The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

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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.


WVAS Local News

Jan 14, 2013

Governor Robert Bentley has backed off his first major proposal before the 2013 legislative session starting February 5th.  Bentley began talking in September about passing incentives for veteran state employees to retire.  His goal was to reduce the state payroll.  But Bentley says he's decided they are not needed right now because enough people are leaving state service and because the stat is saving money in other areas. 

New Probate Judge

Montgomery County gets a new Probate Judge, Democrat Steven Reed takes office today.  Reed ousted the longtime Republican officer holder Reese McKinney in last year's election.  The Probate Judge handles matters ranging from vehicle tags, elections and some issues pertaining to mental health.  Reed will serve a six year term.

UA Death

A University of Alabama student died of injuries she suffered in a wreck last week involving a bus that was carrying cheerleaders from the University of Alabama.  Montgomery police said 20-year-old Natalie Baine of Roswell, Georgia, died Friday.  Baine was a passenger in a pickup truck that collided with a bus last Tuesday on the South Boulevard near Interstate 65.  Officials say the bus was taking the cheerleaders back to Tuscaloosa after the BCS Championship football game in Miami.  No one in the bus was injured. 

University Student Honored

Officials at Auburn University say a memorial flag will fly to honor James Thomas McCollum, a 19-year-old student who was killed during a burglary in Pike Road.  Authorities have said McCollum was beaten, stabbed and shot during a burglary on New Year's Eve and 23-year-old Jason Ferguson of Wetumpka was arrested days later in connection with the incident.  Auburn University will fly a memorial flage for McCollum today, display it in the school's student center for two weeks and present it to McCollum's family.  Ferguson is being held on $1 million bond in the Montgomery County Detention Facility. 

Alabama's Suicide Rate

Officials hope to reduce Alabama's suicide rate, which is worse than the national average.  The Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resources Coalition is planning an an advertising campaign for this summer to address the taboo against talking about suicide.  State suicide prevention director Debra Hodges said suicide rates have climbed sharply across the country since the recession began, and Alabama's problem has been worse than average.  She said guns account for about 70 percent of all suicides in Alabama. 

Pastor's Wife Murdered

The United Methodist bishop for north Alabama is trying to comfort members of a large church where the senior pastor is charged with murder in his wife's gunshot killing.  Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett preached Sunday in all three services at Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church.  Gardendale police say the Reverend Terry Greer is charged with murder in the shooting death of his wife Lisa Greer, who was slain in the church-owned parsonage last Thursday.  He's also charged with attempted murder in the wounding of their 18-year-old daughter.