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If you had strolled one Saturday afternoon through the Park Plaza neighborhood in Fridley, Minn., you might have thought you were at just another block party. The residents were milling around a picnic buffet on folding tables on the street in front of their houses and the American flag. Kids were tossing beanbags and shouting. Neighbors were delivering Jell-O and marshmallow salad, and a pot of pork, cilantro and beans.

But this was not an ordinary picnic. Residents were celebrating the fifth anniversary of a major achievement that could inspire similar communities across the country: The day they began to take more control of their lives.

Park Plaza is a mobile home park, or what industry calls a manufactured housing community. Five years ago, the residents banded together, formed a nonprofit co-op and bought their entire neighborhood from the company that owned it. Today, these residents exert democratic control over almost 9 acres of prime suburbs, with 80 manufactured houses sited on them.

“It’s pretty wild,” says Carleton Dahl, one of the resident-owners, as he eats a hot dog. “Been a big change around here.”

Picture a mobile home community, and your image might look like Park Plaza. Most homes are white, brown or gray rectangles, with aluminum siding and pickup trucks parked in front. Some homes are bordered with flowers. Others have piles of junk.

There are no precise figures, but the U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are more than 8 million manufactured houses across the country. Housing specialists say they’re an important source of affordable housing.

“Where else could you live close to a city for this kind of money?” asks Natividad Seefeld, the elected (and unpaid) president of Park Plaza.

When Residents Take Ownership, A Mobile Home Community Thrives

This story is the second in a two-part report on conditions at mobile home parks in the U.S. Read part one here.

Photos: Bridget Bennett for NPR

Dragons are feared. They’re dangerous. They’re huge and powerful and could crush most men with a step. Only, Person A? They aren’t. Sure, they’re a dragon. They have scales and some magic and a lair with a nice sized hoard ( though it’s mostly only sentimental value ), but most of the time they travel the world as a human, exploring and investigating the world as a whole; fascinated by the humans and elves and all the other interesting little mortals. Of course, they are a little peeved by the whole bad reputation they have - especially because they wouldn’t hurt a fly. But they enjoy their life largely. Traveling around and pretending to be mortal bard/knight/ranger/etc, they’ve seen a lot.

Person B is another dragon. Their attitude towards the mortals is inconsequential, because regardless of it, they have come under attack. A local lord claims that B was behind the mass destruction of several cities, and thus, B was forced out of their home - their lair - and out into the world. Only, a massive dragon flying through the sky is a little conspicuous, so they’ve opted to go incognito as a human.

Person A is curious though. Having heard of B before, though not having met them, they doubt B actually did anything, and set out to investigate. B’s investigating too, and they happen upon each other - completely clueless as to their true forms. Together they team up to get to the bottom of it, and set out on a quest, facing off against, wizards, giants, knights, and - worst of all - politicians.

More than 30 years ago, Congress overwhelmingly passed a landmark health bill aimed at motivating pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs for people whose rare diseases had been ignored.

By the drugmakers’ calculations, the markets for such diseases weren’t big enough to bother with.

But lucrative financial incentives created by the Orphan Drug Act signed into law by President Reagan in 1983 succeeded far beyond anyone’s expectations. More than 200 companies have brought almost 450 so-called orphan drugs to market since the law took effect.

Yet a Kaiser Health News investigation shows that the system intended to help desperate patients is being manipulated by drugmakers to maximize profits and to protect niche markets for medicines already being taken by millions. The companies aren’t breaking the law but they are using the Orphan Drug Act to their advantage in ways that its architects say they didn’t foresee or intend. Today, many orphan medicines, originally developed to treat diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people, come with astronomical price tags.

Drugs For Rare Diseases Have Become Uncommonly Rich Monopolies

Graphic: NPR and Kaiser Health News

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Hubert’s Christmas mission: investigate this HIGHLY suspicious Christmas ornament.

