Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with news of the evacuation of Akron City Hall. Authorities found a suspicious pipe labeled with the word Kaboom. Turns out it was accidentally left behind by Natural Hunka Kaboom, who comes to watch city council meetings. The pipe was an extendable shower rod he used as a walking stick. Mr. Kaboom tells the Akron Beacon Journal he meant no harm and that his name really is Kaboom. He changed it legally to promote his pest control business. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Oregon residents are being asked to please contact police if they happen to see a 30-foot tall gorilla. He's wearing sunglasses and polka dot shorts, carrying a hot tub and may or may not be inflated. This giant gorilla stood for years on top of the Spas of Oregon store in Gladstone. John Harrison, the owner, is not sure how the thieves took down that gorilla, but he is offering a reward for the return of the animal he calls Marty. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
OK. Let's review an exciting weekend of Major League Baseball playoffs. Two teams won single game playoffs to get into the full-blown playoff series that are now underway. The Yankees, Reds, Nationals and Tigers have all been winning. And if I did not just mention your team, that's because your team is now in a hole. NPR's Mike Pesca's here to help feel your pain.
Mike, good morning.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: In a hole, or out of it entirely.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Mitt Romney's campaign spent almost the whole month of September in freefall. Almost nothing he did seemed right and almost everything was criticized, at least in part because he was trailing in the polls. That's a perception that feeds on itself. Then came last week's presidential debate, and surveys over this past weekend show the race much tighter. Now we watch to see what happens next.
Bruce Osterweil, 59, of San Francisco has long relied on his wife's employer-sponsored health plan for coverage, but she recently turned 65 and signed up for Medicare. She's going to retire in January and now Bruce is on his own to find a plan on the individual insurance market.
Bruce Osterweil is a lucky man to live just a short walk from where San Francisco's Golden Gate meets the cold, rough waters of the Pacific Ocean. He is also a lucky man to have married his wife, Patricia Furlong, who has long provided the family's health insurance through her job at a small financial consulting firm.
But last month, Osterweil's wife turned 65 and decided to retire, and although she may walk away with a crystal bowl or a golden watch for all those years of service, she will also walk away from her company's generous health insurance benefits.
With a growing population of baby boomers, officials are bracing for a surge in senior drivers. Statistics tell us that accidents increase after the age of 65, and fatal accidents are more likely after the age of 75.
When a California company developed a product to be used in spinal fusion surgeries, the firm's president said he knew it faced a new "ethical dilemma," even noting a recent NPR news investigation questioning the high profits some firms were making from donated human tissue.
MARTIN: Pinball machines are as popular as ever in a small mountain town in Colorado, giving a new generation a taste of the past. NPR's Ahmad Shafi has the story.
(SOUNDBITE OF PINBALL MACHINE)
AHMAD SHAFI, BYLINE: Lyons, Colorado sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, about 20 miles north of Boulder. It's known for its annual music festivals and art scene. But in downtown Lyons, there's a business that doesn't fit that mold.
Before Twitter, radio, even electricity - in fact, going all the way back to pre-historic times, people gathered around fires to listen to stories. Even though the glow of computers has replaced the warmth of the campfire for most of us, some folks still hold fast to the tradition of oral storytelling.
As Missy Shelton reports, nearly 10,000 people have gathered this weekend for the National Storytelling Festival in northeast Tennessee to hear professional tellers weave some good yarns.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The latest national polls show the presidential race tightening in some of the all-important battleground states, with Republican Mitt Romney gaining on President Barack Obama's lead. We've been talking with political reporters in these swing states and this morning, we focus on New Hampshire. President Obama won the state back in 2008 with 54 percent of the vote to John McCain's 45 percent. The state's four electoral votes could be crucial this year.
If you're a country music fan, the name Rayna Jaymes may not ring a bell. That's because Rayna Jaymes is a fictionalcharacter played by actress Connie Britton. Britton stars in the new TV series Nashville, which premieres this Wednesday on ABC.
TV fans will know Britton for her Emmy-nominated roles in American Horror Story and Friday Nights Lights, in which she played Tami Taylor, the wife of ahigh school football coach in a small Texas town.
In California, state officials are planning a multibillion-dollar environmental restoration of the inland delta near San Francisco Bay. There's only one problem: No one knows what the landscape used to look like. Ninety-seven percent of the original wetlands are gone, so the state is turning to historians for help.
This detective story begins on a sunny day in a dry field of corn, about an hour east of San Francisco.
Despite its liberal reputation, the home of Jack Kennedy and Tip O'Neill has never elected a woman as governor or senator. And in Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown's tight re-election race with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, gender could prove the difference.
When Brown won his Senate seat in a special election in 2010, he came away unscathed by something his female opponent at the time would have had a much harder time explaining away. He posed nude for Cosmopolitan when he was 22 to help pay for law school.
Afghan children run to school on Sept. 24. Whoever takes over as the next U.S. president will have to determine how many troops will remain after the December 2014 deadline to help with long-term security.
How does a president bring the war in Afghanistan to an end? There are 68,000 American troops serving in the country as the war enters its 12th year.
The war hasn't been a major issue in the presidential campaign, and polls show American voters are tiring of the war. But the next commander in chief will find the Afghan war among the most difficult of many foreign policy challenges.
Both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney appear to agree on a date: the last day of December 2014. That's when the Afghan security forces are scheduled to takeover.