At California's nearly two dozen Spanish missions, conversion these days isn't just about religion; it's also about seismic retrofitting. That's because the missions — which date to the late 1700s, when Spain's king sent Franciscan missionaries to convert natives to Christianity — would not withstand a major earthquake.
At a mission in Carmel, a 220-year-old basilica is in the middle of an earthquake retrofit. Workers removed the structure's red tile roof and replaced it with scaffolding and a protective plastic.
The U.S. economy was a bit of a disappointment in 2012. During the early months of the year, job creation was surprisingly strong, but by the end of the year, uncertainty about the election and the "fiscal cliff" slowed the economy's forward motion. So will 2013 look any better?
Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics says that while Washington likely will steer us away from the fiscal cliff at the last minute, some elements of the deal will be a drag on the economy early in 2013.
C. Louis Kincannon, the former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, died of cancer Dec. 15 at age 72. Kincannon brought ethnic and linguistic diversity to his agency. We remember him with Tom Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's acting director.
The Seattle area is seeing widespread, well-organized opposition to an export industry: coal. Thousands of people have turned out to express their disgust with a plan to build export terminals on Puget Sound to ship American coal to Asia. Opponents cite noise, traffic delays, coal dust and global warming.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. A strike has been averted at many of the nation's busiest shipping ports, at least temporarily. The union representing longshoremen at ports along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico have threatened to walk off the job starting Sunday. But as we hear from NPR's Jim Zarroli, port operators and the union have reached agreement on one of their most contentious issues.
At a suicide prevention center in upstate New York, America's troops and veterans are calling in for help.
And that help is needed more than ever. This past year witnessed a terrible death toll from suicide. For the first time in a decade of war, more active-duty troops have taken their own lives this year than have died fighting in Afghanistan.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, all kinds of folks made their debut on Twitter this year, including His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. We decided we wanted to talk about the best and worst of 2012 on Twitter. That's coming up later in the program.
Looking ahead to the new year, we would like to know if you are planning to make a change in an effort to bring peace into your life. It could be anything: trying to reconcile with someone with whom you are estranged, cutting up your credit cards, cleaning out the garage or making plans for a weekly date night. Whatever it is, if the intention is to bring peace to your life, we'd like to hear about it
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 7:40 pm
With negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff" uncertain at best, the Obama administration is trying to tamp down anxiety in the federal workforce.
The administration's message to various federal agencies is that there will be little immediate effect on public employees from the budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week if a deal is not reached. Treasury Department employees, for instance, were told not to expect "day to day operations to change dramatically on or immediately after January 2."
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:14 pm
An Arizona ski resort is making snow for the first time this year, ending more than seven years' worth of legal battles over its snowmaking system, which relies entirely upon treated wastewater to coat its slopes when the snowfall has been uneven.
The resort, Arizona Snowbowl, has long been a target of American Indian tribes, who say it defiles sacred land. Critics have also said the snowmaking system might threaten an endangered plant. The resort sits on more than 700 acres of land that it leases from the U.S. Forest Service.
About a month ago, Declan Procaccini's 10-year-old son woke him early in the morning in a fright.
"He came into my bedroom and said, 'Dad, I had a horrible, horrible dream!' " Procaccini says. "He was really shaken up. I said, 'Tell me about it,' and he told me he'd had a dream that a teenager came into his classroom at his school and shot all the kids in front of him."
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
After the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the country renewed a debate over gun control. At the same time, Florida quietly marked a milestone. It became the first state to issue more than a million permits allowing residents to carry concealed weapons. From Miami, NPR's Greg Allen reports.
GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: It's the holiday season, and at American Armory, a gun store in Homestead, Florida, the atmosphere is festive.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that she's stepping down. Lisa Jackson won praise from environmentalists for efforts to cut air pollution and greenhouse gases. But she faced fierce opposition from the coal industry and congressional Republicans. And she sometimes found herself at odds with the White House.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
We reported yesterday on a bill passed by the Russian Parliament. It would block American families from adopting Russian children. Adoption advocacy groups are appealing to President Vladimir Putin not to sign the measure.
And as we hear from NPR's Michele Kelemen, adoption has been a sensitive issue between the U.S. and Russia for years.
Opinion polls show 2012's extreme weather — producing wildfires, floods and drought — has more people making a connection with climate change. For Marti Andrews in southern New Jersey, a turning point was the summer's hurricane-like derecho.
"I don't want to say I freaked out about it, but holy crap, it scared me," she says. It packed winds up to 90 miles per hour and nonstop lightning, which Andrews says looked like some wild disco display in the sky.
"I've never seen anything like that," she says. "I sat there on the couch thinking, 'Oh my God, we're all gonna die!' "
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee, in Washington, Neal Conan is away. For centuries, the foundation of human society, the basic building block, was the family: parents, children, grandchildren, passing knowledge and wealth down through generations. But all signs seem to indicate that in many parts of the world, the family is on the decline, and singles are on the rise.
People hoping to provide care and independence for aging loved ones may want to consider the 'granny pod.' That's a high-tech cottage set up in your backyard. Host Michel Martin speaks to Socorrito Baez-Page, who bought one for her mother. Also with them is Susan Seliger, regular contributor to The New York Times' 'New Old Age' blog.
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 11:25 am
The McDonald's at the Truman Medical Centers' main campus in Kansas City, Mo., has closed, ending an epic, two-decade stint inside the hospital and making it the fifth health facility in the past few years to give the Big Mac the boot.
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 11:05 am
Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. More Deaths Reported:
The death toll from this week's massive winter storm that barreled across the nation from the West Coast and is now over New England has risen to at least 15, according to The Associated Press.
Among the latest fatalities to be reported: "A man and a woman in Evansville, Ind., were killed when the scooter they were riding went out of control on a snowy street Wednesday and they were hit by a pickup truck."
A series of rare December tornados flattening homes in the South added to the winter woes of millions of Americans from Texas to Maine. Faced with heavy snow, rains and high winds throughout, hundreds of flights have been canceled, leaving many holiday travelers stranded. NPR's Claudio Sanchez has this report.