WBEZ | Texas http://www.wbez.org/tags/texas Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sandra Bland's Mother: Trooper's Perjury Charge 'Not Justice' http://www.wbez.org/news/sandra-blands-mother-troopers-perjury-charge-not-justice-114416 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_733563362115.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The mother of a black woman found dead in a Texas jail cell after a traffic stop in July expressed outrage Thursday that the white state trooper who pulled her over was only charged with nothing more than perjury. And even on that misdemeanor, Sandra Bland&#39;s anguished mother said she had little confidence in the prospect of a conviction.</p><div><p>Geneva Reed-Veal told reporters in&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;the trooper should have been charged with assault, battery and false arrest.</p><p>&quot;To charge this guy with a misdemeanor, are you kidding me?&quot; she said of the perjury charge, which carries a maximum of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. &quot;I&#39;m angry, absolutely. ... That&#39;s not justice for me.&quot;</p><p>Bland, a 28-year-old former resident of Naperville, Illinois, was stopped in July for an improper lane change. The stop quickly escalated into a shouting match and a physical confrontation in which the trooper threatened to use a stun gun. Bland was arrested on suspicion of assaulting the trooper. Authorities say Bland hanged herself in her jail cell three days later.</p><p>Trooper Brian Encinia was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in Texas on allegations that he lied when he claimed in an affidavit that Bland was &quot;combative and uncooperative&quot; after he pulled her over during the traffic stop and ordered her out of her car.</p><p>Hours after the indictment, the Texas Department of Public Safety said it would &quot;begin termination proceedings&quot; against Encinia, who has been on paid desk duty since Bland was found dead in her cell.</p><p>Reed-Veal said the trooper should not be out on the street &quot;to infect anyone else&#39;s life.&quot;</p><p>The family has filed a civil rights lawsuit that it hopes will shed more light on what happened to Bland and compel authorities to release documents, including a Texas Rangers investigation into the case. Authorities had withheld the Rangers report, citing the grand jury process that has now finished.</p><p>Reed-Veal said the separate criminal proceedings in the trooper&#39;s case would not bring &quot;true justice.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Who is going to prosecute this guy? Is it the same group of folks who selected the grand jury?&quot; she said, chuckling in apparent disbelief. &quot;... I don&#39;t trust the process.&quot;</p><p>Encinia was not immediately taken into custody, and an arraignment date has not yet been announced. Encinia could not be reached for comment; a cellphone number for him was no longer working.</p><p>Bland&#39;s arrest and death provoked national outrage and drew the attention of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protesters questioned officials&#39; assertion that Bland killed herself and linked her to other blacks killed in confrontations with police or who died in police custody, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore.</p><p>Encinia pulled Bland over on July 10 for making an improper lane change near Prairie View A&amp;M University, her alma mater, where she had just interviewed for and accepted a job.</p><p>Dashcam video from Encinia&#39;s patrol car shows Encinia drawing his stun gun and telling Bland, &quot;I will light you up!&quot; Bland eventually steps out of the vehicle, and Encinia orders her to the side of the road. She can later be heard off-camera screaming that he&#39;s about to break her wrists and complaining that he knocked her head into the ground.</p><p>Encinia wrote in his affidavit that he had Bland exit the vehicle and handcuffed her after she became combative, and that she swung her elbows at him and kicked him in his right shin. Encinia said he then used force &quot;to subdue Bland to the ground&quot; and she continued to fight back. He arrested her, alleging assault on a public servant.</p><p>Bland was taken to the Waller County jail in Hempstead, Texas, about 50 miles northwest of Houston. Three days later, she was found hanging from a jail cell partition with a plastic garbage bag around her neck. The grand jury has already declined to charge any sheriff&#39;s officials or jailers in her death.</p><p><em>Associated Press writers Michael Graczyk in Hempstead, Texas, and Nomaan Merchant in Dallas contributed to this report.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 07 Jan 2016 15:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/sandra-blands-mother-troopers-perjury-charge-not-justice-114416 Chinese firm plans $1.3 billion purchase of Texas oil lands http://www.wbez.org/news/chinese-firm-plans-13-billion-purchase-texas-oil-lands-113506 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/The Shanghai-listed Yantai Xinchao Industry Co. filed a security filing over the weekend announcing it would purchase Texas oil properties for 8.3 billion yuan..