Kirk Siegler

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.

Siegler grew up near Missoula, MT, and received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Colorado.  He’s an avid skier and traveler in his spare time.

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Law
5:48 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Embattled LA Sheriff Still Plans To Give Fifth Term A Shot

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca at the Men's Central Jail in downtown LA in 2012. Baca, who has been under fire for jailhouse abuses, is facing calls to step down and not seek a fifth term.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 5:30 pm

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca — who oversees the largest municipal jail system in the country — is facing growing pressure to bow out of the race for what could be his fifth term.

There's a lot that's been piling up against Sheriff Baca lately. At the top of the list is an FBI probe into what's been described as a systemic pattern of unnecessary force against inmates in county jails.

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Politics
6:02 am
Sat August 17, 2013

Immigration Reform Activists March To Calif. Farm Country

Marchers kick off a 21-day march calling for immigration reform in Sacramento, Calif. on Monday. The 285-mile walk through California's Central Valley ended in Bakersfield at the district office of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 7:35 am

Immigrant and farm worker rights groups came from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, Calif., by the busload this week. Bakersfield, in the state's Central Valley, is farm country, and immigration is a complex issue here.

The groups were converging on the home of the third-most powerful Republican in the House, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

Activists across the country are targeting a number of Republican members of Congress this summer, trying to pressure the House to take up the immigration reform bill passed in the Senate.

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U.S.
3:01 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Of Bison, Birth Control And An Island Off Southern Calif.

Bison have been roaming the Santa Catalina Island since the 1920s. At one time they numbered more than 600.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 7:59 am

In an open-aired Jeep, it's a bone-jarring ride into Santa Catalina Island's vast interior. The dirt road winds and climbs, twists and turns, climbing 2,000 feet up.

From there, the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean comes back into view, and if you squint, you can see downtown Los Angeles 30 miles off on the horizon.

Some days, you can also see wild bison.

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The Salt
3:09 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Farm Laborers Get A Foothold With Their Own Organic Farms

Agricultural work, which is physically demanding, is also a risky business venture.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 2:01 pm

Northern California's Salinas Valley is often dubbed America's salad bowl. Large growers there have long relied on thousands of seasonal workers from rural Mexico to pick lettuce, spinach and celery from sunrise to sunset. Many of these workers seem destined for a life in the fields. But a program that helps field workers, like Raul Murillo, start their own farms and businesses is starting to yield a few success stories.

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Code Switch
3:41 am
Thu July 25, 2013

After Years Of Violence, L.A.'s Watts Sees Crime Subside

Los Angeles police officers take a break during a basketball game with residents of the Nickerson Gardens housing project in July 2011. Violent crime at Nickerson Gardens and two nearby housing projects has fallen by almost half since 2010.
Thomas Watkins AP

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 10:48 am

On most weeknights, in the middle of his shift, Los Angeles police officer Keith Mott trades his gun and uniform for a T-shirt and shorts, and heads to a park in the Watts neighborhood of South Los Angeles. He's there to coach 7- and 8-year-old boys on the Pop Warner Pee Wee football team, the Watts Bears.

The kids come from three nearby housing projects: Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens and Imperial Courts. The park was carefully chosen. It's a neutral site for local gangs. Otherwise, most of the Bears' parents wouldn't allow them to come and play.

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Around the Nation
4:52 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Summer 'Heat Tourists' Sweat With Smiles In Death Valley

Tourists walk across the Badwater Basin, which sits 282 feet below sea level, in Death Valley, Calif., on June 30. People from around the world flock to the area to experience temperatures that rise to the high 120s on a regular basis.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 11:11 pm

It's no secret that Death Valley, Calif., is one of the hottest, most unforgiving places on Earth come summertime. July 10 is the 100th anniversary of the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet — 134 degrees Fahrenheit — and the heat is drawing tourists from all over the world to Death Valley.

Like Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport, Death Valley becomes a melting pot of foreign accents. On a recent afternoon, Belgian tourist Yan Klassens admires the view of the Badlands from Zabriskie Point, describing it as "nice, awesome and colorful."

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U.S.
2:53 am
Sun July 7, 2013

Despite Hefty Payouts, Fire Insurance Costs Hold Steady

Firefighter Brandie Smith walks by the remains of a structure destroyed in the Black Forest wildfire north of Colorado Springs last month. More than 500 homes have been lost to wildfire in the state this year.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Sun July 7, 2013 2:46 pm

Wildfires have already destroyed hundreds of homes in the American West this year. The insurance industry is once again poised to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to cover those losses, as it already has for homeowners who lost their houses during last year's fire season.

