Bill Chappell | KERA News

Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

Chappell's work for NPR includes being the lead writer for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 to Pyeongchang in 2018 – stints that also included posting numerous videos and photos to NPR's Instagram and other branded accounts. He has also previously been NPR.org's homepage editor.

Chappell established the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR's website; his assignments also include being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road. Chappell has coordinated special digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing the rundown of All Things Considered. He also frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as The Salt.

At NPR, Chappell has trained both digital and radio staff to tell compelling stories, promoting more collaboration between departments and desks.

Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that performed one of NPR's largest website redesigns. One year later, NPR.org won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

Prior to joining NPR, Chappell was part of the Assignment Desk at CNN International, working with reporters in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Chappell also edited and produced stories for CNN.com's features division, before moving on to edit video and produce stories for Sports Illustrated's website.

Early in his career, Chappell wrote about movies, restaurants, and music for alternative weeklies, in addition to his first job: editing the police blotter.

Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET

The FBI has arrested British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell on multiple charges related to the serial sexual abuse of girls and young women by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

"Maxwell was among Epstein's closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old," Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a news conference Thursday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering 19 counties to shift many business operations outdoors or close them immediately, citing a sharp spike in new coronavirus cases. The state recorded nearly 6,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the governor said.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. ET

Seattle police started to dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone early Wednesday morning after Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an emergency order declaring the blocks-long area an "unlawful assembly" that requires immediate action.

A construction crew removed the massive Christopher Columbus statue from its place of honor outside Columbus, Ohio's City Hall on Wednesday morning, in one of the most dramatic cases yet of a city reshaping how its monuments reflect its sense of history and community identity.

Jacksonville, Fla., is now requiring people to wear face masks while indoors and in public spaces where they can't stay 6 feet away from other people, hoping to slow a spike in coronavirus cases.

"Every person over the age of six (6) who is in a public space shall wear a face mask or covering when not able to engage in social distancing," the mandate states.

U.S. travelers won't be among those allowed to visit the European Union when the bloc begins opening its external borders on July 1. EU ambassadors endorsed a list of 15 travel partners on Tuesday, including South Korea, Japan and, with a caveat, China. Those countries were hit early by the pandemic but have been able to bring the coronavirus under control.

Updated Friday at 10:08 p.m. ET

Four Aurora, Colorado police officers have lost their jobs in the continued fallout over the arrest and death of Elijah McClain.

McClain was stopped by police as he walked home from a convenience store last summer. In the ensuing confrontation he was placed in a chokehold by police and later sedated. His death has been compared to that of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May and has prompted outrage and protest.

Planned Parenthood has named interim President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson as its new permanent leader in a bid to bring stability to the health care provider that has come under repeated attacks by conservative groups.

McGill Johnson will continue to lead both Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the organization's advocacy arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Spectators are welcome to attend the Indianapolis 500 in August, track officials said Friday, but the enormous venue will be limited to 50% of its normal capacity because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway usually accommodates hundreds of thousands of people for the landmark race.

"We're committed to running the Indy 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23, and will welcome fans to the world's greatest racing venue," said President J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell says the World Health Organization made "a total mistake" when it included Sweden in a list of countries seeing a resurgence of the coronavirus. The WHO misinterpreted the Swedish data, Tegnell said.

"It is a total mistake," Tegnell said, according to Swedish public broadcaster Sveriges Radio.

A massive cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert is arriving along the U.S. Gulf Coast this week after traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. The phenomenon happens every year – but the 2020 version is especially large and imposing, experts said.

The dust cloud is "quite large" this year, said Marshall Shepherd, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Georgia, in an interview on NPR's All Things Considered. "I think that's why it's garnering so much attention."

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus is offering to resign over the death of Carlos Ingram-Lopez – a man who died after being restrained by Tucson officers in April. Ingram-Lopez was handcuffed and kept face-down in a garage for some 12 minutes.

While the man was being restrained, police body cam video shows, he often cried out — repeatedly asking for water, and at times for his grandmother. At one point, he is heard saying he can't breathe.

The Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors Thursday morning after having been shut down for more than three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the Paris landmark's longest closure since World War II.

The reopening is a dramatic sign of people reclaiming public spaces in France following more than 100 days of restrictions. But the tower's highest point is still not open – and for now, visitors will need to take the stairs.

Bayer will pay more than $10 billion to end tens of thousands of lawsuits filed over its Roundup weedkiller, the company announced Wednesday. The settlement also resolves many other cases over the herbicide dicamba as well as water contaminated with toxic chemicals called PCBs.

Many plaintiffs say Roundup's active ingredient — glyphosate — caused them to develop cancer. Roundup was developed by Monsanto, which Bayer bought in 2018 for $63 billion.

