Howard Berkes http://news.stlpublicradio.org en National Parks Close As Other Public Lands Stay Open http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/national-parks-close-other-public-lands-stay-open From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads.<p>The last remaining campers and hotel guests in the parks must leave Thursday, and park rangers will patrol to keep others out.<p>The national parks "belong to the American people, and the American people should have the right to come in," says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. Thu, 03 Oct 2013 08:14:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 30375 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org National Parks Close As Other Public Lands Stay Open Booting Up: New NSA Data Farm Takes Root In Utah http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/booting-new-nsa-data-farm-takes-root-utah The National Security Agency won't say exactly when it will fully rev up its <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/06/10/190160772/amid-data-controversy-nsa-builds-its-biggest-data-farm" target="_blank">newest and biggest data farm</a> in the Salt Lake City suburb of Bluffdale, Utah. Mon, 23 Sep 2013 21:54:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 30120 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Booting Up: New NSA Data Farm Takes Root In Utah Wildfire Season So Far: Tragic, Destructive And Below Average http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/wildfire-season-so-far-tragic-destructive-and-below-average It may seem like wildfire Armageddon out there, given the tragic deaths of 24 wildland firefighters this year, more than 800 homes and businesses burned to the ground, nearly 1.6 million acres scorched and over 23,000 blazes requiring suppression.<p>But as dramatic as it's been, the 2013 wildfire season has yet to kick into high gear.<p>"We have seen, overall, less fire activity so far this year," says Randy Eardley, a spokesman at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.<p>In fact, the number of fires and the amount of acreage burned are each down about 40 percent from the 10-yea Wed, 03 Jul 2013 00:23:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 27910 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Amid Data Controversy, NSA Builds Its Biggest Data Farm http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/amid-data-controversy-nsa-builds-its-biggest-data-farm As privacy advocates and security experts debate the validity of the National Security Agency's massive data gathering operations, the agency is putting the finishing touches on its biggest data farm yet.<p>The gargantuan $1.2 billion complex at a National Guard base 26 miles south of Salt Lake City features 1.5 million square feet of top secret space. Mon, 10 Jun 2013 06:58:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 27216 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Amid Data Controversy, NSA Builds Its Biggest Data Farm Fines Slashed In Grain Bin Entrapment Deaths http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/fines-slashed-grain-bin-entrapment-deaths The night before he died, Wyatt Whitebread couldn't stand the thought of going back to the grain bins on the edge of Mount Carroll, Ill.<p>The mischievous and popular 14-year-old had been excited about his first real job, he told Lisa Jones, the mother of some of his closest friends, as she drove him home from a night out for pizza. But nearly two weeks later he told her he was tired of being sent into massive storage bins clogged with corn.<p>Jones choked back tears as she recalled the conversation. Tue, 26 Mar 2013 16:41:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 24845 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Fines Slashed In Grain Bin Entrapment Deaths Poll: Romney Has Large Lead In Rural Swing Counties http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/poll-romney-near-landslide-rural-swing-counties As Mitt Romney and President Obama get ready for their second debate, a new bipartisan survey shows a surge for Romney in a key voter group following their first debate Oct. 3.<p>The random cellphone and land line poll of 600 likely rural voters in nine battleground states Oct. 9-11 has Romney at 59 percent among the survey's respondents. Tue, 16 Oct 2012 06:27:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 5414 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Poll: Romney Has Large Lead In Rural Swing Counties U.S. Speedskater Admits To Sabotaging Rival's Skates http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/us-speedskater-admits-sabotaging-rivals-skates American speedskater Simon Cho says what he did was "wrong" when he yielded to what he claims was persistent pressure from a coach to tamper with another skater's blades at the World Short Track Team Championships in Poland last year.<p>"Tampering with someone's skates is inexcusable," Cho told NPR in his first interview about the incident.<strong> </strong>"And I'm coming out now and admitting that I did this and acknowledging that what I did was wrong."<em> The Washington Post</em> and the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> also spoke with Cho earlier this week after the NPR interview.<p>Cho, 20, won Fri, 05 Oct 2012 09:30:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 5062 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org U.S. Speedskater Admits To Sabotaging Rival's Skates