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res451676806" previewtitle="The Shanghai-listed Yantai Xinchao Industry Co. filed a security filing over the weekend announcing it would purchase Texas oil properties for 8.3 billion yuan."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The Shanghai-listed Yantai Xinchao Industry Co. filed a security filing over the weekend announcing it would purchase Texas oil properties for 8.3 billion yuan." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/25/gettyimages-81705896-b08e798a6e2f7b29da60a7bf1968a0df07c9b50b-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 405px; width: 540px;" title="The Shanghai-listed Yantai Xinchao Industry Co. filed a security filing over the weekend announcing it would purchase Texas oil properties for 8.3 billion yuan. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>A Chinese investment holding company intends to put down stakes in the United States after signing a letter of intent to purchase oil properties in western Texas for $1.3 billion through a limited liability partnership.</p></div></div></div><p>The Shanghai-listed Yantai Xinchao Industry Co., said in a&nbsp;<a href="http://static.sse.com.cn/disclosure/listedinfo/announcement/c/2015-10-23/600777_20151023_1.pdf">securities filing over the weekend</a>, it was a purchasing oil lands in the Texas counties of Howard and Borden as part of the proposed acquisition of Ningbo Dingliang Huitong Equity Investment Center, according to the&nbsp;<a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/5bb7e009075c487b9c74de17dd0c4827/chinese-investment-company-buy-texas-oil-fields-13b">Associated Press</a>.</p><p>The news service also reports Yantai Xinchao said in its letter of intent, the transaction, worth 8.3 billion yuan, has been &quot;approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States&quot; which is part of the Treasury Department.</p><p>The oil properties are being purchased from Tall City Exploration LLC and Plymouth Petroleum LLC, according to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-property-developer-snaps-up-texas-oil-fields-1445773022">Wall Street Journal</a>.</p><p>Neither Tall City Exploration or ArcLight Capital Partners LLC, the parent company of Plymouth Petroleum, returned requests for comment by the time of this posting. We will update if things change.</p><p>The Wall Street Journal&nbsp;also reports Chinese energy companies have been longing to do business in the U.S. because of &quot;stable laws governing oil exploration and production.&quot; The publication adds:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;But U.S. restrictions on Chinese investment in potentially sensitive areas means investment in the U.S. energy patch by Chinese companies is, to date, limited. Yantai Xinchao said it had already received permission from the U.S. government for the deal.</em></p><p><em>...</em></p><p><em>&quot;Chinese companies are looking abroad for oil deals partly because of tight restrictions at home, making investment in oil-and-gas exploration and production next to impossible in many cases. State-owned oil behemoths dominate China&#39;s energy landscape, leaving little space for independent companies to invest. China&#39;s government says it aims to bring more private capital into the oil sector as part of ongoing reforms.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/25/451675784/chinese-firm-plans-1-3-billion-purchase-of-texas-oil-lands?ft=nprml&amp;f=451675784" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 26 Oct 2015 14:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chinese-firm-plans-13-billion-purchase-texas-oil-lands-113506 Publisher will revise textbook that called enslaved Africans 'workers' http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-15/publisher-will-revise-textbook-called-enslaved-africans-workers <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1015_texas-textbook.jpg" style="text-align: center; width: 350px; height: 427px;" title="High school freshman Coby Burren texted his mom this image of his world geography book that calls slaves “workers.” (Courtesy of Roni Dean-Burren via Houston Public Media)" /></div><div>Texas has long been a battleground over school textbooks. During the last year, experts have criticized them for <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/11/21/365686593/texas-hits-the-books" target="_blank">naming Moses as a founding father</a> and also<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/07/13/421744763/how-textbooks-can-teach-different-versions-of-history" target="_blank"> downplaying slavery as a cause of the Civil War</a>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The latest controversy comes after a family near Houston pointed out&nbsp;how a&nbsp;geography book described slaves.