WBEZ | NPR http://www.wbez.org/tags/npr Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en For same-sex marriage opponents, the fight is far from over http://www.wbez.org/news/same-sex-marriage-opponents-fight-far-over-112270 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/whitehouseap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Supreme Court decision Friday that upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry was one for the history books.&nbsp;Obergefell v. Hodges&nbsp;was exalted by gay rights groups and their supporters, and condemned by those who believe that marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman.</p><p>Opponents of same-sex marriage say that the fight is far from over.</p><p>In fact, many of them did not wait long before raising the idea of passing a constitutional amendment to ban it. The prospect that the attempt will prove successful seems unlikely, though. Constitutional amendments are easy to talk about but rarely enacted &mdash; and polls show that a clear majority of Americans support the right of LGBT people to marry.</p><p>Still, opponents say that there are other avenues to pursue &mdash; in Congress, state legislatures and the courts.</p><p>Brian Brown, president of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nationformarriage.org/">National Organization for Marriage</a>, compares this week&#39;s Supreme Court opinion to the landmark&nbsp;Roe v. Wade&nbsp;decision making abortion a legal right. A future court, he says, could revisit the issue.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s why it&#39;s critical that people of faith, others who understand that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, get out and support candidates that are committed to overturning this decision,&quot; Brown says.</p><p>More immediately, advocates on both sides say that the battle will now be fought in the lower courts and will involve religious liberty cases.</p><p><a href="http://ratiochristi.org/people/jeremy-tedesco">Jeremy Tedesco</a>&nbsp;of the Alliance Defending Freedom &mdash; a group representing a Colorado bakery owner who was sued after refusing for religious reasons to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple &mdash; also represents clients in several other, similar cases. Following the&nbsp;Obergefell&nbsp;ruling, he expects that same-sex marriage advocates will step up their legal challenges.</p><p>&quot;I think their efforts, as we&#39;ve seen already, are primarily targeted at businesses that are owned by religious folks who object to creating expression or are being forced to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs,&quot; he says.</p><p>Opponents of same-sex marriage say that there will be a push now in state legislatures to adopt laws protecting those business owners who argue their religious beliefs prevent them from serving same-sex couples. But that&#39;s likely to be an uphill climb.</p><p>Arizona&#39;s conservative Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a religious freedom law last year, saying that it was too divisive. A few months ago, Indiana quickly rewrote its religious freedom law and added protections for sexual orientation to head off a threatened boycott.</p><p>The battle is likely to be about more than bakeries, printers and flower shops. Marcy Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University&#39;s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, says that the Supreme Court decision clearly makes exemptions for churches and ministers who don&#39;t want to preside over marriages of same-sex couples.</p><p>&quot;But I think what we&#39;ll see is a push for religious nonprofits, not just houses of worship,&quot; she says, &quot;to be able to get exemptions from having to provide services to same-sex couples.&quot;</p><p>To that end, same-sex marriage opponents are looking to Congress and a bill called the First Amendment Defense Act, or FADA.</p><p>Brown says that the bill would protect businesses and nonprofits &mdash; so-called 501(c)(3) groups &mdash; that refuse to provide services to same sex couples.</p><p>&quot;That means they cannot be stripped of the right for federal contracts,&quot; he says. &quot;They cannot be stripped of their 501(c)(3) status. They cannot be treated as if they are the functional equivalent of racists.&quot;</p><p>In his majority opinion,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf">Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote&nbsp;</a>that religious groups have a constitutionally protected right to advocate against same-sex marriage:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.</p><p>&quot;The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>Tedesco says that&#39;s a message from the court that the dispute over same-sex marriage is not like earlier battles over racial discrimination.</p><p>&quot;Culturally, we have to make the case that these things are completely different,&quot; Tedesco says. &quot;And I think the Supreme Court rightly recognized that, by recognizing that people who believe this do so in good faith.&quot;</p><p>For those who oppose this week&#39;s Supreme Court decision, that may be the most important battle.</p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/06/27/418038177/for-same-sex-marriage-opponents-the-fight-is-far-from-over">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/same-sex-marriage-opponents-fight-far-over-112270 Classic of black cinema, 'Cooley High,' celebrates 40th anniversary http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/classic-black-cinema-cooley-high-celebrates-40th-anniversary-112246 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/colleyhigh_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A classic of black cinema celebrated its 40th birthday on June 25.