KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Emma Bowman

For much of Abby Gagliardo's childhood, her dad had been in and out of jail and prison. "People would ask me, they'd be like, 'Oh, where's your dad?' " Abby recalls in a StoryCorps conversation recorded last year, when she was 16.

She knew he was incarcerated, but she was never given a clear picture why. "I didn't understand any of it," she says.

Roxanne and Dennis Simmonds knew their son as fearless and strong from the day he was born.

"D.J. came out with shoulders of a linebacker," Roxanne says. "He was the first baby I saw that had muscles."

"He wasn't really afraid of anything," Dennis says.

At night, young D.J. would take the dog with him and circle the entire house, to "make sure there's nobody on the grounds," Dennis says, laughing. "I used to say, 'D.J. where you going? It's late.' He would say 'I'm doing a perimeter search, Dad.' "

We're a week into National Poetry Month. And if you followed our haiku-heavy Super Bowl coverage, you can bet we're not letting April slip by without a nod to the art of the verse.

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military and their families.

Good things come in small packages — it's a proverbial truth that, for one veteran, holds up even in the middle of war.

At 20 years old, Pfc. Roman Coley Davis found himself 7,000 miles from home. Born in Douglas, Ga., he'd joined the military after high school, and was now living in one of the most remote U.S. outposts in Afghanistan.

Brothers Russell, 28, and Remmick Wadsworth, 27, have autism. As kids, they had trouble with social interactions, so they often relied on each other for support during tough situations. Now, as the siblings navigate the working world, they're still looking out for each other.

Remmick remembers his first job, working with his older brother in a coffee shop. "You would always have my back, talking to customers for me, handle them for me while I make their drinks," he tells Russell during a StoryCorps conversation.

There's no crying in baseball. But for Kay Johnston, there's crying when you can't play.

In the spring of 1950, in upstate New York, 13-year-old Kay Johnston wanted nothing more than to play Little League baseball. But in those days, that was out of the question. Girls weren't encouraged to swing bats and throw balls.

As families around the country search for answers in the wake of school shootings in Parkland, Fla. and elsewhere, parents and children are having conversations that would've been almost unfathomable a generation ago.

Dezmond Floyd is a 10-year-old student in Houston. At StoryCorps, he and his mother, Tanai Benard, 34, talk about the active shooter drills in his fifth-grade classroom.

Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET on Monday

A helicopter carrying six people crashed into New York City's East River on Sunday evening, killing all five passengers. The pilot managed to escape.

"The pilot freed himself. The other five did not," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a news conference Sunday night.

Vince Cantu and Joe Galloway, both aged 76, have been friends since they met as third graders in the tiny town of Refugio, Texas.

After their high school graduation in 1959, Joe left town to become a journalist. Vince stuck around Refugio where he fronted a local band, until he was drafted into the Army in 1963. Naturally, the two lost track of each other over the years.

But the two reunited in a most unexpected place: in South Vietnam, where the U.S. was ratcheting up its involvement in the war. Joe and Vince recounted the moment during a StoryCorps interview.

Ashley Judd was one of the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

When John Banvard, 100, met Gerard "Jerry" Nadeau, 72, in 1993, neither of them had been openly gay.

"When we met, we were sort of in the closet, and I'd never had a real relationship. Now, we've been together almost 25 years," Jerry tells John during a StoryCorps interview.

"What would it have been like if you didn't meet me?" Jerry asks John.

"I would have continued being lonely," John says. "I'd been absolutely lost."

Updated 8:38 a.m. ET

A White House official confirms with NPR that Kathleen Hartnett White's controversial nomination to head the Council on Environmental Quality is being withdrawn.

Most people familiar with "face-swapping" know it as an innocuous social media feature. An algorithm captures a person's face and pastes it onto someone else's. The result is rarely seamless and often funny.

A favorite pastime for April Gibson and her teenage son, Gregory Bess, is simply talking to one another.

"I think I learn more from those conversations than school," says Gregory, who turned 17 on Thursday.

But during a recent StoryCorps conversation in St. Paul, Minn., April, 33, knew he wanted to talk about a subject the two hadn't really explored.

April invited her son to ask about what that time was like for her, as a young black mother. "Now you can ask me the hard question," April says.

"What did you feel like when I was born?" Gregory asks.

Rickey Jackson spent nearly four decades in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

In May of 1975, when a shopkeeper at a small Cleveland grocery store was slain during a robbery, Eddie Vernon, then 12 years old, served as the main witness in the case. Eddie — who, in fact, hadn't seen anything — says he was pressured into testifying by police.