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="https://twitter.com/lauraisensee" target="_blank">Laura Isensee</a>&nbsp;from&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now&nbsp;</em>contributor Houston Public Media takes a closer look at what happened and what&rsquo;s next.</div><div><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mxawf6Ktyeo?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em><a href="http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news/how-texas-board-publisher-want-to-prevent-mistakes-after-mom-calls-out-reference/" target="_blank">Read more on this story via Houston Public Media</a></em></p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/15/textbook-calls-slaves-workers" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 15:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-15/publisher-will-revise-textbook-called-enslaved-africans-workers Texas prof: I'm quitting now that state lets kids carry guns to class http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-10-12/texas-prof-im-quitting-now-state-lets-kids-carry-guns-class-113302 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_821697735255.jpg" style="height: 385px; width: 610px;" title="In this Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, file photo, professor Ann Cvetkovich waits to speak during a public forum as a special committee studies how to implement a new law allowing students with concealed weapons permits to carry firearms into class and other campus buildings, which will take effect in August 2016, in Austin, Texas. Despite a federal law requiring them to have detailed emergency plans, colleges across the country vary widely in how they prepare for campus shootings and inform their staffs and students. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)" /></p><p dir="ltr">Daniel Hamermesh is an economics professor emeritus who has taught at the University of Texas at Austin&nbsp;since 1993. This week, he&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2015/10/07/citing-concerns-with-campus-carry-professor-emeritus-to-withdraw" target="_blank">announced</a>&nbsp;that he would withdraw from his position next fall after the state passed a &ldquo;campus carry&rdquo; law, which will allow concealed handguns in classrooms, dorms, and other campus buildings.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to bear the increased risk of facing a student in my office that gets disgruntled and pulls a gun out on me,&rdquo; he says.</p><p dir="ltr">Hamermesh, 72, says he will pursue teaching and academic opportunities at other institutions because his fear of being the target of on-campus gun violence has been &ldquo;enhanced&rdquo; with the new law, which goes&nbsp;<a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&amp;Bill=SB11" target="_blank">into effect in August 2016</a>&nbsp;&mdash; the 50th anniversary of a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/an-ex-marine-goes-on-a-killing-spree-at-the-university-of-texas" target="_blank">mass shooting at UT Austin</a>&nbsp;that left 14 dead and 31 wounded.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I worry about the feeling of tension this would engender because somebody might do something, and you&rsquo;re always going to be on alert,&rdquo; says Hamermesh. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t need to put up with that. Life is short, I don&rsquo;t need the money that much, so I&rsquo;d rather do other things.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">UT Austin currently educates about 51,000 students and boasts a teaching staff of about 3,000. Hamermesh says that the campus carry policy may deter both groups from pursuing educational and academic opportunities at the school, which was founded in 1881.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Why take even a slight risk with an opportunity at UT when you can go elsewhere?&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s going to cost the university.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_907794901423.jpg" style="height: 417px; width: 600px;" title="Professor Ann Cvetkovich speaks during a public forum as a special committee studies how to implement a new law allowing students with concealed weapons permits to carry firearms into class and other campus buildings, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The law takes effect in August 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)" /></p><p dir="ltr">Hamermesh isn&rsquo;t the only member of the University of Texas college system that is against this law. UT Chancellor Bill McRaven, a former Navy admiral, spoke out against the law before it was adopted last spring. And the president of UT Austin, Gregory L. Fenves, is also against the measure.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Right now, the [UT Austin] president is holding a bunch of forums and has a committee designed to decide what they can limit in terms of the places where you can&rsquo;t carry guns,&rdquo; says Hamermesh. &ldquo;But a general limit saying no guns in offices, I don&rsquo;t think that&rsquo;s going to happen, and similarly, no guns in classes, I don&rsquo;t think that&rsquo;s going to happen. You can&rsquo;t do that politically given what the legislation was passed as. I&rsquo;m sure that President Fenves would like to do more limitations than what is in fact politically feasible.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Faculty members are concerned that the new campus carry law may have an impact on course curriculum and learning environment, says Hamermesh.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A lot of people, especially in the Humanities department, are terribly concerned &mdash; why express something that might be controversial [and may make] a student really, really upset when there&rsquo;s an increased of having a student pull a gun on you?&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It makes it a less desirable place for learning and it makes it less of a learning environment.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Furthermore, Hamermesh argues that professors should be able to set the terms of their classrooms &mdash; not lawmakers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It impinges upon my freedom to operate my classroom exactly as I want,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I view my classroom and my office as my castle, and I don&rsquo;t like the legislature telling me what can go on in my castle.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">While some faculty members and students are &ldquo;pro-gun,&rdquo; Hamermesh dismisses those who argue that the campus carry law will empower educators.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to have a gun,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to be involved in shooting at someone who happens to draw first. I&rsquo;m probably too old to draw fast anyway &mdash; my reactions are slow &mdash; and having a gun would just make my life worse in so many ways.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Others in the community have similar feelings. A Takeaway listener named Victoria from Austin called in with this message:</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&#39;m very much against young men having guns on a college campus. The overwhelming perpetrators of gun violence is young men ages 18 to 30. Putting guns in the hands of immature, emotional, stressed out young men is just a bunch of bad decisions waiting to happen.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&mdash; <a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-12/texas-prof-im-quitting-now-state-lets-kids-carry-guns-class" target="_blank"><em>via The Takeaway</em></a></p></p> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 16:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-10-12/texas-prof-im-quitting-now-state-lets-kids-carry-guns-class-113302 A design team tries to create a new symbol for the American South http://www.wbez.org/news/design-team-tries-create-new-symbol-american-south-113176 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/NPR2207_photo3_S6QmOeZ.png" alt="" /><p><div><p style="text-align: justify;">South Carolina removed the Confederate Battle Flag from its Capitol grounds earlier this year, and much of the rest of the South is following suit.&nbsp;</p></div><p style="text-align: justify;">In light of these changes, Studio 360 asked Dallas design firm&nbsp;<a href="http://70kft.com/" target="_blank">70&nbsp;KFT</a>&nbsp;has spent the summer coming up with ideas for a new icon to replace the flag.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not so much about redesigning a flag, but reintroducing a new idea,&rdquo; says design director Alexander Flores.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The designers came up with two big ideas they wanted to pursue, so they split into two smaller groups: One working on a design inspired by quilting as the main concept, and another team designing a treatment around the word &ldquo;rebel.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Designer Michael Feavel started the discussion about the word &#39;rebel.&#39; He was thinking about stereotypes of the South: &ldquo;We can be labelled very negatively &mdash; slow, or simple.&rdquo; He says. &ldquo;And the word &lsquo;rebel&rsquo; came to mind. And that&rsquo;s not something that can just be labelled as negative.&rdquo; The word&rsquo;s ambiguity appealed to Feavel: it can be positive or negative, noun or verb.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The team has&nbsp;been working with an image of the word &lsquo;rebel&rsquo; in Martin Luther King&rsquo;s handwriting.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;[We have] these other southern rebels that we, you know, have falling into this category. We&#39;ve got Truman Capote, we&rsquo;ve got Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Mark Twain,&rdquo; says Gus Granger, the co-founder and head designer of the firm.