Kathy Lohr

Whether covering the manhunt and eventual capture of Eric Robert Rudolph in the mountains of North Carolina, the remnants of the Oklahoma City federal building with its twisted metal frame and shattered glass, flood-ravaged Midwestern communities, or the terrorist bombings across the country, including the blast that exploded in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, correspondent Kathy Lohr has been at the heart of stories all across the nation.

Lohr was NPR's first reporter based in the Midwest. She opened NPR's St. Louis office in 1990 and the Atlanta bureau in 1996. Lohr covers the abortion issue on an ongoing basis for NPR, including political and legal aspects. She has often been sent into disasters as they are happening, to provide listeners with the intimate details about how these incidents affect people and their lives.

Lohr filed her first report for NPR while working for member station KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and began her journalism career in commercial television and radio as a reporter/anchor. Lohr also became involved in video production for national corporations and taught courses in television reporting and radio production at universities in Kansas and Missouri. She has filed reports for the NPR documentary program Horizons, the BBC, the CBC, Marketplace, and she was published in the Saturday Evening Post.

Lohr won the prestigious Missouri Medal of Honor for Excellence in Journalism in 2002. She received a fellowship from Vanderbilt University for work on the issue of domestic violence. Lohr has filed reports from 27 states and the District of Columbia. She has received other national awards for her coverage of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Midwestern floods of 1993, and for her reporting on ice storms in the Mississippi Delta. She has also received numerous awards for radio pieces on the local level prior to joining NPR's national team. Lohr was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. She now lives in her adopted hometown of Atlanta, covering stories across the southeastern part of the country.

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Politics
11:03 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Abortion Rights Groups Say It's Time To Stop Playing Defense

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered for 11 hours against sweeping restrictions on abortion back in June, becoming a hero for abortion rights activists.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 12:08 pm

Abortion rights activists are working on a counterattack to the 200 bills that have passed in states across the U.S. since 2010.

In the past three years, Republican-led legislatures have backed bills to regulate abortions and the doctors and clinics that perform them.

Bills to ban abortions at 20 weeks are among the laws that cropped up three years ago and have now passed in about a dozen states. This year, North Dakota pushed to end abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy.

Read more
Business
3:29 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Even If FCC Relaxes Rules, Delta Won't Allow In-Flight Calls

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:08 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

If you ever fly, you've heard it countless times: You cannot use your cellphone while en route to your destination. Federal rules will not allow it. That could change now, as the FCC considers relaxing those rules. But in advance of that decision yesterday, Delta Airlines said it plans to remain committed to high altitude quiet time.

Here's NPR's Kathy Lohr.

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Law
4:13 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Family Of Ga. Teen Found Dead In A Gym Mat Pushes For Answers

Demonstrators attend a rally on Wednesday in Atlanta for Kendrick Johnson, the Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:16 pm

Activists from across the country are asking Georgia's governor to support an investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson, a 17-year-old discovered dead in a high school gymnasium almost a year ago. His body was found in a rolled-up gym mat.

State investigators ruled out foul play, but Johnson's parents don't believe it.

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Sports
4:11 am
Wed November 13, 2013

After Decades, Braves To Move To Suburban Atlanta

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 5:57 am

The Atlanta Braves will abandon downtown for a new stadium in suburban Cobb County. The Braves have played in the city for almost 50 years, and the news came as a big shock to residents.

U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
1:55 am
Thu November 7, 2013

To Get Around Town, Some Cities Take A Step Back In Time

Construction of the Atlanta streetcar line has hurt many businesses along the route, but there is hope that economic gains will increase once the line opens next spring.
Kathy Lohr NPR

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 11:17 am

This story is part of a project on commuting in America.

Cities across the country are investing in old-fashioned streetcars to solve what's known as the "last mile" problem. The hope is that trolleys will make it easier for people to get to their final destination.

Atlanta is one of the latest, laying steel rails for a 2.6 mile line. The tracks will run downtown from Peachtree Street to the Martin Luther King Jr. historic district on the east side of the city. Some see this as a big step forward.

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Health
2:27 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Clinics Close As Texas Abortion Fight Continues

In July, abortion rights advocates marched in Austin, Texas, to protest legislation that could shut down all but five abortion clinics and restrict abortion rights throughout the state.
Tamir Kalifa AP

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 9:52 am

The fight over abortion in Texas is being played out in federal court, where abortion rights activists are challenging a new state law.

