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Economy
2:20 am
Tue December 18, 2012

The Downsides Of Living In An Oil Boom Town

Cyndy Aafedt (left) owns the El Rancho hotel in Williston, N.D. Jobs in town have been hard to fill. Her employee, Mary Joy Hardt (right), who is from the Philippines, is one of many people with J-1 visas helping to fill retail, hotel and restaurant job openings here.
Meg Luther Lindholm for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 10:18 am

The population boom in Williston, N.D., has been a blessing and a curse for many local businesses. Williston, the fastest growing small city in America, is enjoying an oil boom and has seen its population double in the past two years.

At the city's brand new McDonald's, manager Vern Brekhus struggles every day to maintain his staff of nearly 100 workers.

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Holiday Music
1:03 am
Tue December 18, 2012

'What Christmas Means' To Soul Singer KEM

Of "Christmas Time is Here," Kem says, "It's one of those songs that I hear and it's like, 'I wish I wrote that.' "
Anthony Mandler Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 5:07 am

For KEM's What Christmas Means, the R&B singer wanted to cover several aspects of the season: the birth of Christ, for one, but also Christmas as a "romantic holiday."

"You spend time cuddled up by the fire, warm and cozy with your wife or your husband," KEM tells NPR's David Greene. "You spend more time being intimate with shopping — we're doing things with the kids, we're together. There's a lot of sincerity, a lot of warmth."

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Girls, Boys And Toys: Rethinking Stereotypes In What Kids Play With

Hasbro's pink Easy-Bake Oven is under fire for reinforcing gender stereotypes.
Peggy Turbett The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 5:50 am

We've been focusing on some serious news today. Here's something on the lighter side.

A New Jersey teenager who launched a campaign to get Hasbro to make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven is expected to meet with the toy company Monday afternoon.

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET. Easy-Bake Oven goes gender-neutral:

After meeting with Pope, Hasbro now says it plans to introduce a new black, silver, and blue model of the oven, and to feature boys in ads for the product. Our original post continues:

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Deceptive Cadence
10:06 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Whatever Happened To The Classical Christmas Album?

A sampling of one listener's cherished classical Christmas albums from a few years back.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 1:38 pm

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Around the Nation
6:32 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Holiday Display Called 'Sensory Explosion'

There are Christmas displays, and then there's the one in Wall Township, N.J. It has synchronized lights, lasers, fog machines, strobe lights, 20-foot flames and the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. There's no charge — they only accept donations for a local charity.

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