dayton attract immigrants with more resources.</p><p>The willingness of many immigrants to perform manual labor for low pay, Peri adds, could create jobs for longtime residents. He points to landscaping companies: “They will need people who mow the lawn but also they will need accountants, salespersons, a manager and drivers.”</p><p>Dayton’s approach—welcoming immigrants with and without skills—is the “optimal strategy,” Peri says.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/4.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 219px;" title="A Dayton church translates sermons to Spanish through headphones. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Whether a city’s immigrant-integration plan can actually attract many people is another question. About an hour east of Dayton, the city of Columbus launched an immigrant-friendly initiative in 2002 and saw its foreign-born population grow fast. But that city’s economy is much more robust than Dayton’s. It had already been attracting immigrants for years.</p><p>The results of “Welcome Dayton” could depend on how it works for city residents like a 25-year-old mother whom I’ll call Ana López. (She&nbsp;doesn’t have papers to be in the country so I agreed not to use her real name.) López says she came from the Mexican state of Puebla as a teenager at the urging of a friend who had arrived in Dayton earlier.</p><p>López says her first job was in a restaurant with a big buffet. “We didn’t come to take work away from anyone,” she tells me in Spanish. “Rather, there are jobs nobody else wants.”</p><p>Now López and her husband have three kids, all U.S. citizens. The family has managed to buy a house. And it’s found a congregation, College Hill Community Church, that provides simultaneous Spanish interpretation through headphones.</p><p>But Dayton hasn’t always been hospitable. López says police officers caught her brother-in-law driving without a license and turned him over to federal officials, who deported him.</p><p>Looking at the “Welcome Dayton” plan, López says providing the ID cards and removing the police from immigration enforcement could make a difference for families like hers. “These families would tell their friends and relatives to move to Dayton,” she says.</p><p>That’s exactly what city leaders want to hear.</p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0