Now, today is an important day for more than 40,000 salaried retirees of General Motors. They're facing a major financial decision. This evening marks the deadline for accepting a pension buyout.
Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton explains.
TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: The GM retirees have two choices: either take a lump-sum payment - which can range from 400,000 to $800,000 - or their pensions will be shifted from GM's books to the private insurance company Prudential.
Colorado has been at the center of another devastating story in recent days -the worst wildfires in its history. Those fires are just one consequence of record heat in a drought that has spread across the Rockies and the Midwest. Local news is filled with pictures of farmers gripping shriveled ears of corn and boats marooned in empty reservoirs. It's a drought that will go down in history, much like that of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, and another in the 1950s that hit the central plains and the Southwest.
While severe drought is taking hold in the Midwest, Texas is doing better. At this time last year, the state was on fire, crops were desiccated in the field and livestock were slowly starving. But recent rains have almost ended more than a year of record drought.
"If you look at the way we were thinking and feeling on the last July 16, that was desperation. That was despair," says Gene Hall, public relations director for the Texas Farm Bureau.
Brazil's HIV/AIDS program — which has been praised as a model for developing nations — is now under strain.
When HIV first emerged in the 1980s, Brazil responded quickly to the epidemic. The South American country launched large-scale safe-sex drives and gave away millions of condoms. It offered free treatment to anyone who was infected. The Brazilian government took on international pharmaceutical companies and even broke patents to cut medication costs.
Back in 2008, "Boston" Bill Hansbury was learning to live with a prosthetic after losing his leg to an infection. That's when he met Jake Bainter, who was about to have his right leg amputated. The two struck up a friendship, despite a wide gap in their ages — Hansbury was 70, and Bainter was 7.
The pair recently discussed their friendship, and other topics, during a visit to StoryCorps in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"Boston Bill, tell me about the day that we met," says Jake, now 12.
Those born at the height of the name-hyphenating craze will be the first to tell you — having two last names can be more trouble than it's worth. There's the perennial confusion at school and at the doctor's office, and the challenge of squeezing your name onto forms.
And now that the hyphenated generation is marrying and parenting, a whole host of new tricky situations has emerged.
Take Leila and Brendan. Their story is one of those fairy tale stories of love at first sight. She was in the lobby of her apartment building when this cute guy started moving in.
Well, now to another lawsuit over alleged civil rights violations. The case takes us to a private school in Pennsylvania where a student was denied admission because he is HIV positive. As Craig Layne of member station WITF reports, the school turned away the teen over worries that he could spread the virus.
Now to more news about the brain and how it works. This week, researchers gathered in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Alzheimer's Association International Conference. While there's no cure for Alzheimer's, experts have been looking for ways to diagnose it earlier and slow its progression. Among the studies presented this week was one that suggests that a drug may be able to stabilize Alzheimer's patients for up to three years.
When Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps steps onto a starting block a few days from now, a Stanford scientist named Krishna Shenoy will be asking himself a question: "What's going on in Michael Phelps' brain?"
Specifically, Shenoy would like to know what's happening in an area called the premotor cortex. This area doesn't directly tell muscles what to do. But it's the place where the brain gears up for something the body is about to do, like swimming.
The news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week approved the use of Truvada, an AIDS drug, to prevent infections in people who are HIV-negative is being greeted with skepticism, derision and even worry by some doctors in South Africa.
While the concept of the American dream has been a part of our national consciousness for generations, you'd be hard-pressed to find two people who define it precisely the same way. We can say that with some authority, because, as part of our series, American Dreams: Then And Now, we asked you to share your own take on the dream. Sure enough, no two responses were the same.
Warning that a fuel line could leak, "potentially resulting in an underhood fire," Ford Motor Co. today told owners of about 11,500 model year 2013 Escapes "to stop driving their vehicles and to immediately contact their dealers."
The company said that "dealers will deliver a loaner vehicle to customers and will then transport their 2013 Escape to the dealership until the repair has been completed."
There have been no injuries reported in connection with the problem, the company said.
The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that more than 80 percent of the continental U.S. is either in a drought or considered "abnormally dry". Farmers and ranchers in the corn and soybean belt are feeling the effects, and the impact is rippling through other economic sectors as well.