In his annual New Year's address on Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned the United States that his country's completed nuclear arsenal is now a button-push away.

"The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table," he said, according to the Associated Press translation, in a speech carried by state television. "The entire area of the U.S. mainland is within our nuclear strike range. ... The United States can never start a war against me and our country."

Updated at 9:55 p.m. ET

The Costa Rican government says a plane crash in Costa Rica on Sunday has killed all 12 people aboard.

The aircraft was carrying 10 American tourists and two Costa Rican pilots when it came down in the mountainous region of Punta Islita, about 140 miles west of its destination, the capital of San José. The cause of the crash is not yet known.

Reuters reports:

Three officials at the Miss America Organization are stepping down after having been implicated in emails published by HuffPost on Thursday that contained crude language disparaging former pageant winners.

It was Christmas of 2001, and Thompson Williams' family was struggling financially. "That year we used all our money just before Christmas so that we could pay the bills and buy groceries — at least we'd have something to eat," he tells his son, Kiamichi-tet at StoryCorps.

Thompson was teaching students with special needs, and his wife was selling handmade Christmas ornaments. They lived in Edmond, Okla., with Kiamichi-tet, then 11, and their daughter AuNane, 14.

If you usually ring in the holiday with a freshly cut evergreen, your reality this Christmas could very well be a scrawny Charlie Brown tree instead — or you may wind up paying more for a lush Fraser fir.

This year, there is a tree shortage. Most growers blame the tightened supply on the Great Recession, says Valerie Bauerlein, who covered the story for The Wall Street Journal.

A central question of debate leading up to the Senate's passage of a sweeping tax overhaul plan asked which Americans need a boost. Economists say the Republicans' selling point for previous iterations of their legislation, that the plan is designed to benefit the middle class, has a shaky foundation — that the rich are the big winners.

Meredith Corp., owner of Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle, has struck a deal to buy magazine publisher Time Inc., for an all-cash backed transaction of $1.84 billion, joining two vastly different media portfolios, that including the company's debt, is valued overall at $2.8 billion.

Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor has announced he may be leaving the hit Amazon series after two women accused him of sexual harassment.

Tambor continues to deny the allegations leveled this month by one of his co-stars on the show and by his former assistant. But the actor intimated his departure from the show, in a statement provided to NPR, due to a recent "politicized atmosphere" on the set.

Liz Smith, the longtime gossip columnist whose stories earned her a celebrity that rivaled many of the A-listers she covered, died on Sunday of natural causes, Smith's literary agent Joni Evans confirmed to the Associated Press. She was 94.

Smith started her own column, titled "Liz Smith" that ran in the New York Daily News from 1976 to 1991, and ultimately drew millions of readers when it was syndicated nationwide.

The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs will reopen to the public as a memorial on Sunday, it announced on its website, one week after a mass shooting in the church rattled the small Texas town.

In the past few days, residents have been working as volunteers to restore the church, where a gunman opened fire on a congregation, killing more than two dozen people and wounding 20 others.

Saudi authorities arrested at least 11 princes, several current ministers and dozens of former ministers in a sweeping move reportedly designed to consolidate power for the son of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.

According to media reports citing Saudi-owned television network Al Arabiya, an anti-corruption committee ordered the arrests hours after King Salman directed the creation of the committee, headed by his favorite son and adviser, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Updated at 6:05 p.m. on Friday

Brian Peterson didn't know what he had in common with Matt Faris when he went out of his way to meet his Santa Ana, Calif., neighbor.

Every day, Peterson would pass by Faris, who has been homeless for more than a decade. But it took some guts, Peterson admits, to finally walk up to him.

"It was like butterflies in my stomach," he says. "I introduced myself, and I think I apologized to you. I remember saying, 'I'm sorry for like, driving by you a hundred times and never saying Hi,' 'cause you were always outside my building."

The Los Angeles Dodgers evened the stakes Saturday night, outlasting the Houston Astros in a drawn-out rally that quickly escalated into a 6-2 victory in the final inning.

The Dodgers' Joc Pederson sealed the late comeback with a three-run homer off of Astros pitcher Joe Musgrove in the top of the ninth inning.

Harvey Weinstein has been fired from the Weinstein Company, according to the company's board.

TWC's board of representatives announced Sunday:

"In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days, the directors of The Weinstein Company — Robert Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar — have determined, and have informed Harvey Weinstein, that his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated, effective immediately."

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