Russell Lewis is the Southern Bureau Chief for NPR News, a post he has held since 2006. Lewis focuses on the issues and news central to the Southeast — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. In addition to developing and expanding NPR's coverage of the region, Lewis assigns and edits stories from station-based reporters and freelancers alike, working closely with local correspondents and public radio stations. He also spent a year in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, coordinating NPR's coverage of the rebuilding effort. He's currently based in Birmingham, Alabama.

From Foster Care To College, Part Two
3:59 am
Wed June 12, 2013

From Foster Care To College, Part Two: An Uphill Climb

Credit Christine Jessel

Last September, Briyana Dunn was enrolled at Pellissippi State Community College through a Department of Children's Services program for former foster care kids.

"I started from A and right now I feel like I’m all the way on like R - I’m getting to my Z," she said then.

But it didn’t work out. Briyana says she spiraled into a depression after a hard breakup with a boyfriend. She stopped turning in assignments - then she started missing classes.

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Sara Hossaini is a reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She holds a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She brings a blend of documentary journalism and public interest communications experience developed through her work as a nonprofit multimedia consultant and Associate Producer on national PBS documentary films through groups such as the Center for Asian American Media, Fenton Communications and The Working Group. She likes to travel, to get her hands in the dirt and to explore her creative side through music, crafts and dance.

Ryan Loyd is Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter who brings more than a decade of news experience back to his hometown.

Ryan began reporting at KGNB radio in New Braunfels, followed by KTSA. He worked in television news in Joplin, MO, San Antonio, Sherman, Texas, and Austin.

Since joining TPR in October 2011, Ryan has covered stories of local, state and national interest including the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered the keynote address.

Y-12
4:51 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Chlorinated Water Spill At Y-12 Results In Fish Kill

A sign near East Fork Poplar Creek in Oak Ridge advises against swimming, wading or fishing.
Credit Oak Ridge Today

Officials from the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge say a spill of chlorinated water over the weekend killed approximately 8500 minnow-sized fish and almost 30 salamanders.  A Y-12 statement says about 6,000,000 gallons of the water poured into East Fork Poplar Creek on Saturday when a pipeline burst.  Crews from Y-12 were able to contain the spill and inspections on Sunday revealed no additional casualties of fish or other aquatic wildlife.  Biologists from nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory predict the long-term effect of the spill on fish and salamanders will be minimal.  

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Submit your design for the WUOT artist mug! WUOT 91.9 FM is seeking submissions from our talented and creative listeners for the station’s third annual WUOT Artist Mug Design Contest. You make WUOT possible, and we want to involve you in what we do. This is a way you can leave a lasting impression on WUOT Public Radio. The winning design will be featured on a limited-edition mug that will be available to WUOT donors during the next spring or fall fund drive.

About the competition What does WUOT mean to you? What image does it conjure? Your design should reflect an interpretation or appreciation of the station, its programming or the station’s home in East Tennessee.

State Layoffs Blocked
6:42 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Governor Haslam's Plan To Lay Off State Employees Blocked By Restraining Order

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam had planned to lay off more than 200 state workers this month, but a Davidson County judge has issued a temporary restraining order on the move following a lawsuit filed by state employees. The suit charges state officials with violating a law concerning the 60-day notice for affected employees. It claims that though officials gave notices throughout the month of April, they did not comply with part of the law that says employees that are to be fired must receive career counseling, testing, and job placement assistance.

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From Foster Care To College, Part One
3:59 am
Tue June 11, 2013

From Foster Care To College, Part One: Getting To "Z"

Briyana Dunn at Pelissippi State Community College, September 2012.
Credit Christine Jessel

Briyana Dunn would be the kid who picks you up and dusts you off after the school bully pushes you down - even though she might laugh at you a little first. She’s a no-nonsense, nonstop talker who makes up in sass what she lacks in stature.

It’s hard to reconcile the sunny person Briyana is today with the girl she was: An angry runaway cops hauled into juvenile custody at 16; the girl who, a year later, landed in a psychiatric care facility for youth. She’s just so … upbeat.

Briyana started college in Knoxville when she aged out of state custody.               

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Tennessee Children
4:30 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Kids Count Study Shows Recession Has Been Tough On Tennessee Children

Credit http://www.aecf.org/MajorInitiatives/KIDSCOUNT.aspx

State health and welfare officials have released the latest annual Kids Count study for Tennessee. Linda O’Neal, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, says the data show the recession has had a significant impact on the state’s children. One in four Tennessee children now live in poverty and one in three rely on food stamps for adequate nutrition.

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Fracking in Tennessee
7:30 am
Mon June 10, 2013

University Of Tennessee Opens Bidding For Natural Gas Drilling

Credit http://www.knoxnews.com/photos/2013/jan/30/311895/

The University of Tennessee has formally begun to seek bids from companies wanting to lease natural gas rights in Morgan and Scott counties. UT owns about 8,600 acres in its Cumberland Forest research area. UT officials say the move is for research into the environmental effects and best-practices for extracting natural gas from the Chattanooga shale. The State Building Commission has to approve any contracts; UT officials hope to shore up a contract by October.

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