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The second team was attracted to the layered aspects of quilting.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;We are starting to explore what the togetherness aspect means. I mean we started exploring tapestries, we started exploring stained glass &mdash; different elements that have been deconstructed in some way and reconstructed in some way,&rdquo; says creative director Stefan Reddick.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;We&#39;re kind of getting away from a flag in general and we&#39;re looking for a symbol that embodies&nbsp;the modern South. Flags are for battles and quilts are for homes and so this quilt concept, it&#39;s pretty powerful because it&rsquo;s used in all types of cultures and also just the symbolism of multiple pieces all brought together, taking pieces of the past and pieces of the present,&rdquo; says Billy Parkerson, a team member from Birmingham, Alabama.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The team is enthusiastic about their work, but Alexander Flores who&#39;s from south Texas, knows that trying to impose a symbol from the top down is a not going to be easy.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;I think it&#39;s something that should be more organic,&rdquo; Flores says, &ldquo;If we can start a dialogue, we&rsquo;ll be happy that we&#39;ve contributed something more than just a logo.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The design firm&#39;s proposal will be revealed on PRI.org next&nbsp;week.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-03/design-team-tries-create-new-symbol-american-south" target="_blank"><em> via Studio 360</em></a></p></p> Sun, 04 Oct 2015 11:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/design-team-tries-create-new-symbol-american-south-113176 Whole Foods says it will stop selling foods made with prison labor http://www.wbez.org/news/whole-foods-says-it-will-stop-selling-foods-made-prison-labor-113135 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/wholefoodsartisancheeses.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res444814042" previewtitle="Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, a Colorado goat cheese producer, says it will begin to source more milk from dairies that don't rely on inmate labor — so that they can continue to sell some cheeses to Whole Foods."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, a Colorado goat cheese producer, says it will begin to source more milk from dairies that don't rely on inmate labor — so that they can continue to sell some cheeses to Whole Foods." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/30/4725990938_fbf10d4966_o_wide-c19fb687c4fc4c8393343cebec504ee726b29da7-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 338px; width: 600px;" title="Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, a Colorado goat cheese producer, says it will begin to source more milk from dairies that don't rely on inmate labor — so that they can continue to sell some cheeses to Whole Foods. (ilovebutter/Flickr)" /></div><div data-crop-type="">Whole Foods Market has announced that by April of next year it will stop sourcing foods that are produced using prison labor.</div></div><p>The move comes on the heels of a demonstration in Houston where the company was chastised for employing inmates through prison-work programs.</p><p>Michael Allen, founder of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/endmassincarceration.houston">End Mass Incarceration Houston</a>, organized the protest. He says Whole Foods was engaging in exploitation since inmates are typically paid very low wages.</p><p>&quot;People are incarcerated and then forced to work for pennies on the dollar &mdash; compare that to what the products are sold for,&quot; Allen tells The Salt.</p><p>Currently, Whole Foods sells a goat cheese produced by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.haystackgoatcheese.com/">Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy</a>&nbsp;in Longmont, Colo., and a tilapia from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.quixoticfarming.com/about/">Quixotic Farming</a>, which bills itself as a family-owned sustainable seafood company.</p><p>These companies partner with&nbsp;<a href="https://www.coloradoci.com/bin-pdf/2014_who.pdf">Colorado Correctional Industries</a>, a division of the Colorado Department of Corrections, to employ prisoners to milk goats and raise the fish.</p><p>CCI&#39;s mission is to provide inmates with employment and training. The intent is to give them skills that could help them find employment once they&#39;re released. CCI employs about 1,600 inmates, according to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.leg.state.co.us/OSA/coauditor1.nsf/All/908C1FE0217F7E0487257DCE00701378/$FILE/1350P%20Colorado%20Correctional%20Industries,%20Department%20of%20Corrections,%20January%202015.pdf">report</a>&nbsp;by the Colorado state auditor.