Weekend Edition Sunday

Conceived as a cross between a Sunday newspaper and CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles KuraltWeekend Edition Sunday features interviews with newsmakers, artists, scientists, politicians, musicians, writers, theologians and historians. The program has covered news events from Nelson Mandela's 1990 release from a South African prison to the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Weekend Edition Sunday debuted on January 18, 1987, with host Susan Stamberg. Two years later, Liane Hansen took over the host chair, a position she held for 22 years. In that time, Hansen interviewed movers and shakers in politics, science, business and the arts. Her reporting travels took her from the slums of Cairo to the iron mines of Michigan's Upper Peninsula; from the oyster beds on the bayou in Houma, La., to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park; and from the kitchens of Colonial Williamsburg, Va., to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In the fall of 2011, NPR National Desk Reporter Audie Cornish began hosting the show.

Every week listeners tune in to hear a unique blend of news, features and the regularly scheduled puzzle segment with Puzzlemaster Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times.

Weekend Edition Sunday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States and around the globe via NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

Composer Camille Saint-Saëns' piece Danse Macabre draws on the late-medieva...
Music writer Colin Fleming exhumes some new Halloween music essentials.

'Tis the season for some holiday music. Don't worry, we're not cueing up Christmas carols quite yet — but Halloween is approaching and it got us to thinking about the soundtrack to this particular holiday. Sure, there's Michael Jackson's "Thriller," with that eerie Vincent Price voice-over, and if you want something kitschy, you've got the "Monster Mash." But after that, you're left in a musical abyss.

Music writer Colin Fleming joins NPR's Rachel Martin to introduce some Halloween music you might not have thought of, including a jazz clarinet piece that's truly scary and an R&B groove to get a mummy dancing. Hear their conversation at the audio link, and check out the music and Fleming's commentary below.

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

Many rural California residents rely on private wells for tap water — well...
Many rural residents rely on private wells for tap water. As the severe drought continues, many are wondering why farms seem to be getting water ahead of families.

Imagine flushing the toilet and watching sand come up. That's what happened to Pam Vieira, who lives south of Modesto, Calif. Her water well has slowed to a trickle, and you can see the sand in the tank of her toilet.

"Sometimes we have brown water," Vieira says. "Sometimes we have no water."

Vieira is one of as many as 2 million rural California residents who rely on private domestic wells for drinking water.

Some of those people are among the hardest hit by the state's severe drought, as wells across the state's Central Valley farm belt start to go dry.

Vieira and her husband have lived in this tan ranch house surrounded by almond and sweet potato farms for about 40 years. Like many in this community, they're too far from town to hook into a municipal water system. Their household well has always worked fine.

But now, Vieira has to wait for the well to pull enough water to take a bath. She recycles whatever water she can to try and save her 100-year-old hydrangea.

"This is my grandmother's, and it's just burned and dying," she says. "But I think it'll make it through. What I'm concerned about is, are we going to make it through?"

The Vieiras ran an auto repair shop for many years. Now they're retired, and have nowhere near the $20,000 it would take to drill a new well.

"My husband's 75 and I'm 70," she says. "We live on a fixed income. We're not asking for a handout. We just need help."

State and federal grants are available to help small towns that rely on wells to drill new ones, but almost no public funds are set aside for private property owners with failing water wells.

"No one has thought about domestic well owners, which is a real shame because there's thousands of us," Vieira says.

Some of them are middle-class well owners like the Vieiras, but others are farmworker families.

Gladys Colunga's well went completely dry this summer. She has six children and lots of laundry to wash and teeth to brush — but no water.

The family is making do with bottled drinking water. Meanwhile, Colunga's husband's field hours have been cut because of the drought, so they're making less money.

They have to haul water from neighbors and friends in barrels in the back of their pickup, then scoop it into buckets to wash dishes. They're trying to save enough for their swamp cooler, so they can cool down the house in the lingering heat.

"That's upsetting, because just here down the road there's orchards behind us," Colunga says of the neighboring almond farmers. "The orchards are drowning in water. I understand that they need to get their crops as well, but then we're a family, we have children and we need that water. ... We have the right to have that basic thing. It's water."