The measure bans abortions at 20 weeks, adds building requirements for clinics and places more rules on doctors who perform abortions. Some clinics have shut down, saying they can't comply with the law set to go into effect Oct. 29.

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Race
3:27 am
Wed September 18, 2013

University Of Alabama Moves To Integrate Greek System

Judy Bonner, the University of Alabama's new president, when the school's championship football team visited the White House on April 19, 2012.
Mike Theiler UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 7:48 pm

Students at the University of Alabama and community leaders are reacting to allegations that white sororities denied access to black women because of their race.

The student newspaper in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson White, ran a story that quotes sorority members who say they wanted to recruit at least two black candidates but the students' names were removed before members could vote on them.

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Around the Nation
2:31 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Trail Life USA, The 'Other' Boy Scouts Of America

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 11:49 am

A new faith-based group for boys is taking shape, just three months after the Boy Scouts of America decided to change its membership policy to allow gay youth to join.

Read more
Business
3:15 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

New Carpet Factories Help Cushion Blows From Recession Losses

Fibers are rolled into spools at the Engineered Floors carpet plant in Dalton, Ga.
Kathy Lohr NPR

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:22 pm

Known as the "Carpet Capital of the World," Dalton, Ga., has struggled and lost 17,000 manufacturing jobs over the past decade.

But now, Engineered Floors is investing $450 million in two new manufacturing facilities and a distribution center in the area. The Dalton expansion is part of a resurgence in manufacturing in Georgia and it reflects an optimistic outlook for manufacturing across the Southeast.

Something Different, Something New

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Business
6:20 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Bank Of America To Close Some Drive-Up Tellers

Bank of America won't say exactly how many drive-through lanes are closing. A spokeswoman did say the decision is not a cost-cutting move but a response to the way people are banking. At branches where drive-through lanes are closing, the bank says ATMs will be available.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:43 am

Some Bank of America branches with drive-through tellers from Georgia to Texas have already closed the lanes, according to spokeswoman Tara Burke.

She wouldn't divulge exactly how many are closing. She did say the decision is not a cost-cutting move but a response to the way people are banking.

About 13 million customers bank by mobile phone and 29 million participate in online services. Among them is 19-year-old Brittney Sprague who says, "Not too many folks will really miss the drive-through teller because everybody uses apps. It's all about the new technology."

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U.S.
3:26 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Where Do Drugs For Lethal Injections Come From? Few Know

A new law in Georgia makes information about where the state got its supply of lethal injection drugs a secret.
Ric Feld AP

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 5:45 pm

Several states are dealing with a shortage of lethal injection drugs and have had problems getting enough to carry out executions. In Georgia, lawmakers passed a measure that makes information about where the state got its supply a secret.

The Lethal Injection Secrecy Act says that the identity of people or companies that manufacture, supply or prescribe drugs used in executions is a state secret. But attorneys for death row inmate Warren Lee Hill are challenging the state over whether that law is constitutional.

Cruel And Unusual Punishment?

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U.S.
4:50 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Laws Tightening Abortion Rules Gain Traction In States

Dr. Howard Novick says new abortion restrictions in Texas could force him to close the Houston clinic he opened in 1980. He says he doesn't have the more than $1 million required to convert his office into a surgical center with wide corridors and sophisticated airflow systems.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:31 pm

A judge has temporarily blocked a North Dakota law that would have banned abortions beginning around six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat is detectable. It's one of several state laws passed this year intended to limit abortion.

Those backing the new rules say they will make abortions safer. But abortion-rights advocates say the laws are about politics, not safety.

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Religion
4:23 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Churches Reconsider Sponsoring Boy Scout Troops

Some churches have said they will end their affiliation with the Boy Scouts after its decision to allow openly gay members to join. Others, including Southern Baptists, are considering their next move. Another group plans to hold a meeting in Louisville later this month with parents who say they want a more Christian organization for their children.

Around the Nation
7:09 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Boy Scouts Vote To Allow Gay Members, But Not Leaders

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 5:01 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Boy Scouts ban on openly gay scouts is coming to an end. That's the result of a vote held today by the leadership of the Boys Scouts of America.

