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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9:48am

Sat December 28, 2013
Number Of The Year

A Tragic Year For Wildland Firefighters Ends In Reflection

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:22 am

The wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz., last June destroyed homes and killed 19 firefighters. Experts say expansion into wildfire-prone areas has created new challenges for firefighters.
Andy Tobin AP

Thirty-four wildland firefighters died in the line of duty this year. Some of those fatalities were isolated incidents, but one event captured the nation's attention, sparking a larger conversation about the new dangers firefighters face.

That event unfolded in central Arizona the afternoon of June 30, a Sunday.

"I'm here with Granite Mountain Hot Shots. Our escape route has been cut off," says a crew boss on recently released radio traffic from the Yarnell Hill Fire. "We are preparing a deployment site, and I'll give you a call when we are under the shelters.

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5:22am

Thu December 12, 2013
Around the Nation

Scandal May Bring New Oversight To LA County Sheriff's Department

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:41 am

After the FBI released results of a federal probe on Dec. 9, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said he was troubled by the charges and called it a sad day for his department.
Nick Ut AP

Longtime civil rights attorney Connie Rice has been following this week's indictments against officers in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. She says it points to a subculture of corruption within certain units, much like the city's scandal-ridden police department of the 1990s.

In the main downtown jails, sheriff's officers are accused of beating and choking inmates without provocation, harassing visitors and then covering it all up.

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5:17pm

Wed December 11, 2013
U.S.

After Fight Over Colo. Gun Laws, Two Sides As Dug In As Ever

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:47 pm

A man holds a sign advocating the recall of state Sen. John Morse in Colorado Springs, Colo., in September. Morse and a second state senator who backed the state's new gun control measures were recalled during a special election that month.
Matthew Staver Landov

John Morse was president of the Colorado Senate until September, when he became the first elected official recalled in the state's history.

Three months later, he's climbing the rotunda steps of the gold-domed Capitol building — his office for seven years. He hasn't been here since October. Gazing up at the dome, he says, "This is one of my favorite things to do. That's my version of smelling the roses."

Morse's political career ended over the gun bills he pushed through these chambers eight months ago. But he says he would do it all again.

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7:12pm

Mon December 9, 2013
Law

L.A. Sheriff's Deputies Indicted On Corruption, Civil Rights Abuses

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:45 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Los Angeles today, federal prosecutors announced charges of corruption and civil rights abuses inside the nation's largest jail system. The indictments came against 18 current and former deputies of the LA Sheriff's Department. NPR's Kirk Siegler has details from outside the federal building in downtown Los Angeles.

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5:37pm

Wed December 4, 2013
Around the Nation

Pipeline On Wheels: Trains Are Winning Big Off U.S. Oil

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 9:28 pm

A train leaves the Rangeland Energy company's crude oil loading terminal near Epping, N.D. So far this year, 60 percent of all oil produced in North Dakota left the state by rail. One economist says there aren't enough oil tankers to fill the demand.
AP

The oil boom in the United States is creating another boom — for the railroad industry.

So far this year, in North Dakota alone, 140 million barrels of oil have left on trains. Shipments of crude oil by rail are up almost 50 percent over last year — and this upward trend is expected to continue.

A visit to the world-famous Tehachapi Loop, part of a winding mountain pass in Southern California, demonstrates the scale and reach of the oil boom in the middle of the country. As a train full of oil tanker cars rumbles past, it's hard not to think of it as a pipeline on wheels.

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2:54am

Tue November 12, 2013
Around the Nation

Philippine Ex-Pats In Calif. Contribute To Typhoon Relief

Many Filipinos living in the United States are frantically trying to get in touch with loved ones in some of the areas hardest hit by the typhoon. California, with about a million Filipino immigrants, is the center for a large fundraising effort.

Los Angeles is home to one of the largest concentrations of Filipino immigrants in the U.S. Many across this city are glued to the local Asian TV stations' nightly news broadcasts. Some are turning their worry and stress into action, pounding the pavement to raise money for typhoon victims.

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4:47am

Fri November 8, 2013
Around the Nation

Should TSA Agents Have Broader Law Enforcement Powers?

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Airports around the country will hold a moment of silence this morning to honor Gerardo Hernandez. He was the TSA officer killed a week ago today at Los Angeles International Airport. That shooting is renewing debate over airport security and the role of the TSA. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Security at major airports is a web of moving parts, and a tangle of bureaucracies and jurisdictions.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR HORN HONKING)

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6:07am

Sat October 12, 2013
The Salt

Women, The 'First Brewers,' Lean Into Craft Beer-Making

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 10:09 am

Meg Gill is the president and co-founder of Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles. Her brewery is favored to win awards at the Great American Beer Festival.
Melissa Kuypers NPR

Thousands of beer aficionados are in Denver this weekend for the Great American Beer Festival. Some 600 breweries from around the country are represented at the marquee event for the craft-brewing industry.

