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DeVos Protests In Denver; House To Make Cuts To Education

55 minutes ago

In this week's edition of our education news roundup, we take you from school vouchers to AP exams to community college.

Betsy DeVos speaks to American Legislative Exchange Council

Protests greeted the education secretary in Denver this week at her speech to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Her family has close ties to the organization, which brings together state legislators, free-market conservatives and corporate sponsors to write model bills that get adopted all over the country.

NPR reporters are returning to their hometowns this summer to find out how they've changed – from job prospects to schools and how people see their community and the country.

Once home to thriving timber and fishing industries, Gold Beach, Oregon now subsists on tourists and retirees looking for a quiet beach, a nice river trip and, in a few cases, marijuana.

I left Gold Beach after graduating from high school in 1985. Back then, it was a blue-collar town dominated by the timber industry.

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Washington Lawmakers Leave Enviros Feeling Shorted

9 hours ago

Washington’s legislative session, the longest in state history, did not deliver the money environmentalists wanted for toxic cleanup, oil transportation safety, or natural resources.

Going into the session, the Environmental Priorities Coalition — made up of more than twenty Washington environmental groups — had placed a priority on getting the state to spend more on environmental protection.

The Oregon Health Authority just released its second review of hospital pricing and there are some big differences.

During 2015, the cost of a typical child delivery at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City was $4,000. But that same delivery at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend was more than $11,000.

So in theory, a patient could have had their baby in Baker City and then driven home in a new $7,000 car.

Stephen Ranzoni with the Oregon Health Authority doesn’t think the study gives consumers more bargaining power. But, he said, it provides useful information.

Forestry Asks Landowners For Help Avoiding Eclipse Wildfires

9 hours ago

Oregon’s Department of Forestry is asking land owners in several districts around the state to help ensure the agency is prepared to respond to wildfires as the solar eclipse approaches.

Land owners in several districts in the path of totality were sent letters from the Department of Forestry earlier this month asking residents to plan ahead. Fire responders warn of the challenges that might arise with an estimated 1 million visitors coming to the state to witness the eclipse.

To Save the Forest, Don't Cut the First Tree: Study

9 hours ago

Chris Wolf and his colleagues at Oregon State University had a question. They wanted to figure out which is worse: chopping down an acre of woods in a forest that’s already been disturbed or chopping down an acre of woods in a forest previously untouched by humans.

Going into the study, he said, “we were more concerned about forest loss in areas that had already experienced a great deal of forest loss.”

Wolf and his team hypothesized that cutting down a last little patch of remaining forest would have disastrous effects for biodiversity.

On a recent morning in Texas, Fort Worth police arrested a man who threatened to burn down his girlfriend's apartment. The officers also detained two Mexican nationals at the apartment complex because they suspected them of being in the country illegally.

Then police called ICE Fugitive Operations. Soon men with guns and dark ballistic vests swarmed the parking lot.

Charges and counter-charges by the White House and top Democrats endured into Friday as the two sides continued trying to work the referees like hard-bitten NBA coaches in the playoffs.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ambitious plans to streamline and restructure the State Department. And the first thing on the chopping block could be the war crimes office.

Foreign Policy magazine reported that a member of Tillerson’s team informed the Office of Global Criminal Justice Special Coordinator Todd Buchwald that he and his staff were being reassigned.

An al-Qaida-linked suspect who prosecutors say conspired to murder a Swedish cartoonist has been charged in federal court in Philadelphia, despite the Trump administration's vow that alleged terrorists would be tried in military courts.

Prosecutors say Ali Charaf Damache, 52, an Algerian-born Irish citizen also known as "Black Flag," was allegedly part of an Ireland-based cell that included Colleen R. LaRose, a Pennsylvania woman known as "Jihad Jane." LaRose pled guilty in a U.S. court in 2011 to conspiracy and terrorism-related crimes. She is serving a 10-year sentence.

As general sessions judge for White County, Tenn., Sam Benningfield says the vast majority of cases he hears are drug-related offenses. The opioid epidemic has hit the state especially hard — resulting in more than 1,400 drug overdose deaths there in 2015 alone, according to the CDC — and he felt that an unusual solution would be necessary to drive home the dangers of illegal drugs for would-be parents.

A key strategy in the fight against climate change is slowing the rapid destruction of the world’s forests.

When trees burn or decompose, they release carbon. About 10 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted every year are from this newly freed carbon rising into the atmosphere.

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Eric Gaillard/Reuters

The Washington Post's Moscow bureau chief, David Filipov, is a frequent guest on Russian TV talk shows — an experience he lovingly calls "a suicide mission."  

"When you go on those shows, you're the token Westerner. And everybody who has ever had a gripe about America can sound off on you." 

Even if that gripe is completely unrelated to the topic at hand.

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On this program in 2014, Moziah Bridges told us about his dream.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MOZIAH BRIDGES: I want to bring the bow tie back, and I want to make it look better than what it used to be.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Forestry Asks Landowners For Help Avoiding Eclipse Wildfires

14 hours ago

Oregon’s Department of Forestry is asking land owners in several districts around the state to help ensure the agency is prepared to respond to wildfires as the solar eclipse approaches.

Land owners in several districts in the path of totality were sent letters from the Department of Forestry earlier this month asking residents to plan ahead. Fire responders warn of the challenges that might arise with an estimated 1 million visitors coming to the state to witness the eclipse.

When Donald Trump Jr. agreed to meet Natalia Veselnitskaya last summer, she was introduced to him as a "Russian government attorney" with dirt on Hillary Clinton. After it turned out that Veselnitskaya couldn't deliver the goods, the meeting ended quickly.

Chester Bennington's death is more than a headline for me

15 hours ago

When I learned about the passing of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington on Thursday, while I was sitting in a coffee shop, an influx of thoughts invaded my mind.

My mind drifted back 12 years to my high school in Tehran.

Our earlier story: A rock band from California helped me get through tough teenage years in Iran

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