Clay Masters is a reporter for Iowa Public Radio and formerly for Harvest Public Media. His stories have appeared on NPR

Business
12:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

U.S. Has A Natural Gas Problem: Too Much Of It

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to coax out oil and gas has led to a natural gas boom that the U.S. market is having trouble absorbing.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:43 am

There's a boom in natural gas production in the United States, a boom so big the market is having trouble absorbing it all.

The unusually warm weather this winter is one reason for the excess, since it reduced the need for people to burn gas to heat their homes. A bigger reason, however, is the huge increase in gas production made possible by new methods of coaxing gas out of shale rock formations.

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Afghanistan
11:59 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

After The U.S. Leaves, Who Pays For Afghan Forces?

Afghan Army soldiers stand during a security transition ceremony in Mazar-e-Sharif, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 23, 2011. The Afghan government officially took control of security in the capital of the peaceful northern province of Balkh on July 23, as part of an effort to begin handing over all security responsibilities to Afghan forces by 2014.
S. Sabawoon AP

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 2:14 am

This week, NATO Cabinet ministers, including U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, will try to tackle the problem of Afghan security. The basic plan for bringing American troops home from Afghanistan is to let Afghan security forces fight for their own country. But there's a hitch — finding a way to pay for the Afghan army.

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Election 2012
11:53 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Democrat Bob Kerrey Faces Uphill Race In Nebraska

Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey campaigns at a Democratic caucus site on April 14 at Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb. Kerrey has decided to run again for his old seat in the U.S. Senate.
Clay Masters for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 3:15 pm

Former Nebraska Gov. and two-term Sen. Bob Kerrey, who faces long odds in reclaiming the seat left open by retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, is in his home state trying to get his old job back.

After a full of morning of shaking hands, smiling and trying to win over voters, Kerrey settles on lunch at the Taqueria Tijuana in south Omaha.

After lunch, he takes off walking down 24th Street, telling his staffers to catch up with him. He says things are different now from when he first sought public office in 1982.

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
9:02 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

One Roof, Three Generations, Many Decisions

Ida Christian, who suffers from dementia, gets help from her granddaughter, Yolanda Hunter (left), in blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. Yolanda quit her lucrative job to become Ida's full-time caregiver.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:52 am

Part of the Family Matters series

The Great Recession slammed into all age groups, flattening the career dreams of young people and squeezing the retirement accounts of middle-aged savers. It financially crippled many elderly people who had thought they could stand on their own.

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KKK Mailing
6:07 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Lawmaker Uses KKK Mailing To Discuss Bigotry In Idaho

Idaho State Representative Cherie Buckner-Webb.
Photo credit: Buckner-Webb campaign Northwest News Network

The African-American lawmaker in Idaho who received a flier from the KKK says she’s using the incident as an opportunity to talk about bigotry in the state. State representative Cherie Buckner-Webb and four other Idaho lawmakers have reported getting the mailings at home.

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Bank Tax
5:16 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

In Wash. A “Hollow” Victory For Tax Break Foes

For liberal activists in Washington, it has become the Holy Grail of tax breaks. We’re talking about a deduction banks can claim on some mortgages. Last week, the Washington legislature voted to end this tax exemption for large, out-of-state banks. But now some on the left are calling it a “hollow” victory.

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NW Farmers Bullish
4:23 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

NW Farm Economy Described As Mostly Bullish Entering Spring

Whitman County, WA farm
Photo Credit: Tom Banse Northwest News Network

A new market survey finds many of the region's farmers in an optimistic mood because demand is strong and commodity prices are high. Exceptions to the overall trend include dairy and onion farmers.

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Resevoir Draining
4:16 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Army Corps Getting Ready For "Big Water"

The Grand Coulee Dam is one of many dams being "drafted" to release water.
Photo Credit: United States Bureau of Reclamation

GRAND COULEE DAM, Wash. -- Federal water and dam managers are draining reservoirs in the Columbia and Snake River basins to get ready for "big water" coursing downriver. In recent weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has called for bigger drawdowns, or as the agency calls it "drafting", to protect against flooding. Supervisory engineer Peter Brooks says more room is needed to catch runoff from the bountiful snows of March.

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The Two-Way
3:42 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Still Mail Your Tax Returns? So Do Some Other Die-Hards

He'll trust the U.S. Post Office, not the Web, to handle his tax returns, Matt Peters says.
Alan Greenblatt NPR

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 3:45 pm

As we've reminded everyone, April 17 (Tuesday) is the deadline for filing federal income tax returns. It's also the deadline for filing income tax returns in most states. Our friend Alan Greenblatt tells about something he finds surprising:

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