Robert Benincasa http://nhpr.org en University Would Study Health Issues In Polluted New York Town http://nhpr.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 52387 at http://nhpr.org University Would Study Health Issues In Polluted New York Town Wells Fargo, Fifth Third, U.S. Bank To End Payday Loan Program http://nhpr.org/post/wells-fargo-us-bank-end-payday-loan-program Wells Fargo & Co., Fifth Third Bank and U.S. Bank said Friday that they will stop offering "deposit advances," a kind of payday loan that had <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/12/05/247182721/banks-fill-in-the-payday-loan-gap">come under fire by federal regulators last year</a>.<p>With about $1.5 trillion in assets, Wells Fargo was the largest bank offering the costly, low-dollar loans. Fri, 17 Jan 2014 17:38:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 42029 at http://nhpr.org Regions Bank To Discontinue Payday Loan Program http://nhpr.org/post/regions-bank-discontinue-payday-loan-program One of several banks that offer payday loans is getting out of the business.<p>Regions Bank announced Wednesday that it will discontinue its "deposit advance" product known as Ready Advance.<p>Deposit advances are small, costly loans that bank customers take out between paychecks, and pay back automatically when a scheduled direct deposit comes through.<p>As we <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/12/05/247182721/banks-fill-in-the-payday-loan-gap">reported last month</a>, regulators and others said the loans often trapped borrowers in a cycle of debt, with customers using the advances repeatedly t Wed, 15 Jan 2014 21:18:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 41911 at http://nhpr.org Banks Come Under Fire For Filling In The Payday Loan Gap http://nhpr.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 39597 at http://nhpr.org Banks Come Under Fire For Filling In The Payday Loan Gap New Accessible Playground Rules May Not Go Far Enough http://nhpr.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 33940 at http://nhpr.org New Accessible Playground Rules May Not Go Far Enough For Kids With Special Needs, More Places To Play http://nhpr.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 33899 at http://nhpr.org For Kids With Special Needs, More Places To Play A Baseball School For Big League Dreamers http://nhpr.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 10963 at http://nhpr.org A Baseball School For Big League Dreamers Where Dollars Are Born http://nhpr.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 5415 at http://nhpr.org Where Dollars Are Born Should We Kill The Dollar Bill? http://nhpr.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. Fri, 20 Apr 2012 14:24:00 +0000 Robert Benincasa 3256 at http://nhpr.org Should We Kill The Dollar Bill?