Robert Benincasa http://northernpublicradio.org en University Would Study Health Issues In Polluted New York Town http://northernpublicradio.org/post/university-would-study-health-issues-polluted-town Residents of an upstate New York town who've long associated their illnesses with the air they breathe may finally get some answers about the health effects of living next to a toxic polluter.<p>The town of Tonawanda lies in the shadow of Tonawanda Coke Corp., whose ovens heat coal into material used for the iron and steel industries, and release toxic chemicals into the air.<p>The residents' long fight to definitively link the pollution with their illnesses, and to hold Tonawanda Coke accountable, were profiled in NPR's 2011 investigation <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/11/10/142189390/tonaw Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:49:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 51056 at http://northernpublicradio.org University Would Study Health Issues In Polluted New York Town Banks Come Under Fire For Filling In The Payday Loan Gap http://northernpublicradio.org/post/banks-fill-payday-loan-gap A payday loan is a costly form of credit operating on the fringes of the economy. That's why the target of a new crackdown by federal regulators may surprise you: Instead of a forlorn-looking storefront with a garish neon sign, it's your familiar neighborhood bank.<p>A small but growing number of banks, including some major players, have been offering the equivalent of payday loans, calling them "deposit advances."<p>That is, at least, until bank regulators stepped in Nov. Thu, 05 Dec 2013 10:03:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 39985 at http://northernpublicradio.org Banks Come Under Fire For Filling In The Payday Loan Gap New Accessible Playground Rules May Not Go Far Enough http://northernpublicradio.org/post/new-accessible-playground-rules-may-not-go-far-enough Last year, the federal government made accessibility standards at playgrounds mandatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act so that children with disabilities can more easily play alongside typical kids.<p>But whether children with disabilities are able to enjoy their new civil rights to play may depend on where they live, and the design decisions their cities and towns made when they built local playgrounds.<p>For 3-year-old Emmanuel Soto, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, the local playground's design doesn't work.<p>On a recent afternoon, his parents, Teresa and Juan Soto, w Wed, 28 Aug 2013 07:32:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 35245 at http://northernpublicradio.org New Accessible Playground Rules May Not Go Far Enough For Kids With Special Needs, More Places To Play http://northernpublicradio.org/post/kids-special-needs-more-places-play Remember running around the playground when you were a kid? Maybe hanging from the monkey bars or seeing who could swing the highest?<p>It wasn't just a mindless energy burn. Many have called play the work of childhood. Tue, 27 Aug 2013 16:17:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 35205 at http://northernpublicradio.org For Kids With Special Needs, More Places To Play A Baseball School For Big League Dreamers http://northernpublicradio.org/post/baseball-school-big-league-dreamers If you have ever dreamed of playing big-league baseball, chances are the dream started to fade sometime in high school.<p>It gradually becomes clear: You won't be starting in Game 7 of the World Series, and tipping your cap after hitting a walk-off homer. So at some point you go from player to fan — watching others chase greatness on the diamond.<p>But not every baseball dreamer is willing to give up so early. Wed, 15 Aug 2012 21:42:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 16817 at http://northernpublicradio.org A Baseball School For Big League Dreamers Where Dollars Are Born http://northernpublicradio.org/post/where-dollars-are-born DALTON, Mass. – If you were driving through this small town along the Housatonic River in the Berkshires, here's something you might not think about: All the bills in your wallet are visiting their birthplace.<br /> <br />The paper for U.S. currency, the substrate of everyday commerce, has been made here since 1879 by the Crane family.<br /> <br />Crane & Co. vice president Doug Crane represents the eighth generation descended from Stephen Crane, who was making paper before the American Revolution.<br /> Wed, 23 May 2012 18:24:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 12204 at http://northernpublicradio.org Where Dollars Are Born Should We Kill The Dollar Bill? http://northernpublicradio.org/post/should-we-kill-dollar-bill Our story begins last month inside a busy Washington, D.C. subway station plastered with posters of giant dollar bills. One of them says: "Tell Congress to stop wasting time trying to eliminate the dollar bill." Another asks: "Do you heart the dollar?"<p>Political fights in the nation's capital normally involve billions or even trillions, not single dollars. What's going on here?<p>This being Washington, there's a back story. The $70,000 ad blitz was part of a small lobbying war over the fate of the dollar bill. Thu, 19 Apr 2012 19:53:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 10362 at http://northernpublicradio.org Should We Kill The Dollar Bill? White House Kills Dollar Coin Program http://northernpublicradio.org/post/white-house-kills-dollar-coin-program The federal government will stop minting unwanted $1 coins, the White House said Tuesday. The move will save an estimated $50 million a year.<p>Earlier this year, <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/06/28/137394348/-1-billion-that-nobody-wants" target="_blank">we reported</a> on the mountain of $1 coins sitting unused in government vaults. The pile-up — an estimated 1.4 billion coins — was caused by a 2005 law that ordered the minting of coins honoring each U.S. president.<p>We calculated that the unwanted coins had cost taxpayers some $300 million dollars to make. Tue, 13 Dec 2011 18:09:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 3783 at http://northernpublicradio.org White House Kills Dollar Coin Program