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Stories we like from around the web

When a North Country prison closes, what happens to the town?

With a state prison set to close, one New York town is losing a major economic driver. A similar sting was felt in Pennsylvania last year when the Department of Corrections announced the closing of prisons in Westmoreland and Cambria Counties.

Rikers: Where mental illness meets brutality in jail

A four-month investigation of Rikers Island by The New York Times revealed a culture of prison guard violence through first-hand accounts and secret documents. The Times documents a few of these savage beatings in the context that roughly 40 percent of the Rikers inmate population has some form of mental illness.

Lopsided lobbying on Keystone Pipeline

Are lobbying efforts meaningless with a do-nothing Congress?

The Koch Brothers v. Tom Steyer: Whose carbon footprint is bigger?

When it comes to carbon pollution, the big money funders of conservative and liberal causes both have bad scorecards.

Worshippers with disabilities search for acceptance

People with disabilities struggle to find places of worship that are accepting and accessible.

Could a trade deal lift the U.S.’ longstanding ban on crude oil exports? Europe thinks so.

Secret documents show the European Union is trying to secure crude oil and natural gas exports from the United States, now the world's largest oil and gas producer after overtaking Saudi Arabia this year.

For many, Austin Police Department’s take-home car policy is free ride

Many Austin, Texas police officers that have take-home cars live far outside the city's limits making it unlikely they will be called back to work. Thus, the cars become mainly commuter vehicles for the officers, at a yearly cost of at least $376,000, and serve little public safety purpose, according to the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. In March, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued an Executive Order restricting the use of take-home vehicles and cutting the city's motor pool from 56 to 38 cars.

A history of lethal drug use in Texas

The Texas Tribune details the use and evolution of the drugs used to kill death-row inmates.

Extent of US dependency on prescription drugs revealed: UN report shows six percent of American adults hooked on pills

The United States has the highest rate of painkiller abuse in the world, according to a recent UN report. A nationwide crackdown on prescription drug abuse has had a troubling side effect — the resurgence of heroin use.