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Some neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side, as with other of the most low-income parts of the US, have an alarmingly high infant mortality rate. It’s a persistent and complex problem that doctors are trying to tackle. But resources can be scarce, so they are thinking creatively, which has led them to look to an unlikely role model: Cuba.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday she will ask the Legislature to approve $5 million in new state funding to provide shelter for homeless families.

The governor's request comes on top of $40 million in funding for homeless services approved by the Legislature in 2017. 

If approved, $2.6 million would go to Multnomah County, which has the largest homeless population in the state.

The remaining $2.4 million would be for the Oregon Housing and Community Service's statewide programs.

Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson said this week that the crash that killed three people south of Tacoma was a “wake-up call.”

The railroad company has committed to covering the entire costs of the derailment, from the medical expenses for the injured to the costs associated with restoring passenger rail service to road repair. And it’s time, Anderson said, to improve the safety culture at his company.

Anderson has been working as co-CEO of Amtrak since the summer and will take over the job fully Dec. 31.

The Oregon Secretary of State's Office determined Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith meets the definition of a candidate for Portland City Council under state election laws.

The county says the state's decision will not inform the county attorney's interpretation of the county charter, which says county commissioners running for another elected office must resign when they file for another office before the final year of their term.

Christmas trees are beloved in Puerto Rico. Their glowing lights and decorations have long been central to celebrations on the island this time of year. 

But in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the price of imported trees has tripled to about $150  — out of reach for many middle-class residents. 

"They're scarce and the prices are very high," says blogger and marketing executive Edmaris Carazo. "It doesn't feel right to invest $200 on a tree when so many people don't have electricity." 

How Britain's cinemas are becoming dementia friendly

Dec 21, 2017

Picture the scene: the front row of a cozy cinema a few weeks before Christmas, the credits for "White Christmas" rolling and festive snacks being served in the aisles.

Twenty-eight years isn't very long for a democracy to take root. And you could say, Poland is having growing pains.

The country shed communism in favor of democracy in 1989, but today, critics say that democracy is in trouble. The European Union is among the critics. Poland is a member of the EU, but the union is sanctioning the country and threatening to suspend its voting rights.

How will the GOP tax bill affect Puerto Rico?

Dec 21, 2017

A "big, beautiful Christmas present." That's how President Donald Trump described the tax overhaul that's sitting on his desk, awaiting his signature.

But the GOP tax bill could be devastating for some Americans: those living in Puerto Rico.

Redmond mother Michelle Winter was on a cocktail of methamphetamine and alcohol when she had her two children.

Her son became so malnourished, doctors thought he might die.

She said she's been clean for a year now but remembers being so out of control, she signed over power of attorney and her kids to her mother.

Arizona needs Mexico. Unlike the United States as a whole, Arizona actually has a trade surplus with its southern neighbor.

At CAID Industries’ factory in Tucson, welders build massive tanks and steel silos used by mining and oil and gas companies. Setting up shop here, just 70 miles from the border, wasn’t by chance.   

“Mexico is naturally a resource-rich country and we support a lot of mining companies. And so, by being in Arizona, we have a close proximity to those customers,” says Rob Assenmacher, president of CAID Industries.

Bend residents will likely get a chance to vote whether to directly elect their mayor. That’s after a meeting Wednesday where councilors voted in favor of putting the issue to voters. At the same meeting, councilors rejected the idea of instating a ward system to elect city leaders. 


We talk with Iowa Education Director Ryan Wise about some of the strategies the state has employed to boost its high school graduation rate. Iowa tops the nation in overall rates. In contrast, Oregon’s rate has hovered for years near the bottom of national rankings.


Oregon Seeing Uptick In Drug-Affected Pregnancies

Dec 21, 2017

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Yared Portillo, a Philadelphia community activist, has four of them: One she built from scratch; two others were secured from renowned artisans; the final one — received broken and in pieces from a friend — she carefully repaired and made whole again.

The repaired instrument isn’t a bad metaphor for the role the jarana has played in the US immigration protest movement for the past two decades. It's a small, eight-string instrument from Veracruz, Mexico, patterned after a 16th century baroque Spanish guitar that is often confused with a ukulele.

Oregon Democratic lawmakers unveiled more details Wednesday for their plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

With the February legislative session only two months away, some Democrats are hoping to gather momentum to turn a cap-and-trade proposal into law during the six weeks they are in Salem this winter.

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, helped draft the policy and said he hopes Oregon could eventually serve as a template for other progressive states to emulate when passing similar carbon-capping proposals.

Why The Bundy Family Won Again In Nevada

Dec 20, 2017

Once again, members of the Bundy family have stymied federal prosecutors.

A U.S. District Court judge in Nevada declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case against rancher Cliven Bundy, his sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy, and Ryan Payne for their role in an armed standoff against federal agents in 2014.

You might remember the Bundy brothers and Payne; they were the organizers of the takeover at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge two years ago.

Yemeni culture has become increasingly divided by civil war. But it retains qualities that hold the promise of reconciliation, if only the war were to stop.