WAYNE PERRY: Our vision is to serve every kid. We want every kid to have a place where they belong, to learn and grow and feel protected.

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Around the Nation
5:32 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Boy Scouts To Decide Whether To Admit Gay Youth

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 8:29 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

This week, Boy Scouts of America officials will meet in Texas to consider changing the group's longstanding ban on gay members. The first round of voting starts tomorrow. A new membership policy would allow gay youth, but continue to ban adult leaders who are gay.

NPR's Kathy Lohr reports.

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NPR Story
9:56 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Mark Sanford Wins House Race

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In South Carolina tonight, a political comeback. Republican Mark Sanford, who was once mired in scandal as the state's governor, has won a congressional seat in a special election. He has defeated Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a race that attracted national attention. Sanford just delivered his victory speech.

MARK SANFORD: I have a question for you all. How many of you want to change Washington, D.C.?

(APPLAUSE)

SANFORD: I had a suspicion that that may be the case and...

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It's All Politics
1:37 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Democrats Have High Hopes Of Defeating Sanford In S.C.

Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch looks over at former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford during a debate Monday in Charleston, S.C., in the 1st Congressional District race.
Randall Hill Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 7:28 pm

Democrats have their best chance in more than three decades to win a South Carolina congressional seat in a special election Tuesday.

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Politics
4:13 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Sanford, Colbert Busch Clash In Sole Debate Before Special Election

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:27 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

There's a high profile congressional race going on in South Carolina and last night the two candidates met in their first - and only - debate. For the Republican, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. This is an attempted political comeback, but it's being hindered by new allegations by his ex-wife that reminds some voters of how Sanford left office in the first place.

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Around the Nation
4:16 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

50 Years Later, King's Birmingham 'Letter' Still Resonates

Martin Luther King Jr., with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (center) and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, defied an injunction against protesting on Good Friday in 1963. They were arrested and held in solitary confinement in the Birmingham jail where King wrote his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail."
Courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:12 am

It's been five decades since Martin Luther King Jr., began writing his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail," a response to eight white Alabama clergymen who criticized King and worried the civil rights campaign would cause violence. They called King an "extremist" and told blacks they should be patient.

But the time for waiting was over. Birmingham was the perfect place to take a stand.

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Law
4:39 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Abortion Opponents Gear Up For More Battles

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 8:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now to a debate over abortion that has escalated after some recent moves by states. The North Dakota legislature just passed a series of bills, including the strictest abortion ban in the country. And lawmakers there voted to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot next year which would end abortion entirely. Earlier this month, Arkansas passed a 12-week ban. NPR's Kathy Lohr reports that more states are debating stricter laws with hopes of getting one of them before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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It's All Politics
7:27 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Sanford's House Bid A Test Of S.C. Voters' Will To Forgive

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford chats with a diner at a restaurant in Charleston, S.C. Sanford is one of 16 Republicans in Tuesday's GOP primary for the special election to fill the vacant 1st Congressional District seat.
Bruce Smith AP

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 11:38 am

Two Democrats and 16 Republicans are running for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District seat in a special election Tuesday. The seat is open because former Rep. Tim Scott was tapped to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, who retired midterm.

The biggest name in the race is former Gov. Mark Sanford, whose infamous affair led to his political downfall. Sanford is trying to stage the political comeback of a lifetime.

And he's doing it one diner at a time — greeting customers over eggs and grits at Page's Okra Grill, just outside Charleston in Mount Pleasant.

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History
6:03 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Civil Rights Exhibit Highlights Successes, Work Left To Be Done

An undated photo from the exhibit shows Southern Christian Leadership Conference officials leading demonstrators in a march "against fear and injustice" in Decatur, Ga.
SCLC records, MARBL, Emory University

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 10:55 am

A new exhibit on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta is bringing civil rights leaders together.

Curators have worked for more than three years to catalog roughly 1,000 boxes of historic documents that tell the story of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an early civil rights group first presided over by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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U.S.
4:52 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

States Become Battlegrounds For Nation's Deep Abortion Divide

Abortion opponents march to a rally at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Kansas is among several states that have enacted new restrictions on abortion in recent years.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 7:48 pm

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Thousands of activists on both sides of the issue are holding rallies marking the day at state capitals across the country.

