REPORTS

In Oregon, The GMO Wheat Mystery Deepens

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Wheat grows in a test field at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Some scientists believe that there’s a chance that genetically modified wheat found in one farmer’s field in May is still in the seed supply. Photo: Natalie Behring/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By Dan Charles | NPR’s The Salt

The strange case of genetically engineered wheat on a farm in Oregon remains as mysterious as ever. If anything, it’s grown more baffling.

As we reported almost two months ago, the presence of this wheat was revealed earlier this spring when a farmer in eastern Oregon sprayed a field with the weedkiller glyphosate, or Roundup. Most vegetation died, as the farmer intended, but clumps of green wheat stalks kept growing. They apparently had sprouted from grain that was leftover in the field from last year’s crop.

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Hopes And Doubts About Water Conservation In Survey

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By Kelly Servick | KUSP News

Photo: J.D. Hillard

Photo: J.D. Hillard

Since the late 1990s, Santa Cruz has been working to bring down its water consumption by focusing on indoor use: faucets, shower heads, toilets and washing machines. The city offered rebates for those willing to upgrade to more efficient models, and required certain upgrades when a property changed hands. Now, amid debate over a desalination plant to increase supply, the water department has some new information about how the city uses the water it already has. That information comes from a survey of local households and businesses, released this month.

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Desal EIR Gathers Criticism, Mostly From Opponents

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Residents of the two water districts who would be served by a new desalination plants in Santa Cruz gathered to offer comment on the draft environmental impact report. Photo: Wes Sims

Residents of the two water districts who would be served by a new desalination plants in Santa Cruz gathered to offer comment on the draft environmental impact report. Photo: Wes Sims

By Wes Sims

The two agencies that want to build a desalination plant in the Santa Cruz area got an earfullMonday at a meeting to allow public comment on a draft en-vironmental impact report.

That EIR was commissioned by the City of Santa Cruz Water Department and the Soquel Creek Water District. This is the first time the public has had a chance to comment on the desalination plant that’s proposed to ease water shortages in drought years for Santa Cruz, and reverse overdrafting of groundwater in the Soquel Creek District. ]

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The Esselen People’s Troubled Aspirations For Fort Ord

Amidst the questions over Monterey Downs and other projects on the former Fort Ord, The Herald’s Phillip Molnar has carved out a small and little heard claim on the land. The Esselen Nation has a plan for an 80-room hotel or perhaps a round house and other facilities on 45 acres near East Garrison. The hotel may have skunked any deal, looking too much like a casino for at least one member of the Board of Supervisors when it was proposed in February. This was the most recent failure in a long history of failed agreements, the National Park Service seems to have been at one point in the 1990s on the verge of granting the Esselen and Hoopa peoples 10 acres. Like many Native American groups in California, the Esselen are not recognized as a nation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Until achieving such recognition, there’d be little chance of a casino. When the Esselen Nation last applied for nation status in 2004, the BIA requested more history of their people in the area.

Reports: Obama To Limit Drones, Urge Action On Guantanamo

An American flag flying over Camp VI, where detainees are housed at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. Photo: Bob Strong /Reuters /Landov

From  ’Morning Edition’: Dina Temple-Raston reports

(Note: KUSP will carry President Obama’s speech live, today at 11 a.m. PT)

 

Ahead of his much-anticipated speech Thursday afternoon at the National Defense University, there’s word that President Obama:
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Manzarek Keyboards Made the Sound of The Doors

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The Doors built on the musical structure of the blues with Jim Morrison’s psychedelic poetry and Ray Manzarek’s electric organ, which sometimes drew on Bach. Manzarek died Monday after a long struggle with cancer. NPR’s Mandelit Del Barco has a remembrance.

In this video you can see Manzarek’s stacked keyboards. The bottom was a keyboard bass Manzarek played a bass line with – The Doors had no guitar bass. The top was an electric organ on which he improvised solos.

11,000 Feet in 102 Miles – One Stage Down in Tour of California

Lieuwe Westra is the winner of Sunday’s stage one of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California. The stage began in Escondido and included 11,000 feet of climbs over 102 miles before finishing in Escondido.
Monday’s stage begins in Murieta, crests the San Jacinto Mountains and finishes 124 miles later near Palm Springs.

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Usually Misdiagnosed, Valley Fever Spreading Rapidly in Southwest

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Todd and Tammy Schaefer walk through a neighbor's vineyard with their Old English mastiff, Daisy Ray. Todd was working in a vineyard when he contracted valley fever about 10 years ago and has since struggled with his health. Photo: Laura Dickinson/Reporting on Health Collaborative

Todd and Tammy Schaefer walk through a neighbor’s vineyard with their Old English mastiff, Daisy Ray. Todd was working in a vineyard when he contracted valley fever about 10 years ago and has since struggled with his health. Photo: Laura Dickinson/Reporting on Health Collaborative

It’s killed more people than West Nile Virus, it’s growing faster too, but not much money is going to research about it and doctors often miss the symptoms. Monday on NPR’s Morning Edition, KVPR reporter Rebecca Plevin offers a look at how Valley Fever changes lives in California.

Valley fever seems to be contracted by contact with spores that live in the soil in parts of the Southwest, especially California and Arizona. Most people who contract it may not get sick or may get a lung infection that feels like a flu. It can cause pneumonia. And for about 1 percent, the infection spreads beyond the lungs and can effect the bones and nervous system.

The treatment seems to be anti-fungal medicines with unpleasant side-effects. There isn’t a cure.

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Genocide Conviction In Guatemala Is ‘Huge Breakthrough’

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was convicted of genocide by a court in his country Friday for the part he played in massacres and other crimes committed against Mayans while he ruled in 1982 and 1983.

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt during his trial earlier this week.

As NPR’s Carrie Kahn reported, Montt (who will likely appeal the verdict) was sentenced to 50 years in prison for genocide and another 30 for crimes against humanity. The judge said the evidence showed that the army, under Montt’s control, had a systemic and clear plan to exterminate the Ixil people, whom they considered enemies of the state.

Montt, now 86, was found guilty of ordering the death of more than 1,700 people.

The significance of the verdict, writes the BBC, extends beyond the case against the former dictator: “It is the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide by a court in his or her own country. Other genocide convictions have been handed down by international courts.”

And, adds BBC Central America correspondent Will Grant, the decision is “a huge breakthrough for human rights in the region.”

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Students Take Climate Fight to Schools’ Investment Portfolios

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Students associated with "Brown Divest Coal" protested in front of the Brown University president's office during a rally May 3. The group is demanding that the university stop investing in certain oil and coal companies. Photo: Courtesy of Brown Divest Coal

Students associated with “Brown Divest Coal” protested in front of the Brown University president’s office during a rally May 3. The group is demanding that the university stop investing in certain oil and coal companies. Photo: Courtesy of Brown Divest Coal

The student movement pushing universities to sell off investments in coal is growing and may have more effect on the participants than the schools or the target companies, NPR’s Elizabeth Shogren reports. 

So far 4 schools have opted to divest from coal and oil companies. And fossil fuel companies don’t seem to be worried. Still some 300 campuses have active campaigns. Bill McKibben of 350.org says these youths are the future leaders of the U.S. environmental movement.

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