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NPR Story
7:38 am
Sun June 16, 2013

Colorado Springs Learns To Live With Fire

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Colorado is often the site of devastating forest fires, but the city of Colorado Springs has been hit particularly hard as of late. In the span of just one year, more than 800 homes have been destroyed from wildfires in and around the city. This time last year, it was the Waldo Canyon fire, and now it's the Black Forest fire. NPR's Kirk Siegler spent the week in Colorado Springs and sent this report.

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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sat June 15, 2013

Rain, Cooler Weather Slow Colorado Fire

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In Colorado, cooler weather and some rain has helped crews begin to get a handle on the Black Forest fire that's burning just north of Colorado Springs. Yesterday, several thousand people were allowed back into their homes, but an estimated 30,000 people remain evacuated from the area.

The blaze has claimed two lives, and it has destroyed at least 473 homes. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports from Colorado Springs.

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Around the Nation
2:57 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Rail Project At Los Angeles Port Draws Environmentalists' Ire

Shipping containers stack up at the Port of Los Angeles.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 12:21 pm

In California, a high-profile lawsuit is seeking to halt construction of a new $500 million rail yard next to the Port of Los Angeles. Activists, including a national environmental group that's spearheading the opposition, say the massive project would mean even more pollution for nearby neighborhoods that already have some of the worst air in the country.

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U.S.
8:29 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Fatal Shootings In Santa Monica Leave Several Injured

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A grim and chaotic scene today in Santa Monica, California. That's where authorities say at least six people are dead after a shooting rampage that ended violently on the campus of Santa Monica Community College. Several more people are being treated at area hospitals. Authorities say some injuries are serious, others minor. The shooting triggered lockdowns at the college and at other nearby schools. NPR's Kirk Siegler joins us now with the latest from NPR West in Culver City. And Kirk, what have you learned so far?

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Business
5:32 am
Fri June 7, 2013

California Hosts U.S.-China Summit

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a two-day meeting later today with President Obama near Palm Springs, California. There's a good deal of significance behind the choice of California as a venue for this summit. The state one of China's largest trading partners. And is also home to a recent boom in Chinese real estate investment.

NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

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Business
5:06 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Yahoo To Buy Tumblr In An Attempt To Revitalize Itself

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a big blogging buyout.

Today, Yahoo announced its purchase of the blogging site Tumblr. The $1.1 billion deal was unanimously approved by Yahoo's board. Analysts say the acquisition is Yahoo's attempt to revitalize itself.

NPR's Kirk Siegler has more.

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Energy
5:06 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Calif. Law To Require Ships To Cut Pollution

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 5:28 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Two ports, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, handle almost half of all of the consumer goods being shipped into the United States. Together, these two ports are also the single largest polluter in Southern California, a region famous for its smog.

NPR's Kirk Siegler reports on a new California law that will soon require some of the largest diesel-guzzling ships to kill their engines and plug in to shore power at the docks.

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Politics
3:02 am
Fri May 17, 2013

LA Mayoral Candidates Try To Persuade Voters To Pay Attention

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel had similar records while serving together on the City Council.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 4:46 pm

The candidates have spent a record amount of money. They've stumped hard in a city that isn't easy to campaign in — 470 square miles sliced up into neighborhoods divided by a web of freeways.

Yet despite nearly $20 million in spending in the March primary alone, turnout is expected to be low next Tuesday in Los Angeles when voters go to the polls to pick a new mayor to replace the term-limited Antonio Villaraigosa.

As a result, City Councilman Eric Garcetti and his opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel, are engaged in an all-out blitz for votes across the sprawling city.

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Around the Nation
5:24 am
Sun May 5, 2013

A Splash Of 'Urban Ocean' On A Southern California Cruise

A cruise run by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., exposes guests to the "urban ocean" in the country's biggest shipping terminal.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 6:41 pm

A cruise run by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., sounds like a picturesque summer outing. But the Urban Ocean boat cruise highlights the juxtaposition of a powerful port with a fragile ecosystem: You're just as likely to see trash as you are to see marine life.

