Sunday Playlist: End of the Road
August 12th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Sunday Playlist: End of the Road

By Lisa Desjardins, John Sepulvado, Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, Jonathan Binder and Gavin Godfrey, CNN

(CNN) - Usually on Sundays we present some of our favorite listening discoveries produced by other audio storytellers.

This week, we depart from the usual and highlight our own work. We want to focus on a series CNN Radio has been presenting for the past several weeks, "Embed America."

The series was an attempt to take a different approach to election coverage: to turn away from the scripts of the presidential campaigns and, instead, focus on the issues important to voters where they live.

We invite you to explore the variety of stories our reporting teams produced from all over the country. Our reporters and producers worked very hard to bring these stories about a nation in the midst of a pivotal election year.

 Chip Grabow, Senior Editor, CNN Radio


Embed America: Problems of liberty and justice on the plains
Calvin "Hawkeye" Waln says raising allegations of police brutality and civil rights abuses against his reservation's police department cost him his job.
August 9th, 2012
11:08 AM ET

Embed America: Problems of liberty and justice on the plains

By Lisa Desjardins and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Rosebud, South Dakota (CNN) - They are watchwords of both parties: freedom and liberty.

But when Embed America went to South Dakota we found a place where many say that both are threatened and the problem is ignored. The Rosebud Sioux Reservation includes one of the poorest counties in the nation, but residents talked with us more about their concerns that the tribal police force is part of a broken justice system.

We spoke with Calvin “Hawkeye” Waln, a recently fired police officer who made some serious charges.

[3:14] “You're talking violations of civil rights, excessive use of force is one. You’re talking spraying handcuffed suspects with pepper spray to physical police brutality where the officers end up injuring or breaking bones from assaulting somebody.”


Embed America: Lemon Grove, California as microcosm of U.S.
Like many American towns, Lemon Grove, California has been struggling to pull itself out of hard economic times.
August 7th, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Embed America: Lemon Grove, California as microcosm of U.S.

By John Sepulvado, CNN

Lemon Grove, California (CNN) - Our Embed America election series has been exploring the issues important to American voters and their communities. The stories we discovered frequently involve issues we're not hearing much about in the presidential candidates' campaigns.

From Florida to California, CNN’s John Sepulvado has been reporting on issues as varied as gun control, education, or public transportation and how those issues play out in the lives of American voters.

Wrapping up his leg of the Embed America journey across the southern United States, he takes us to his hometown of Lemon Grove, California. When he arrived there, his brother, James Sepulvado, told him the local recreation center was closing:

[2:51] “It’s kind of unique, as far as I know of, that the city had funded what was essentially an after school program,” says James Sepulvado. “We would play sports there, they had games like foosball, pool, you know, you could do arts and crafts…it was like, this safe place and there were some really amazing people that worked there, and they had this great knack for knowing which kids needed some guidance, and which kids needed some extra adult figures in their life. And I think they actually saved a lot of people.”


Embed America: Transportation, the invisible pocketbook issue
Durango has approved an ambitious plan that would put a bus stop within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from any point in the city.
August 3rd, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Embed America: Transportation, the invisible pocketbook issue

By John Sepulvado, CNN

Durango, Colorado (CNN) - In the center of this small, Western town, there are bartenders who rock handlebar moustaches and pour sloe gin fizzes. Some waitresses wear feathers in their hair and tight-fitting western dresses while serving clams and steak. There’s an old rail car that rumbles through downtown, with a conductor dressed in a blue and white rail cap.

Much of downtown Durango seems like a Old West re-enactment.

Yet, this scenic town of 16,000 is pursuing one of the most ambitious transportation plans in the country. It includes miles of bike-ways and walking trails, and it aims for a public transit stop within fifteen minutes of any point in town.

[3:51] “We know that not every single initiative in this plan is implementable, particularly in the near-term,” says Durango Mayor Doug Lyon. “We don’t have to do the whole thing to be successful.” FULL POST

Embed America: Small businesses are big issue this election
Jannet Walsh, 48, sits at her grandfather's desk, from which she's launching her own small business.
July 31st, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Embed America: Small businesses are big issue this election

By Lisa Desjardins and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Murdock, Minnesota (CNN) - Jannet Walsh is not waiting for the presidential candidates to encourage more jobs. Instead, the unemployed Minnesotan is trying to create one on her own.

[1:52] "I think it was February, after I don't know how many (job) rejections," the 48-year-old told CNN Radio, the frustration still clear in her voice, "I actually remember sitting here kind of yelling, 'This is it! This is enough!'"

That moment, Walsh decided to create her own business, a one-woman photography and media company based in her family's century-old home. With that decision, the energetic former newspaper photographer took a gamble that is central to the debates over the economy and the White House.

Small businesses generated 65% of the new jobs in America over the past 17 years, according to the Small Business Administration.

And such firms, defined as having fewer than 500 workers, employ half of all workers in the private sector.

Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have spoken about the importance of small businesses and their commitment to supporting them. But Walsh already understands the bigger issue: how to make sure a nascent business survives.

[6:07] "Right now, I'm not making much money," Walsh sighed, her laptop perched on the antique writer's desk that used to belong to her grandfather, "but I think once more people know who I am and actually see me out more, I think that could change."

Better off than four years ago?

Read Jannet Walsh's iReport

You can check out all our Embed America coverage here. And track the team's progress on our Embed America map.

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