Across the Midwest and South, violent tornadoes struck several states this weekend, killing at least 14 people and leaving vast areas of destruction.
Last week — after a 15 year battle — Reverend Kennedy of Laurens, South Carolina made headlines when a judge declared his New Beginnings Baptist Church to be the rightful owner of "The Redneck Shop", a store that sold Ku Klux Klan and confederate memorabilia. One of the original owners had sold his portion of the store to Kennedy after falling on hard times and experiencing a religious reawakening.
The FBI, police and citizens of the city of Jackson, Missippi are debating whether the white teenagers who robbed and murdered James Craig Anderson, a black man, were motivated by racism. The case has prompted many to consider race relations in the state, and it's troubled history with race. The suspects' lawyers say it was just an act of teenage stupidity, but prosecutors say the killing was a premeditated racial killing. The U.S. Justice Department has begun an investigation into the case. Kim Severson has been reporting on the case for our partner, The New York Times.
The Morganza Spillway was all over the front pages this weekend. You probably saw a picture of it – the big wall of the levee with its gates open, spewing muddy Mississippi water at thousands of cubic feet per minute. The decision to open those floodgates has diverted the surge of the Mississippi, and probably saved Baton Rouge and New Orleans from flooding. But all that water has to go somewhere, and salvation downriver came at the expense of folks upriver. When the gates were opened, it set into motion a slow moving disaster; one that's arriving in the homes of the Cajun communities in the Atchafalaya Basin.
Federal and state emergency officials in Alabama believe that the deadly tornadoes two weeks ago left as many as 10,000 residents homeless. In Tuscaloosa, the urban area hit hardest, people are scrambling for the few remaining apartments — and for low-income residents, affordable housing is almost impossible to find. Officials are concerned that many of the poor, working class and elderly residents could be homeless for good.
Hundreds of people have been confirmed dead after devastating storms ripped through the south on Wednesday. Thousands of residents are without power, while they continue to look for survivors and dig out from the wreckage. A spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency said yesterday that the death toll, which had reached 15 in the state, is fluid and is likely to rise. To get more of the news happening in the areas affected, we speak with Kim Severson of The New York Times, who is in Georgia.
For this week’s food segment, we sit down with our friend Kim Severson, food writer for our partner The New York Times, and star of such past Takeaway cooking segments as “The Girl Scout Cookie Smackdown” and “Food Writers Compete to Feed Six for Fifty Dollars.”
Today, we take our inspiration from the Girl Scouts. Across much of the country, Girl Scout cookie selling (and for some, eating) season is winding down. And if you’re like us, that means you’ve stockpiled boxes and boxes of Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, and Samoas.
Watch a video of the girl scout cookie smackdown!