</p><p>In an email, Whole Food&#39;s spokesperson Michael Silverman tells The Salt that the company liked the idea of employing inmates. &quot;We felt that supporting supplier partners who found a way to be part of paid, rehabilitative work being done by inmates would help people get back on their feet,&quot; he writes.</p><p>But Silverman says, &quot;we have heard from some shoppers and members of the community that they were uncomfortable with Whole Foods Market&#39;s sourcing products produced with inmate labor.&quot;</p><p>And in order to stay &quot;in-tune&quot; with customers&#39; wishes, the company came to its decision to stop selling the goat cheese and tilapia.</p><p>As reporter Graeme Wood&nbsp;<a href="http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/from-our-prison-to-your-dinner-table">wrote</a>&nbsp;in&nbsp;<em>Pacific Standard</em>, these in-state prison-work systems face no federal regulation.</p><p>And there are also questions about the justness of prison-work programs. Allen and other protesters in Houston hung signs that said: &quot;End Whole Foods Market&#39;s Profiting From Prison Slave Labor.&quot;</p><p>By some accounts, though, they&#39;re progressive. For instance, CCI supporters point to a lower recidivism rate among inmates who are employed while they&#39;re incarcerated.</p><p>Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy&#39;s John Scaggs says the farm will begin to source more milk from dairies that don&#39;t rely on inmate labor &mdash; so that it can continue to sell some cheeses to Whole Foods.</p><p>But Scaggs says he&#39;s still a supporter of the prison labor program that CCI has created in Colorado.</p><p>&quot;This is a model example of a prison-work program,&quot; Scaggs says. &quot;By purchasing goat&#39;s milk from the facility [that uses prison labor], we&#39;re supporting ... rehabilitative incarceration.&quot; He says prisoners are taught teamwork and getting job training.</p><p>Scaggs says the inmates make about $1,500 to $2,500 a year, but he isn&#39;t sure what the hourly rate of pay is.</p><p>&quot;If an inmate is serving a sentence for a few years, they can come out with a few thousand bucks [in savings] and a whole new skill set,&quot; he says.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/30/444797169/whole-foods-says-it-will-stop-selling-foods-made-by-prisoners?ft=nprml&amp;f=444797169" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 10:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/whole-foods-says-it-will-stop-selling-foods-made-prison-labor-113135 U.S. Attorney General: 'this violence against all of us' must end http://www.wbez.org/news/us-attorney-general-violence-against-all-us-must-end-112801 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Lynch and East Haven Police Chief Brent.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has strongly condemned shootings of law enforcement officers in Texas and Illinois and issued an unequivocal message of support for police.</p><p>&quot;We have had four more guardians slain, and frankly our hearts are broken,&quot; the attorney general said Wednesday in remarks to a fair housing conference in Washington, D.C. &quot;I offer the families of these officers my condolences, and I ask that all of us come together and keep them in our prayers.&quot;</p><p>Lynch, the first black woman to serve as the nation&#39;s top federal law enforcement officer, pointed out that she spent &quot;virtually my entire career&quot; working closely with agents, officers and investigators.</p><p>&quot;I know these men and women have volunteered to take on the most challenging and important jobs that we have here,&quot; she said. &quot;They do this for us, they move us aside and they run into danger for us. And so please again keep them in your prayers.&quot;</p><p>Earlier this week, President Obama called the widow of a Harris County, Texas, sheriff&#39;s deputy killed while he was pumping gas. The president said targeting of police officers is &quot;totally unacceptable,&quot; according to White House officials who provided a read-out of the call.</p><p>In recent days, current and former law enforcement officials had pressed top administration officials to speak out on violence against police. And some advocacy groups have called on the executive branch and Congress to make murder of law enforcement officers a hate crime.</p><p>Lynch used her remarks at the housing conference to decry a wider spate of violence in recent months, from the slaying of two Virginia reporters on live television to the deaths of five service members in Chattanooga, Tenn., and the killing of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.</p><p>&quot;This violence against all of us, regardless of what uniform any of us wear, has to end,&quot; Lynch said.</p><p>She said federal and local law enforcement officials would meet in Detroit later this month to discuss ways to reduce violence.