&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;showed a slice of urban life rarely seen in &quot;<a href="http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2011/04/blaxploitation_films_40_years_after_sweet_sweetbacks_baadasssss_song.3.html">blaxploitation</a>&quot; movies of the time. Set in Chicago&#39;s Cabrini-Green housing project, it became a touchstone for filmmakers like John Singleton and Spike Lee.</p><p>The opening credits of&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;feature a wide shot of Chicago&#39;s iconic skyline. The camera then pans across high-rise apartments before zooming in on a drab row house. This was the heart of Cabrini-Green, where Rick Stone, who grew up here, got his first acting job four decades ago.</p><p>&quot;See where it says Starbucks?&quot; Stone says. &quot;That&#39;s where we were, right there.&quot; He recalls the day he and his friend Norman were shooting hoops when a white stretch limo pulled up. Inside was one of&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&#39;s producers.</p><p>&quot;He was like, &#39;How would you guys like to be in a movie?&#39; &quot; Stone says. &quot;Man, get the hell out of here. We thought he was jiving... They were looking for two of the toughest gang-bangers around here and come to find out, it was the police that recommended us.&quot;&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;is not a documentary &mdash; but the two gang members essentially play themselves. Norman&#39;s character is called Robert, and Stone&#39;s is called...Stone.</p><p>In one scene, the two are shooting dice in the back of a diner when a girl interrupts their game.</p><blockquote><p>Norman: Hey mama, go walk somewhere else.</p><p>Brenda: Why don&#39;t you gamble someplace else?</p><p>Preach: Cause we&#39;re gambling here, sweet thing.</p><p>Brenda: This is a restaurant, not an alley.</p><p>Cochise: Hey, hey keep on stepping baby. If we wanted to be preached to we&#39;d go to church.</p><p>Brenda: Y&#39;all need to go to church.</p><p>Preach: Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah...</p></blockquote><p>The character Preach, played by Glynn Turman, is best friends with basketball star and ladies man Cochise, who&#39;s played by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. Throughout the film, the pair cuts class, hops on the back of a CTA bus and tries to get to first base with their girlfriends.</p><p>For many viewers, what made&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;such a landmark film was its honest depiction of teenage life in the projects. Eric Monte wrote the film based on his time at the real Cooley Vocational High School. Although he&#39;s suffered several strokes in recent years, he remembers it well.</p><p>&quot;We had fun. Even poor, we had fun, fun, fun,&quot; he says.</p><p>But &mdash; spoiler alert &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;takes a dark turn when Stone and Robert convince Preach and Cochise to steal a Cadillac. Afterward, Stone and Robert think the other two snitched on them. Cochise gets killed. Preach finds him lying motionless under the El tracks, and his screams of anguish are drowned out by the trains above.</p><p>Like so much of the movie, Cochise&#39;s death was also drawn from Eric Monte&#39;s life and memories of a friend who died. &quot;It&#39;s hard for me, even now,&quot; he says. &quot;I&#39;m 70 years old, but he was my man. And he died just like that. It was horrible.&quot;</p><p>After that incident, Monte hitchhiked his way out west. He worked on TV shows like&nbsp;<em>Good Times</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>The Jeffersons</em>, living out Preach&#39;s dreams of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter.</p><p><em>&quot;Cooley High</em>&nbsp;has such a strong message of positivity and breaking through barriers and becoming somebody no matter what your circumstances in life may be,&quot; says Jackie Taylor, who played Cochise&#39;s girlfriend in the movie. Taylor used her experience in the movie to launch Chicago&#39;s Black Ensemble Theater, which is still going strong today.</p><p>Rick Stone had a rougher go of it after&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>. His friend Norman, who played Robert, was killed in a corner stick-up, and Stone got eight years in prison for armed robbery. Finally, Stone&#39;s old friend Jackie Taylor intervened. &quot;Taylor called that day and said &#39;Ricky, what you doing?&quot; I said &#39;nothing.&#39; And she said, &#39;Come on down to the Black Ensemble Theater. I&#39;ve got something for you.&#39;&quot;</p><p>Taylor gave Stone a job as a janitor. Eventually he started acting again and has now appeared in more than 20 stage productions. He still lives in the area, in new mixed-income housing.</p><p>As for what used to be Cabrini-Green, it looks a lot different these days.</p><p>&quot;I got white neighbors now,&quot; Stone says. &quot;A white guy and his wife knocked on my door, they had a cake and were like &#39;Welcome to the neighborhood!&#39; I didn&#39;t have the heart to tell them that I&#39;d been over here all my life. I was like &#39;Thank you.&#39; &quot;</p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/06/26/417185907/40-years-later-the-cast-of-cooley-high-looks-back">NPR&#39;s Code Switch</a></em></p></p> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/classic-black-cinema-cooley-high-celebrates-40th-anniversary-112246 Apple announces music streaming service http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/apple-announces-music-streaming-service-112157 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/gettyimages-476367236_wide-ad4e6bbbc061aabde5a879a9a4ff10b88af5303e-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Apple has announced the launch of Apple Music, an app that adds a subscription streaming service to iTunes, the largest music retailer in the world.