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These 10 foreign business deals pose the clearest potential conflicts for Trump

 President-elect Donald Trump’s overseas business deals involving skyscrapers, golf courses and hotels represent one of the clearest areas of potential conflicts for his incoming administration, experts say. 

Trump has partnered with companies worldwide, stretching from a pair of towers in Indonesia to the regulatory-free South American country of Uruguay. 

Working with the non-profit journalism organization ProPublica, USA TODAY has compiled a list of 10 deals, in various stages of activity, that represent the highest potential for entanglement of foreign businesses and political conflicts for the new president.

Before they get to work on reforming the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Congress and the White House might want to take a closer look at the last time they tried it — a $16 billion fix called the Veterans Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, designed to get veterans medical care more quickly.

NPR and local member stations have been following that money, including the $10 billion for vets to get care outside the VA system. The Choice Act also channeled about $2.5 billion for hiring more doctors, nurses and other medical staff at VA medical centers.

The goal of the hiring money was to address a simple math problem. The number of veterans coming to the VA has shot up in recent years, and the number of medical staff has not kept pace. The idea was that more caregivers would cut wait times.

But an investigation by NPR and local member stations found that: the VA has about the same number of new hires as the VA would have been projected to hire without the additional $2.5 billion; the new hires weren’t sent to VA hospitals with the longest wait times; and the VA medical centers that got new hires were not more likely to see improved wait times.

VA Hospitals Still Struggling With Adding Staff Despite Billions From Choice Act

Graphic: Brittany Mayes and Stephan Bisaha/NPR

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On September 1st a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad during a fueling test, the reasons for this have been open so some wild speculation but in the end it’s nothing to do with UFOs - It’s all to do with COPV’s, LOX & SOX.
Let’s explain what this all means.

Investigation

Part 1 | The Gig | Memories

You suppressed the groan rising in your throat as you willed your eyes to open. The hammering pain in your head only worsened as the dim light in the van greeted you. You looked around somewhat frantically before everything came back to you. The fight between you and Dan, the strange knock at your door, and now here you were, trapped in a van with your captors.

It must have been hours since Dan walked out. Oh god, you thought to yourself. Dan doesn’t even know what’s going on. He’s gonna think I just walked out or something, no one’ll even realize what’s happened.

You took a few short, frantic breaths as you tried to subtly wriggle out of the ties around your wrists.

“Oh, look who’s awake.” One of the men smiled grimly. “Unfortunately, you’ve got another nap to take, love.” He quickly stuck you with another needle and within moments, your world was turning black again.

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“Another?” The bartender asked Dan, nodding towards his empty glass. Dan didn’t even look up; he was leaning on the bar with his head hung, his eyes tracing the grain in the wood as he thought over what had happened earlier that day.

“Suit yourself,” the bartender grumbled before walking away. Dan bit his inner cheek and pulled out his wallet, tossing enough cash to cover his tab before leaving. He zipped up his hoodie as the cold winter air greeted him and pulled out his phone, dialing the same number he had been trying to reach all night. The phone rang and rang, but little did he know it was strewn on the floor back home, vibrating with no one there to answer it. Dan didn’t even bother leaving a message. He  grabbed a cab instead, deciding you two needed to talk face to face anyways.

He walked up to the front door, his hair in utter disarray from running his hand through it so much. He fumbled as he tried to put his key in the lock, the alcohol obstructing his coordination.

When he finally got the lock to click, he opened the door to find an unusual sight. The rug right by the door had seemingly been kicked to the side, and there your phone lay, a few feet to Dan’s left. He picked up your phone, pressed the home button, and saw you were in the process of dialing a number when you were interrupted for some reason. The number 99 was displayed on the top of the screen. Dan let out a shaky breath and pulled his own phone from his pocket, his fingers shaking so much he could barely press the keys he wanted to.

“Hey, mate.” Kyle answered chirpily.

“I- uh… something happened. Something- something bad. I dunno what. I need you to get down here. Fast.” Dan stammered out, his eyes still locked on your phone.

