Sam Sanders

Sam has worked at Vermont Public Radio since October 1978 in various capacities â

The U.S. Open kicked off today, at the Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington. One aspect of this year's tournament is standing out already: the grass. It is quite brown in some places, an aesthetic that is almost totally in opposition to say, the lush, verdant greens of the Augusta National Golf Club, where The Masters takes place.

In a decision that could have major implications for the entire sharing economy, the California Labor Commission has ruled that a San Francisco Uber driver is a company employee, not a contractor. In that decision, the commission awarded Uber driver Barbara Ann Berwick $4,152.20 in employee expenses, including mileage reimbursements, toll charges and interest.

The ruling was made public when Uber filed an appeal Tuesday in a state court in San Francisco.

Kirk Kerkorian, child of Armenian immigrants, casino magnate, World War II pilot and grade-school dropout, died Monday night in Los Angeles. He was 98.

The Los Angeles Times reports Kerkorian died at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Kerkorian, who founded MGM Resorts International and built the largest hotel in the world three different times, was known for making the Las Vegas Strip a destination not just for adults, but entire families.

Soon, you might be able to log into your bank account with a litany of smiling poo emojis, or a string of little chicken wing images, or multiple little monkeys holding their hands over their eyes.

As California endures its fourth year of drought, water restrictions are taking effect across the state. On April 1, Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order implementing a mandatory 25 percent water cutback in cities and towns across the state from 2013 usage levels. It took effect June 1.

Brown's executive order, and the hundreds of other water guidelines throughout the state, can be confusing. NPR asked listeners what questions they have about California water restrictions. We took those questions to experts to get to the bottom of what all these rules actually mean.

Cpl. Eric Casebolt, the McKinney, Texas, police officer seen on a video forcing a teenage girl to the ground and briefly drawing his gun while attempting to break up a disturbance at a community pool, has resigned. Police Chief Greg Conley made the announcement at a press conference Tuesday evening.

Vincent Musetto, a longtime editor at the New York Post, has died at the age of 74. The Post reports Musetto died Tuesday in hospice care at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three weeks ago. His daughter Carly VanTassell told the paper, "He wasn't in any pain. ... He passed peacefully in his sleep."

Two prisoners who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York last weekend are still on the loose. North Country Public Radio reports that at least 300 tips have come in so far, but authorities still have no idea where Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, two convicted murderers, actually are.

Last October, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released findings from an internal investigation that revealed approximately 3,000 students — mostly student athletes — had their grades inflated through sham courses in the school's African and Afro-American studies department over a span of almost 20 years.

Nearly 4 million past and current federal employees may have fallen victim to the latest cybersecurity attack against the Office of Personnel Management.

The federal agency said in a statement that it discovered the breach in April, during a recent push to update the its "cybersecurity posture." OPM says people's names, social security numbers, dates and places of birth, and current and former addresses were hacked.

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