From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Here's something we haven't bee able to report for a while: State budgets are looking better. Thanks to an improving economy, spending cuts and some tax increases, more than 33 states and the District of Columbia report their financial condition is stabilizing. Even California, the poster child for the budget mess, is looking OK, at least in the short run.
The economy has been growing in Kansas, but the state's budget is still projected to be in the red next fiscal year. A tax cut passed last year is aimed at growing the economy, but it's predicted that there will be a significant shortfall first.
Workers dismantle the fence around the remodeled Century theater in Aurora, Colo., in preparation for the cinema's reopening Thursday. The theater's owner sent 2,000 invitations to the private event, being held for victims' families and first responders.
The Aurora, Colo., theater where 12 people were killed in a mass shooting last summer reopens Thursday, with a private event for victims' families and first responders.
But some families are giving the event a pass, arguing that the decision to reopen is insensitive. Jessica Watts lives just a few miles from the theater where her cousin, Jonathan Blunk, and 11 others were killed and dozens more wounded.
We couldn't leave Memphis without a taste of the blues from gospel-blues singer and preacher Rev. John Wilkins. He's the son of Rev. Robert Wilkins, who wrote "Prodigal Son," a song famously covered by The Rolling Stones on Beggars Banquet.
Here, we've got a performance by Rev. John Wilkins with his band — and his daughters on backing vocals. During our interview, Wilkins spoke about his faith and his father, and even sings a version of "Prodigal Son" himself.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 4:27 pm
As part of our "Sense of Place" tour of Memphis, we're on to Royal Studio, where Al Green, Ann Peebles and others made some of the 1970s' most important soul music for Hi Records.
Most of that music was produced by the late Willie Mitchell. Here, we've dug up a 2005 interview with Al Green wherein he tells the story of how Mitchell helped him find his voice. We also talk with Mitchell's son, Boo, who grew up at Royal. His dad told him, "Don't turn Royal into a museum when I die." Don't worry; he hasn't.
Nearly three years after a deadly mine explosion in West Virginia, a former Massey Energy mine superintendent has been sentenced to prison and federal regulators have toughened a regulation that could have helped prevent the disaster.
And another story we've been following the past couple of days: Yesterday, an extremist group in Algeria attacked a remote natural gas production complex in the Sahara Desert and seized hostages, most of them Algerian, but including some Americans and other Westerners. Today, Algeria's military responded. Reports conflict on numbers. It seems clear some hostages have escaped, others have been killed.