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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Ways Ohio Could Swing The Election

Oct 11, 2012

Kentucky may be the site for tonight's debate between the vice presidential candidates, but the monster swing state of Ohio remains the focus of the White House dreams for President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Both the incumbent and his challenger have been in and out of the state with increasing frequency; GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan plans a trip to the Buckeye State Friday, after his tangle with Vice President Joe Biden.

And we'll be there tonight to watch the debate southwest of Columbus with the entrepreneurial, multi-generational Barnes farm family — grain, organic vegetables, honey bees, golf course — whose members' political views run the gamut.

It's in the Columbus area, particularly the "collar" counties that surround the big university town, where the Ohio race — and, quite possibly the national contest, too — will likely be decided, says John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.

Those collar counties are more conservative than Columbus, but Obama made inroads there in 2008 with suburbanites more liberal on cultural issues and "not reflexively Republican," Green says. "They could decide the election."

Ohio is still a state that favors Obama, even after his roundly panned debate performance last week that has given Romney, the Republican, at least a small immediate boost in other key swing states.

The president had a more comfortable lead in the pre-debate polls in Ohio, when three surveys — including one by the Columbus Dispatch — had the Democrat leading Romney by up to 10 points.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll released today has Obama ahead in Ohio 51-45 percent, where his supporters have dominated early voting, but down 2 percentage points from the group's previous poll. The Real Clear Politics over-time average gives the president a 1.6 percentage point edge over Romney in Ohio.

"Things have tightened up, and the debate has something to do with it," says Green. "But this is the way things tend to work in Ohio. ... We have these swings, but we also have periods where it's very even," he says, adding that sometimes it's simply due to who has most recently been campaigning in the state.

"It really reminds me of 2004," Green says, when an "incumbent with problems" — then it was President George W. Bush — won the state with 50 percent of the vote on his way to re-election.

No Republican, we are obligated to note, has won the White House without winning Ohio. Obama won here in 2008, with 51.5 percent of the vote.

Not A Sure Thing

The state's 7.2 percent unemployment rate, lower than the 7.8 percent national average, and Obama's support of government loans that shored up the auto industry — vital to Ohio's economy — are part of the reason he's hanging on to a lead.

That's not to suggest that the 2012 Ohio election story has been told.

Just look at a post-debate Bloomberg News Swing State poll released this week that showed Romney's support among married women in Ohio on the rise.

Before the Oct. 3 presidential debate, several polls suggested that Obama was not only continuing the Democrats' historic dominance with unmarried women, but also was cutting into Republicans' usual edge with married women. Women are the key to Obama's fortunes; polls show Romney running stronger with white men, with the president on course to win fewer votes from that demographic than he did four years ago.

"I think the debate clearly mattered," says J. Ann Selzer, the pollster who directed the telephone poll. Selzer's survey found that married Ohio women, a demographic dominated by white women, preferred Obama's stances on reproductive rights and also said he better understood their problems.

But the married women, particularly those not working a full-time job, were moving toward Romney because they said they viewed him as more capable of grappling with the nation's economic problems. Even though by a 2-to-1 margin they said they supported the auto industry loans, and live in a state that is doing better than most economically.

What happened?

"What I would speculate," Selzer says, "is their support for Obama was soft, and that they're likely in a household with a husband who voted for (GOP presidential nominee) John McCain in 2008, and is for Romney now."

During the debate with Obama, Romney succeeded in laying out "some very simple promises: I won't raise the deficit; I won't raise taxes on the middle class," Selzer says.

While partisans can argue the consistency or veracity of the promises — and they are — the performance resonated. "It was forceful and simple," Selzer says, "and President Obama didn't counter with anything like it."

The timing of the debate has benefited Romney, too, she says, with two weeks between the first and the second presidential debate, scheduled for Tuesday.

Frenzied Weeks Ahead

The campaigns have upped their advertising buys in a presidential election that has already seen more than $110 million dumped into the state.

With 26 days before Election Day, Ward Weber II, 50, one of those Columbus-area Republicans who is liberal on social issues — "I'm a staunch Republican," he says, "but not an unreasonable one" — still sees the race breaking for Obama.

Unless, he says, Ohio's Republican Gov. John Kasich can make a strong case in these final weeks that the state's economic stability had as much or more to do with the governor's policies than with those of the president.

"Romney has to get Kasich out there, on television, and other places, he has to hope that Paul Ryan has a good debate, and that he [Romney] can follow up with another debate winner next week," says Weber, a married father of two who works as a manufacturer's representative for a heating and cooling company. Romney was the candidate Weber, who voted for McCain in 2008 but for President Clinton in 1996, preferred before the debate for economic reasons.

Both candidates still have work to do in Ohio. Obama with married women, and Romney with a base that includes Republican men who may have given their vote to the other side last time round

"Each side is trying very hard to mobilize their base," says Green, of the University of Akron. "This now is not about persuasion, but about stimulating people to vote."

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