</p><p>&quot;The Department of Justice stands ready to support law enforcement around this country as they continue to fight every day to protect the communities that they serve and of which they are a vital part,&quot; Lynch added. &quot;And we also stand with every community member police and civilian alike as they all work towards a safer community for us all.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>&mdash;</em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/09/02/436895339/u-s-attorney-general-this-violence-against-all-of-us-must-end" target="_blank"><em>The Two-Way</em></a></p></p> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-attorney-general-violence-against-all-us-must-end-112801 Death of woman found hanged in Texas jail cell will be investigated as murder http://www.wbez.org/news/death-woman-found-hanged-texas-jail-cell-will-be-investigated-murder-112432 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_693517467808_custom-0131284e245064229792712e842a618790758626-s1500-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The death of a woman, who was found hanged in a Texas jail, will be investigated as a murder, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said during a press conference on Monday.</p><p>As NPR&#39;s Martin Kaste reported, this all started when an officer stopped Sandra Bland for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. The traffic stop escalated and after a struggle,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1199642/New-video-Sandra-Blands-arrest-later-died-jail.html">which was filmed</a>, Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant.</p><p>That happened on a Friday. Bland spent a weekend in jail and on Monday she was found hanged in her jail cell.</p><p>According to police, an ambulance was called to the scene on Friday, but Bland refused medical attention. On that Monday, a jailer checked on her shortly after 7 a.m.<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/21/us/new-details-released-in-sandra-blands-death-in-texas-jail.html?_r=0">According to The New York Times</a>, Bland allegedly told the jailer that she was &quot;fine.&quot; But when a second jailer checked on her at 9 a.m., she saw Bland hanging in her cell.</p><p>The Harris County medical examiner ruled Bland&#39;s death a suicide, but her family has been disputing that finding from the beginning.</p><p><a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/21/us-usa-texas-death-idUSKCN0PV0KQ20150721">Reuters reports</a>&nbsp;that Mathis said there were &quot;too many questions that need to be resolved.&quot; The wire service adds:</p><blockquote>&quot;This is being treated like a murder investigation,&#39; Mathis said. He added that officials would examine fingerprints and run DNA tests on the plastic trash bag used in her hanging.</blockquote><blockquote>&quot;Bland&#39;s family has called for an independent autopsy and for the U.S. Justice Department to open an investigation, saying the young woman had moved to Texas from Chicago to start a new job and would not have taken her own life.</blockquote><blockquote>&quot;They also told Chicago local media that Bland, a black woman, was outspoken about allegations of bias and excessive force by U.S. law enforcement in a year that saw protests across the country following the killings of unarmed black men by white officers in New York, Missouri and South Carolina.&quot;</blockquote><p><a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/sandra-bland-supporters-call-independent-investigation/story?id=32572897">ABC News reports</a>&nbsp;the case is being investigated by the Texas Rangers, but is being supervised by the FBI.</p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/21/424909760/death-of-woman-found-hanged-in-texas-jail-cell-will-be-investigated-as-murder">NPR&#39;s The Two Way</a></em></p></p> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 06:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/death-woman-found-hanged-texas-jail-cell-will-be-investigated-murder-112432 What was it like raising three biracial children? http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/what-was-it-raising-three-biracial-children-111666 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150306 Judy and Rosa Ramirez bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rosa Ramirez was in basic training in the Army, when she came across a girl in her barracks with red hair and blue eyes. &ldquo;What kind of blood do you have?&rdquo; Ramirez asked her. &ldquo;Do you see the world blue?&rdquo;<br /><br />Ramirez had gone to high school in Texas and spent time picking fruit in the fields of California. But when it came to race, she was clueless.<br /><br />Ramirez tells her daughter, Judy, in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, &ldquo;In my hometown, it was Mexicans and whites. We didn&rsquo;t have any idea about blacks or Germans or Italians.&rdquo;<br /><br />Rosa Ramirez served four years in the military before moving to Virginia, where she met her future husband. Her daughter asked what it was like when Rosa told her parents she wanted to marry a black man?