This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News, I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. In Moore, Okla., today, details about some of the people killed in the massive tornado began to emerge. Ten of them are children. They include a 4-month-old girl whose mother also died, an infant and her 4-year-old sister, and seven third-graders who were trapped in the Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Two ports, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, handle almost half of all of the consumer goods being shipped into the United States. Together, these two ports are also the single largest polluter in Southern California, a region famous for its smog.
NPR's Kirk Siegler reports on a new California law that will soon require some of the largest diesel-guzzling ships to kill their engines and plug in to shore power at the docks.
The candidates have spent a record amount of money. They've stumped hard in a city that isn't easy to campaign in — 470 square miles sliced up into neighborhoods divided by a web of freeways.
Yet despite nearly $20 million in spending in the March primary alone, turnout is expected to be low next Tuesday in Los Angeles when voters go to the polls to pick a new mayor to replace the term-limited Antonio Villaraigosa.
As a result, City Councilman Eric Garcetti and his opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel, are engaged in an all-out blitz for votes across the sprawling city.
A cruise run by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., sounds like a picturesque summer outing. But the Urban Ocean boat cruise highlights the juxtaposition of a powerful port with a fragile ecosystem: You're just as likely to see trash as you are to see marine life.
In front of the aquarium, school kids are running around, eager to go inside and pet the sharks and see the penguins. There's also a marina, where a small passenger boat called the Cristina shoves off from sunny Shoreline Aquatic Park.
The Salinas Valley in Northern California grows about 80 percent of the country's lettuce, and it takes a lot of people to pick and pack it. In a field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods, a dozen lechugueros, or lettuce pickers, are bent at the waist, cutting heads of iceberg lettuce. They work frantically to stay in front of a line of 12 more packers, who seal them with tape and toss them onto a conveyor belt.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks at the National Press Club in March. Priebus has irritated faith-based values voters and others in the GOP with his quest to retool the party following the losses of 2012.
Los Angeles is getting ready to elect a new mayor, and the field is down to two: city comptroller Wendy Greuel and city councilman Eric Garcetti. Now, while Garcetti speaks often of his Mexican ancestry on his father's side, neither candidate is seen as a product of L.A.'s Latino community or political establishment.
And this is notable because of all the attention paid to the current mayor's background when he came to office. Here's NPR's Kirk Siegler.
Connie Jacobson, coroner in Natrona County, Wyo., says suicide is one of the biggest public health problems facing the state. Wyoming has the highest suicide rate in the U.S., and two-thirds of suicides in the state are by firearm.
Guns are a big part of everyday life in Wyoming, and many residents have been directly impacted by a suicide in which a gun was used. The state has the highest suicide rate in the nation, and three-quarters of Wyoming's suicides are by firearm.
The rural state's relationship with guns has long made suicide prevention efforts challenging. But that may be starting to change.
Lax Gun Laws
Last year, there were more suicides in Natrona County than anywhere else in Wyoming.
Owens Lake — which dried up after losing its water source, the Owens River, to Los Angeles — is known to be a source of air pollution. The city of L.A. is in court over obligations to control dust pollution at the lake.
Credit Kirk Siegler / NPR
Owens Valley and the Sierra Nevada, the high desert environment that is drier today because of a century worth of water diversions to Los Angeles, some 200 miles away.
It's been almost 100 years since William Mulholland stood atop an aqueduct along the Owens River and said, "There it is, take it." He was referring to a diversion channel that started piping water to Los Angeles from 200 miles away. That water allowed L.A. to become the metropolis it is today.
But it also meant that the Owens River no longer flowed into the massive Owens Lake, which quickly dried up and became one of the biggest environmental disasters in the nation.
Hikers walk on the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall at Yosemite National Park in California. The National Park Service has to cut $134 million from sites around the country, including Yosemite, due to the lack of a budget deal in Congress.
Spring has come early to the Yosemite Valley, and the melting snow makes for a spectacular rush of water off the granite face of Yosemite Falls, the tallest in North America.
Early March is when park officials would normally be gearing up for the busy tourist season. Instead, they're figuring out how to cut $1.5 million from their budget. Without a budget deal, the sequestration has forced the Park Service to cut a total of $134 million from sites around the country.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
We're learning more about the actions of Christopher Dorner, the former police officer turned fugitive in Southern California. Today, police in Los Angeles said they believe he stalked LAPD officers and their families before he began his alleged killing rampage. Authorities say Dorner killed himself last week during a violent standoff in the mountains east of L.A. NPR's Kirk Siegler has this update.
A meeting of finance ministers from the 20 leading industrial and developing nations wrapped up over the weekend in Moscow. The nations agreed to not to target the exchange rates of their respective currencies amid concerns that competitive devaluation could spark a currency war.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour in Southern California, where there are more questions than answers about yesterday's gun battle between police and a man thought to be Christopher Dorner. Dorner is the former LAPD officer who's been on the run. He's accused of setting out on a killing spree to avenge his dismissal from the force, and he's blamed for the deaths of four people in the past week.
We're also following a story in Southern California: the ongoing hunt for a former policeman suspected of a killing spree. Christopher Dorner is sought in the shooting of three people last week. The mayor of Los Angeles announced the city is offering a $1 million reward for any information leading to his arrest. As NPR's Kirk Siegler reports, one of the largest manhunts in California history is now going into its fifth day, with no major leads.
If you haven't been to Palisades Park — the famous oceanfront park in Santa Monica, Calif. — chances are you have seen its swaying palm trees and sweeping ocean vistas in movies and commercials.
Running up the wooden stairs that plunge to the beach is the workout to do in this city where it seems like you have to be fit to fit in. In fact, most early mornings before work hours, this park seems more like an outdoor gym than anything else, with running clubs, weight training and kickboxing classes.
California has a new law in affect this year that bars employers from forcing employees to hand over their social media passwords. Some companies have been asking for these passwords to keep tabs on employees.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
We may have avoided the fiscal cliff for the moment, but most Americans will still feel a dip in their take home pay this year. That's because payroll taxes that fund Social Security were not on the negotiating table this week in Congress. They are resetting back up to where they were at the end of 2010. It's an increase of two percentage points.
Drug cartels are taking to the ocean. That's because security along the land border between the U.S. and Mexico has been beefed up. Smuggling off the coast of Southern California is up 30 percent this year, according to the government, and that has the Coast Guard and Homeland Security warning of an increasingly dangerous situation off the busy coast.
Cargo started moving again on Wednesday at the nation's largest ports. An eight-day strike by clerical workers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is over. Melissa Block talks with Kirk Siegler from the port, where clerks, longshoremen and truckers are all glad to be back on the job.
Now, let's talk next about Colorado, where Republicans edged ahead in early voting, the same early voting that was key to Democratic success back in 2008. Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC has our story.
KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Early voting at polling stations like this one in downtown Denver ended this past Friday, but yesterday there was a steady stream of voters dropping off their mail-in ballots.
PAMELA MALONE: Well, I was just turning in my vote before the final last hours...
President Obama speaks during a campaign event at University of Colorado Boulder Sept. 2. He and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will have their first debate at the University of Denver on Wednesday.
Colorado is a good venue for a presidential debate focusing on domestic issues. The first of three highly anticipated debates between President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will take place Wednesday at the University of Denver.
The state is known for its independent voting streak, and much like the rest of the country, there are sharp political divides about the role of government in the economy. In Colorado, those differences grow from two distinct population centers.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 10:01 am
Watching the first 20 minutes of Saturday Night Live's season premiere in Denver, I counted at least four ads by the Obama campaign and liberal groups backing the president. Just one ad countering their message was aired in the same span by the Romney campaign.