And while this annual competition has long been male-dominated, that's starting to change.

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6:11pm

Thu September 26, 2013
U.S.

Fresno Officials Dismantle Homeless Encampments

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 7:19 pm

A former encampment. Fresno officials have dismantled three shantytowns.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Any day now, Fresno plans to raze a large homeless encampment that's grown up near downtown. The poor, farm-dependent city in California's Central Valley has one of the highest per capita homeless populations in the country.

In recent weeks, city officials there have dismantled three other sprawling shantytowns. The moves have displaced hundreds of people and sparked controversy.

Underneath Highway 180

Fresno is one of the poorest places in America. One in 4 people here live below the poverty line, and the recession only made things worse.

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5:15am

Tue September 3, 2013
Around the Nation

Radio Station KYAY Is Lifeline For Apache Tribe

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:54 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And on a reservation in Arizona, there's a tiny radio station marking its first year on the air. KYAY is owned by the San Carlos Apache Tribe and it's become a window into this isolated reservation, offering news and entertainment. NPR's Kirk Siegler has been listening.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRADITIONAL APACHE SONG)

KIRK SIEGLER: From a cinder block building in a dusty lot on the edge of San Carlos, comes KYAY 91.1 FM, the voice of the San Carlos Apaches.

LYNN KEY: So, you know, it's KYAY.

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4:45pm

Tue August 27, 2013
Around the Nation

Elite Native American Firefighters Join Crews At Yosemite

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 8:57 pm

Flames burn near the Tuolumne Family Camp near Groveland, Calif., on Sunday.
Noah Berger EPA/Landov

One of the firefighting teams trying to contain the Rim Fire in and around Yosemite National Park is the Geronimo Hotshots team from San Carlos, Ariz., one of seven elite Native American firefighting crews in the U.S.

On the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, firefighting jobs are one of only a few ways for many young men to earn a living. For team member Jose Alvarez Santi Jr., 25, the work is rewarding — but being away from home fighting fires can be tough.

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5:48pm

Mon August 26, 2013
Law

Embattled LA Sheriff Still Plans To Give Fifth Term A Shot

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

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

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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6:02am

Sat August 17, 2013
Politics

Immigration Reform Activists March To Calif. Farm Country

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

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

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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3:01am

Tue August 13, 2013
U.S.

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

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

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

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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3:09am

Wed July 31, 2013
The Salt

Farm Laborers Get A Foothold With Their Own Organic Farms

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

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

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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3:41am

Thu July 25, 2013
Code Switch

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

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

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

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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4:52pm

Wed July 10, 2013
Around the Nation

Summer 'Heat Tourists' Sweat With Smiles In Death Valley

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

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

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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2:53am

Sun July 7, 2013
U.S.

Despite Hefty Payouts, Fire Insurance Costs Hold Steady

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

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

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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7:38am

Sun June 16, 2013
NPR Story

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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8:00am

Sat June 15, 2013
NPR Story

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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2:57am

Mon June 10, 2013
Around the Nation

Rail Project At Los Angeles Port Draws Environmentalists' Ire

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

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

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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8:29pm

Fri June 7, 2013
U.S.

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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5:32am

Fri June 7, 2013
Business

California Hosts U.S.-China Summit

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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7:02am

Sat May 25, 2013
Around the Nation

Baptist Church In Oklahoma Churns Out Meals For Victims

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 1:19 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Hundreds of volunteers have come to Moore, Okla., this week to help the community after Monday's deadly tornado. Some people are cleaning debris, others are bringing out water and supplies to people whose lives have been turned upside down. NPR's Kirk Siegler stopped by one volunteer-powered relief group that's working east of town.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE SPEAKING)

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5:06am

Mon May 20, 2013
Business

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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5:06am

Mon May 20, 2013
Energy

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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3:02am

Fri May 17, 2013
Politics

LA Mayoral Candidates Try To Persuade Voters To Pay Attention

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

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

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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5:24am

Sun May 5, 2013
Around the Nation

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

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

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

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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4:02pm

Tue April 30, 2013
The Salt

Why An Immigration Deal Won't Solve The Farmworker Shortage

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

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

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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5:01pm

Thu April 11, 2013
It's All Politics

Looking To Broaden Appeal, RNC Heads To Hollywood

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

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

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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