<br /><br />Rosa says her father was going to disown her. But then Rosa&rsquo;s mom stepped in and changed his mind. By the time the wedding day arrived, he agreed to walk Rosa down the aisle.<br /><br />Rosa and her husband lived with their kids in Richmond, Virginia, in a mostly black neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t realize how prejudiced it was towards biracial children until I started hearing it from you guys in middle school&rdquo; Rosa recalled, &ldquo;It was either you&rsquo;re going to be black or you&rsquo;re going to be white. If you were hanging with your white girlfriends they wanted your hair straight. If you were hanging with your black sisters, they wanted you to have curly hair.&rdquo;<br /><br />Rosa says she never stopped to think about the repercussions of marrying outside of her race. But she was able to teach her kids about both sides of their family&rsquo;s cultural heritage.</p><p>The message she wants Judy to pass down to her own son now is: &ldquo;You can have degrees and money, but without love and familia, you&rsquo;re nothing.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alicia Williams helped produce this story.</em></p></p> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/what-was-it-raising-three-biracial-children-111666 Husband and wife battle Alzheimer's together http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/husband-and-wife-battle-alzheimers-together-110260 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Capture_10.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Ben Ferguson, 66, and his wife of more than four decades, Robyn, 64, grew up in Texas. It&rsquo;s where they met and fell in love. About a year ago, Ben was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer&rsquo;s disease. And so the couple moved to Chicago to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren. They recently came to the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center to relive Ben&rsquo;s earliest memories, and to describe what the disease has meant for their family.</p><p>Alzheimer&rsquo;s disease, which negatively impacts the brain&rsquo;s ability to remember things, may affect more than five million Americans, according to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet" target="_blank">National Institute on Aging.</a> That number is growing, however, and could reach as many as 16 million by the year 2050, according to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.alz.org/documents/greaterillinois/statesheet_illinois(1).pdf" target="_blank">Alzheimer&rsquo;s Association of Greater Illinois.</a></p><p>&ldquo;These memories are going to fade,&rdquo; Robyn said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve already begun to,&rdquo; Ben said.</p><p>In the booth, the couple talked about how Ben got into all kinds of trouble in elementary and high school. He once wrecked two of the family cars in one day. He was kicked out of several universities, before finding his footing and eventually earning a PhD in Psychology.</p><p>&ldquo;There have always been two sides to you,&rdquo; Robyn said. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re a bad boy. But you&rsquo;re a good boy too. I liked the bad boy first and now I like the good boy better.&rdquo; &ldquo;Yeah, but the bad boy got you,&rdquo; Ben said, laughing.</p><p>When Ben met Robyn, he said it was love at first sight. She thinks the attraction might have been more physical at first. &ldquo;I was pretty sure I wasn&rsquo;t gonna be able to run over you,&rdquo; Ben said. &ldquo;I was definitely sure that you were one of the prettiest women I have ever seen and I had tender feelings toward you.&rdquo; They married two months after meeting. They had two kids, one of whom moved to Chicago.</p><p>Then about a year ago, Ben started showing signs of Alzheimer&rsquo;s. &ldquo;It was the worst thing that&rsquo;s ever happened to me,&rdquo; Ben said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m still trying to figure out how to deal with it.&rdquo;</p><p>Now, Ben and Robyn live in Chicago and enjoy spending time with their grandkids. Ben participates in some long-term research programs at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brain.northwestern.edu/" target="_blank">Northwestern University&rsquo;s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer&rsquo;s Disease Center (CNADC)</a>. He also takes classes there to help build memory through improvisation and takes part in a buddy program.&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/morningshiftwbez/workshop-offers-new-form-of" target="_blank">He and Robyn are part of a storytelling group for Alzheimer&rsquo;s patients and their families.</a></p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll just keep working on things,&rdquo; Robyn said. &ldquo;I think we&rsquo;re doing really good,&rdquo; he added.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 30 May 2014 15:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/husband-and-wife-battle-alzheimers-together-110260