Friday, December 7, 2007

Kingsburg's Santa Lucia Festival

Aired on KQED's The California Report, Fri, December 7, 2007.

Drive a stretch of Highway 99 near Fresno, and you'll see it: an enormous Swedish coffee pot rising above the vineyards and orchards. It's really a water tower in disguise and it's the visitor's first hint of how the the 12,000 townspeople of Kingsburg celebrate their hamlet's Swedish heritage. I visited Kingsburg as it celebrated Santa Lucia, an icon from the old country.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Farmer Brown

Aired on KQED's The California Report, Fri, November 23, 2007.

And on American Public Media's The Splendid Table, Saturday, December 8, 2007

About a year ago, The California Report covered the declining number of African-American farmers in California and profiled one farmer in the Central Valley. Now, the show follows up with a story of the relationship between that farmer and a young restaurateur in San Francisco who's committed to sourcing as much produce as possible from California's African-American farmers.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hula High: Where Everyone is a Doer

Published in Edutopia Magazine, November 2007

A Hawaiian school mixes indigenous arts and culture with academics to create a local success.

Using a practitioner model to move away from memorizing and encourage depth of learning.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"The Wire" and a Devil's Bargain in Schools

Published on November 14, 2007

The heralded HBO show "The Wire" is known for its unflinching look at institutions and urban poverty. In Season Four, it turns its lens on West Baltimore's public schools. I write about how Baltimore students and educators respond to having that gaze fixed on their world, how one school is defying expectations, and how the show forces us to think about reaching the most struggling kids.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Preserving Maori Language

Aired on KQED's Pacific Time, September 13, 2007

You might not think that getting 3-year-olds to sing songs and learn an alphabet is revolutionary, but New Zealand’s Maori leaders have stopped a culture crash through the creation of hundreds of Maori language preschools. Kohanga reos, (language nests) were initially underground pre-schools taught entirely in Maori and by communities’ grandmothers. Now, kohanga reos have introduced a generation of Maori to a language and culture almost lost to them.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Laodies Kustomz: dumping and dragging in Douds, Iowa

Laotian Americans Find Bliss in Iowa Truck Shop
Aired on KQED's Pacific Time, August 23, 2007

In Douds, Iowa (population 200) Jason and Von Chounlamany stand out as members of the town's only Asian family. Fleeing unrest in Laos in the late 1970s, their parents brought the family to Douds, with the help of a group of local sponsors. But the Chounlamany brothers have gained notoriety for another reason; they're the proprietors of southern Iowa’s finest mini-truck modification shop -- Laodies Kustomz.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Centennial

Aired on KQED's The California Report, August 3, 2007

For generations, summer in California has meant a visit to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. And this summer, the park celebrates its 100th year of fun in the sun. Over the years, many old-time amusement parks have become obsolete. But the Boardwalk, nestled along the Monterey Bay, has endured as the last of the great seaside parks on the West Coast.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Crucible Fire Arts Festival

Aired on KQED's The California Report, July 13, 2007

The art and magic of fire was on display on a massive scale when thousands of people converged on the Fire Arts Festival in Oakland. Hosted by the industrial arts school The Crucible, the festival featured dozens of installation pieces, from a flaming pendulum to dance competitions in fire suits. I visited The Crucible as it geared up for its tribute to all things pyrotechnic.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Berry Picking on the Coast

Aired on KQED's The California Report, June 29, 2007, voiced by host Scott Shafer

All over the state, U-pick farms offer a chance to gather your own haul of fresh fruit straight off the bush or tree. You can find acres of raspberries, peaches, plums and other summer vegetables and fruits ready to harvest. I went looking for olallieberries at one of these do-it-yourself farms, Phipps Country Ranch in Pescadero.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Magic Circus of Samoa

The Circus Comes to Samoa
Aired on KQED's Pacific Time, June 14, 2007

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa is beautiful -- and isolated. Direct flights to and from the United States leave just once a week, and even travelling to the closest island neighbors can require taking multi-day ferries or inconsistently-scheduled flights on 19-seat planes. For the past 20 years, though, the Magic Circus of Samoa has defied these distances, bringing acrobats and jugglers under the big top to almost all of the central Pacific Islands.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Failing Our Kids, Failing Our Future

Failing Our Kids, Failing Our Future: Reversing the Decline of California's Public Schools
Aired on A World of Possibilities May 22, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

Geo Quiz: Hot Water Beach

Aired on PRI and BBC's The World May 25, 2007
question w/ theme music:; answer:

The World 's Geo Quiz question was: "We're looking for the name of a peninsula that juts out into the Bay of Plenty. That's the part of the Pacific Ocean that lies off the coast of New Zealand's North Island. Gold miners used to come this way to seek their fortunes along this rugged rocky coastline. One of the peninsula's best kept secrets is: Hot Water Beach. It's place where hot steaming geysers bubble up thru the sand. When the tide comes in, cold seawater mixes with hot steam and voila! It's a natural spa."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Teaching Through Hula

Hula Dancing in Gym Class
Aired on KQED's Pacific Time, April 26, 2007

At the Laboratory School, a charter school in Honolulu run by the University of Hawaii's College of Education, hula and other arts classes are as important as academics. Ninth grade students take off their flip flops and practice hula in their school's cafeteria for more than 40 minutes each day.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Revolutionary Piñata Maker

Aired on NPR’s Latino USA, February 23, 2007

Aired on KQED's The California Report, Dec. 3, 2006, voiced by guest host Kathy Baron

For centuries, celebrations around the world have included piñatas: treat-filled clay or paper-mache figures suspended on a rope to be smashed by excited party goers. In San Francisco, one Salvadorian craftsman, Romeo Gilberto Osorio goes beyond familiar mass-produced products, building custom piñatas with only a picture.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Illegal Soapbox Derby

Aired on KQED's The California Report January 5, 2007, voiced by host Scott Shafer

For most people, soap box derbies bring up images of kids zooming downhill in cars made of orange crates and scrap lumber. But for members of The San Francisco Illegal Soap Box Society, the only rules are: cars can’t have motors, but they must have beer holders.