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They were unlikely settlers of America’s heartland: children, shipped from New York orphanages to small towns in the Midwest at the turn of the 20th century. And the little town of Concordia, Kansas, is making sure they’re not forgotten.

C.J. Janovy from Here & Now contributor KCUR has our story.

Since the formation of the United States, presidents have struggled with what to keep secret from the American people and what to reveal.

As co-director of the Transparency Policy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Mary Graham has studied how various presidents have handled the problem over the years.

Wal-Mart announced Tuesday that its online sales grew at a faster pace than Amazon’s in the fourth quarter.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with CNN’s Maggie Lake (@maggielake) about what has been going so well for the nation’s largest retailer, while another iconic retailer, Macy’s, is struggling.

During a sentencing hearing in Texas two decades ago, a defense attorney for a man named Duane Buck called on an expert who said his client's race made it more statistically likely that he would commit violent crimes in the future.

Because of that statement, the Supreme Court has ruled 6-2 that Buck, who is black, can appeal his death sentence.

It's the latest development in a case that Chief Justice John Roberts describes as "a perfect storm" of circumstances that he says culminated in a lower court "making a decision on life or death on the basis of race."

In a letter to Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan's Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked that he stop the Michigan School Reform Office from closing 38 schools.

U.S. Reps. John Conyers, Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Brenda Lawrence, and Sander Levin requested that the governor not close any schools without input and support from local communities.

The representatives cited the negative impacts of school closings, such as the burdens placed on working families that may face longer commutes.

You may have heard that the state is planning to close as many as 38 schools by this summer, the bulk of which are in Detroit. That’s a big deal for a whole lot of families, and so far, the state isn’t giving them much guidance about what to do. So let’s walk through where things stand.

Let’s start with the now-infamous letter

A survey of local officials across the state finds wide interest in overhauling Michigan’s emergency manager law.       

The survey of officials from 1,300 cities, counties, townships, and villages was conducted by the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.

There was no consensus on what to about financially struggling local governments, says survey director Tom Ivacko. But he says says there was general agreement that emergency managers have too much power.

Lawmakers in Lansing might not try to do away with the state income tax after all; but, they are still looking to reduce it.

A new version of the bill would gradually cut the tax from 4 point 25 percent to 3 point 9 percent.

Bill sponsor Representative Lee Chatfield says he is happy with the changes.

“Our goal all along has been to deliver on the promise made to the people back in 2007, and we think the legislation in its current form with the substitute accomplishes that goal,” he said.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

2016 was a good year for Michigan home builders – just not as good as expected.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 15,176 permits were issued in Michigan for new home construction in 2016. That’s the highest since 2006 (16,538).  

But that’s 1,700 fewer permits than were forecasted.    

Bob Filka, with the Michigan Home Builders Association, says the industry should be doing better.

“When you look at the job creation numbers in the state, the unemployment level,” says Filka, “we should have more housing investment happening right now and we’re not.”

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Interfaith Service for Migrants, Immigrants, & Refugees

An overflow crowd of 250 people worshipped together at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. James at the “Interfaith Service of Prayer for Compassion and Justice for Migrants, Immigrants, & Refugees.”
Lauren Nassau of South Bend, a member of the Temple Beth El synagogue explained why she came. "Cuz I felt like I was not a g ood person a few weeks ago when I didn't do anything, when people were stuck at the airports. So, I thought I should open my ears today to be more conscious and to be...

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