When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

Pages

After Sandy Outages, A Tale Of Two Utilities

Nov 30, 2012
Originally published on November 30, 2012 7:01 pm

While thousands of people on the East Coast waited weeks for big utility companies to turn the lights back on after Superstorm Sandy slammed ashore, the residents of Madison, N.J., had power just days after the storm. This leafy New York City suburb operates its own municipal utility — and now some neighboring towns are asking whether they should, too.

"We were able to power up sections of town within two days," said Madison Councilman Robert Landrigan. "And then, by the weekend [after the storm], most of the town was back."

That was not the case a few miles away in Summit, N.J., where it took Jersey Central Power and Light 12 days to restore power to everyone. "We had a long, rough slog with this storm," says Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson.

In the company's defense, Dickson says Jersey Central had to restore power to 90 percent of its customers. "When you're in a numbers game — [for] who can get them up fastest — you go for the easiest: the low-hanging fruit ... bringing up a lot of people at once," Dickson says. "So honestly, when it comes down to a leafy suburb with lots of trees, where it's very difficult to get the wires back up, we are probably much lower on the chain."

Crews That Know The Neighborhood

But the storm's aftermath played out very differently in Madison. Both towns had lots of downed trees, and both lost power. But unlike Summit, Madison is responsible for the lines that deliver electricity to homes and businesses, along with trucks and repair crews.

Madison Mayor Robert Conley says the operation is tiny, but it does have some advantages over crews from bigger utilities who may never have worked in the area before. "[Our crews] work on our four square miles on the sunny days," Conley says. "So when the storms come, they know our territory inside and out. They know where the trouble spots are. They know exactly where to go to."

Madison has had a long time to get this right. The town started its own utility in the 1880s. Today, it's one of just nine municipally owned utilities in the state. James Jablonski, executive director of the Public Power Association of New Jersey, says his members have a built-in incentive to be responsive to their customers.

"If they don't get the service back quickly, they don't need to worry about trying to call an 800 number or whomever else," said Jablonski. "Chances are they know the mayor and they'll call, or a council member, and say, 'Hey, what's going on here?' "

Officials in nearby Summit got calls too — from constituents who had to drive five miles to Madison to go to the movies or charge their cellphones. Frustration with Jersey Central Power and Light has been growing since last year, when the company also had a tough time getting the lights back on after two major storms.

Local Is 'Appealing' — But Costly

Now Summit is thinking about starting its own utility.

"There may be very much renewed interest in that," says City Administrator Chris Cotter. "Because the idea of being able to locally direct restoration efforts is one that certainly is appealing."

But Cotter knows it would not be easy. No city in the state has taken over electrical distribution in more than a generation, in part because of the high cost of buying the existing light poles, transformers and other equipment from the incumbent utility.

Dickson, Summit's mayor, admits getting into the electrical distribution business would be a drastic step. But she thinks Jersey Central could learn a few things from city-owned utilities — like having a dedicated repair crew that knows the local terrain, and investing in up-to-date equipment.

"The electric grid in our town looks very old and tired," Dickson says. "The transformers look old and tired. The poles are not in great shape. There's a lot that could be done there." You don't have to run your own utility company, Dickson says, to see that.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.