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

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.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

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The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

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Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

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Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

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Michigan Voters To Decide Renewable Energy Mandate

Oct 11, 2012
Originally published on October 11, 2012 5:32 am



There are business effects to some of the more than 170 statewide ballot measures to be decided in next month's elections. In California, voters will determine if labels should be required on genetically-modified food. People in Arkansas will vote whether to increase taxes for highways and bridges. And one measure in Michigan is capturing attention - whether the state constitution should be amended to change how utilities get their electricity.

Here's Rebecca Williams of Michigan Radio.


REBECCA WILLIAMS, BYLINE: It's a sight strange enough to draw a crowd to this port on the western edge of the state, on Lake Michigan's shore.

Workers are slowly inching a 22,000 pound wind turbine blade down from a ship that just arrived from Germany. The blades are heading for a new wind farm in the middle of the state.

Although these wind turbine parts are imported, there are more than 30 companies in Michigan making components for turbines. One of the reasons that industry's growing is a state law that requires Michigan utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewables by 2015. But some people think that doesn't go far enough.

MARK FISK: Michigan currently gets 60 percent of its electricity from coal, 100 percent of that coal is imported from other states.

WILLIAMS: Mark Fisk is the spokesman for Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs. His group is behind a proposal on next month's ballot that aims to bypass the Legislature. Proposal 3 will ask voters to amend the state constitution... and bump the standard up to 25 percent by the year 2025.

FISK: The big utility companies, the big oil companies and the big energy companies have enormous clout and influence in our state legislature. And our bipartisan coalition made the determination, early on, that the only practical way to expand Michigan's use of renewable energy was to let the people decide.

WILLIAMS: Clean energy groups back the proposal. So does the Michigan Nurses Association, which says the proposal would lead to cleaner air. Organized labor groups are split on the issue. Many chambers of commerce across the state are opposed to it. So are the state's two biggest utilities.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: They want to lock it into the constitution and force you to give them $12 billion.

WILLIAMS: Both campaigns have powerful PR firms behind them. And they've been blanketing the airwaves.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: It'll create 94,000 Michigan jobs and spark new businesses...

WILLIAMS: The campaigns are attacking each other, saying their opponents' claims about jobs and costs are overblown. But the real issue for many is whether energy policy should be placed in the Michigan Constitution.

Megan Brown is the spokeswoman for Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan. It's the group leading the effort to defeat the measure. She says energy policy needs to be debated by the legislature, not voters.

MEGAN BROWN: We aren't opposed to renewable energy, or to growing renewable energy here in Michigan. But this process isn't the way to get there.

WILLIAMS: This approach is unusual. Glen Andersen is with the National Conference of State Legislatures. He says 29 states require utilities to get some of their electricity from renewable sources. But if Michigan voters approve this measure, it would be the first time a specific energy requirement would be put into a state constitution.

GLEN ANDERSEN: You know, one of the concerns with amending the constitution is the ability of the legislature to change or craft the language if needed.

WILLIAMS: Andersen says recently, there have been efforts to weaken - or repeal - these standards in nine states. So, putting them in a state constitution can safeguard against that. In fact, if Proposal 3 passes in Michigan - and people wanted to change it later - voters would have to approve another constitutional amendment to do so.

For NPR News, I'm Rebecca Williams in Ann Arbor. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.