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AMERICAN MOSAIC - April 25, 2003: Helen Keller Quarter / Crime Scene Investigations / Frank Sinatra Music - 2003-03-20



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today, we play some songs sung by Frank Sinatra...tell about scientific crime scene investigations...and report about a new American coin.

Helen Keller Quarter


The United States government agency that produces the nation’s money has organized a program to honor each of the fifty states in the country. The United States Mint is producing a special twenty-five coin for each state. And each state can choose what or whom to show on its coin. Shep O’Neal tells us about it.


The United States Mint Fifty State Quarters Program began in January nineteen-ninety-nine as a ten-year project. A state design is shown on one side of each quarter. The other side continues to show the picture of the first American president, George Washington.

A recent quarter produced in this program honors the southern state of Alabama. Alabama’s state quarter was the twenty-second quarter produced because Alabama became the twenty-second state in eighteen-nineteen.

The Alabama quarter honors writer and activist Helen Keller who was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama in eighteen-eighty. Helen lost her sight and hearing as a result of a serious disease when she was nineteen months old. The teacher Anne Sullivan helped Helen Keller learn to talk using her fingers. She also taught her to read and write.

Helen Keller graduated from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in nineteen-oh-four. She traveled to thirty-nine countries and wrote letters to five American presidents to improve the lives of blind and deaf people. She published many articles and books before her death in nineteen-sixty-eight. She became famous in part because of the stage plays and movies made about her life.

The coin honoring her is the first one produced in the United States that includes words written in the language of the blind called Braille. Under the picture of Helen Keller on the coin is the saying “Spirit of Courage.” Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman said Helen Keller lived a life of courage that continues to help people all over the world.

To learn more about the life of Helen Keller, listen to the Special English program “People In America” on Sunday.

Real Life C.S.I


Two of the most popular television programs in the United States right now are called “C.S.I.” and “C.S.I: Miami.” The letters represent the words “Crime Scene Investigation.” Every week, the investigators on the shows solve one or two murders using scientific methods to gather and study evidence. Such investigators are important in solving crimes like murder in real life, too. Steve Ember has more.


Crime scene investigators examine the area where a murder has taken place. They remove blood, hairs, the murder weapon or any things that the killer has left behind. They examine them in a laboratory using high-tech machines and medical tests. The police use this information to discover who committed the crime. Sometimes, however, poor work by the C.S.I team makes it difficult to prove that a person committed the crime.

Forensic scientist Henry Lee became famous in nineteen-ninety-five when he spoke at the trial of O.J. Simpson in Los Angeles, California. Mister Simpson was found innocent of killing his former wife Nicole and a male friend. Mister Lee says the murders could have been solved right away if the investigators had not washed Nicole Simpson’s body. He says that genetic studies should have been done on the blood found on her body and the bloody fingerprint on her arm.

Henry Lee says the training for crime scene investigators is still very local and differs from place to place. He and other experts believe that C.S.I. teams need more education about how to deal with a crime scene scientifically. They also need to know how to use the newest scientific tests and devices.

That is the kind of training offered at the new National Crime Scene Training Center at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Officials say the program is designed to give crime laboratory workers the skills needed to gather evidence and scientifically examine it correctly. They say it is important for everyone involved in a real life investigation to do their jobs correctly so that no mistakes will be made.

Frank Sinatra


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Nigeria. Aboh Ekoja asks about American singer Frank Sinatra.

Francis Albert Sinatra was born in the eastern city of Hoboken, New Jersey in nineteen-fifteen. He began singing professionally in the nineteen-thirties. He sang with the top dance bands of the time, including the band led by Tommy Dorsey. In nineteen-forty, they recorded the song “I’ll Never Smile Again”. It was the first number one single ever listed by Billboard Magazine.


Frank Sinatra won many awards for his singing, including Grammy Awards. But he was not just a singer. He had his own television show, and he acted in more than fifty movies. In nineteen-fifty-three, he won an Academy Award for his serious acting part in the movie “From Here to Eternity.”

He also sang in many movies, such as “Pal Joey” and “Guys and Dolls.” Recently, one of his recordings was used in the movie “What Women Want.” It was “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”


Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack in nineteen-ninety-eight. He will always be remembered as one of the world’s greatest singers. We leave you now with one of his most famous songs, “It Was a Very Good Year.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.

Our program was written by Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Ricardo Barnez. And our producer was Paul Thompson.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.