Gov. Jerry Brown recently allocated state emergency funds to provide temporary drinking water to residents whose wells have gone dry. He also directed local officials to try and find solutions, like hooking into nearby towns' water systems.

But groundwater levels are dropping fast.

"We can't really use public funds to help a private well owner," says Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthly. "I really don't see a place for the government to come in and provide the funds for everybody's well ... There's going to be thousands and thousands of wells that are going to go out."

Farm counties have issued a record number of permits to growers who want to drill wells to keep their crops watered. Worthley says farmers have that property right.

"We're not in a position to tell farmers, 'No, you can't have a permit to drill a well so you can keep your crop alive,' even though we know it has a collateral impact," he says.

California legislators recently passed rules that could eventually limit groundwater pumping, but those plans give local agencies until at least the year 2040 to meet goals for groundwater sustainability.

Meanwhile, most people with wells going dry right now are stuck. If they can't afford to drill new wells, they may be faced with trying to sell a homes that have no water.

Copyright 2014 KQED Public Media. To see more, visit http://www.kqed.org.

Protesters built a library in the parking lot of the Hong Kong leglislative ...
What began as a pro-democracy roadblock has grown into a combination street fair/art gallery, with an outdoor study hall, movie screenings, speeches — even a free library.

Hong Kong's main pro-democracy protest camp turned 3 weeks old on Saturday.

What began as a roadblock has grown into an urban village, with several hundred tents that attract more than a thousand people at night.

The camp is a combination street fair and outdoor art gallery, with political sculptures and posters as well as speeches, movie screenings — even a free library.

The vibe at this pop-up protest colony is like an American college campus in the '60s — except it's on the edge of the South China Sea and surrounded by skyscrapers.

The camp sprawls across — and blocks — Hong Kong's Harcourt Road, a major highway.

Beyond the protesters' demands for democratic elections, what distinguishes the place is a sense of community, best captured by the free services that have sprouted up to meet demonstrators' needs.

Like the furniture-making shop. Kacey Wong, a professor of design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, says some of his students kicked it off.

"This whole movement was generated from the students' boycott of the school a few weeks ago," Wong says. "They are thinking about boycotting school, but not boycotting studying. So how can you resolve this problem?"

By sawing, hammering and drilling scrap wood into desks and chairs the students can use. The result: a study hall with electricity, lights and desks built into the concrete highway divider.

"We are volunteers," says Terence Tam, 26, who works in information technology but has become one of the furniture makers. "They are studying very hard, so we can try to make them more comfortable."

Tam says he knew nothing about carpentry, but it only took a day to learn.

"As a Hong Kong guy, I just think this is what I can do for this place and for the teenagers," he says. "I think that they are ... fighting not just for their future, but also our future."

If scrap-wood carpentry isn't your thing, a few dozen tents away, there's art therapy.

Map Tang, a social worker, has set out construction paper, an array of colored pens, feathers, thread and stickers on a tarp. She says three weeks of demonstrating have left many physically and psychologically exhausted.

"That's why we wanted to have a tent here with all the materials of art making, so we can actually take care of ourselves and also express our feelings," she says.

One tool is conspicuously missing: scissors.

"Because if you have something that is a weapon ... the police can take you away," Tang says.

If you need a place to crash for the night, check with Pat, a graphic designer who assigns some of the tents, which — like most things here — are donated by supporters and free.

"Better be early because it's really, really full," says Pat, who works as a freelance graphic designer.

Pat, who only gave her first name, says the tents are numbered and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Sooner or later, police will clear this camp, which is completely illegal.

"I'll be really sad," says Elizabeth — she doesn't want to give her full name. She just graduated from college and has been spending a lot of time at the protest.

Elizabeth says when the camp is gone, she will miss the camaraderie and shared sense of mission.

"I've been thinking about this a lot," she says. "This whole building of community is essential if you want to have a sustainable movement, because we know that this movement doesn't end just here. We have to continue it."

Continuing the movement without the gravitational force of the protest camp may be one of the movement's biggest challenges ahead.

Many Hong Kongers support the protesters' democratic goals, but the camp has caused three weeks of traffic jams on this crowded island, and people are looking forward to seeing it go.

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