Howard Berkes en Regulators Couldn't Close U.S. Mine Despite Poor Safety Record The West Virginia mine where two workers were fatally injured on Monday consistently violated federal mine safety laws, but federal regulators say they were unable to shut it down completely.<p>The Mine Safety and Health Administration confirmed that two workers were killed on May 12 when coal and rocks burst from mine walls at Patriot Coal's Brody No. 1 mine in Boone County, W.Va.<p>MSHA says one victim was operating a mining machine and the other was drilling bolts into the roof of the mine, a process that prevents rockfalls. Thu, 15 May 2014 14:22:11 +0000 Howard Berkes & Anna Boiko-Weyrauch 40580 at National Parks Close As Other Public Lands Stay Open From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads.<p>The last remaining campers and hotel guests in the parks must leave Thursday, and park rangers will patrol to keep others out.<p>The national parks "belong to the American people, and the American people should have the right to come in," says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. Thu, 03 Oct 2013 08:14:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 35410 at National Parks Close As Other Public Lands Stay Open Booting Up: New NSA Data Farm Takes Root In Utah The National Security Agency won't say exactly when it will fully rev up its <a href="" target="_blank">newest and biggest data farm</a> in the Salt Lake City suburb of Bluffdale, Utah. Mon, 23 Sep 2013 21:54:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 35108 at Booting Up: New NSA Data Farm Takes Root In Utah Wildfire Season So Far: Tragic, Destructive And Below Average It may seem like wildfire Armageddon out there, given the tragic deaths of 24 wildland firefighters this year, more than 800 homes and businesses burned to the ground, nearly 1.6 million acres scorched and over 23,000 blazes requiring suppression.<p>But as dramatic as it's been, the 2013 wildfire season has yet to kick into high gear.<p>"We have seen, overall, less fire activity so far this year," says Randy Eardley, a spokesman at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.<p>In fact, the number of fires and the amount of acreage burned are each down about 40 percent from the 10-yea Wed, 03 Jul 2013 00:23:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 32709 at On-The-Job Deaths Continue At Steady, Grim Pace Dying on the job continues at a steady pace according to the <a href="">latest statistics</a> from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).<p>The fatal injury rate for American workers dropped slightly in 2011 — the most recent year with reported numbers — from 3.6 to 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers.<p>But 4,693 men, women and teenagers died at work. That's three more than the total number of lives lost on the job in 2010.<p>BLS says it's the third-lowest death toll since counting began in 1992. Fri, 26 Apr 2013 17:37:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 31077 at On-The-Job Deaths Continue At Steady, Grim Pace The Cruelest Month: Boston Blasts Join List Of Dark Incidents <em>Howard Berkes is an NPR correspondent based in Salt Lake City.</em><p>It may have been the dumbest thing I ever said. On April 19, 1999, I stood before an audience at Idaho State University in Pocatello, talking about the cruelest month. April, I pointed out, and April 19 in particular, have provided celebrated, infamous and sometimes horrific moments in our history.<p>What was it about the month, I wondered, or the time of year, that made April so meaningful and at times so cruel? Tue, 16 Apr 2013 13:58:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 30629 at The Cruelest Month: Boston Blasts Join List Of Dark Incidents Rare On-The-Job Death For Avalanche Forecaster In Utah Dale Atkins has been tracking hundreds of avalanche deaths for years but the fatality report that arrived from Utah Friday morning was especially shocking.<p>"It's way too close to home," says Atkins, the Colorado-based president of the <a href="">American Avalanche Association</a>. Fri, 12 Apr 2013 23:08:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 30522 at Rare On-The-Job Death For Avalanche Forecaster In Utah A Woman's Prayer Makes Mormon History There was no formal acknowledgment of the historic moment Saturday when Jean Stevens stood at a dark wooden podium framed by potted plants and colorful flowers in the cavernous Mormon conference center in Salt Lake City.<p>"Our beloved father in heaven," she began, as 20,000 faithful and silent Mormons in the building listened, and as millions of others (according to Church officials) watched on television screens around the world.<p>Stevens became the first woman to recite a prayer at a general session of the faith's semiannual conferences, which Mormons consider the most important religious Mon, 08 Apr 2013 22:16:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 30305 at A Woman's Prayer Makes Mormon History New Federal Scrutiny In Wake Of NPR Grain Bin Reports Congress, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Justice Department are beginning to respond to the <a href="">NPR-Center for Public Integrity Series on hundreds of persistent and preventable deaths in grain storage bins</a> and weak enforcement by federal agencies.<p>Two federal officials familiar with the case say that the Justice Department is again considering criminal charges in the incident in Mt. Fri, 29 Mar 2013 19:24:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 29946 at New Federal Scrutiny In Wake Of NPR Grain Bin Reports Fines Slashed In Grain Bin Entrapment Deaths The night before he died, Wyatt Whitebread couldn't stand the thought of going back to the grain bins on the edge of Mount Carroll, Ill.<p>The mischievous and popular 14-year-old had been excited about his first real job, he told Lisa Jones, the mother of some of his closest friends, as she drove him home from a night out for pizza. But nearly two weeks later he told her he was tired of being sent into massive storage bins clogged with corn.<p>Jones choked back tears as she recalled the conversation. Sun, 24 Mar 2013 04:03:00 +0000 Howard Berkes 29674 at Fines Slashed In Grain Bin Entrapment Deaths