As child care costs soar, public preschool spots are limited

** HOLD FOR SALLY HO STORY ** In this photo taken Feb. 12, 2016, assistant teacher D'onna Hartman, reads to Frederick Frenious, left, and Gus Saunders at the Creative Kids Learning Center, a school that focuses on pre-kindergarten for 4- and 5-year-olds, in Seattle. Hartman used the "boo boo bag" corner to settle the two down after a small altercation left one in tears. In perhaps an unexpected twist, historically conservative strongholds like Oklahoma and West Virginia are leading efforts to bring preschool to all and Alabama and Georgia are also red states that have notable programs. But some liberal leaning-cities like Seattle and New York also are running public pre-K programs. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

SEATTLE (AP) — In perhaps an unexpected twist, historically conservative strongholds like Oklahoma and West Virginia are leading efforts to bring preschool to all.

Indigo dyeing makes everyone look good

This Nov. 14, 2017 photo shows samples demonstrating how to wrap fabric for different patterns at Wanariya indigo dye workshop in Tokyo. (Linda Lombardi via AP)

When the outcome of a craft project is a surprise, it’s often not a good surprise. My recent experience trying indigo dyeing in Tokyo was an exception to that rule.

Digging into culture in coal country

Rodney Embrey, an employee at nearby Buckingham coal mine, describes the process of renovating the building he and a business partner purchased to start an antiques dealership, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in Corning, Ohio. Communities across Appalachia are turning increasingly to the region's rich reserves in things other than coal, namely, history and rugged natural beauty, to frame a new tourist economy. Enjoying a drink, hike or overnight stay or in region infused with stories, sweat and strife is turning out to be a draw to aging baby boomers and millennials alike. Studies show these efforts are attracting tourists, new residents and a new sense of self-worth. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

PERRY COUNTY, Ohio — Two-thirds of Appalachia’s coal industry jobs have disappeared since the 1990s. Now the region is hoping tourism will help rebuild its economy by tapping into history and its rugged natural beauty.

High-speed internet brings change in Alaska

In this undated photo provided by Quintillion, a worker doles out cable from a large spool on a ship as a subsea cable is laid in the waters off the coast off Alaska. In October, 2017, ship crews finished installing the last Alaska segment of the subsea cable system between Nome and Prudhoe Bay, and the network became available Dec. 1, 2017, to telecom providers. The new, faster link by Anchorage-based wholesaler Quintillion is Alaska's piece of a planned international fiber-optic system that would eventually connect London and Tokyo via the Arctic. (Quintillion via AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Jeff Kowunna used his drone to record this year’s celebration of another successful bowhead whaling harvest for one of the oldest Alaska Native settlements.

Beloved Santa-themed kiddie park reopened

This Nov. 19, 2017 photo provided by David Haversat shows a scene at the Santa's Land holiday-themed park in Putney, Vt. Haversat, of Oxford, Conn., who visited the park as a child, bought and refurbished the park that had closed in recent years. He reopened it in November for weekend visitors through Christmas Eve. (David Haversat via AP)

PUTNEY, Vt. (AP) — A beloved Santa-themed kiddie park has reopened in southern Vermont.

Baltimore’s eccentricities shine at Christmas

In this Dec. 13, 2017 photo, Christmas decorations featuring a flock of plastic pink flamingos stand in a front yard in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. Known as "The Miracle on 34th Street," the dramatically over-the-top Christmas decor along a block of row houses is perhaps Baltimore's most beloved seasonal institution, attracting thousands of gawkers each December. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

BALTIMORE (AP) — From kitschy ornaments to model train extravaganzas and a holiday song dedicated to bottom-feeding crustaceans, Baltimore’s unique brand of quirky creativity really shines at Christmas.

Here’s what to do with a spying toy

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, file photo, shoppers browse at a Toys R Us store in Miami. The toys your kids unwrap this Christmas could invite hackers into your home. That Grinch-like warning comes from the FBI, which said this summer that toys connected to the internet could be a target for crooks who may listen in on conversations or use them to steal a child’s personal information. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

NEW YORK — The toys your kids unwrap this Christmas could invite hackers into your home.

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