Europe
3:39 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

For Romania's Orphans, Adoption Is Still A Rarity

A disabled and orphaned Romanian child in his bed at the Targu Jiu orphanage in southwestern Romania in 2009. Romania has, in general, improved conditions in orphanages that provoked outrage when they were exposed internationally nearly a quarter-century ago. However, some 70,000 kids are still in the care of the state.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 4:14 pm

First of two stories

The 1989 overthrow and execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu provided the first glimpse of a country that had been mostly closed to the outside world — and many of the scenes were appalling.

Among the most disturbing were images of tens of thousands of abandoned children suffering abuse and neglect in Romania's orphanages. Many were confined to cribs, wallowing in their own filth and facing mental health issues.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:37 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Living Above The Past: Museum Opens Up To Tenants

As a living history museum, Strawbery Banke allows visitors to tour historic buildings constructed between 1695 and 1954.
Amanda Loder for NPR

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 5:20 pm

All it takes to enter a time warp in New Hampshire is $15 and a summer afternoon. Spanning more than 250 years of American history, Strawbery Banke is the oldest neighborhood in the state's oldest city, Portsmouth.

It's kind of like Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg — lite. Stationed inside many of the 37 homes are re-enactors in different period garb. Inside a hulking white house, it's 1872.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:32 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Long After Katrina, New Orleans Fights For 'Home'

Alex Brandon

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 5:20 pm

In just a few weeks, we will mark the seventh anniversary of one of the country's deadliest hurricanes. New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still recovering from the devastating damage and loss of life caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — the storm that would follow.

Read more
Music News
2:19 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Arizona Dranes, Forgotten Mother Of The Gospel Beat

Detail from a print advertisement for Arizona Dranes' Okeh recordings.
Tompkins Square

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 5:20 pm

In the 1920s, the sound of music in the black church underwent a revolution. Standing at 40th and State Street in Chicago, Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was a witness to what occurred.

The high-energy gospel beat of the music that can still be heard in this Pentecostal church is the creation, music critics say, of Arizona Dranes, a blind piano player, a woman who introduced secular styles like barrelhouse and ragtime to the church's music.

Read more
Health
1:01 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Dallas Deploys Old Weapon In New Mosquito Fight

Mike Stuart of Dynamic Aviation speaks to the media this week about the type of plane used for aerial spraying in Dallas. The city and county are conducting aerial spraying to combat the nation's worst outbreak of West Nile virus, which has killed at least 10 people and sickened about 200.
LM Otero AP

The recent outbreak of West Nile virus in the Dallas area has led to a new round of large-scale spraying for mosquitoes — a method of treating outbreaks that has generations of success, and even nostalgia, behind it.

Although the overall mosquito-killing strategy has changed little since the days when it was pioneered during construction of the Panama Canal a century ago, the chemicals used have become much safer for everything and everyone involved, save the mosquitoes, experts say.

Read more
It's All Politics
12:05 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Ryan's Taxes Show Gap Between Romney And The Not-So-Rich

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colo., on July 10. Romney said he has "nothing hidden" in his taxes.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 3:35 pm

With running mate Paul Ryan's tax returns released on a Friday night — a good week and a half ahead of the Republican convention — the presidential campaign can finally move off the subject of tax returns.

Or so Mitt Romney can hope.

In reality, the numbers in the Wisconsin congressman's filings provide new data points, for those inclined to see things this way, about how far Romney's financial situation is from that of ordinary voters.

Depends On The Income

Read more
The Two-Way
8:59 am
Sun August 19, 2012

WikiLeaks' Assange Demands U.S. Cease "Witch Hunt"

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, makes a statement from a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Sunday.
Sang Tan AP

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 12:44 pm

Julian Assange stepped onto a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London Sunday to demand that the U.S. end its persecution of WikiLeaks. It was his first public appearance since taking refuge inside the embassy in June.

"I ask President Obama to do the right thing," he said. "The United States must renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks."

Update @ 9:47 a.m. ET: 'War On Whistleblowers'

Read more
Music Interviews
7:54 am
Sun August 19, 2012

Bill Fay: A Cult Figure Returns, Skeptical But Optimistic

Bill Fay's new album Life Is People is out August 21.
Courtesy of Steve Gullick

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 3:19 pm

In the early 1970s, British musician Bill Fay recorded a couple of luscious folk albums — which didn't sell very well. Fay was dropped from label after label, and though he continued to write his storybook songs over the years, he eventually fell off the map.

Read more
Participation Nation
6:12 am
Sun August 19, 2012

Caring For Canines In Seguin, Texas

Carol Hirschi and her dogs.
Courtesy of Robin Bisha

Mama Bella is sudsy, and we're soaked. I'm holding the leash while Carol Hirschi scrubs the black dog's tummy.

"When people bring me a dog, I'm sure they don't picture me washing her crotch," she laughs.

Hirschi rescues dogs. Her Moshiem Mansion Bed & Breakfast houses a changing cast of 10 to 15 dogs that have escaped death in the shelter.

"I leave the happy-go-lucky ones and pull the ones who are terrified," Hirschi says, "The ones who understand what's happening."

Read more

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

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

Pages