Joel Rose

Joel Rose covers the northeast for the National Desk out of NPR's New York bureau.

Rose's reporting often focuses on criminal justice, technology and culture. He's interviewed grieving parents after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, resettled refugees in Buffalo, and a lineup of musicians that includes Solomon Burke, Tom Waits and Arcade Fire.

Rose collaborated with NPR's Planet Money podcast for a story on smart guns. He was part of NPR's award-winning coverage of Pope Francis's visit to the US. He's also contributed to breakings news coverage of the mass shooting at Mother Bethel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, and major protests after the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Eric Garner in New York.

Before coming to NPR, Rose held a number of jobs in public radio. He spent a decade in Philadelphia, including six years as a reporter at member station WHYY. He was also a producer at KQED in San Francisco and American Routes in New Orleans.

Rose has a bachelor's degree in history and music from Brown University, where he got his start in broadcasting as an overnight DJ at the college radio station. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

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At the White Rose Diner in Linden, N.J., owner Rich Belfer tosses a dozen round, thick slices of processed pork to sizzle on the grill. To Belfer, it's beyond dispute that those are slices of Taylor Ham.

"It's pork, it's spices, it's salt, it's water. It's common ingredients," Belfer says.

But the flavor is more difficult to explain. "I don't know if anybody can really describe it," he says. "It has a little smoky flavor. It has a little spice. It has a little original Jersey flavor in it."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

One of the country's largest pizza chains faces a lawsuit over alleged wage theft.

New York's attorney general accuses Domino's Pizza of systematically undercounting the hours worked by employees at its franchises.

The case could deliver big changes in the fast-food industry and beyond.

When you own a Domino's franchise there are some rules you just have to follow.

Seventeen states have legal protections to prevent discrimination against transgender people in areas like housing and employment.

One of those states is New Jersey, and when employers there want to know how state law applies to transgender people, many of them call Robyn Gigl. She's a partner at a top law firm; a board member of Garden State Equality, a nonprofit that works on LGBT issues, and is also a transgender woman.

"I put a human face on something, and I consider myself the most normal person in the room," she says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

You probably know it's against the law in most states to text and drive — but studies suggest that many of us still peek at our smartphones when we're behind the wheel.

This habit, however, contributes to distracted driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,179 people were killed in car crashes involving a distracted driver in 2014.

When you ride on buses or trains in many parts of the United States, what you say could be recorded. Get on a New Jersey Transit light rail train in Hoboken or Jersey City, for example, and you might notice an inconspicuous sign that says "video and audio systems in use."

A lot of riders are not happy about it.

"Yeah I don't like that," says Michael Dolan of Bayonne, N.J. "I don't want conversations being picked up because it's too Orwellian for me. It reeks of Big Brother."

It's been a big week for supporters of paid family leave.

The city of San Francisco and the state of New York took groundbreaking steps toward new and more generous leave policies. Advocates hope the moves will create momentum in other places that are considering similar measures.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The late Harry Bertoia is most famous for the iconic chairs he designed in the 1950s, which are now coveted by collectors of mid-century modern furniture.

Atlantic City is wondering when its losing streak will finally end.

The mayor says his town, known for its huge casinos on the boardwalk, will run out of money in a few weeks. State lawmakers have a plan to get the city's finances under control. Atlantic City leaders don't like the state's takeover plan. But residents are hoping for anything that will change their luck.

"A lot of people are walking away from their homes," says Al Bailey, a local real estate agent who was born and raised in Atlantic City.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Sunny Balzano's modest watering-hole in Brooklyn was a throwback to another time. It was known simply as Sunny's, after the beloved bartender and raconteur who transformed a faded longshoremen's bar into a local institution. He died Thursday at the age of 81, just weeks after the publication of Sunny's Nights, a new book about his life and times.

Sunny was not a master of artisanal cocktails, as he was quick to admit. "I still don't know how to mix drinks, do I?," he joked during an interview at the bar last month. No one disagreed.

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