</p><p>The announcement, made at Apple&#39;s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, comes more than a year after Apple acquired Beats Music, the streaming service founded by Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor. Iovine and Reznor both appeared in the presentation to explain and introduce elements of the service, which will include a live, &quot;24/7 global radio&quot; station and a social media-like feature called &quot;Connect&quot; where musicians can directly upload content like lyrics, videos and photos.<br />Does the world of streaming music change us, as listeners?</p><p>Apple Music will be available on June 30. The service, which will have no free option, will cost $9.99 a month for a single subscription or $14.99 a month for a &quot;family&quot; subscription that allows up to six people to share an account. In an indication of the company&#39;s hopes for its reach, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the service would be available on Android phones in the fall. Until now, iTunes has only been available on Apple devices.</p><p>From the stage, Iovine, a longtime music executive employed by Apple since the acquisition of Beats, recalled the moment he first saw the iTunes store. It was a &quot;simple, elegant way to buy music online&quot; in an era when the recording industry had been decimated by file sharing, he said. But Apple Music is entering a playing field already crowded by other streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and Tidal.</p><p>As NPR&#39;s Laura Sydell, who was in the audience at the event, tweeted, Iovine characterized the current streaming ecosystem as confusing and overwhelming, and he positioned Apple Music as &quot;a complete thought around music,&quot; a slightly awkward catchphrase later echoed in a video presentation by musician Trent Reznor. (That phrase might have been an oblique reference to the Beats Music feature The Sentence, in which users could create a playlist by describing their listening scenario. Get it? The Sentence ... a &quot;complete thought.&quot; Oh well.)</p><p>Announced after nearly two hours of presentations on how Apple&#39;s various operating systems will be updated in the coming year (promised developments: a new news app, open source programming language, Siri will be better, Maps will be better, Apple Pay continues to expand to more retailers), the introduction of the music service featured the participation of many well-known musicians including The Alabama Shakes, Pharrell Williams and The Weeknd, who performed a radio-ready new song.</p><p>Apple Music&#39;s global 24/7 radio station will be staffed by notable DJs hired from terrestrial and Web radio stations: former BBC host Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden of New York&#39;s Hot 97 and Julie Adenuga of Rinse FM.</p><p>Also part of the service, but relegated to a single mention at the end of the presentation, was the iTunes store itself, which Cook called &quot;the best place to buy music.&quot; If you&#39;re still into that kind of thing.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/08/412908070/apple-announces-music-streaming-service">via NPR&#39;s The Two-Way</a></em></p></p> Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/apple-announces-music-streaming-service-112157 Ex-speaker Hastert quietly tried to boost income http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-speaker-hastert-quietly-tried-boost-income-112154 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hastert2_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em><strong>â–²LISTEN </strong>Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert makes a scheduled appearance in a federal courtroom later this week. When he does, he will join a long line of Illinois politicians who have faced corruption charges. Hastert has not made any public statement since he was indicted last month on charges of lying to the FBI and trying to conceal payments he was making to hide past misconduct. NPR&#39;s Cheryl Corley reports.</em></p><p>Hastert looked for ways to increase his income around the time he is accused of paying someone to stay quiet about decades-old misconduct, according to a former business associate.</p><p>J. David John told <em>The New York Times</em> that he asked a financial adviser in 2010 how investments could be arranged to yield more cash and that he inquired on Hastert&#39;s behalf, without identifying him. John said he doesn&#39;t know whether the attempt to set up an annuity relates to the payoffs Hastert is accused of making.</p><p>Hastert is charged with evading bank regulations by withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in smaller amounts and lying about why. The indictment says Hastert agreed in 2010 to pay $3.5 million to a person to compensate for and conceal past misconduct. He is scheduled to appear at his arraignment on the two charges in federal court in Chicago on Tuesday. If convicted, he could face a maximum five-year sentence and a $250,000 fine on each charge.</p><p><em>The Times</em> posted emails and other documents showing efforts by Hastert to grow his slow-starting lobbying and consulting business after he left politics.</p><p>A collection of emails, many between John and a Hastert assistant, suggests the former Republican congressman&#39;s schedule was picking up as he traveled to Singapore, Montreal and other sites of projects he was helping clients advance. Among them were efforts to move a golf tournament to the Middle East from the U.S., to bring Formula One racing to Chicago and to engage in a California land development.