Joel Rose

Joel Rose covers the northeast for the National Desk out of NPR's New York bureau.

Rose's reporting often focuses on criminal justice, technology and culture. He's interviewed grieving parents after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, resettled refugees in Buffalo, and a lineup of musicians that includes Solomon Burke, Tom Waits and Arcade Fire.

Rose collaborated with NPR's Planet Money podcast for a story on smart guns. He was part of NPR's award-winning coverage of Pope Francis's visit to the US. He's also contributed to breakings news coverage of the mass shooting at Mother Bethel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, and major protests after the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Eric Garner in New York.

Before coming to NPR, Rose held a number of jobs in public radio. He spent a decade in Philadelphia, including six years as a reporter at member station WHYY. He was also a producer at KQED in San Francisco and American Routes in New Orleans.

Rose has a bachelor's degree in history and music from Brown University, where he got his start in broadcasting as an overnight DJ at the college radio station. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

You probably know it's against the law in most states to text and drive — but studies suggest that many of us still peek at our smartphones when we're behind the wheel.

This habit, however, contributes to distracted driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,179 people were killed in car crashes involving a distracted driver in 2014.

When you ride on buses or trains in many parts of the United States, what you say could be recorded. Get on a New Jersey Transit light rail train in Hoboken or Jersey City, for example, and you might notice an inconspicuous sign that says "video and audio systems in use."

A lot of riders are not happy about it.

"Yeah I don't like that," says Michael Dolan of Bayonne, N.J. "I don't want conversations being picked up because it's too Orwellian for me. It reeks of Big Brother."

It's been a big week for supporters of paid family leave.

The city of San Francisco and the state of New York took groundbreaking steps toward new and more generous leave policies. Advocates hope the moves will create momentum in other places that are considering similar measures.

Atlantic City is wondering when its losing streak will finally end.

The mayor says his town, known for its huge casinos on the boardwalk, will run out of money in a few weeks. State lawmakers have a plan to get the city's finances under control. Atlantic City leaders don't like the state's takeover plan. But residents are hoping for anything that will change their luck.

"A lot of people are walking away from their homes," says Al Bailey, a local real estate agent who was born and raised in Atlantic City.

Sunny Balzano's modest watering-hole in Brooklyn was a throwback to another time. It was known simply as Sunny's, after the beloved bartender and raconteur who transformed a faded longshoremen's bar into a local institution. He died Thursday at the age of 81, just weeks after the publication of Sunny's Nights, a new book about his life and times.

Sunny was not a master of artisanal cocktails, as he was quick to admit. "I still don't know how to mix drinks, do I?," he joked during an interview at the bar last month. No one disagreed.

Streetcars are rumbling back to life in cities across the country from Portland to Salt Lake City and Atlanta, with New York becoming the latest city to hop on the bandwagon. But as these new streetcars run into unexpected roadblocks, critics say this mode of transportation might not be the answer to great public transit.

New York City has an ambitious, multibillion-dollar plan to connect Brooklyn and Queens with a streetcar. It would bring convenience to residents from Red Hook, an isolated area cut off from the rest of Brooklyn by water and a major highway.

The debate over whether Apple should defeat the security on the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook isn't the first time the company has clashed with law enforcement.

The FBI also wanted to get into the iPhone of a drug dealer in Brooklyn. Jun Feng pleaded guilty to selling methamphetamine last year. As part of its investigation, the government obtained a search warrant for Feng's iPhone. But the phone was locked by a passcode, so prosecutors asked a judge for an order compelling Apple to bypass it.

Korean food is built on bold flavors: spicy pickled vegetables, sweet, smoky meats and pungent, salty stews. That can be a little intimidating for some American diners. But the authors of a new book called Koreatown hope to change that.

After years of trying and failing to push new laws through Congress, gun control advocates are targeting American firearms makers from a different angle.

"The only thing they really understand is money," says Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of the nonprofit New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. She's also part of a coalition called the Campaign to Unload, which encourages investors large and small to divest from owning stock in companies that make guns and ammunition.

With the New Year comes a long list of new laws taking effect across the country.

In some cases, those laws show states moving in starkly different directions on polarizing issues — especially voting and gun rights. Here are four examples of controversial laws taking effect now that 2016 has arrived:

Tightening Voting Rules In N.C. ...

Starting this week, North Carolinians are required to show photo ID at the polls. It's the most controversial part of a set of changes to the state's voter registration laws that were passed more than two years ago.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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If you want to see how refugees are changing Buffalo, N.Y., the West Side Bazaar is a good place to start. It's an incubator for immigrant-owned businesses. And it's the only place in town where you can eat Ethiopian sponge bread, Burmese noodles and Peruvian chicken at the same table. It's also a market with clothing and gifts.

"We are like family here — families from different countries," says Nadeen Yousef, who moved to Buffalo from Iraq last year. Yousef now has a booth at the bazaar, where she sells handmade macrame wall hangings and art.

How much does $1 billion buy these days? The city of Buffalo is about to find out.

New York state is funneling $1 billion in cash and tax incentives into the region. Fully half of the "Buffalo Billion," as it's known, is going to one place: a massive solar panel factory, rising on the site of a demolished steel factory in South Buffalo. With an additional $250 million from other state sources, the solar project is getting a total of $750 million from New York.

At least once a week, federal defender Deirdre von Dornum travels across Brooklyn to meet with her incarcerated clients. The round trip takes three hours, on a good day.

First von Dornum rides the subway. Then she walks half a mile to the Metropolitan Detention Center, a pair of nondescript high-rise buildings on the Brooklyn waterfront. At this point, she still has to wait — sometimes for hours — for guards to bring her client down from his cell.

As the World Series shifts to Queens, the Kansas City Royals hold an imposing two-games-to-none lead over the New York Mets. But the Mets should be used to playing the underdog by now.

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