May 24, 2020

In Louisville, Covid-19 Slows Portland Neighborhood Recovery

LOUSVILLE, Ky. — Until the Covid-19 pandemic, Gill Holland spent six years and $35 million constructing new residences and renovating 19thand 20thcentury wood and brick warehouses in Portland, an historic Ohio riverfront neighborhood that is Louisville’s oldest and one of its most impoverished.  Mr. Holland’s Portland Investment Initiative has purchased over 60 properties and filled them with businesses and residents new to the racially diverse neighborhood, where roughly 10,000 people live.  The project has renovated …

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In Montgomery, Bryan Stevenson is Thurgood Marshall’s Heir Apparent For Supreme Court

Montgomery, which has occupied one bank of the Alabama River since 1819, never deliberately set out to distinguish itself as the white hot furnace of American racial injustice, or the historic hearth of reconciliation. That’s what Alabama’s capital has become, though. Yesterday the city of 200,000, where slaves were sold and where the Civil Rights movement was born, took another memorable step. It elected Steven Reed, Montgomery County’s first African American probate judge, as its …

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Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum Opens in Owensboro, Kentucky

OWENSBORO, KY. — This flourishing city of more than 59,000 residents has occupied the high ground on a big bend of the Ohio River so long that its history includes being the winter encampment for the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804. Owensboro’s famous sons include Johnny Depp, who was born here in 1963. Among its notable achievements is surviving the loss of 6,000 General Electric manufacturing jobs at the end of the 20th century, …

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Americans Are Designing Asia’s Future

One of the many critical details of 21st century change, learned during a decade of global reporting, is that Asia is the dominant continent of the century. Another thing is that development patterns in Asia’s big cities, the glittering metropolises along the Pacific Rim, are different than they are in the West. And the third essential feature of 21st century change is the big role American architecture, engineering, and planning firms are playing in designing …

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Malaysia. Where’s Malaysia?

KUALA LUMPUR — I had no idea what to expect from Malaysia when I accepted an assignment from Mongabay to report on the consequences of a prodigious wave of infrastructure development that is remaking this country’s economy and geography. What I’ve found is a nation contending, like so many others, with political disruption, but fully competent to develop the new muscles and bones to support the contemporary needs of this century. People here are suspicious …

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From Malaysia, Expressions of Concern For A Roiled U.S.

KUANTAN, Malaysia — Has there ever been a more disturbing time to be an American? Not in my life. And most certainly not in the 10 years that I’ve reported from outside the United States. On the way by train and auto from Penang on the west coast to this industrial city on Malaysia’s east coast, I had a number of conversations with Malaysians about conditions in the U.S. Malay people are a guarded lot. …

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Our Covered Wagon Stopped in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Almost all of Utah’s 3 million residents — some 80 percent — live within ten miles or so of the Wasatch Front, which extends north to south for about 100 miles in the state’s northeast region. At the center lies Salt Lake City, a surprising city of 180,000 that is as modern, pleasant, and well situated as any in America. Near the city are magnificent trails that wind up into the …

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Gina Lopez: What Determined Activism Looks Like

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — On June 20, 2016 Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected president of the Philippines, asked Gina Lopez to join him in Davao City for an extended conversation about the condition of his country’s land and water. It turned out to be an eventful encounter. The glib, rough talking, 71-year-old strongman former mayor of Davao City sought help from a 62-year-of woman known inside her wealthy family as the renegade daughter, and outside …

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The Year Public Pressure Influenced Lending Practices

SOMERSET, KY — Rex Tillerson, the chairman of ExxonMobil, asked by president-elect Donald Trump to serve as secretary of state. Scott Pruitt, the climate-denying, energy-financed attorney general of Oklahoma, nominated for EPA administrator. Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and a board member of Energy Transfer Partners (developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline), nominated to oversee the Energy Department. The intent in Trump’s brotherhood of black fuels is clear enough — stabilize erratic global markets, …

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Cities Are Stronghold of Performance in Maelstrom of American Disarray

COLUMBUS, OH — In the year of Trump it’s plain that the United States is entering a new and reckless age. Our federal lawmakers neglect their constitutional duties to legislate in the public interest. Ideology and inflexibility, the gravest threats to a democracy, are elevated as virtues on the political right and political left. Random massacres occur with weekly frequency. Fear and distrust and racism and hate have been unleashed as mainstream attitudes. Where are …

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