</p><p>In June 2010, John received an email from a financial adviser who was consulted about how to generate more cash for Hastert but given only limited details of the former congressman&#39;s finances and nothing identifying him. Hastert had amassed wealth in real estate but those investments were largely tied up. &quot;In general, he can probably get 4-6 percent in the annuity world,&quot; the adviser told John. &quot;This would provide him a steady stream of income and more than likely a guarantee that he would not run out of income in his lifetime.&quot;</p><p>According to the indictment, however, Hastert was heavily tapping his income that summer, withdrawing $50,000 at a time and making secret payments every six weeks.</p><p><em>The Times</em> obtained documents from a lawyer for John, who had a falling out with Hastert and has sued him.</p><p>A person familiar with the allegations told <em>The Associated Press</em> that the payments were intended to conceal claims that Hastert sexually molested someone decades ago. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.</p></p> Mon, 08 Jun 2015 11:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-speaker-hastert-quietly-tried-boost-income-112154 In Chicago, at-risk students are being misclassified http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-risk-students-are-being-misclassified-112152 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/raynard_slide-229b52caea510efe760fecd104fe132ed62383d0-s800-c85.png" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Raynard Gillispie dropped out of high school and re-enrolled five years later. He is now working to get his diploma this spring. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></p><p><em>The US high school graduation rate is at an all-time high. But why? NPR Ed partnered with 14 member stations around the country to bring you the stories behind that number. Check out&nbsp;<a href="http://apps.npr.org/grad-rates/">the whole story here</a>. And find out what&#39;s happening&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/06/04/412093161/the-truth-behind-your-states-high-school-grad-rate">in your state</a>.</em></p><p>Five years ago, Raynard Gillispie dropped out of Crane Tech High School on Chicago&#39;s west side and nearly died. He&#39;d gotten wrapped up in gang violence and was shot. Ultimately, Gillispie knew he needed to finish school, but he was anxious.</p><p>&quot;Because people was going to laugh and say, &#39;Oh, you in high school? You 20, you almost 21.&#39; I was always worried about what other people would say.&quot;</p><p>Now 21, Gillispie is about to graduate from EXCEL Academy of Englewood, a so-called &quot;alternative school.&quot; Though it&#39;s a public school, it&#39;s run by Camelot Education, a for-profit education company, and it&#39;s full of students who have not been successful elsewhere.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/behind-cps-graduation-rates-system-musical-chairs-111786%20">Chicago, like many cities,&nbsp;has increasingly turned to alternative schools</a>&nbsp;to try to re-engage students who have dropped out. Over 9000 Chicago students attend alternative schools, a third of which are run by for-profit companies.&nbsp;That&#39;s 8 percent of CPS high school students. Many of these schools run half days, with mostly online instruction. And critics argue they&#39;re often less rigorous than traditional high schools.</p><p>Jack Elsey, Chicago Public Schools&#39; chief of innovation and incubation, says the alternative model is about giving students options. &quot;We are a district of choice, and these are part of our choice portfolio.&quot;</p><p>But Russell Rumberger, a dropout expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says that, in many places, alternative schools function as a way for traditional schools to &quot;farm out their lowest-performing students.&quot;</p><p>As such, it&#39;s important to look at how alternative schools affect Chicago&#39;s reported statistics. Historically, alternative school graduates were considered dropouts and not included in the district&#39;s graduation rate. But, since 2007, Chicago has counted them as regular graduates. And, according to documents provided to WBEZ and Catalyst Chicago as part of a FOIA request, the district is misclassifying hundreds of students who enroll in its alternative schools. Although they attend Chicago public schools, these at-risk students are labeled &quot;out of district transfers.&quot;</p><p>Why does that matter? With that label, students essentially disappear from the district&#39;s rolls. If they do drop out from their alternative schools, it won&#39;t hurt Chicago&#39;s graduation rate.</p><p>Further complicating matters, some of the new, for-profit alternative schools don&#39;t award their own diplomas. Instead, graduates get a diploma with the name of the traditional school they left. In short, when a Chicago student leaves her traditional high school for an alternative school, the district doesn&#39;t have to count her as a dropout. But, if she manages to earn a diploma, the district gets credit for graduating her.</p><p>In the most recently available data, a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/same-diploma-different-school-111581">WBEZ and Catalyst analysis</a>&nbsp;found alternative school graduates pushed up Chicago&#39;s publicly reported graduation rate by four percentage points.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools&#39; chief of accountability, John Barker, insists CPS is aware of this dropout loophole and is working to address it through a district-wide audit. &quot;We&#39;re not planning on losing students intentionally,&quot; says Barker. &quot;We&#39;re not planning on having any data that would be erroneous. That&#39;s not our plan.