Sarah Gonzalez

Sarah Gonzalez is the multimedia education reporter for WLRN's StateImpact Florida project. She comes from NPR in D.C. where she was a national desk reporter, web and show producer as an NPR Kroc Fellow. The San Diego native has worked as a reporter and producer for KPBS in San Diego and KALW in San Francisco, covering under-reported issues like youth violence, food insecurity and public education. Her work has been awarded an SPJ Sigma Delta Chi and regional Edward R. Murrow awards. She graduated from Mills College in 2009 with a bachelorâ

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Your recyclables may be getting picked up, but they may not be getting recycled. And Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast reports that could be a good thing if you care about the planet.

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So in 1987, something convinced many U.S. cities to pick up recyclable items from residents' homes. Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast reports it started with a garbage barge and the Mob.

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Four new dollar stores will open in the U.S. every single day of 2019. That's a new dollar store every six hours. There are more dollar stores than there are Walmarts, McDonald's and CVS stores combined. And they are setting up in places no one else will go... tiny towns, urban areas, poor communities.

Today on the show, we go to a town that decided there were too many dollar stores. And talk to a woman on a mission to ban them.

In 2015, Jen Lewis posted a photoshopped image to Twitter that would go insanely viral. In it, Kanye West is kissing a mirrored image of himself. The image is so popular it even ends up spray painted on a wall in Australia. Kanye, maybe inspired by the photo, writes a song about how much he loves himself.

But the thing is... Jen's original tweet didn't get much. What made it famous was that the Instagram account, f*ckjerry, reposted it. Without crediting her.

What happens when a police department can no longer afford its bad behavior?

In 2013, Tony Miranda was brought in to lead a police department in crisis. Bad behavior by a handful of officers had led to investigations and lawsuits with costs in the millions of dollars. That was more than the city could cover.

He knew change would be difficult. But he also knew he had a powerful ally on his side: insurance coverage.

A Warning: This episode contains audio from a disturbing scene of a pipeline explosion.

Mexico's national oil company, Petróleos MexicanosPemexis one of the largest oil companies in the world, and its gas is really expensive. Working for the minimum wage, it takes a day to earn enough to buy a gallon of gas.

This episode originally ran in November 2012.

Yesterday, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was found guilty of running an international drug smuggling operation. He made so much in drug proceeds that he had to smuggle the cash out of the U.S. in private planes and launder it through a bunch of front companies.

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In 2010, Panera started opening nonprofit cafes called Panera Cares. They told customers, pay what you can afford. Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast looks at how that experiment turned out.

In 2010, Panera launched a series of non-profit cafes. These cafes were pretty much just like any other Panera, except that customers could choose what to pay for their food. The menu only listed "suggested prices." The hope was that generous people would help subsidize the meals of the needy, and the cafes would break even.

On today's show, an experiment in charity that goes right to the heart of human nature. It's a battle between our ethical concerns, and the way we actually spend our money.

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This current federal government shutdown is the longest one we've had. Sarah Gonzalez of our Planet Money podcast tells us that the first time this sort of thing happened was over protections for black voters.

The government is shut down again. Here at Planet Money, we wondered: just how long has this been going on? The answer is: It started a long time ago, but then it didn't happen again for nearly a hundred years.

Today on the show, we go back in time to 1879. There was a fight between President Rutherford B. Hayes and Congress about African-Americans voting. It ended in the first ever government shutdown.

People aren't just good for the economy. They are the economy. So when a place needs people, it'll do almost anything to attract them.

Today on the show, we hear from a few places doing whatever they can to get more people. There's an Italian ghost town, a $100 million scheme to save a seat in Congress, and an aging state searching for young workers.

As President Trump sat across the table from Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 in Buenos Aires, things seemed to be looking up. Their two governments, which have been embroiled in a trade war for months, were agreeing to a 90-day truce.

Their plan was dangerous, risky, and extremely unpopular. But America — and much of the rest of the world — copied them anyway.

