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.

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 vegetables 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.


Superstorm Shines A Light On Power Grid Vulnerabilities

Oct 30, 2012
Originally published on October 30, 2012 4:09 pm

The storm that has spawned so many worst-ever superlatives managed a few more when it comes to electricity, with record-breaking power outages across 18 states stretching from Michigan and Indiana to Maine and North Carolina, according to a Department of Energy assessment.

As of Tuesday, Superstorm Sandy had left more than 8 million people without lights, heat, refrigeration, TV or Internet.

At least 2 million homes and businesses in New York state had no power. Consolidated Edison, which serves the New York City metro area, says 752,000 of its customers were in the dark Tuesday and that crews — some from as far away as San Francisco — will begin repairs once the damage is assessed.

Elsewhere, 2.5 million customers had no power in New Jersey, more than 1.2 million in Pennsylvania and 311,000 in Maryland. Some 625,000 also lost electricity in Connecticut and 300,000 in Massachusetts.

Massoud Amin, a power grid specialist and senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, says it could take up to two weeks before power is fully restored. After Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast last year, it took as long as 10 days for electricity to be fully restored to rural customers in Connecticut and elsewhere — and Amin notes that Irene was much smaller than Sandy.

Gregory Reed, director of the Electric Power Initiative at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering, agrees it will take a week or more to turn the power back on.

"You normally will see a lot of major metropolitan areas get their power back in a short time, a matter of a couple of days in the case of a major event like this," Reed says, adding that rural areas are typically the last to see the lights come back on.

The storm couldn't have targeted a more vulnerable part of the power grid. "Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and New York are the oldest infrastructure," says Amin, who is also a professor at the University of Minnesota.

The grid in those states "is a marvel of engineering for the 20th century, but because of a lack of investment, it has been operating with diminished shock absorbers," Amin says, referring to backup lines and equipment as well as high-tech monitors to pinpoint problems.

A system of "mutual aid" among utility companies all over the country has been in place since the 1950s to help a crisis-hit power provider get the lights back on.

"As long as we get a heads up and know a few days ahead of time that something big is coming ... we can preposition crew, equipment, trucks, everything to a place close to where the event is going to be," Amin says.

Reed says because big, damaging weather events seem to be occurring more frequently, we may be heading into an era of "more activity and more significant impacts." Power lines are susceptible to strong winds and storm-tossed branches, and high waves can submerge substations and other critical equipment.

"The way [the grid] is designed and because so much of it is an overhead infrastructure, it is inherently vulnerable," Reed says.

Amin has run calculations on annual outages around the world. The most fragile part of the U.S. grid, in the Northeast, averages about 240 minutes of outages per customer per year. Compare that with the Midwest, where it's only 92 minutes, or Japan, where the outage rate is just four minutes per customer per year.

It costs anywhere from six to 12 times more to bury a power line than it does to put in overhead lines. But there has been a push in the past five to 10 years to put more infrastructure below ground, where it's safer, Reed says.

"This might not be justified everywhere, but there are certain parts of the country where" it might make sense, he says. "You do have to start looking more and more at the cost/benefit of spending that extra money on capital investment upfront instead of spending all the money on the back end to replace the damaged equipment and the cost of operations afterward."

Short of a massive investment to put wires below ground, Reed and Amin agree that other grid improvements and upgrades are possible. Some of them are already in the works, thanks to federal stimulus money aimed at moving toward a smart grid.

Before stimulus funds began flowing in 2009, there were only a few hundred smart-grid sensors, which help pinpoint exactly where a problem has occurred. With the government kicking in about 45 percent of the cost of these sensors and private utilities paying the rest, there should be 1,000 in place before the end of next year, Amin says.

Amin thinks building a system with almost 100 percent protection is possible, but it's just too costly.

"We can localize these disturbances and we can reduce the impact" of events such as Hurricane Sandy, he says. "But when there's physical damage to the infrastructure, that's always going to require crews on the ground."

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