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.

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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.


Menards Can't Hire Enough Hands In Booming N.D.

Dec 4, 2012
Originally published on December 4, 2012 6:50 pm



North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, fueled by a booming oil economy. In fact, it's been so hard to find workers in Minot, North Dakota, in the north central part of the state, that one big box store is flying them in from Wisconsin. Dan Feldner of the Minot Daily News joins me to talk about it. And Dan, we're talking about the home improvement retailer Menards. The headquarters is in Au Claire, Wisconsin.

How many workers are they going to be flying in?

DAN FELDNER: They're hoping to have around 50 total.

BLOCK: Fifty total and they're flying them back and forth, 500 miles each way. They're paying for food and lodging, is that right?

FELDNER: Yes. Yep, they sure are.

BLOCK: And starting pay?

FELDNER: I believe it's $13 an hour.

BLOCK: Okay. And by Minot's standards, how is that salary?

FELDNER: That's probably right in the middle or so. A lot of businesses have had to raise their salaries in the last couple of years to compete with the oil fields, so that's probably right in the middle.

BLOCK: And there really aren't enough people there in Minot to take these jobs at Menards?

FELDNER: No. With the oil field paying such higher wages compared to most of the other businesses, there's a ton of openings and there's way more jobs than there are people to fill them.

BLOCK: And when you talk to people at Menards, it makes economic sense to them to fly workers in, pay for their expenses, fly them home, bring them back? That's worth it to have these workers there?

FELDNER: Yeah. Phil Graef, the general manager of the Minot Menards I talked with, he said that it's not really about a dollars and cents proposition to them. It's about providing superior customer service. And they're more worried about, you know, helping out the customers that walk through the doors and giving them great experience rather than the strict bottom line.

So to them, it makes sense.

BLOCK: Dan, when you drive around Minot, what kind of signs do you see of the flush economy right now?

FELDNER: Probably the biggest thing is just there's a ton of building going on everywhere. There's busy new hotels popping up seemingly every week, others, there's new restaurants, new businesses and, of course, a bunch of new housing and apartments. Construction's probably the biggest sign that you can easily see that Minot is experiencing huge growth and a huge economic boom.

BLOCK: Well, is there any down side to this boom economy there in North Dakota, do you think?

FELDNER: Well, there's, you know, there's a few. One of the most noticeable probably is the hit to our infrastructure. Roads can be really bad. You know, there's not enough employees for the county and the state and the city to, you know, to patch those roads up so the heavy truck traffic, it can make things a little more dangerous for cars. I guess, wage wise, a lot of the oil field wages have cause an uptick in rents for apartments, costs for housing.

So rent and just the cost of living is going up, so it's getting a little tougher to stretch your dollar if you're not in the oil field industry.

BLOCK: Sure. You know, Dan, I think not so long ago, North Dakota was one of the states where young people left. There was just really no way to make a living in small town North Dakota. It sounds like it must be a very different picture now. Are young people staying around?

FELDNER: Yeah, I think they have a tendency to stick around longer. You know, there's - along with the oil fields, there are a lot of open jobs, availabilities, possibilities for young people. You notice if you're in high school or college right now, there's many different careers you could choose to go into and that would allow you to stay in North Dakota, where, in the past, you know, that probably wasn't quite as true as it is today.

BLOCK: Dan Feldner covers business and agriculture with the Minot Daily News in Minot, North Dakota. Dan, thanks so much.

FELDNER: Thank you, Melissa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.