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.


Crime On The Farm: Hay Thefts Soar As Drought Deepens

Dec 4, 2012
Originally published on December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Your crime fodder ... sorry, make that blotter ... news of the day.

From St. Louis:

"As if it's not bad enough that Missouri farmers are trying to survive the worst drought in decades, now many of them are facing a new problem that's costing them big bucks. Missouri Farm Bureau president Blake Hurst says thieves are actually targeting those big bundles of hay that are left out in fields prior to being harvested, hauling them off and selling the valuable commodity." (CBS St. Louis)

Butler County, Kansas:

"Butler County sheriff's deputies are being ordered off the highways and onto county roads as they try to stop a big problem. Thieves are stealing thousands of dollars in hay bales." (KAKE-TV)

Butte County, California:

"Crops like hay have ... become a major target. 'It's happened to three different growers of ours, and some of them have been hit two or three times,' according to Custom Hay Operator Carl Martin. He says the number of thefts rose with the price of hay, and now that the crop is worth over $200 a ton, those growers are losing $200 to $300 of product every time they get ripped off." (KHSL-TV)

And earlier this year, from Frederick, Okla.:

"Two Tillman County men are facing felony charges of Knowingly Concealing and Withholding Stolen Property after their arrest for stealing hay from a local farmer. Sheriff Bobby Whittington states that the farmer suspected he was missing some round bales from a field northwest of Grandfield. A GPS tracking device was placed in one of the bales left in the field and when the alleged thieves drove off with the bale, it sent a text message to Sheriff Whittington's cellphone stating that the bale was moving." (Frederick Press-Leader)

You can see where this story's going. The deep drought across much of the nation, and an economy that's been struggling to get going in recent years appear to have combined to make hay quite valuable and quite attractive to thieves. So much so, in fact, that the sheriff in Oklahoma put something of a needle (that GPS tracking device) in a haystack to crack one case.

Update at 12:30 p.m. ET. Sheriff Whittington On How He Nabbed The Suspects:

The GPS tracker, Whittington told NPR's Renee Montagne late Tuesday morning, was placed in a bale at a farm where he suspected there would be more thefts. It "was programmed to text my cellphone whenever it left a certain area," he said. "I received text about 9:40, 9:45 p.m." He called an under sheriff, who got on a computer and tracked the moving bale.

"He was able to relay to me where the bale was at," Whittington said. "I arrived in time to see the suspect vehicle kind of drop the bale off behind a house." He watched as the vehicle left, and followed to see if it might return to the farmer's field.

Trailing behind with his car's lights off, the sheriff says he "observed him pull into the farmer's field ... and snatch another bale."

The suspects tried to tell the sheriff that it was their bale of hay. "I said, that's not what the GPS says," Whittington told Renee.

Then one of the men, "kind of dropped his old head and said 'well, can I just take it back and not go to jail?' " Whittington recounted.

"I said no."

In his county, Whittington says, the price of a bale of grass hay has gone from $15 to $25 before the drought to between $65 and $70. A bale of alfalfa has risen from $45 to $60 before the drought to between $140 and $150.

More from Renee's conversation with the sheriff is due on Wednesday's Morning Edition. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. After the interview airs, we'll add it to the top of this post.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

Hay is a critical source of food for cattle, sheep and other livestock, especially important as the winter months close in. And given the harsh drought in recent years, it's increasingly scarce and expensive. In fact, the price of hay has reached record levels, and reports of hay theft have been on the rise. To find out more, we called up Bobby Whittington, the sheriff of Tillman County, Oklahoma. He and his three deputies are responsible for 900 square miles of row land.

Welcome to the program.


MONTAGNE: So you, yourself, have seen a big rise in hay theft there in Tillman County.

WHITTINGTON: Well, the exceptional drought that we have been in the past couple of years has made hay a very sought after premium here.

MONTAGNE: Are they stealing them for their own use, or to sell? And if to sell, what's a hay bale worth?

WHITTINGTON: Well, they're doing both. A normal bale prior to the drought - depending on what it was - grass hay for 15, 20, $25. Alfalfa was running you 45 to $60. And now grass hay in this area is running at 65, 70, if you can find it. And Alfalfa's running as high as 140 to $150 a bale.

MONTAGNE: And it's particularly easy to steal? I mean, I think of - and I come from a family of, actually, ranchers in western Nebraska. I think of hay as being big bale, and sitting right out there in the field.

WHITTINGTON: Yes, ma'am. Most of the produces here in Tillman County, once they have cut or harvested a field and the hay is baled, they'll stack it on the edge of the road at the field.

MONTAGNE: Well, that's very convenient, right on the edge of the road.

WHITTINGTON: Yes, ma'am. And it's easy access for the hay thieves, and easy getaway.

MONTAGNE: Are there any precautions that farmers and ranchers can take?

WHITTINGTON: Well, they need to put as many gates or obstructions between the roadway and the hay as possible. And they need to check it periodically, make sure that they put 50 bales in the field, that there's 50 bales there. You know, count it. Make sure it's there.

MONTAGNE: They can't brand it or put dye in it, or anything like that?

WHITTINGTON: No. That's kind of hard to do with the mass production the way is done, to put any special markings on it.

MONTAGNE: I gather that you decided, though, to do something rather creative, and that was to put a GPS device inside some hay.

WHITTINGTON: A farmer here in Tillman County sustained several thefts from the same field. And we decided to put a GPS in one of the bales and see whether the thief would take the bale or not. And they did.

MONTAGNE: And so you followed that bale of hay?

WHITTINGTON: Yes, ma'am. Basically, we - the night that this happened, the GPS was programmed to text my cell phone whenever it left a certain area. And I received a text about 9:40, 9:45 p.m. And I immediately called my under-sheriff and had him get on the computer so he could track the location of the bale. And he was able to relay to me where the bale was at.

And I arrived in time to see the suspect vehicle kind of drop the bale off behind a house. And then the vehicle left, and I was following it. And I decided to see whether they would go back for another bale. So I followed the vehicle down a country road with my lights out and observed him pull into the farmer's field who'd been reporting the theft and snatch another bale and drive off, at which time they were stopped.

MONTAGNE: So you sort of nabbed them in the act?

WHITTINGTON: Yes, ma'am.

MONTAGNE: What did they do?

WHITTINGTON: Well, they were kind of shocked. They were kind of defiant. When I first stopped them, they wanted to know the reason why I stopped them. And I told them that we needed to talk about the hay bale they had on their vehicle. They said, well, it's my hay bale. I said, it's not what the GPS says. He kind of dropped his old head and said, well, can I just take it back and not go to jail? And I said no.

MONTAGNE: My first thought when I heard about this, is I figured out in the West, or in a place like Oklahoma, stealing a bale of hay, sort of close to something like hay rustling, I mean, is really serious. What are the penalties?

WHITTINGTON: The penalties can be three to five years in a state penitentiary.

MONTAGNE: So that's pretty serious.


MONTAGNE: Bobby Whittington is the sheriff of Tillman County, Oklahoma. Thank you very much for talking with us.

WHITTINGTON: Thank you, ma'am. Appreciate it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.