Topic: Community

Current Event February 21, 2021

Weird News: Woman Cooks 1,200 Lasagnas For Neighbors

Culture SEL Community Family

Listen to hear about a woman who cooked over a thousand lasagnas for her neighbors.

Vocabulary: fund, furloughed

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Current Event January 24, 2021

Weird News: Jewelry Store Owner Holds Treasure Hunt

Community Entertainment Mystery

Listen to hear about a jeweler’s giant treasure hunt in Michigan.

Vocabulary: dramatically, participate

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Current Event January 17, 2021

Weird News: Big Tip for No Service

Health Culture Community

Listen to hear about a coffee shop barista who was generously rewarded for his efforts.

Vocabulary: shame, haul

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Current Event January 3, 2021

Weird News: New Zealand Wizard Retires

Culture Community Theater/Drama Fantasy/Magical Realism

Listen to hear about a wizard from New Zealand who is passing on his wand.

Vocabulary: successor, possess

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Current Event December 13, 2020

Weird News: Aquarium Cashes in on Wishes

Animals Community

Listen to hear how an aquarium is paying its bills in an unusual way.

Note: Since this story aired, the aquarium shared that it spent $8563.71 in wishes on animal care.

Vocabulary: reveal, cash in

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Current Event December 9, 2020

Free Food Refrigerators Feed Communities

Health Nutrition Community

The number of Americans who do not have enough food has increased dramatically during the pandemic. To address this problem of food insecurity, groups across the country are putting refrigerators filled with free food in public places and inviting people to take what they need. The “freedges” are feeding thousands of people, many of whom had never visited a food bank. Listen to hear more about a grassroots effort to feed hungry Americans, and learn why one activist worries about the sustainability of the movement.

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Current Event December 6, 2020

Weird News: Farmer Invites Neighbor to Solve a Mystery

Community Entertainment Mystery

Listen to hear about a farmer who invited his neighbors to help solve a mystery.

Vocabulary: ornate, speculation

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Current Event November 29, 2020

Weird News: Separated Brothers Find Each Other

Psychology Community Family

Listen to hear about two long-lost siblings who were finally reunited.

Vocabulary: decades, reunion

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Current Event November 17, 2020

Pope Endorses LGBTQ Civil Unions

Religion Community

In a recently released documentary, Pope Francis said he approved of civil unions for homosexual couples. A civil union is a legal partnership arrangement, like a marriage, granted by state authorities. The pope’s supportive words gave hope to the LGBTQ community, which has often felt excluded by the church. It also caused confusion, however, since his statement conflicts with official church policy. Listen to learn more about the pope’s unexpected announcement, and hear how Catholics have responded.

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Current Event October 30, 2020

Debate: Should School Buildings Be Open?

Health Education Community

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, schools closed around the country in an effort to slow community spread of the disease. A new study, though, concludes that schools do not seem to be superspreader sites where infection spreads rapidly and dramatically. Based on data from Texas, it appears that schools tend to reflect community infection rates. While anxiety remains high among some about the potential for COVID-19 to spread in schools, evidence suggests that when the virus does enter a school, it can usually be contained if public health recommendations are being followed. Listen to the author explain the implications of her study and then debate: Should school buildings be open?

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Current Event September 27, 2020

Weird News: Mac and Cheese Fiasco

Culture Community

Listen to hear about a mac-and-cheese accident of enormous proportions.

Vocabulary: tragedy, fiasco, damaged

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Current Event September 21, 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Latinx Community

Health Community Ethnicity

Latinx communities have been hit hard by the coronavirus. The vast majority of those who have contracted COVID-19 in Marin County, CA are Latinx. Many work low-wage jobs and live in crowded conditions, making it especially difficult to take the necessary steps to stay safe. The disproportionately high rate of infections in Latinx communities has highlighted the large gaps in income and access to healthcare in the U.S. Listen to hear about the challenges faced by a Latinx community in California and learn what one nonprofit is doing to address the health crisis.

This audio story was recorded in late August. The news about COVID-19 is changing rapidly and parts of this story may be dated.

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Current Event September 13, 2020

Weird News: Sandwich Support Saves Diner

Culture Community

Listen to hear about how a generous customer helped support a diner during the coronavirus pandemic.

Vocabulary: anonymous, gesture

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Current Event August 23, 2020

Weird News: Teens Grocery Shop for Elderly

Health Culture Community

Listen to hear about how two teenagers created a grocery shopping program for the elderly.

Vocabulary: connect, volunteer, appreciation

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Current Event August 16, 2020

Weird News: Safe Hugs with Grandma

Culture Community

Listen to hear about how a shower curtain helped a man safely hug his grandma during the coronavirus pandemic.

Vocabulary: solution, transparent

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Current Event August 9, 2020

Weird News: Social Distancing Shoes

Culture International Community

Listen to hear about special shoes that can help people keep a healthy social distance from others.

Vocabulary: typical, benefit

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Current Event May 31, 2020

Weird News: Canine Siblings Reunited

Animals Community

Listen to hear about two dog brothers who were accidentally reunited.

Vocabulary: reunited, similar

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Current Event May 29, 2020

Debate: Do Citizens Have a Right to Protect Themselves from the Pandemic?

Health Protest Government Community

Two South Dakota Native American tribes have placed highway checkpoints near their reservations to screen visitors for signs of COVID-19. Officials have demanded that they remove the roadblocks from state highways, but the tribes argue that their residents are especially vulnerable to infection and need protection. Listen to learn more about the standoff between tribal leaders and the state government and then debate: Do citizens have a right to protect themselves from the pandemic?

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Current Event May 24, 2020

Weird News: Chalk Drawings Encourage Social Distancing

Visual Art Community

Listen to hear about a mother who creates chalk drawings reminding people to social distance.

Vocabulary: reminder, recreate

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Current Event May 18, 2020

Safety Tips for Resuming Contact

Health Community

States are beginning to lift lockdown restrictions, and experts are weighing in on how people can stay safe as they return to normal activities. Many doctors advise that social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands continue to be the best ways to prevent the spread of infection. They especially warn against relaxing distancing guidelines as people start to mingle, and highly recommend outdoor gatherings rather than indoor events. Listen to hear a pastor’s plan for keeping worshippers safe when he reopens church, and how doctors recommend lowering the risk of virus transmission when socializing.

This audio story was recorded in mid-May. The news about COVID-19 is changing rapidly and parts of this story may be dated.

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