In front of the aquarium, school kids are running around, eager to go inside and pet the sharks and see the penguins. There's also a marina, where a small passenger boat called the Cristina shoves off from sunny Shoreline Aquatic Park.

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The Salt
4:02 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Why An Immigration Deal Won't Solve The Farmworker Shortage

American farms like this iceberg lettuce field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods outside Salinas, Calif., are facing a dwindling supply of farmworkers from rural Mexico.
Kirk Siegler

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 8:01 pm

The Salinas Valley in Northern California grows about 80 percent of the country's lettuce, and it takes a lot of people to pick and pack it. In a field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods, a dozen lechugueros, or lettuce pickers, are bent at the waist, cutting heads of iceberg lettuce. They work frantically to stay in front of a line of 12 more packers, who seal them with tape and toss them onto a conveyor belt.

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It's All Politics
5:01 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Looking To Broaden Appeal, RNC Heads To Hollywood

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks at the National Press Club in March. Priebus has irritated faith-based values voters and others in the GOP with his quest to retool the party following the losses of 2012.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 5:49 pm

The Republican National Committee is holding its spring meeting in the Democratic stronghold of Hollywood this week — part of an effort to broaden the party's appeal.

So far, there are sharp divisions among RNC delegates about the future direction of the GOP. But there's general agreement that the party isn't effectively communicating its message.

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Around the Nation
3:21 am
Wed April 10, 2013

L.A. Schools Hire Security Aides To Watch For Threats

Students at Tenth Street Elementary out on the playground.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:20 am

Tenth Street Elementary is in the Pico-Union district of Los Angeles, a few blocks west of the Staples Center and downtown skyscrapers. It's a tough neighborhood; school security is always an issue.

On a recent day, about 150 third-graders were spread across a worn cement playground, running around, playing chase and tag.

Most lunch hours, you'll find Juan Alfayate, the school's energetic principal, out on the blacktop, dodging soccer balls and having fun with the kids while on playground patrol.

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Guns In America: A Loaded Relationship
5:33 am
Sun March 24, 2013

Battling Suicide In A 'Gun State' Means Treading Carefully

In Wyoming, a gun is used in about three-quarters of all suicides. Nationally, guns are used about 50 percent of the time.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 5:58 pm

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Guns In America: A Loaded Relationship
4:58 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

A Turning Point For Talking About Suicide And Guns In Wyoming

Connie Jacobson, coroner in Natrona County, Wyo., says suicide is one of the biggest public health problems facing the state. Wyoming has the highest suicide rate in the U.S., and two-thirds of suicides in the state are by firearm.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:53 pm

Guns are a big part of everyday life in Wyoming, and many residents have been directly impacted by a suicide in which a gun was used. The state has the highest suicide rate in the nation, and three-quarters of Wyoming's suicides are by firearm.

The rural state's relationship with guns has long made suicide prevention efforts challenging. But that may be starting to change.

Lax Gun Laws

Last year, there were more suicides in Natrona County than anywhere else in Wyoming.

The soft-spoken county coroner saw them all.

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Around the Nation
5:09 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Owens Valley Salty As Los Angeles Water Battle Flows Into Court

Owens Lake — which dried up after losing its water source, the Owens River, to Los Angeles — is known to be a source of air pollution. The city of L.A. is in court over obligations to control dust pollution at the lake.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 6:30 pm

In the West, fights over water last a long time.

It's been almost 100 years since William Mulholland stood atop an aqueduct along the Owens River and said, "There it is, take it." He was referring to a diversion channel that started piping water to Los Angeles from 200 miles away. That water allowed L.A. to become the metropolis it is today.

But it also meant that the Owens River no longer flowed into the massive Owens Lake, which quickly dried up and became one of the biggest environmental disasters in the nation.

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Around the Nation
3:20 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Sequestered Spring Means Fewer Rangers, Services At National Parks

Hikers walk on the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall at Yosemite National Park in California. The National Park Service has to cut $134 million from sites around the country, including Yosemite, due to the lack of a budget deal in Congress.
Gosia Wozniacka AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:49 am

Spring has come early to the Yosemite Valley, and the melting snow makes for a spectacular rush of water off the granite face of Yosemite Falls, the tallest in North America.

Early March is when park officials would normally be gearing up for the busy tourist season. Instead, they're figuring out how to cut $1.5 million from their budget. Without a budget deal, the sequestration has forced the Park Service to cut a total of $134 million from sites around the country.

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