Eleanor Klibanoff

You are in a foreign country. And things are certainly looking a bit foreign.

Do you sit or squat? Can you toss toilet paper down the bowl or hole?

Let the signs guide you.

That is, if you can understand them.

Doug Lansky, author of the Signspotting series of books, knows how toilet etiquette signs can be mysterious, misleading and hilarious. His books include all types of funny warning and advice signs, but the topic of toilets is especially popular.

On the day before President Trump's inauguration, the outgoing Obama administration passed a last-minute directive banning the use of lead ammunition and fishing sinkers on federal land.

Recently, the deteriorating health of a bald eagle showed the effects of lead poisoning. Obama's regulation is intended to protect wildlife from exactly that.

But hunters are hoping Trump will soon overturn it.

Last week, an officer from the Pennsylvania Game Commission brought a bald eagle to the Carbon County Environmental Education Center in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Once the largest U.S. rail company, the Pennsylvania Railroad ceased operations nearly half a century ago. But volunteers are researching and protecting that history at the station in Lewiston, Pa.

Eleanor Klibanoff is a reporter for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania cities.

The U.S Advisory Council on Human Trafficking issued its first-ever report on Tuesday. This group was founded last year when President Obama appointed 11 people, all of whom are survivors of human trafficking themselves, to run the council.

Two weeks ago, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti hard, devastating the southern end of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

It's hard to look at the photos coming out of Haiti and not be moved to action. But if you're thinking now is the time to hop on a plane and get involved in disaster relief work, groups working on the ground have one piece of advice: pump the brakes.

Each day, 520 trucks with more than 7,000 tons of garbage trundle through the potholed streets of Dunmore and Throop, Pa. The two small towns, just outside Scranton, are home to the Keystone Sanitary Landfill. The trash, however, comes from all over — just about half arrives from out of state.

Keystone Sanitary recently requested a 40-plus-year extension of its permit, which is slated for another eight years, but local activists are pushing back.

Hazleton, Pa., was just another struggling coal city until a wave of Latino immigrants came to town in 2006. It was a dark time: A wave of violent crime swept across the city. People were afraid to walk around downtown.

Some of those crimes were committed by immigrants in the U.S. illegally, leading to an unprecedented crackdown on the Latino community. Then-Mayor Lou Barletta tried to bar the door.

"We want people to know that Hazleton is probably the strictest city in the United States for illegal aliens," he said at the time.

She fights for the rights of women by telling stories about heroic men.

"The struggle to end violence against women has always been carried out by women activists," says Samar Minallah Khan, who makes documentaries about gender-based violence in her native Pakistan.

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

Powell Gardens is just outside of Lone Jack, Missouri and it's hard to miss--there are huge Lego blocks sitting outside the entrance, waving you in. They are currently featuring Nature Connects 2, a traveling art exhibit of larger-than-life-size Lego structures integrated into the gardens. 

This timeline reflects the recent events that led Creative Choice, a Florida-based real estate developer, to lose the rental license for Rosedale Ridge, a low-income property in Kansas City, Kansas. This process was separate from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's decision to terminate their relationship with Rosedale Ridge and Creative Choice. 

 

You can read the full story here.

 

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

Driving up the hill to the Rosedale Ridge apartment complex, it's hard to imagine that anyone lives at the top of this steep incline. But the steps cut into the side of the road tell a different story: 350 low-income residents live in six squat buildings and most them don't have cars. They walk up and down this hulking hill multiple times a day. 

But probably not for long — Rosedale Ridge is on the verge of being shut down because of terrible conditions. Residents have mixed feelings about their departure, if it even happens at all. 

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

It's no longer enough for restaurants to offer roasted chicken or braised beef shank on their menus.

They need to be able to tell customers exactly where that chicken came from and how the cow was raised. If they can remember the pedigree of the produce? All the better. 

But serving locally sourced food is a challenge for chefs, and the farmer-foodie connections aren’t always easy to come by.  

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

After years spent battling landlords and management, residents of a Kansas City, Kansas public housing complex await promised vouchers for housing of their choice. What will happen when, and if, they get off that steep hill?

A storm pattern bringing thunderstorms, heavy rain, hail and high winds moved across the Kansas City metro Saturday night. Flash flood and tornado warnings were issued for the region and thousands lost power. Most power had been restored by Sunday morning. 

Though there has been no major damage reported in Kansas City, the Clay County town of Mosby, Missouri, is under evacuation because of rising water, according to the Kansas City Star.

Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt traveled around the country on state business more than her husband? Or that Dolly Madison liked to break the Washington gridlock by throwing fantastic parties? First ladies are closer than anyone to the presidency, and they have the stories to prove it. 

Guest:

On a stormy April weekend, three kite-fliers were at the Overland Park Arboretum for Kite Fest. The event has been known to draw upwards of one thousand people, but these girls were the last kite-fliers standing, the most committed to getting their kite in the air.  This postcard takes you on their cloudy-sky adventure.

Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

Kansas has more laws restricting access to abortion than almost any other state. Most of these laws restrict the women seeking the abortion or the clinics providing the abortion. But until recently, the anti-abortion movement hasn't had much success in restricting the abortion procedures themselves. 

Until last week, when Kansas was the first state to ban "dismemberment abortions." While there is no medical procedure by that name, the law seems to ban "dilation and extraction" abortions, also called D&E. 

Brandon Ellington has been an outspoken proponent of legal reform in the aftermath of the Department of Justice report on Ferguson, Missouri. But he won't call the bills he's pushing in the Legislature "Ferguson-related bills." Here's why.

Plus, what it's like to be a minority in the Legislature, in every sense of that word. 

Guest:

  • Brandon Ellington, Missouri State Representative for District 2, leader of Missouri's Black Legislative Caucus

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday signed a law that bans dilation and evacuation (D&E), a common second-trimester abortion procedure.

The law, titled the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, redefines "dilation and evacuation" as "dismemberment." Language in the law says the fetus is pulled apart limb by limb and allowed to bleed to death before being removed from the pregnant woman's body. 

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

Terrie Van Zandt-Travis had only been a preschool teacher for three weeks when one of her more challenging students scampered away right after lunch. She looked around the classroom, and what she saw stopped her in her tracks. 

"He was face down in the trash can," she said. "We had peaches that day and there was a peach between every single finger. He was pulling them out of the trash can and jamming them into his pants."

She says she'll never forget this 4-year-old's face when he told her, "I'm taking food home for me and my brothers." 

The Kansas legislature voted 98-26 Wednesday to ban an abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation. If signed into law, as Gov. Sam Brownback has promised to do, Kansas would become the first state in the country to ban the procedure. 

The procedure is a common second trimester abortion procedure, making up 8.8 percent of all abortions in Kansas. The bill renames the procedure "dismemberment," claiming that the fetus is pulled limb from limb before being removed. National Right to Life director of state legislation Mary Spaulding Balch said in a press release that "dismemberment abortions brutally — and unacceptably — rip apart small human beings." 

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

If I asked you to imagine the next great tech mind, you might picture a 20-something man in Silicon Valley. But the 20 girls at Coding and Cupcakes at the Sprint Accelerator last Saturday don't have time for gender stereotypes. They've got a website to design. 

Like 8-year-old Kyanne Carlgren, who says she "just maked an account" — her first e-mail account.

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

Tucked up on a hill in Kansas City's historic Westside neighborhood, Novel looks more like a house than a restaurant. But, very few of the dishes on the menu will remind you of mama’s home cooking — at least at first glance.

Chef and owner Ryan Brazeal serves a lot of offal, which, despite it's pronunciation, is not a judgment on his cooking.

 

Patrick Quick / KCUR

When Kansas City comedians tour nationally, it almost feels like cheating. Used to small crowds and tough audiences in KC, they’re surprised by the raucous applause and packed houses on the road.

“All around the country, Kansas City comics have a reputation of just coming in and shattering the crowd. They’re like, man, you guys are really good,” according to Mike Smith, a Kansas City-based stand-up comedian. “And we’re like, could you email our city and tell them that?”

Monroe Dodd

Ask people in Kansas City, Kansas what it means to have a unified government, and you’ll get some interesting answers.

“Kansas City is like Australia,” says Hannah Milner, a stay-at-home mom who has lived in KCK for seven years. “They’re a country and a continent. We’re a county and a city.”

Despite this strong metaphor, Milner admits, “I don’t really understand the government side of things.”

That’s a fairly common sentiment in the Kansas City area. So let’s go back in time to see how the unified government developed, and what it means for KCK today.

U.S. Census Bureau / Cooper Center at the University of Virginia

Some county lines seem arbitrary: just a government formality running through an otherwise homogenous community. The Wyandotte-Johnson county line does not fall into this category. In fact, it's hard to imagine two more different counties — they stand on opposite ends of every measure, from health to education levels to household income. 

Maya Weinstein is now a happy, bubbly junior at the George Washington University. But she says that two years ago, just a few weeks after she arrived on campus as a freshman, she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student.

"It was one of those 'acquaintance rape' things that people forget about, even though they are way more common," she says.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

When you step into the bright red barn at Claybrooke Farm in Louisa, Va., it instantly feels like Christmas. A pot of hot cider bubbles on the stove. Friends, neighbors and extended family make wreaths while owner John Carroll hauls in wood for the fire. It's gray outside, but the barn is full of holiday cheer.

"The dog ate my homework?" Try, "I was protesting a grand jury decision," instead.

Students at some top law schools want exam extensions for what they are calling the trauma of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions. But other law students are wondering what message that sends to future employers.

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