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August 15, 2007

Closing Shop

Closing Shop

Policy makers at the state and national level are considering creative ways to reintegrate ex-felons into society. Doug Haas Bennett had a unique approach - she employed former prisoners in her costume shop.

When Doug first opened her shop in 1975, she had a lot to learn. For one thing, it was just before Halloween, and Doug had no idea how busy her store was about to get. Over the years, she was asked to make costumes of all kinds. Once, a drug company asked her to make what they called "Herpes Man."

For Doug, the shop was always about more than fitting people in outrageous clothing - it was a way for her reach out to her community. For years, Doug worked at the North Carolina women's correctional facility teaching writing classes to inmates. Many of the women she helped came to work for her after they were paroled.

Guest host Aaron Henkin talks with Doug about her 30 years running Doug Haas's Raleigh Creative Costume Shop, and why the store had to close last month.

Aaron also talks with Onia Royster, one of the women Doug has helped. Onia is an ex-felon who served as Doug's office manager. These days, Onia continues to pay Doug's kindness forward. She works with people infected with HIV.

Straight Spouse

Erick Wiger heard The Story's interview with Bill Shipley, a Coast Guard officer who came out after a distinguished career in the military. Erick was most interested in one part of Bill's story - the years he spent as a husband and father before he announced he was gay.

Erick is a "straight spouse," or the husband of a woman who came out  after having been married to him for many years. He talks with Aaron about what it's like to be on the other side.


Bart Walter was once just a biologist who loved carving wooden birds.
Today, he is a celebrated sculptor who sculpts animals right where he finds them - in the wild. Bart spoke to host Dick Gordon in March about his adventures in the wetlands and mountains of North America, and the jungles and plains of Africa.

  • Visit Bart Walter's world
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