The European Union is making a list of countries whose travelers will be allowed to visit this summer — and for now at least, the U.S. doesn't seem likely to meet the criteria based on its recent coronavirus numbers.

The United States has the most cases of any country in the world, and many states are reporting sharp rises in new cases as they ease shutdown orders.

Update at 6:02 p.m. ET

"Today, Texas will report an all-time high in the number of cases of people testing positive" for the coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday, adding that for the first time, his state would surpass 5,000 new cases in a single day.

Hours later, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 5,489 new cases.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says police will return to their East Precinct building, after a weekend in which three people were shot in the occupied zone known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP. One of the victims died.

"In the near future, SPD will be peacefully returning to the East Precinct," Durkan said via Twitter, as she and Police Chief Carmen Best announced plans to take back control of the area formerly known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.

President Trump sharply criticized Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee for their handling of large anti-racism protests, saying via Twitter, "Take back your city NOW. If you don't do it, I will."

The U.S. has reached another dire landmark in its fight against COVID-19, surpassing 2 million confirmed cases on Wednesday. New coronavirus infections are rising in at least 20 states, even as restrictions on daily life continue to ease across the country.

As of Thursday morning, more than 112,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. — the most fatalities reported by any nation, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. And most experts believe those numbers underestimate the true toll.

Minnesota State Patrol troopers and other law enforcement officers slashed the tires of dozens of vehicles in Minneapolis during large protests over the killing of George Floyd, two police agencies say.

"State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tires to keep vehicles from being used in attacks, and so we could tow the vehicles later for collection of evidence if necessary," Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon said in a statement to NPR.

Police in Fort Worth, Texas, are dropping criminal charges against dozens of people who were arrested and accused of rioting during protests against racism and police brutality. Chief Ed Kraus says the move is part of his reply to calls for police to change how they operate.

Judge Jeannice M. Reding set bail for Derek Chauvin at $1 million with conditions during a court hearing Monday, making the former Minneapolis police officer eligible for supervised release.

Chauvin, who is white, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, a black man. He attended the Hennepin County District Court hearing in Minneapolis via video link.

The former police officer could also be released without conditions at a higher bail amount of $1.25 million.

After sitting undisturbed for more than 10 years, a treasure chest holding gold nuggets and precious gems has been found in the Rocky Mountains. The box was hidden by millionaire art dealer Forrest Fenn; his only clues included a map and a poem. But after countless quests, the search is over.

"The treasure has been found," Fenn wrote in a statement to a blog run by Dal Neitzel for discussions among Fenn treasure seekers.

Work crews in Louisville, Ky., took down a statue of former Confederate officer John Breckinridge Castleman early Monday morning. The monument had been a magnet for protests during demonstrations against police killings of black people.

"We have much more to do to dismantle the structures that got us here," Mayor Greg Fischer said, calling the removal "one step" in that process.

The name of Manuel Ellis is now being added to the list of black people who died in police custody, after an autopsy report ruled his death in Tacoma, Wash., was a homicide. And in an echo of the George Floyd case, Ellis was heard saying he "can't breathe," as he was being restrained.

"In the face of longstanding racism and recent national events, we are devastated to have the death of Manuel Ellis become a part of this national conversation," Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said at a news conference about the findings of the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Virginia will remove a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the city of Richmond "as soon as possible," Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.

"Today, we're here to be honest about our past and talk about our future," Northam said, adding: "We have to confront where we've been in order to shape where we're going."

The statue will be placed into storage, where it will remain until government leaders and the community can discuss its future, according to the governor.

Hong Kong's legislature has passed a bill making it a crime to poke fun at China's national anthem — a move that puts new limits on anniversary events marking the Tiananmen Square massacre. Under the ban, it is illegal to alter the lyrics of the anthem, or to sing it "in a distorted or disrespectful way."

Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET

Derek Chauvin now faces a charge of second-degree murder in addition to earlier charges, and three other former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in George Floyd's death face charges of aiding and abetting murder, according to new court documents.

Workers removed a statue of Philadelphia's controversial former Mayor Frank Rizzo from its place of honor across from City Hall early Wednesday morning, finishing a job that protesters attempted to accomplish during recent demonstrations against police brutality.

In the 1970s, Rizzo famously told Philadelphia voters to "vote white." But on Wednesday, the City of Brotherly Love took down a memorial to a man who exploited its divisions.

Catholics cannot tolerate racism and also "claim to defend the sacredness of every human life," Pope Francis says, commenting on the upheaval that has followed the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The pope is urging the U.S. to reach a national reconciliation, after days of protests and violence.

"My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life," the pope said on Wednesday.

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