In the decades since the decision, abortion has been one of the most debated and legislated issues in the nation. And state legislatures, which are increasingly passing laws restricting abortion, have become the debate's key battlegrounds.

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U.S.
5:09 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

New Regulations Could Treat Virginia Abortion Clinics Like Hospitals

Protesters appeal to members of the Virginia Board of Health after their decision to impose new building regulations on abortion clinics in Richmond, Va., on Sept. 14.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 9:00 am

This month marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the famed and widely cited case that legalized abortion. Yet across the country, states are continuing to approve restrictions.

With little fanfare, Virginia and Michigan Republican governors recently signed new abortion bills into law. Virginia's Bob McDonnell, in particular, quietly approved clinic regulations adopted by the state's Board of Health three months ago that hold abortion clinics to the same building standards as hospitals.

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Business
10:25 am
Thu December 20, 2012

From Shoes To M&M's, Custom-Made Products Take Off Online

High school student Jon Ledbetter designs his own "NikeiD" sneakers. Ledbetter can post his designs on Nike's website, where other shoppers can also order them.
Kathy Lohr NPR

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:53 pm

It wasn't long ago that all consumers went to retail stores to buy things. These days, of course, you can get just about anything online. Some companies are now taking that shopping experience to the next level, allowing customers to design almost anything individually — from a trench coat to a batch of M&M's.

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The Salt
3:51 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Georgia Town Makes Claim For Fruitcake Capital Of The World

The Claxton Bakery in Georgia makes millions of pounds of fruitcake each year.
Stephen Morton AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:29 pm

In the small town of Claxton, Ga., two bakeries make more than 4 million pounds of fruitcake each year. Both bakeries say Claxton is the fruitcake capital of the world, despite a similar claim made by a company in Corsicana, Texas.

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Around the Nation
2:56 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

To Trim Down, Spelman Trades Sports For Fitness

Spelman College has dropped NCAA athletics in favor of a comprehensive fitness program. The school now offers classes like Zumba to help encourage all students to exercise more.
Courtesy of Spelman College

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 5:40 pm

For the past decade, Spelman College, a historically black women's school in Atlanta, has fielded NCAA teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and other sports. But when its small Division III conference started dwindling, college President Beverly Tatum says the school decided it was time to change focus.

"We have to ask ourselves: What is the cost of the program and who is benefiting? How many people are benefiting? Is the benefit worth the cost?" Tatum asks.

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Around the Nation
3:59 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Fingerprint Scans Create Unease For Poor Parents

A pilot program in Mississippi requires low-income parents who receive subsidized child care to submit to biometric finger scans like this one, at Northtown Child Development Center in Jackson. Some parents and day care workers say the rule is unnecessary and discriminatory, but state officials say it will save money and prevent fraud.
Kathy Lohr NPR

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:14 pm

Some Mississippi parents are learning a new routine when they drop their kids off at day care centers that are taking part in a new pilot program aimed at combating fraud and saving the state money.

Under the program, the state scans parents' fingerprints to capture biometric information, and that information is turned into a number. Then, at a day care center, parents dropping off or picking up their kids put their fingers on a pad, and a small keyboard records the exact time a child is checked in or out.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
4:00 pm
Sat November 3, 2012

Crews Work To Restore Power, And Explain The Delay

Utility crews work on power lines as dusk falls in Ship Bottom, a community on Long Beach Island, N.J.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 5:45 pm

More than 8 million people lost power after Superstorm Sandy. Five days later, 2.5 million are still waiting as power companies across the region continue to say that restoring power is more complicated than it seems.

The storm packed a one-two punch. First, it flooded several switching stations including one hidden under the New Jersey Turnpike in Newark, says Art Torticelli, who was out with his crew from Public Service Electric and Gas at a switching station in Essex, N.J.

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Education
4:03 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Undocumented Students Take Education Underground

Pam Voekel is a volunteer teacher at Freedom University in Georgia, an informal school for undocumented youth who are banned from some state schools.
John Paul Gallagher

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 3:19 pm

About 35 students meet every Sunday at an undisclosed location in Georgia to study. They are undocumented and banned from attending some of the most prestigious colleges in the state.

Georgia is one of three states to bar undocumented students from attending schools. But a group of professors at the University of Georgia has created a fledgling school to provide a place for students to learn.

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