&quot;</p><p>The good news for Raynard Gillispie is that his school, EXCEL, may be an outlier among these new, alternative operators. It runs an almost 9-hour school day and awards its own diploma, which Gillispie says is how it should be.</p><p>&quot;This is the first [such school] in Englewood, and I want to be the first person as part of something new,&quot; he says. &quot;Since I came here, it&#39;s been life-changing.&quot;</p><p><em>For more on this story from WBEZ and Catalyst,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/behind-cps-graduation-rates-system-musical-chairs-111786%20">read the series.</a></em></p><p><strong>Web Resources</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/same-diploma-different-school-111581">Same diploma, different school</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/behind-cps-graduation-rates-system-musical-chairs-111786">Behind CPS graduation rates, a system of musical chairs</a></p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/06/07/411786246/in-chicago-at-risk-students-are-being-misclassified">NPR Ed</a></em></p></p> Mon, 08 Jun 2015 08:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-risk-students-are-being-misclassified-112152 FIFA officials arrested on charges of bribery and corruption http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/fifa-officials-arrested-charges-bribery-and-corruption-112096 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/0527_fifa-headquarters-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Seven top FIFA officials were arrested this morning at a luxury hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, where soccer&rsquo;s international governing body was gathering for its annual meeting.</p><p>The arrests, on charges of accepting bribes and kickbacks dating back many years, were made at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice.</p><p>Also today, Swiss federal prosecutors announced that they have opened an investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which went to Russia and Qatar respectively.</p><p><em>Here &amp; Now</em>&rsquo;s Robin Young gets the latest on the charges, and how they&rsquo;re rippling through the soccer world, from WBUR reporter Curt Nickish, who is in Switzerland.</p><ul><li><em><a href="http://www.wbur.org/about/people/curt-nickisch" target="_blank">Curt Nickisch</a>, business and technology reporter for WBUR. He tweets&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/CurtNickisch" target="_blank">@CurtNickisch</a>.</em></li></ul></p> Wed, 27 May 2015 16:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/fifa-officials-arrested-charges-bribery-and-corruption-112096 Grand Jury Indicts 6 Baltimore Officers In Freddie Gray's Death http://www.wbez.org/news/grand-jury-indicts-6-baltimore-officers-freddie-grays-death-112073 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/freddiegrayyoutube.png" alt="" /><p><p>A grand jury has returned indictments against all six Baltimore Police Department officers charged in connection with the death last month of <a href="http://www.npr.org/tags/401114525/freddie-gray" target="_blank">Freddie Gray</a>, the state&#39;s attorney in Baltimore says.</p><p>Prosecutor Marilyn J. Mosby said at a news conference that the officers will be arraigned July 2. The charges against them are similar to <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/05/01/403496063/freddie-gray-update-new-speculation-on-his-death-and-peaceful-protests" target="_blank">those announced</a> May 1 that range from one count of second-degree murder and four counts of involuntary manslaughter to assault and misconduct in office. As Bill noted at the time:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;The most severe charges are leveled against Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., identified as the driver of the van that transported Gray to a police station. The charges against Goodson include second-degree depraved heart murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.</p><p>&quot;The investigation by the prosecutor&#39;s office found there had been no reason to detain Gray &mdash; and that his arrest was in itself illegal, Mosby said. She said the knife that police officers found on Gray turned out to be legal.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>NPR&#39;s Jennifer Ludden, who is reporting on this story for our Newscast unit, says that while the most serious charges against the officers still stand, there is &quot;one change &mdash; charges of false imprisonment have been dropped.&quot; She adds:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Mosby had originally based them on her contention that the knife Gray was carrying was legal, but lawyers for the officers dispute that. The grand jury added charges of reckless endangerment, bolstering Mosby&#39;s allegation that officers repeatedly failed to render aid to Gray after he asked for it.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>Gray, 25, was arrested April 12 and suffered a serious spine injury while in police custody. He died April 19. Mosby said Gray &quot;suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet, and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For more coverage of this story, please click <a href="http://www.npr.org/tags/401114525/freddie-gray">here</a>.