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Texas

Governors across the country are banning elective surgery as a means of halting the spread of the coronavirus. But in a handful of states that ban is being extended to include a ban on all abortions.

So far the courts have intervened to keep most clinics open. The outlier is Texas, where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit this week upheld the governor's abortion ban.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

For Jeff West and his family, a stop in Boulder is a must when they visit from Chicago. That stop always includes the Pearl Street Mall for some shopping, some dining and some unique entertainment.

“We’re looking for a guy who folds himself up into a clear box,” West said.

That may sound strange unless you’re familiar with one of Pearl Street’s longest running tenants. Up the mall, about 50 people gathered around Ibashi-I while he artfully folded his 6-foot tall, 160-pound body into a 20-by-20-inch clear, plastic box.

“Some people call it contortionist,” Ibashi-I said. “I call it Rasta yoga, because it’s my own style.”

Andrew Cullen / special to Inside Energy

Manning a massive telescope at Theodore Roosevelt National Park's Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival, volunteer and astronomy-buff Jay Bjerke wasn't looking to starry skies. Instead of the Milky Way, he was looking toward a butte on the horizon silhouetted by a soft glow.

"You can't see stars between the horizon and 20 degrees up," he said, pointing. "That's the oilfields."

Behind that North Dakota butte, natural gas flares were blazing just outside the park fence. As oil development exploded in recent years, so has the amount of light pollution in some of the nation's dark and far flung places.

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After Army Pfc. Brian Orolin returned from Afghanistan in 2011, his wife Donna could tell something wasn't right. He became paranoid and suffered constant headaches, and he would isolate himself in his bedroom with the lights dimmed.

Then, on November 19, Brian left his home, wife and two children in Spring, Texas.

He's been missing ever since.

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

Sen. Rand Paul made headlines recently with his one-man effort to roll back government surveillance. And that's the just beginning of Paul's plan to dismantle big chunks of the federal government.

CIRES

Researchers from the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder have begun a new study to measure air pollution from oil and gas fields across the West.

The scientists are flying a small airplane across numerous oil and gas basins, from North Dakota's Bakken oil field, through Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, and all the way down to Texas. They will take measurements of methane as well as ozone precursors, and aim to answer the question: Why do some oil and natural gas production basins pollute more than others?

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Getting there isn't always half the fun as some Colorado bands that headed to Austin for the 2015 South By Southwest music fest found out.

The perils of making the trek ranged from the minor – Write Minded found themselves stranded for a few hours in Oklahoma thanks to a dead battery – to the major – Eldren's violinist was almost deported just before the band headed out for the festival – to the miraculous – a very good Samaritan took to Facebook to return a wallet to Stella Luce bassist Brett Schreiber.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Under the hot sun in Austin, Texas acts including Wheelchair Sports Camp and 3Two raised the roof for the hip-hop celebration Wednesday at the Colorado Music Party at SXSW.

"Oh it's so much fun, you know," Wheelchair Sports Camp's Kalyn Heffernan said after a blistering set that packed the small rooftop patio at 512 at Sixth Street. "Especially when we have so many of the band people up there. You know it's just a big party on stage."

Stacy Nick / KUNC

While the opening day of the Colorado Music Party – an unofficial South By Southwest showcase – was focused on some obviously talented folks, some hidden talents were unveiled as well. Day one was about stepping outside your comfort zone, new material, fun and letting the music party's flag fly.

This weekend's NFL playoffs include a faceoff between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. That game is being billed as the second "Ice Bowl."

These teams have played each other often since that cold game on Dec. 31, 1967, but this is the first time since then they'll meet for a playoff at Lambeau Field.

The temperature that day was minus 15. But while it will be cold in Green Bay this Sunday, it won't be that cold.

"I feel fine except for my face," says Packers CEO Mark Murphy.

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