The Midwest is known for its roadside attractions — world's largest ear of corn, heaviest ball of twine, biggest truck stop.
But it's also home to one of the largest collections of grottoes in the world. Most of these man-made caves were created by immigrant priests at the beginning of the 20th century. And the mother of them all — encrusted in $6 million worth of semiprecious stones — is in West Bend, Iowa.
This weekend, the Grotto of the Redemption turns 100.
Title IX, which turns 40 on Saturday, has helped reverse years of bias, banning sex discrimination in federally funded schools and colleges.
Its guarantee of equal access to sports was a small part of the original legislation. But it's become the most recognizable part of Title IX. That guarantee has not always played out, and the law has its critics. For four decades, however, it's played a huge part in shaping lives.
Coming a week after President Obama announced that he would defer deportation proceedings for many young illegal immigrants, it was safe to predict that he'd get an appreciative response from an audience of Latino leaders. They didn't disappoint.
Kofi Annan is trying to rally the international community to bring the violence in Syria to an end. Annan even suggested that Iran should be consulted, an idea the United States doubts.
NPR's Michele Kelemen filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"The joint UN and Arab league envoy, Kofi Annan, is trying to convene a meeting next weekend in Geneva. He told reporters there it is time for countries with influence to increase the pressure on the parties in Syria to stop the killing and start talking.
When Moody's downgraded the credit ratings of most major U.S. banks on Thursday, you'd have thought Friday would be a tough day for bank stocks.
But bank stocks ticked up — largely because investors were relieved. They had feared the downgrades would be worse. The Dow Jones industrial average was recovering from Thursday's 250-point drop, the second-worst of the year.
Paul Revere Williams began designing homes and commercial buildings in the early 1920s. By the time he died in 1980, he had created some 2,500 buildings, most of them in and around Los Angeles, but also around the globe. And he did it as a pioneer: Paul Williams was African-American. He was the first black architect to become a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1923, and in 1957 he was inducted as the AIA's first black fellow.
Just last month, I was at the same lakeside resort where Taliban gunmen carried out a suicidal attack on Friday, killing more than 20 people before they were gunned down.
My friends and I had gone to Lake Qargha to drink tea after a long hike on a hot day.
The man-made lake, about six miles outside Kabul, is the only large body of water near the capital, and it is extremely popular among Kabul residents seeking to escape the city's pollution, particularly in the summer when temperatures can top 100 degrees.