“Wh- I mean, yeah. Yeah. Of course, I’ll- I’ll be right there.” Kyle said, all optimism absent in his tone. Dan ended the call and ran a hand through his hair.

“I…I need to call the police.” He muttered aloud to himself.

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Dan was sitting on the porch step when Kyle’s car pulled up. The police had already arrived, interviewed Dan, and taken all the evidence they could - which was an underwhelming amount. All but one police car had left, and it’s flashing lights were the only thing lighting up the yard.

“Mate, what happened?” Kyle asked, taking a seat next to Dan.

“I- I dunno.” Dan muttered, wringing his hands nervously. “Fuck, I never should have said what I said…” Dan growled in anger. “She’s… She’s gone, and the last thing we did was fight. The last thing she’s gonna remember of me is me walking out on her. If I hadn’t been such a prick-”

“Dan, it’s not your fault.” Kyle interrupted him, shaking his head. “There’s no way you could’ve known this was gonna happen. Now, the guys are on their way, but did you tell her old partner? She talked about him, right? They used to work together before her accident.”

Dan nodded. “He said he thinks it could be the people who caused the crash in the first place. The bust they were working on… he said they put a hit out for her and anyone else working the case. They didn’t want anyone to be able to testify against them.” Dan bit his inner cheek.

“They’ll solve this, mate. They’ll get her back.” Kyle reassured Dan.

“I can’t stay here. Not tonight, not when this is going on.”

“Right, let’s go to my place tonight. I’ve got a couch you can crash on. I’ll tell Woody and Will just to meet me there. We’ll all get through this together, yeah?” Kyle clapped Dan’s back as the two of them headed over to his car.

“It’s not me I’m worried about.” Dan muttered.

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A/N: sorry this part was so short! I’ll have another part posted soon, I promise!

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Police photographs that were taken at Dennis Nilsen’s flat at 23D Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, London, in February 1983. On February 8th, tenants of Cranley Gardens had complained that the drains of the apartment complex were blocked, which led to a Dyno-rod employee discovering organic, flesh-like material which was clogging the drains.

Pictured above is Nilsen’s kitchen with the sink in which Nilsen drowned some of his victims, as well as some of the bin-bags he hid in a bedroom closet, containing human limbs and internal organs.

Nilsen, who has been dubbed “the British Jeffrey Dahmer”, was found to have murdered at least 15 young men between 1978 and 1983.

Dan Rather: “We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.”

Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating Constitutional crisis, until maybe now. On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour. And we may look back and see, in the end, that it is at least as big as Watergate. It may become the measure by which all future scandals are judged. It has all the necessary ingredients, and that is chilling.

When we look back at Watergate, we remember the end of the Nixon Presidency. It came with an avalanche, but for most of the time my fellow reporters and I were chasing down the story as it rumbled along with a low-grade intensity. We never were quite sure how much we would find out about what really happened. In the end, the truth emerged into the light, and President Nixon descended into infamy.

This Russia story started out with an avalanche and where we go from here no one really knows. Each piece of news demands new questions. We are still less than a month into the Trump Presidency, and many are asking that question made famous by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker those many years ago: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” New reporting suggests that Mr. Trump knew for weeks. We can all remember the General Michael Flynn’s speech from the Republican National Convention - “Lock her up!” in regards to Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had done one tenth of what Mr. Flynn had done, she likely would be in jail. And it isn’t just Mr. Flynn, how far does this go?

The White House has no credibility on this issue. Their spigot of lies - can’t we finally all agree to call them lies - long ago lost them any semblance of credibility. I would also extend that to the Republican Congress, who has excused away the Trump Administration’s assertions for far too long.

We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth. If a scriptwriter had approached Hollywood with what we are witnessing, he or she would probably have been told it was way too far-fetched for even a summer blockbuster. But this is not fiction. It is real and it is serious. Deadly serious. We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.