National

A look at all 50 States of the Union from KUNC, NPR and other NPR Member Stations.

Courtesy Chris Blumenstein

Vietnam War veteran Rodger Holmes became ill in 2014, at the height of a national scandal over long patient wait times at care centers and allegations of negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Holmes, who sought care for his Hepatitis C liver disease at the Grand Junction VA Health Care System, was among those to complain.  

"He lost a tremendous amount of weight," said Chris Blumenstein, who served as a VA social worker to Holmes. "He was losing his mental clarity, his mental sharpness, he couldn't remember things."

Holmes died in December 2014, but in response to concerns, the VA's national Office of Inspector General launched an investigation and released recommendations May 11, 2016.

The man who acknowledged attacking a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last year is not competent to have his criminal case go forward, a judge ruled on Wednesday. Robert Lewis Dear Jr. is accused of killing three people and wounding nine others in Colorado Springs in November.

More than a year after Nebraska and Oklahoma sought to sue Colorado over the carry-over effects of that state's law making recreational marijuana legal, the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the two states' complaint.

The court did not explain its decision, with which Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas disagreed. Thomas wrote a five-page dissent in which Alito joined (a reminder: the court is currently at eight members).

Driving through the gold-brown savanna of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, past its Dr. Seuss-like trees and water-carved rocks, it's easy to see why the national parks have been called America's Best Idea.

Spend a few hours with some of the park's employees, like Cultural Resources Branch Chief Jason Theuer, and you'll see that national parks are also another thing: expensive. There is a nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog of work that needs be done but isn't because of limited money.

Four U.S. senators are calling on the Army to stop kicking out soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and have been diagnosed with mental health problems or traumatic brain injuries — effective immediately.

With two deadly mass shootings in California and Colorado in the past week, this country is again in a fierce debate over gun control.

After the massacre in San Bernardino, President Obama encouraged states to take the lead on preventing gun violence. Both California and Colorado have responded to mass shootings recently by passing tougher gun laws.

The two civilians killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday were Ke'Arre Stewart, a father of two and Army veteran who served in Iraq, and Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two who was reportedly at the clinic to support a friend.

As Colorado Springs held vigils for those killed during a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic, we are learning more about the alleged gunman and his possible motive.

Police say Robert Lewis Dear, 57, killed three people and left nine wounded.

The man arrested after a deadly attack and standoff at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs Friday is Robert Lewis Dear, 57, officials confirm. Police gave an honor guard to an officer who died in the attack.

Update at 3 p.m. ET: Few Details Revealed At News Event

Praising the police response and saying they're relieved that more than three people were not killed, local and state officials offered few details about the case, citing the ongoing investigation during a news conference Saturday afternoon.

by Mark Jarvis / Flickr/Creative Commons

Even with about a month left in 2015, it’s already been a record-setting year for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park. Just over 3.9 million people visited the park between January and October – topping 3.4 million in 2014. Park officials say the number could easily top 4 million if trends continue.

"When you look back at what our visitation was last November and December [2014], we had roughly 170,000 people during those last two months," said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson. "Given that we’re already really close, we’re assuming that we will likely hit the four-million mark – if not by the end of November, then certainly by the end of December."

At this point the park is less than 60,000 visitors away from hitting that milestone.

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