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NPR  Leaving Timber Behind, An Alaska Town Turns To Tourism

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What happens to a town when a key industry collapses? Sometimes it dies. But sometimes it finds a way to reinvent itself.

Case in point: Ketchikan, Alaska, where the demise of the timber industry has led to a radical transformation. Many people who used to earn their livelihoods through timber have now turned to jobs in tourism. Ketchikan is expecting 1 million visitors this summer. They'll flow into town off as many as six giant cruise ships a day.

And if the tourists want a theatrical taste of the industry that used to fuel Ketchikan, they can go watch timber sports at the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, where burly competitors in flannel shirts and suspenders chop stumps, saw logs, and heave axes at a bullseye.
Souvenir and gift shops, as well as local tour operations, have replaced jobs at logging camps and pulp mills. The newer businesses provide seasonal retail work, but it's nowhere near as well paid as the old jobs. Follow the link in our bio to see more photos and the full story. (Credit: @elissanad | Elissa Nadworny/NPR)

The latest evidence that a chocolate habit may lower your risk of heart disease: A study finds people who ate small amounts of chocolate several times a week had a lower risk of atrial fibrillation. Follow the link in our bio for the full story. (Credit: @o_fishel | Daniel Fishel for NPR) 🍫

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a passionate proponent of expanding school choice, including private school vouchers and charter schools, and she has the clear backing of President Trump. But does the research justify her enthusiasm?⠀

Experts say one single, overarching issue bedevils their efforts to study the impact of school choice programs. That is: It's hard to disentangle the performance of a school from the selection of its students. Follow the link in our bio for the full story. (Credit: LA Johnson/NPR)

Clowns and trapeze artists loosen up backstage before a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performance at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore in April. The final show was in Uniondale, N.Y., on Sunday. ⠀

The circus isn't profitable any more, according to the company that runs it. And especially once the elephants were gone — after public battles with animal rights activists — ticket sales just couldn't keep it afloat.⠀

That means the end of the famous traveling circus show, with a ringmaster and big cats and clowns and trapeze acts ... the stuff of nostalgia for generations. Check out our Story for more photos. (Credit: @claireeclaire | Claire Harbage/NPR)

Second-graders line up in the hall at St. Marcus Lutheran School in Milwaukee, Wisc.⠀
The city has the nation's longest-running publicly funded voucher program.⠀

For 27 years it has targeted African-American kids from low-income families, children who otherwise could not afford the tuition at a private or religious school.⠀

The vouchers are issued by what's known as the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. Some people see them as a beacon of hope in a public school district where student achievement lags far behind the state average. Others say the program is a failed experiment that has siphoned away money desperately needed by the city's struggling schools. Follow the link in our bio for the full story. (Credit: LA Johnson/NPR)

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson enters the ring in Fairfax, Va., at one of the final performances of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. After years of declining ticket sales and seemingly endless conflicts with animal rights groups, Ringling Bros. will stage its final show in Uniondale, N.Y., on Sunday.⠀

“I will be the very last voice in the 146-year history of this show, so I will be the last person you hear to speak of 'The Greatest Show on Earth,’” Iverson says. ⠀

Check out our Story for more photos. (Credit: @mariancaa | Marian Carrasquero/NPR)

In a new series focusing on the experience of failure and how people deal with it, a former NASA official recalls the disastrous mission of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003 and how the accident changed his life forever. Follow the link in our bio for the full story. (Credit: @isabel_seliger | Isabel Seliger for NPR)

When a computer science professor became overwhelmed with the number of questions students were asking, he recruited artificial intelligence to help serve up some answers. Follow the link in our bio for the full story. (Credit: @_samdraws | Sam Rowe for NPR)

C'Artis Harris, 34, a Section 8 voucher holder searching for a place in Dallas, sees her voucher as a chance to make a new life. "I can get a house or an apartment and it will be affordable for me and my children," she says. Harris and her family are currently staying a friend's apartment until she finds available housing. In Dallas, about 60 percent of people who get vouchers are unable to use them, according to MaryAnn Russ, the former CEO of the Dallas Housing Authority. Follow the link in our bio for the full story. (Credit: @brandonthibodeaux | Brandon Thibodeaux for NPR)

Farryn Giles and her son Isaiah, 6, walk in their east Dallas neighborhood. While she received a Section 8 voucher to help them move to a neighborhood with more opportunities, finding an apartment that would take the voucher was challenging. In Dallas and other tight rental markets, Section 8 voucher holders can't find the homes they need, while developers face resistance from wealthier neighborhoods when trying to build new housing. Follow the link in our bio for the full story. (Credit: @brandonthibodeaux | Brandon Thibodeaux for NPR)

An unexpectedly rich reward of motherhood is the chance to show your child how to deal with traits passed down from you. A third-generation perfectionist and her daughter compare notes on Mr. P., their nickname for the little voice driving them to be perfect. Follow the link in our bio for the full essay. (Credit: @studioria | Maria Fabrizio for NPR)

African-American students with disabilities are disciplined far more and graduate far less than their counterparts, researchers say. What needs to change to help more succeed? Follow the link in our bio for the full story. (Credit: @jukeboxcomix | Kelsey Wroten for NPR)

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