Today on the show, how New Zealand changed the way governments all over the world run their economies. This tiny country created an idea called inflation targeting.

If something is going wrong in your workplace, there's probably a law that explains why. Like Goodhart's Law, which says if a company decides to measure something, workers will find a way to respond with good numbers. Or, the Peter Principle, which says that every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence.

Today on the show, we picked a few of the more famous laws and tested them out in our office. And that's where the giant trophy comes in.

Lately, we've been nerding out about cattle. Specifically, about this one particular set of facts. Every year, the United States exports 500 million pounds of beef to Mexico. But every year, the United States imports 500 million pounds of beef from Mexico.

We heard this, and thought: How is that possible? Why are we trotting all these cows back and forth across the border? We sent a reporter to the border to find out. The answers to those questions explain a lot about how trade works.

As the student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Seth Frotman watched as the Department of Education became one of the biggest banks in the country. It has lent out more than a trillion dollars to student borrowers. The problem is, the Department of Education wasn't really built to be a bank.

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Every day, Venezuela's currency, the bolivar, loses value, so people there are trying to trade it for U.S. dollars. Turns out, that's a really dangerous thing to do. Here's Sarah Gonzalez with our Planet Money podcast.

Venezuela's currency, the bolivar, is like an unwrapped chocolate bar these days. The minute it touches your hand it starts to melt. To disappear. So Venezuelans have been trying to trade their money for anything at all: Toilet paper, bags of sugar, and, if they can manage it, U.S. dollars.

A few years ago, an entire beach in a remote area of Jamaica vanished. Thieves dug up hundreds of tons of sand and hauled it away in dump trucks in the middle of the night. The sand--white, powdery, Caribbean sand--was worth about a million dollars.

It was an early sign that the world was facing a growing problem. Sand is a key ingredient in all kinds of things. It's in concrete, in glass, in your cell phone. But there isn't enough sand in the world for everyone, and we're starting to run out. So people are stealing it, smuggling it, and getting killed over it.

A few years ago, Don McPherson was wearing a pair of tinted glasses on a frisbee field. Don had designed them to protect the eyes of surgeons. Then his friend borrowed them, and saw something he'd never seen before. The color orange.

Don's friend was colorblind. And that moment led Don to figure out something that had stumped the medical world for centuries: How to help the colorblind see the rainbow.

Today on the show: Accidental inventions. Also, Planet Money's Kenny Malone discovers fuchsia.

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Twenty three years ago, the United States and just about every country in the world decided that they were going to create a common set of rules about trade. Rule one: If anyone broke these rules, everyone would immediately report to a lake in Switzerland—home of the World Trade Organization.

Today on the show, we ask the big questions: Should the WTO be able to veto a decision made by the elected representatives of the American people? Does it have enough power to stop a trade war? And the biggest question of all... Is mint even a flavor?

There's a long-held debate in education. " 'Do you fix education to cure poverty or do you cure poverty to cure education?' And I think that's a false dichotomy," says the superintendent of Camden schools in New Jersey, Paymon Rouhanifard. "You have to address both."

That can be expensive.

In 1997, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state's school funding formula was leaving behind poor students. It ordered millions of dollars in additional funding to 31 of the then-poorest districts.

For years, Newark, N.J., had the reputation of being a crime-ridden, low-income city. Former Mayor Cory Booker helped change that perception.

Thursday, the Democrat was sworn in as a U.S. senator, and it's unclear what that means for the city's future.

While Booker brought attention — and funding — to Newark, he couldn't completely tackle the violence that has persisted for years. As mayoral candidates begin making their cases, crime is a common theme.

'Now A City Of Hope'

Twelve years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the loved ones of victims are still getting calls from the New York City Medical Examiner's Office about newly identified remains.

Sandra Grazioso from Clifton, N.J., said her family got one of those calls last week. She lost both of her sons in the terrorist attack — Tim, 42, and John, 41. Two more body parts belonging to Tim had been identified.

"An upper arm and shoulder and a tooth," Grazioso says. "A molar."