Zoe Chace

Zoe Chace explains the mysteries of the global economy for NPR's Planet Money. As a reporter for the team, Chace knows how to find compelling stories in unlikely places, including a lollipop factory in Ohio struggling to stay open, a pasta plant in Italy where everyone calls in sick, and a recording studio in New York mixing Rihanna's next hit.

In 2008, Chace came to NPR to work as an intern on Weekend Edition Saturday. As a production assistant on NPR's Arts Desk, she developed a beat covering popular music and co-created Pop Off, a regular feature about hit songs for Morning Edition. Chace shocked the music industry when she convinced the famously reclusive Lauryn Hill to sit down for an interview.

Chace got her economic training on the job. She reported for NPR's Business Desk, then began to contribute to Planet Money in 2011. Since then Chace has also pitched in to cover breaking news for the network. She reported live from New York during Hurricane Sandy and from Colorado during the 2012 Presidential election.

There is much speculation on the Internet about where Chace picked up her particular accent. She explains that it's a proprietary blend: a New England family, a Manhattan childhood, college at Oberlin in Ohio, and a first job as a teacher in a Philadelphia high school.

The radio training comes from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and collaboration with NPR's best editors, producers and reporters.

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Last year, Shawn Hector bought some baby chicks. He put them outside in a little chicken coop, but it did not go well. The chicks were eaten by hawks, foxes and raccoons.

Shawn decided the world needed a better chicken coop. He and a buddy, Steve Deutsch, should build it themselves. They figured there might be a market for a high-tech chicken coop, and dreamed of starting a little business.

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And a lot of major banks have been getting into trouble lately - tax evasion, money-laundering, foreclosure, fraud - added to that list this week, sanctions violations. A big French bank will likely admit to the U.S. Justice Department that it handled billions of dollars in trades with Sudan. That's against the rules. But what are the consequences? As NPR's Zoe Chace explains, it's actually pretty hard to figure out how to punish a bank.

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Every year, the U.S. government loses money minting pennies. They cost around twice as much to make as they're worth. And some politicians and economists say we ought to just get rid of them. They want the U.S. to kill the penny, take it out of circulation. If that happens, a small group of people plan to make a bunch of money.

NPR's Zoe Chace has that story from our Planet Money team.

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Already for many Americans, there are few options when it comes to high-speed broadband. And the reason, says Zoe Chace with our Planet Money team, goes back to a moment when the U.S. decided to go one way and the rest of the world went another.

We are going to trace one simple Internet request. It's one that lots of people have made lately.

Rachel Margolis, a Time Warner cable subscriber in Brooklyn, wants to watch an episode of House of Cards on Netflix.

When Rachel clicks on House of Cards on her TV screen, her request travels out of her apartment on a cable, to a box on the corner, then under the East River to a giant building on the West Side of Manhattan. Think of the Empire State Building, turned on its side.

There were so many winter storms in New Jersey this year that the state nearly ran out of the salt used to melt snow and ice on the roads.

State officials thought they had found a solution when they discovered an extra 40,000 tons of rock salt for sale up in Searsport, Maine.

The state bought the salt but ran into problems getting it to New Jersey — despite the fact that there was an enormous, empty cargo ship, sitting at the Searsport port, headed down to Newark.

Back in 2012, reporter Kevin Roose went undercover at a very exclusive party.

It was a dinner for a secret society, held once a year, at the St. Regis hotel in New York City. The secret society is called Kappa Beta Phi, and it's made up of current and former Wall Street executives — people like Michael Bloomberg, former heads of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs. And every year the group holds a dinner to induct new people into the group — they're called neophytes.

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Here's another item likely to be part of tonight's State of the Union address: helping the long term unemployed. The president is expected to announce that some of America's firms have signed a pledge not to discriminate against the long term unemployed when they're hiring. This week, the president plans to meet with many of the CEOs of those companies. NPR's Zoe Chace from our Planet Money team reports on the surprising experiment that, in part, lead to this meeting.

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Emergency medical technicians, EMTs, are trained to save your life and aim to get you to a hospital as quickly as possible when needed. One thing they are usually not asked to do is to find ways to save money.

NPR's Zoe Chace explores one experiment in New York City that is trying to cut emergency care costs and cut return trips to the E.R.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: I'm in an ambulance, and we're on the way to the emergency room.

PETER DERMODY: How long have you been feeling like this, Michael?

MICHAEL: Like, two days.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

After pummeling the Midwest, a big winter storm hit the Northeast today, dumping snow up and down I-95. Flights were canceled, major highways closed. Boston took on almost two feet. Up to 10 inches fell on New York City, where the new mayor has only been in office two days. And that's where our coverage begins this hour with NPR's Zoe Chace.

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Now NPR's Zoe Chase, from our Planet Money Team, reminds us about one industry that played a big role in NAFTA's passage: men's underwear.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Now you're used to the labels: made in Mexico, made in China, made in Bangladesh. But back in the '80s, when they were first talking about NAFTA, about half of American clothing was made in America, by people like this.

BERTHA MARR: Graduated from the eighth grade, then went straight on in to working at Fruit of the Loom.

More details were added to this post after it was published. The new information was courtesy of Vidiya Khan, director of the Desh Group, and daughter of Noorul Quader.

Bangladesh was created out of chaos in the early 1970s, at a moment when millions in the country were dying from a combination of war and famine. The future looked exceedingly bleak.

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Now, the story of a man many call an outlaw. His crime: growing raisins and then deciding to sell them all. His case made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Planet Money's Zoe Chace has the story.

Meet Marvin Horne, raisin farmer. Horne has been farming raisins on a vineyard in Kerman, Calif., for decades. But a couple of years ago, he did something that made a lot of the other raisin farmers out here in California really angry. So angry that they hired a private investigator to spy on Horne and his wife, Laura. Agents from a detective agency spent hours sitting outside the Hornes' farm recording video of trucks entering and leaving the property.

U.S. sanctions mean that any citizen or business wanting to buy stuff from North Korea has to send a letter to the U.S. government asking for special permission. A few months back, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request, asking for those letters.

Our request was granted: We recently received a packet of 18 letters from Americans who wanted to do business with the most isolated nation on the planet. We've posted all of the letters online.

The Beige Book is weird. It's an economic report released by the Federal Reserve every few months, but it doesn't have many numbers in it. Mostly, it's a bunch of stories gathered by talking to businesses around the country. A Fed economist once described it as the "Ask Your Uncle" approach to figuring out what's going on in the economy.

In the Beige Book released today, for example, we learned that: