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February 7, 2014 | By Alana Semuels
KNOB NOSTER, Mo. - From a bay window in her home on the prairie, Angela Hostetler stares out at the six huge chicken barns out back. They hold 156,000 chickens, and when she and her husband, Mardy, purchased the farm two years ago, it seemed like a good investment. But this year, the Hostetlers are struggling. That's because their barns, which must be kept at 85 degrees to keep young chickens warm, are heated by 12 1,000-gallon tanks of propane, which are now covered in icy snow.
February 7, 2014 | By John Horn
MOUNTAIN PINE RIDGE FOREST RESERVE, Belize - As Hummingbird Highway carves away from Belize's resort-laden sands, pavement dissolves into rutted dirt tracks and the dense jungle canopy starts to press in from all sides. The tallest buildings pushing through the foliage are Maya ruins, and howler monkeys and macaws lurk in the ceiba trees. Late at night, distant thunderstorms ring the horizon, broad sheets of lightning illuminating the mountains. Before I brought my family to Belize for 10 days last summer, I packed a copy of "Heart of Darkness," knowing that although traveling through Central America wouldn't precisely parallel a trip up the Congo River, Joseph Conrad's novel would remind me that the book was the indirect inspiration for our itinerary.
February 6, 2014 | Bill Plaschke
SOCHI, Russia - From the gently rolling Black Sea to the jagged Caucasus Mountains, from gleaming modern stadiums to colorfully ancient Matryoshka dolls, the Sochi Olympics open Friday with every conceivable natural wonder except one. There is a visible lack of joy. The strong-armed dream of Russian President Vladimir Putin has thus far succeeded not in embellishing the Olympic motto, but altering it, from "swifter, higher, stronger" to, "unfinished,...
February 5, 2014 | By Brian D'Arcy
As the elected business manager of IBEW Local 18, a job I've held for more than 20 years, I represent more than 8,500 women and men who work at the Department of Water and Power. I am proud of the many things we have accomplished, including fair wages, high safety and training standards, and responsible workplace rules. I have at times been unfairly attacked by the media and by politicians who do not share my views and values, but that is part of a democratic process that ensures free speech.
February 1, 2014 | By Scott Collins
The sign advertising his show still looms over the NBC parking lot, and for a few more days throngs of fans will crowd the studio gates in Burbank before tapings. But Jay Leno says he's ready to leave - and this time, he says he really means it. After more than 40 years, "The Tonight Show" is leaving Southern California and heading back to New York, with the 63-year-old Leno, who first became host in 1992, handing off the show to Jimmy Fallon, just 39. Four years have passed since NBC botched a similar passing of the torch to Conan O'Brien.
January 31, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
Friday is the first day of Chinese New Year, a multi-day celebration marked by money-stuffed red envelopes, dragon imagery and, in the Southland, a flood of tourists from Asia. For the first time, many local shopping centers are greeting the surge in potential customers with fanfare and parades dedicated to the Year of the Horse, festooning their courtyards with paper lanterns and hiring experts in traditional Chinese arts. The hullabaloo over the holiday - also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year - is a calculated move at many of those retail properties, designed to attract the region's vast and growing Asian presence into stores after a lackluster year for retail sales.
January 30, 2014 | By August Brown
You've got to fight for your right to name an NYC street corner after the Beastie Boys -- but that doesn't mean you'll win. A local community board has nixed a plan to name a Lower East Side corner -- famous for its appearance on the Beasties' album art for "Paul's Boutique -- after the group. The "Beastie Boys Square" mission was a passion project of local resident LeRoy McCarthy, who wanted to turn the corner of Rivington and Ludlow into a tribute to the group after the 2012 death of member Adam Yauch.
January 29, 2014 | By Gary Klein
JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Their journeys to the Super Bowl might have been on different roads, but they all started from the same spot - playing college football in Los Angeles. USC and UCLA will have plenty of presence in Sunday's Super Bowl and, although most are backups, names familiar to Southern California football fans are sure to crop up. Seattle Seahawks linebackers Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan played for the Trojans, and running back Derrick Coleman for the Bruins. Smith, a seventh-round draft pick in 2011, provided the game-saving interception in the Seahawks' NFC championship game victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
January 24, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - In the film "12 Years a Slave," free black man Solomon Northup dreams of one thing during his long captivity in the antebellum South: returning to his family and home in Saratoga Springs. In the film, as Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, undergoes grueling labor and horrific punishment on a series of Southern plantations, Saratoga Springs becomes a promised land, its name uttered with a sense of longing and hope. Yet mention Northup's name to many locals in modern-day Saratoga Springs or ask about the memoir or movie that tells his story and they'll raise an eyebrow, largely unaware of the man and his legacy.
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