</p></p> Thu, 21 May 2015 17:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/grand-jury-indicts-6-baltimore-officers-freddie-grays-death-112073 As rules get sorted out, drones may transform agriculture industry http://www.wbez.org/news/rules-get-sorted-out-drones-may-transform-agriculture-industry-111567 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/img_3297_wide-0eaf22bd10778693f1839956d8a491c74b257934-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On a breezy morning in rural Weld County, Colo., Jimmy Underhill quickly assembles a black and orange drone with four spinning rotors. We&#39;re right next to a corn field, littered with stalks left over from last year&#39;s harvest.</p><p>&quot;This one just flies itself. It&#39;s fully autonomous,&quot; Underhill says.</p><p>Underhill is a drone technician with <a href="http://agribotix.com/">Agribotix, a Colorado-based drone start</a> up that sees farmers as its most promising market. Today he&#39;s training his fellow employees how to work the machine in the field.</p><p>&quot;So if you want to start, we can walk over to the drone,&quot; Underhill says. &quot;It&#39;s got a safety button on here.&quot; And now it&#39;ll start flying.&quot;</p><p>The quadcopter zips 300 feet into the air directly above our heads, pauses for a moment and then begins to move.</p><p>&quot;So it just turned to the East and it&#39;s going to start its lawnmower pattern,&quot; Underhill says.</p><p>What makes the drone valuable to farmers is the camera on board. It snaps a high-resolution photo every two seconds. From there Agribotix stitches the images together, sniffing out problem spots in the process. Knowing what&#39;s happening in a field can save a farmer money.</p><p>At farm shows across the country, drones have become as ubiquitous as John Deere tractors. The Colorado Farm Show earlier this year included an informational session, telling farmers both the technical and legal challenges ahead.</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s a very exciting time,&quot; says farmer Darren Salvador, who grows 2,000 acres of wheat and corn near the Colorado-Nebraska border.</p><p>&quot;Can you look at disease concern, insect concern, so now you can be more proactive and treat smaller areas and not treat the entire field,&quot; he says.</p><p>Salvador and about 50 other farmers got an earful from Rory Paul, CEO of <a href="http://www.voltaerialrobotics.com/">Volt Aerial Robotics</a>, a St. Louis-based drone start up.</p><p>&quot;We really don&#39;t know what they&#39;re good for,&quot; Paul says. &quot;We&#39;ve got a few ideas of where they could benefit agriculture. The majority of which are still theoretical.&quot; Theoretical because commercial drone use is still widely banned in the U.S.</p><p>On Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/15/386464188/commercial-drone-rules-to-limit-their-speed-and-altitude">released long-awaited draft rules </a>on the operation of pilotless drones, opening the nation&#39;s airspace to the commercial possibilities of the burgeoning technology, but not without restrictions.</p><p>Currently, companies may apply for exemptions from the FAA, but the requirements to get that exemption can be costly. Like requiring drone operators to hold a private pilot&#39;s license.</p><p>&quot;These small drones, that are almost priced to be expensive toys, are not reliable. And that&#39;s the concern of the FAA,&quot; says Eric Frew, who studies drones at the University of Colorado-Boulder.</p><p><a href="http://www.faa.gov/">The FAA </a>didn&#39;t respond to requests for comment for this story, but Frew says the agency is trying to find a balance. Putting a large flying machine in the hands of someone who&#39;s inexperienced can cause big problems.</p><p>&quot;When these systems work, they work fantastically. When they don&#39;t work, they don&#39;t work,&quot; Frew says.</p><p>Back at the corn field in rural Colorado, Agribotix President Tom McKinnon watches as the drone comes in for a landing.</p><p>&quot;So we bash the FAA a lot,&quot; McKinnon says. &quot;I mean the FAA&#39;s job is air safety. And they have delivered on that. But when it comes to drones they&#39;re badly fumbling the ball.&quot;</p><p>McKinnon says until the agency gives solid guidance to commercial drone operators, he&#39;ll be doing most of his work in countries like Australia and Brazil where laws are friendlier to farm drones.</p><p><em><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2015/02/16/385520242/as-rules-get-sorted-out-drones-may-transform-agriculture-industry" target="_blank">NPR&#39;s All Tech Considered</a></em> and <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/">Harvest Public Media</a>, a reporting collaboration that focuses on agriculture and food production.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 11:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/rules-get-sorted-out-drones-may-transform-agriculture-industry-111567 White House asks Congress for war powers to fight ISIS http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-asks-congress-war-powers-fight-isis-111537 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP439279241343.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In a move that is sure to set off a new round of debate over how the U.S. should fight ISIS, the Obama administration has sent Congress a request for formal authorization to use military force against the extremist group.</p><p>A <a href="http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/02-11-15_White_House_AUMF_Text.pdf">copy of the new Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or AUMF</a>, has been posted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; it says ISIS &quot;poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners.&quot;</p><p>We&#39;ve updated this post to reflect the news. <em>Post continues:</em></p><p>Discussing draft versions of the request earlier this morning, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/02/11/385396486/sen-kaine-pushes-for-vote-on-military-strikes-against-isis">told NPR&#39;s Morning Edition</a> that President Obama will ask Congress to authorize ground troops, with a prohibition on their use in &quot;enduring offensive combat missions.