NPR News

With the country in the throes of an epidemic, communities across the nation are being forced to confront the harrowing, and often fatal, effects of opioid abuse. But solutions — such as creating intervention programs in Ohio, providing access to treatment in Alabama, or investing in prevention initiatives in Missouri — cost money.

Updated on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. ET

Keith Gaddie has "hung up his spurs."

The election expert from the University of Oklahoma no longer helps state legislatures draw new district lines to maximize their partisan advantage.

He was still wearing those spurs in 2011 when he provided data that helped Wisconsin Republicans enact a legislative redistricting plan aimed at maximizing their power for the foreseeable future.

But now he has reversed course and filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the practice is undemocratic.

Updated at 6:09 p.m. ET

A gunman holed up in a hotel room high above the Las Vegas Strip fired down upon thousands of people attending a music festival Sunday night, in a brutal attack blamed for at least 59 deaths, a law enforcement official says. In the mass shooting and panic that ensued, 527 people were injured.

Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

One person was killed and seven others were wounded when a gunman opened fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tenn., on Sunday morning, according to police. The suspect was among the injured.

By the afternoon, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department had identified the woman churchgoer who was fatally shot as Melanie Smith, 39, from the Rutherford County town of Smyrna, Tenn.

"Never forget" became a national rallying cry after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Yet America's schools — where collective memory is shaped — are now full of students who never knew because they weren't alive then. Many teachers now struggle with whether and how to teach the attacks and their aftermath.

According to one survey, only about 20 states include anything in depth about the events of that fateful day in their high school social studies curriculum.

And when they are taught, critics say, it's often through a narrow lens.

Hurricane Irma's punishing winds and life-threatening storm surge have already left an imprint, and there is more catastrophic damage expected to come as Irma takes a projected path up Florida's west coast.

Updated at 5 a.m. ET Monday

Irma has weakened since beginning its push up central Florida, but is still a Category 1 hurricane with winds near 75 mph and higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its center is about 60 miles north of Tampa and continues to move along the northwest coast of the Florida peninsula. The NHC says Irma is expected to weaken to a tropical storm this morning and tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon.

Hurricane Irma is hovering somewhere between being the most- and second-most powerful hurricane recorded in the Atlantic. It follows Harvey, which dumped trillions of gallons of water on South Texas. And now, Hurricane Jose is falling into step behind Irma, and gathering strength.

Is this what climate change scientists predicted?

In a word, yes. Climate scientists such as Michael Mann at Penn State says, "The science is now fairly clear that climate change will make stronger storms stronger." Or wetter.

Flooding from Hurricane Harvey has been widespread across Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas. While the storm has dissipated, water remains in many homes.

People are starting to return to the Nottingham Forest subdivision, an upscale area located just north of Buffalo Bayou, which has been heavily flooded. Homes that are closer to the bayou had anywhere from 2 to 5 feet of flooded water on Thursday. A lot of that flooding resulted from a controlled release of water from nearby reservoirs.

Six days after Hurricane Harvey first crossed the Texas coast, Houston is still in rescue mode with people stranded in houses and apartments.

With the authorities overwhelmed by the scope of the flooding, private citizens have been rushing to Houston and towing their own boats to conduct rescues.

Rene Galvan has come to a makeshift boat launch on flooded Highway 90, looking for rescuers. In a soaked, blue hoodie, he sits anxiously in the bow of an aluminum boat, wondering how they're going to get to 14 members of his extended family who have been stranded by rising water.

Disasters like the flooding that has followed Hurricane Harvey, displacing thousands of people, always create a tremendous need for help — and a tremendous desire to provide that help.

But those who have dealt with disasters before say people need to be careful about how they contribute to disaster relief, and when. Cash donations are almost always preferred over items — such as blankets, clothing and stuffed animals — often sent into overwhelmed disaster areas by well-meaning donors.

The remnants of now-Tropical Storm Harvey have all but parked over south Texas and the storm is inundating the region around Houston with "unprecedented" rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Houstonians have been stranded in their homes, and some of those who were on the roads were in need of rescue as areas of Houston received as much as two feet of rain with no immediate end in sight.

Then-Hurricane Harvey made landfall late Friday evening near Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane, one of the strongest storms to make landfall in recent history.

President Trump has pardoned controversial former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a misdemeanor criminal contempt conviction.

A statement issued by the White House Friday night said, "Today, President Donald J. Trump granted a Presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona."

Known as "America's Toughest Sheriff," Arpaio gained a reputation for his harsh — his critics would say cruel — treatment of immigrants in the country illegally.

The U.S. power grid could become less reliable if too much electricity comes from renewable energy and natural gas, according to a study from the Department of Energy.

But not everyone is buying it. Environmentalists suspect the Trump administration is just trying to prop up an ailing coal industry.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for the study in the spring. The report doesn't say there is a grid reliability problem now — only that one could develop if more coal and nuclear power plants shut down.

Jason Smith, a cafeteria manager in Grayson, Ken., didn't have any formal culinary training, but he had a dream: to be a Food Network star. After 10 weeks of cooking, food demonstrations and exuding plenty of Southern charm, Smith's dream came true.

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