Oklahoma

Ah, back-to-school season in America: That means it's time for the annoyingly aggressive marketing of clothes, and for the annual warnings of a national teacher shortage.

But this year the cyclical problem is more real and less of a media creation. There are serious shortages of teachers in California, Oklahoma, Kentucky and places in between.

The sun hasn't been up long in Kingfisher, Okla., but it already feels like it's burning. Trucks are moving wheat as people try to get their work done early. It looks like business as usual for a hot summer day an hour northwest of Oklahoma City.

Henry Senn, Jim Willms and Bill Stolz come to CHS Plains Partners, the local grain elevator, just about every day to share stories from the good old days and talk about wheat prices.

In this week's Maphead, Ken Jennings explains how the Oklahoma panhandle went from unclaimed land to bootlegger's paradise—and is now a road-trip destination.

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Transcript

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Updated at 4:38 p.m. ET

Storms continued to move through Texas and Oklahoma, bringing tornadoes and dumping torrential rains that led to deadly flooding.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Record rainfall wreaked havoc across a swath of the Plains and Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people in Texas from their homes.

More than 1.3 million people are incarcerated in state prisons in this country, and keeping those prisons running requires tens of thousands of corrections officers. But right now, some states are facing major staffing shortages.

Much of this shortfall is because of the strong economy, but recruiters also are struggling with the job's cultural stigma.

Cadets at Wyoming's Department of Corrections Training Academy are practicing how they'll handcuff prisoners. In a few weeks this scenario will be very real, but right now everyone is pretty relaxed.

There's a PSA that greets you on the radio when you're driving the flat stretch of Colorado State Highway 113 near the Nebraska state line: "With marijuana legal under Colorado law, we've all got a few things to know. ... Once you get here, can't leave our state. Stick around, this place is pretty great."

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