March 6, 2021

Boston Marathon Bombing

The week leading up to April 19 is turning out to be a gruesome one for the United States. On April 19, 1995 Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, and injuring 680. That attack, McVeigh said, was justified by the FBI assault two years earlier, April 19, 1993, on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. Seventy-six people died. Waco and Oklahoma City crystalized menace in several …

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In New York Times, Louisville’s New Growth Sector

  A new geography of economic growth is unfolding in places that few people anticipated even a decade ago. In my work on energy development, I’ve seen how the northern Great Plains quickly became a center of oil and gas development. The entire Great Plains has generated low unemployment numbers as a result of energy production and rising farm commodity prices. I’ve also followed the trend into the Ohio River Valley, which is among the …

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Chengdu’s Modern Beauty — Bustling, Not Bursting

CHENGDU, China — Sichuan University, one of China’s best, held its graduation today. The campus, which is green and shady and is woven into this giant city’s central business district, much the way NYU’s campus is sewed into lower Manhattan, was abuzz with young energy. Not far away, the Fuann River (see pix below) flows through the city, contained in an engineered channel bordered on each side by river-length walkways, parks, and shade trees. At …

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Qingdao, A Beautiful Pacific Coast City, Beckons To Be China’s Cleanest

QINGDAO, China — The Pacific Ocean tugs at the rocky shoreline on this city’s eastern boundary. Rugged claw-peaked mountains are sentinels to the north and west. Qingdao lays out on a plain of flat ground and rolling hills between the natural barriers, a just-built urban center of high rise office and apartment towers, 10-lane boulevards, and a goal of achieving stature as a model Chinese “eco-city.” I am spending a couple of days in this …

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In New York Times, Cincinnati’s Riverfront Revival

CINCINNATI – The shoreline of this Ohio River city, which thrived in the 19th century with 30 steamboat visits a day and then died in the 20th as pollution and industrial disinvestment pushed people and businesses inland, is emerging again as a new hub of civic and economic vitality. The New York Times published my article on Cincinnati’s riverfront development, more evidence of the Ohio River Valley’s new upward economic vector. The Times piece is …

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Cleaner Water, Cooler Ohio River Cities

One of the interesting small towns I’ve visited in the United States in recent month is Marietta, Ohio, home of Marietta College, and basecamp for Jennifer Garrison, a lawyer helping working people negotiate lucrative mineral leases with big oil and natural gas production companies. I’m working on articles for The New York Times and Circle of Blue about potentially momentous oil and gas production joining improving trends in water quality that are pushing the Ohio …

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New York City’s New Era of Reckoning

New Yorkers, if you want to know, think pretty highly about their city these days. And why not? From Battery Park, at the foot of Manhattan, to the far reaches of Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island new residents are arriving at the rate of 5,000 people a month. New jobs are being generated at the same clip. Unemployment is going down, as is violent crime, which has dropped nearly 80 percent in the …

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Newest New York Times Piece: University of Wisconsin’s East Campus Gateway

I’ve been writing for the New York Times since February 1981, covering all manner of people and places and events. Most recently, much of that work has focused on interesting real estate developments around the country. The latest article, featuring the University of Wisconsin’s work to construct a new entrance corridor on the east side of campus, was posted and published today: MADISON, Wis. — A century after it was first proposed, a broad pedestrian …

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A Civic Pact: Owensboro’s Next Development Strategy

The privilege to spend six months studying an American community is rare in journalism. Nevertheless that was the assignment from Citistates last spring. Immerse yourself in Owensboro, Kentucky and emerge with a clear sense of where the community is, and where it might consider going in the 21st century. Last week, in a series of public events, Citistates described the findings in What’s Done, What’s Next: A Civic Pact. The project found a number of …

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Bluegrass, Mark Schatz, and the Approaching Main Stream

It wasn’t that I existed all these years without encountering bluegrass music. As a freshman at Haverford College in the 1970s I lived across the first floor of Barkley Hall from two upperclassmen —  Peter Doan and Evan Lippincott — whose vinyl collection included the 1972 Nitty Ditty Dirt Band’s Will The Circle Be Unbroken. But not until this summer, when I arrived in Owensboro, Kentucky, where the International Bluegrass Music Museum is located, did …

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