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Shannon Mullen

  • Maine's vital lobster industry is facing big challenges: new regulations; fewer young people entering the business; and threats to its thriving lobster population, including climate change.
  • This year American consumers are expected to take advantage of retailers' holiday promotions and spend big on gifts for themselves. Fifty-nine percent of shoppers polled plan to "self-gift" — the highest number in a retail industry survey's 10-year history.
  • Since the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walks began nine years ago, participants have raised more than $600 million nationwide for breast cancer research. Now, in the wake of a controversy over Komen's grants to Planned Parenthood, some participants are worried it might be harder to get donations this year.
  • At the Fife and Drum Restaurant, located in a Massachusetts minimum-security prison, inmates learn to cook and wait tables. Regulars praise the tasty lunches served up at bargain prices. Prison officials say such job training reduces the chances prisoners will re-offend.
  • The nation's oldest black church reopens to the public this week after a $9-million restoration fueled in part by federal stimulus funds, and completed in painstaking detail despite the recession. Shannon Mullen tours Boston's African Meeting House with the woman who led the project.
  • Salem, Mass., is a major tourist attraction thanks to its infamous 17th-century witch trials. Tourists really pour in around Halloween for a good scream, and this year, a high-tech haunted house is bringing a new edge to a local tradition.