&quot;</p><p>A similar provision is in the request for war powers; it also sets a three-year limit on the powers and repeals the 2002 authorization for using force in Iraq.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not good to have these previous war authorizations kind of floating out there&quot; to be used years later, he said.</p><p>White House officials framed the request for war powers after meeting with members of both parties in Congress, where it will come under close scrutiny.</p><p>The effort has been a balancing act, with a key issue being the possible role of ground troops: Republicans say they don&#39;t want to limit the Pentagon&#39;s approach, while Democrats are wary of giving the OK to an open-ended conflict.</p><p>&quot;On Capitol Hill, there is going to be an extended debate, discussion, and argument over exactly what the Authorization for the Use of Military Force should say, what the limits should be,&quot; NPR&#39;s Tamara Keith reports.</p><p>The new AUMF would replace the authorization that was provided to President Bush in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. It would set new parameters for the U.S. to follow as it tries to combat ISIS, the violent group that has claimed territory in Iraq and Syria.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s high skepticism on Capitol Hill that the earlier authorizations cover&quot; the military operations the U.S. has already conducted against ISIS, Kaine said.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/10/385215395/white-house-seeking-support-of-congress-in-fight-against-isis">As Tamara reported for the Two-Way yesterday</a>, the effort to shape the legislation has included a wide range of administration officials, from White House Counsel Neil Eggleston to National Security Advisor Susan Rice.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/11/385411567/white-house-will-request-war-powers-from-congress-today-senator-says" target="_blank">NPR&#39;s The Two-Way</a></em></p></p> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 13:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-asks-congress-war-powers-fight-isis-111537 A Chicago community puts mixed-income housing to the test http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-community-puts-mixed-income-housing-test-111502 <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/corley_lathrop_slide-0d583b1bfac0b67299b9c261b1650cb792b085c6-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A resident of Lathrop Homes leaves one of the few occupied buildings in the development. The city wants to redevelop the public housing as mixed use, and offered vouchers to encourage residents to relocate. (Cheryl Corley/NPR)" /></div><p>Right next to the Chicago River on the city&#39;s North Side,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.preservationchicago.org/userfiles/file/lathrop.pdf" target="_blank">Lathrop Homes</a>, with its black, white and Latino residents, is considered the city&#39;s most diverse public housing.</p><p>It&#39;s also on the National Register of Historic Places. And with 925 low-rise units on about 30 acres, it&#39;s big. But these days, only a fraction of those apartments are occupied.</p><p>Miguel Suarez has lived in Lathrop Homes for 25 years. He says the Chicago Housing Authority offered people housing vouchers to move elsewhere when they decided that Lathrop would be rehabbed &mdash; part of a massive effort to revamp public housing in the city.</p><p>But residents at Lathrop say they don&#39;t live in a distressed neighborhood that needs change &mdash; so they are fighting to keep their homes intact.</p><p><strong>The New Face Of Public Housing</strong></p><p>It&#39;s been two decades since&nbsp;<a href="http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/ph/hope6/about" target="_blank">the federal government&#39;s HOPE VI Program</a>&nbsp;offered public housing authorities around the nation money to tear down blighted public housing projects.</p><p>Across the country, cities used it as an opportunity to experiment with breaking up pockets of poverty. They replaced the housing projects with &quot;mixed-income housing,&quot; where people who have money live next door to people who don&#39;t.</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/hoffman_20150202_0121_slide-b7d970c1198627b1f04402ec2e0a48f1be72cf7c-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 266px; width: 400px; float: right;" title="Nivea Sandoval is a 30-year resident of the Lathrop Homes. She feels Chicago Housing Authority is neglecting residents, but still wants to live here because of the strong community. (Peter Hoffman for NPR)" /></div><p>But mixed-income housing changes the profile of a city &mdash; and it&#39;s often controversial. The Chicago Housing Authority, or CHA, launched a massive program in 1999, promising to tear down troubled high rises and rehab or rebuild 25,000 units of public housing.</p><p>&quot;Our interest, and the CHA&#39;s interest, is in making a vital, vibrant mixed-income community here,&quot; says Jacques Sandberg, a vice president at Related Midwest, one of the developers involved in revamping Lathrop Homes.</p><p><strong>The Lathrop Homes Plan</strong></p><p>Suarez, who is semi-retired, is the chairperson of a group of residents called the Lathrop Leadership Team. During a driving tour of the neighborhood, he points out how all of the three-story apartment buildings and smaller row houses on the northern side of the development are boarded up and fenced in.