On March 26, 2015, a coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, with support from the United States and Great Britain, began a bombing campaign in Yemen. It was meant to stop the rebel movement taking over the country.

The art made by Guantánamo Bay detainees

Dec 20, 2017

I first saw the ship a year ago, in an abandoned prison cell. 

“Giant” is an intricately detailed model galleon, something that, at a casual glance, you might expect to see in a museum. It's also a dramatic contrast to its surroundings — a decrepit, high-security isolation cell in Guantánamo’s Camp 5. The prisoners were being slowly moved to Camp 6, where the dwindling number of low-security detainees were being consolidated.

The former British Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a $1 billion Chinese fund to help implement the One Belt, One Road, initiative, a global infrastructure project Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping has championed.

Decades. More than six decades to be exact. That's how long Petula Clark has been performing. 

Clark got her start during World War II at the age of 9. She appeared on the BBC and performed a song to cheer up troops who were fighting overseas.

Then, of course, in the 1960s, she rode the wave of British musical hits and topped the charts in the US with her hit "Downtown." 

When Mosidi Modise was growing up in South Africa in the 80s and 90s, she remembers worshipping the African National Congress.  "We grew up in a house where we ate and we slept ANC!" recalls the 31-year-old business analyst. Modise's mother managed finances for the party during the Thabo Mbeki administration, just after Nelson Mandela stepped down. In those days, Modise says "there was a lot of hope, there was a lot of commitment and (the party) was very inclusive, whether you're black or white."

But times have changed.

The dramatic fall from grace of Cardinal Bernard Law, formerly one of America’s most prominent Catholic leaders, was glaringly evident once again on the front page of the newspaper that precipitated his demise.

“Cardinal Law, disgraced leader, dies.”

That was the headline in Wednesday’s edition of the Boston Globe.

As the value of the cryptocurrency bitcoin has shot up in the past several months, so too has its environmental footprint.

One bitcoin, which was worth about $800 a year ago, is worth more than 20 times that today. Estimates of how much energy is used to maintain the bitcoin network follows a similar trajectory.

In the past few weeks, the energy used by servers running bitcoin software has been compared to Ireland and Denmark’s energy consumption, and has been called a threat to the future of clean energy.

REBROADCAST: On The Road On Sandy Boulevard

Dec 20, 2017


On The Road is Think Out Loud’s radio road trip series: conversations with wanderers, tourists and residents along Oregon’s backroads and highways.

Pull up a map of Portland's urban core, and you'll see a tidy checkerboard of right-angled roads. The city's blocks pack together like snugly fit teeth. Its streets run crisp lines — north to south, east to west. The system's simple, elegant.

And then there's Sandy Boulevard.

At the Chabad of Puerto Rico, a thin crowd sang along with Rabbi Mendel Zarchi as he lit the candles on the first night of Hanukkah. Usually, the rabbi does the rites for hundreds of Jewish tourists on the island, but this year, following the damage from Hurricane Maria, only a few dozen people showed up, including a health insurance executive and a man overseeing oil spill cleanup for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Portland Council Approves $10 Million Utility Lawsuit Settlement

Dec 20, 2017

Portland City Council has officially agreed to a $10 million settlement in a lawsuit alleging misspending of ratepayer dollars by the city’s Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services, a settlement that Commissioner Nick Fish said closes out "the last chapter of the water wars."

"By accepting this settlement we’re turning the page and moving forward," Fish said of the case, which spanned six years and three mayors.

Oregon continues to have a strong prospect of gaining a sixth congressional seat after the 2020 Census, according to new population estimates released Wednesday.

Oregon came close to picking up another seat after the last Census in 2010. Since then, strong population growth has solidified Oregon's chances. The new estimates show that in the last year, it was the 10th-fastest growing state in the country.

The University of Michigan's Population Research Center shows five states likely to get seats. 

The West Coast is looking mighty green these days. As of Jan. 1, 2018, when California joins the growing list of states with legalized recreational cannabis markets, adults 21 years and older will be able to legally purchase, possess and consume marijuana from the Arctic Circle all the way down to the California-Mexico border.

Altogether, eight states and Washington, D.C., have voted to legalize recreational marijuana since 2012. Six of those states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada and Washington — are in the West.

What a year it has been.

From crisscrossing the state chasing a total eclipse to the mountain of books at Wordstock, we have zoomed in and out of worlds, real and imaginary. As 2018 approaches, we wanted to take a minute to look back on the year that was, and wish it well.

Total Eclipse Of The Art

The brightest moment of 2017 came, poetically, during a magnificent moment of darkness: the total eclipse of the sun.

The Archive Project - Margaret Atwood

Dec 20, 2017

In this episode of "Literary Arts: The Archive Project," the legendary Margaret Atwood reads from two pieces of her short fiction. These works, which she reads publicly for the first time in Portland’s First Congregational Church, blend humor, empathy, and deep sentiment in ways that only Atwood can. With all her characteristic wit and humor, Atwood brings her work to life, finding levity in even the most difficult of subjects.