‘Issues’ Archive

Public Transit Is Necessary, But Getting Worse July 2, 2014 No Comments

ptinThe question is no longer whether Rosa Parks can sit at the front of the bus. It’s whether she gets to ride the bus at all. Although more overt racial discrimination in public transportation has given way, inadequate transit services affect many people’s access to work, recreation and health services. And because of the high costs of owning and driving a car, private automobile transportation is often not an affordable option. The US has fallen behind Europe, badly.

Federal policy has heavily favored automobile use, with $205 billion provided by the Highway Trust Fund for state road projects since 1956, compared to only $50 billion for mass transit over the past 30 years. Highway investments provide less direct benefit to the poor: In 1990 half of the households without access to a car earned less than $10,000 (78 percent …

Cities Make Sustainability A Priority June 11, 2014 No Comments

cmsyWhen Richard Morgan first conceived of a program to teach carpentry skills to at-risk youth, he didn’t intend for it to be a cutting edge environmental project. Through the American Institute for Learning, an adult education center in Austin, Texas, where Morgan works, he hoped to set up a cabinet shop that would serve as an apprenticeship program.

But when the city’s Environmental and Conservation Services Department heard of Morgan’s plans, it suggested an environmental spin. Why not build energy-efficient, sustainable housing for low-income people? Morgan was intrigued, and the result is Casa Verde, a model “green” construction program that has multiple benefits for low-in-come people.

A three-bedroom “sustainable” house was built last year as a pilot project and sold to a low-in-come family for $40,000. With its successful completion, Casa Verde received funding both as a HUD YouthBuild …

Bullying: Not Going Away June 6, 2014 No Comments

bngaIt’s been a season of horror stories. And these stories of violence aren’t set in a dark alley at midnight … but in the halls and classrooms of America’s schools. It’s an epidemic.

In Bethel, Alaska, a 16-year-old boy shoots and kills the school principal–and a classmate who had teased him.

In Pearl, Mississippi, a 16-year-old high school sophomore pulls a rifle on a crowd of classmates and opens fire. Two students are killed in the attack and seven others are wounded. Police arrest the boy, Luke Woodham, as he tries to drive away. Days later, five other students at the high school are arrested; police say they may have known in advance about Woodham’s plans.

In Paducah, Kentucky, a tall, thin freshman named Michael Carneal tells a curious teacher that the four guns he has rolled up in an …

Run From UV. Now! May 24, 2014 No Comments

uvrMarci was athletic. An avid volleyball player, the fairskinned blond spent hours outside playing her favorite sport and getting well-tanned at the same time. At age 21, she noticed a mole on her back that had changed. She went to see Dr. Tina Hieken, and she was diagnosed with skin cancer. In 1993 she had a melanoma removed from her back. Today, says Dr. Hieken, a surgical oncologist from Skokie, Illinois, “Marci doesn’t go out into the sun in the middle of the day, she wears a T-shirt when she plays volleyball, and unlike the time prior to her diagnosis, she wears sunscreen.”

Marci has had no recurrence of skin cancer in the last five years, but as Dr. Hieken points out, her case is evidence that “we are seeing skin cancers developing at an earlier and earlier age; it …

Is 911 A Joke In Your Town? May 8, 2014 No Comments

911jiytEver notice how the bad news finds its way into the headlines and onto the TV news? Perhaps you’ve heard stories about people who called 911–the emergency telephone number–and then were put on hold or had difficulty receiving emergency care.

However, in the vast majority of cases, 911 is a real lifesaver. It connects people to emergency medical care and fire and police services in the quickest, most efficient way possible.

Consider the case of high school freshman Bobby Kaurin.

Bobby Kaurin will never forget December 16, 1997. That’s the day he helped save the life of his friend Micky McKee by keeping cool in an emergency–and by dialing 911.

The two boys were skateboarding inside a large drainage pipe near their Lakewood, Colorado, neighborhood, when Micky–who wasn’t wearing a helmet–fell headfirst down a 12-foot-deep drain.

“After he fell, I …