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.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

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.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

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.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

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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Romney Shows His Soft Side; President Tightens His Pitch

Oct 9, 2012
Originally published on October 9, 2012 7:56 pm

With 27 days until the general election, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was on an Iowa farm Tuesday where he did what he's done for months: criticized President Obama's economic policies, though his critique understandably had an agricultural slant.

But the Republican presidential nominee also did something he hasn't done much of before now: He told the kind of personal anecdotes meant to reveal his softer side to help voters connect with him more easily.

Obama, for his part, continued to try to work his way out of the hole he created for himself with his rambling and passive debate performance last week. At a campaign rally, he opened his speech with a compact list of his achievements, many of them 2008 campaign promises he has kept.

And while he failed to attack Romney in the debate, Obama has steadily poured criticism on his rival since the two men left the stage in Denver. The president continued that criticism in Ohio.

At a farm in Van Meter, Iowa, Romney criticized Obama for regulatory, tax, energy and trade policies that he said hurt American farmers.

For instance, he said, "The regulatory burden under this administration has just gone crazy."

Romney charged that under Obama the federal government tried to regulate rainwater in ditches on farms, dust levels and the types of farm jobs teenagers could perform.

A few minutes later, Romney departed from policy to take a more personal turn. He told the kinds of stories he rarely if ever would share before now on the campaign trail.

His family has reportedly pressed his advisers to allow him to tap into this side of his biography in an attempt to humanize him more for voters.

So Romney told of a cancer-stricken teenager whom he had befriended years ago. The teenager, Romney recounted, bravely asked him to help write his last will and testament so his skateboard and other youthful possessions could be properly distributed to friends on his death.

The story allowed Romney to describe the young man with a line that has become something of a campaign slogan recently for the GOP candidate: "Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose."

Romney also told of going to a neighborhood house party that he had mistakenly thought he and his wife, Ann, had been invited to. There, he said, he met a former Navy SEAL — the same SEAL who was killed in the recent attack in Benghazi, Libya, along with the U.S. ambassador to the country. Romney was visibly emotional as he told this story.

Meanwhile Obama, at a rally at Ohio State University in Columbus, urged thousands of students and others in attendance to register to vote — this being the last day that's possible — and to cast their ballots when they do so (Ohio allows early voting).

The campaign even provided buses to take the students from the rally to registration and voting sites.

Then the president ticked off a list of his accomplishments. He warned of the reversals that could occur if he's not re-elected.

"Everything that we fought for in 2008 is on the line in 2012. And I need your help to finish what we started. You know, four years ago I told you I'd end the war in Iraq and we did. I said we'd end the war in Afghanistan and we are. I said we'd focus on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 and today Osama bin Laden is dead. Four years ago, I promised to cut taxes for middle class families and we have by $3,600. ..."

It was the kind of concise defense of his record his supporters waited in vain to hear at the first presidential debate. His attack lines on Romney were tight as well. His remarks at the rally sounded like a road test of an approach we could hear at the second presidential debate, scheduled for next week.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign dropped new ads, the artillery shells of politics, on Romney.

One ad focused on Medicaid, specifically on the program's importance to families with elderly members in need of nursing-home care. The ad said that as Massachusetts governor, Romney had repeatedly raised the fees paid by families with with elderly parents in nursing homes.

Another Obama ad featured the Sesame Street character Big Bird and mocked Romney for saying during the debate he would cut federal funding to the Public Broadcasting Service to help close budget deficits.

Sesame Workshop asked the Obama campaign to take down the ad, but it was still on the campaign's YouTube channel after the close of business.

The reverberations from last week's debate in the presidential race's dynamics, as reflected by the polls, continued to be the subject of much discussion and analysis. The bottom line seemed to be that the polls still showed a race that appeared to be tighter than before the debate, with Romney maintaining some of the bounce from his assertive performance.

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