</p><p>Throughout the development, arched colonnades connect the buildings and sweeping snow-covered lawns. There&#39;s lots of new pricey housing surrounding Lathrop, and plenty of businesses and stores.</p><p>Suarez says he knows why there&#39;s a push for change. &quot;It&#39;s moving the poor out and bringing the rich in,&quot; he says. &quot;Gentrification &mdash; &#39;We don&#39;t care where you go, just get the hell out, because we want this.&#39; &quot;</p><p>That&#39;s the fight when it comes to mixed-income housing: determining the right mix of incomes &mdash; and how many public housing residents get to return to a refurbished development.</p><p>The latest plan for a redeveloped Lathrop Homes calls for one-half of the historic development to be torn down and the rest rehabbed. The new Lathrop would include 500 market-rate condos and townhouses, but only about 200 low-income or affordable apartments and 400 public housing units, down from the current 925.</p><p>It&#39;s controversial, and developer Jacques Sandberg says creating mixed-income neighborhoods can be difficult.</p><p>&quot;There are people who have legitimate positions that have to be reconciled,&quot; he says. &quot;Sometimes they are at odds and are fundamentally irreconcilable, and there are people&#39;s lives at stake.&quot;</p><p><strong>The Fight For Lathrop</strong></p><p>A group of Lathrop residents say they aren&#39;t on board with the plans for their home. Lathrop Advisory Council member Cynthia Scott, a former receptionist who is on disability benefits now, says it has been frustrating to hear developers and others talk about &quot;concentrated poverty&quot; and how Lathrop Homes is isolated from the rest of the neighborhood.</p><p>&quot;If you go outside this community, everybody else&#39;s community is gated. We are not gated,&quot; she says. &quot;People walk their dogs around here. Our parks are open; their parks are closed. So who&#39;s to say we are not an open community?&quot;</p><p>Recent home sales near Lathrop range from $500,000 to about $1 million. Titus Kerby, the Lathrop Advisory Council&#39;s president, says the plan for Lathrop means hundreds of public housing residents won&#39;t be able to return to a thriving neighborhood that&#39;s already mixed-income.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img 400="" 525="" a="" actually="" affordable="" alderman="" allow="" alt="" and="" are="" back="" be="" bring="" bringing="" calls="" chicago="" class="image-original_image" committed="" community="" development="" displaced="" even="" for="" fund="" generally="" gives="" going="" have="" he="" helps="" here="" hoffman="" homes="" housing="" if="" in="" is="" it="" joe="" lathrop="" live="" located="" market-rate="" mixed-income="" more="" moreno="" moreno.="" most="" must="" new="" next="" north="" of="" on="" only="" or="" other="" our="" p="" peter="" plan.="" position="" proco="" project="" public="" residents="" s="" says="" sense="" setting="" side="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hoffman_20150202_0342_slide-1046437b7d8ee761a2284eebfdb2118b718334e4-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" t="" that="" the="" title="J.L. Gross walks along a river pathway near the Lathrop Homes. He has lived in the development for 27 years and cherishes Lathrop because " to="" units="" us="" wants="" ward="" what="" who="" will="" you="" /><p>&quot;I know it sounds a little utopia &mdash; that a public housing resident comes in, gets to affordable rent and gets to an affordable purchase and then, maybe, perhaps gets unrestricted,&quot; Moreno says, &quot;but it&#39;s not without precedent. And if we don&#39;t provide the opportunity, it&#39;s not going to happen.&quot;</p><p><strong>Mixed-Income Housing Results</strong></p><p>Studies of Chicago&#39;s existing mixed-income housing&nbsp;show that public housing residents in the new developments are doing better, while most who had to move elsewhere still live in segregated, high-poverty neighborhoods.</p><p>Lawrence Vale, an urban studies professor at MIT, has studied mixed-income housing in Chicago and other cities. &quot;There are lots of assumptions about what the new neighborhoods should do to help low-income residents find role models or better social networks,&quot; he says, &quot;but the empirical evidence of that has been scant.&quot;</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/hoffman_20150202_0237_slide-e95d9a6b3dc1c539910510a01535729a38219c2e-s800-c85_0.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The main office for the Lathrop Homes public housing complex in Chicago. One resident says the redevelopment plan for the complex is just more gentrification in the city. (Peter Hoffman for NPR)" /></div><p>But there are some aspects of mixed-income housing that are promising, Vale says.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s a sense of people finding enhanced security, increased investment in the surrounding neighborhoods and higher expectations for the management when they have the pressure of people putting more of their own money into payments,&quot; he says.</p><p>The Chicago Housing Authority says construction at Lathrop could begin by spring of 2016, and that it plans to update residents soon. If Lathrop does indeed become a mixed-income community as planned, even its developers say it may take years to determine how it functions as a neighborhood &mdash; and whether a new Lathrop is a success.</p></div></div><p>- <em>via <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/02/05/381886102/a-chicago-community-puts-mixed-income-housing-to-the-test">NPR&#39;s Cities Project</a></em></p></p> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 09:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-community-puts-mixed-income-housing-test-111502