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Remember the California drought? It was all over the news a year ago, when the state took the unprecedented step of mandating statewide water cutbacks. The Sierra Nevada snowpack was at its lowest recorded level. Rivers and reservoirs were getting shallower and shallower. Wells in rural towns were literally running dry.

That drought is still very much a thing.

On a blistering 90-degree day, Nelly Carrillo stands over her stove, placing a chorizo and potato sope onto the oiled cast-iron skillet. The thick, fried tortilla sizzles, and she wipes sweat off her brow with the back of her softly wrinkled hands. You can hear a cacophony of honking cars and voices in the near distance.

As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shook hands with moderator Chris Wallace and greeted their families after the end of Wednesday night's presidential debate, the broadcast hosts delivered their verdict.

"All six of the 15-minute segments — total home runs for him," said Cliff Sims. "I think this was really the performance that Donald Trump needed to grab that momentum going toward the election."

His co-host, Boris Epshteyn, agreed: "He prosecuted the case against Hillary Clinton perfectly."

Huang Xian'er came of age while watching Internet celebrities' streaming videos on her smartphone in western China's Yinchuan city.

"My mom knew I was watching Internet stars in school," she recalls. "She simplistically thought that all Internet stars sell clothes, get plastic surgery and all look the same."

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome back Democratic attorney general nominee Teresa Hensley to the program.

Hensley is squaring off against Republican Josh Hawley in the general election for attorney general. Hawley recorded an episode of the podcast last week that can be found here.

Updated to link to Hensley podcast - On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Republican attorney general nominee Josh Hawley to the program.

Hawley won the GOP primary for attorney general over state Sen. Kurt Schaefer by a landslide. He will square off against Democratic attorney general nominee Teresa Hensley, who is slated to record an episode of Politically Speaking next week.

For roughly a decade, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee was a firm opponent of campaign donation limits. When he voted to get rid of contribution curbs as a Republican state senator in 2006 and a Democratic state senator in 2008, he believed that an unlimited system would give Missourians a better sense of where money came from and where it was going.

But  Chris Koster abandoned his long-standing opposition to donation limits earlier this year and threw his support behind a proposed constitutional amendment that limits contributions to $2,600 for state-based offices. He says that the current system where million-dollar donations are relatively commonplace is completely out of control.

It’s mid-afternoon in a VFW Hall in Overland, and Eric Greitens has a room full of veterans at full attention. Two Medal of Honor recipients, Michael Thornton and Thomas Norris, just introduced Greitens, and he’s about to provide the crowd with details about his newest mission: Becoming governor of Missouri.

On campaign stops like these, the uniform of the former Navy SEAL is often a blazer, an Oxford-cloth shirt with no tie, and jeans. His speech delivery is disciplined, sharp and deliberate: At town halls and debates, Greitens argues that Jefferson City’s political class has faltered and failed.

In a sign of how competitive Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest has become, the two major candidates – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – held dueling roundtables with area military veterans.

Wednesday’s events were intended to underscore how both men are highlighting their armed services credentials, and emphasizing their concern about the problems facing the nation’s military.

Nine years ago, Chris Koster was a state senator, a former Cass County prosecutor and a rising star within the Missouri Republican Party. Many speculated he would eventually run for governor.

And now he is running for governor, but as a Democrat.

Koster switched parties in 2007,  a stunning move that has set the course for his unusual political career.  He remains the highest-profile politician in Missouri, at least in modern times, to have made such a move

Dorothy's ruby slippers could use a little more magic these days — or at least some preservationist TLC.

The famous shoes from The Wizard of Oz are among the most popular items on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. But they're showing their age, and the museum is asking the public to pitch in to help keep the shoes intact for decades to come.

Giant panda Bao Bao, born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in August 2013, will be heading to China this winter.

Bao Bao's parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, are on loan from China, and the agreement calls for any pandas born to the breeding pair to be sent to the Chinese breeding program before they turn 4.

A guy who covers agriculture in the West who's never put a skinned, sliced, battered, deep-fried bull testicle into a cup of cocktail sauce and then into his mouth?

I couldn't let it stand.

They're known by many names: lamb fries, bull fries, Montana tenders, huevos de toro, cowboy caviar. In my corner of Colorado, they're Rocky Mountain oysters, and I somehow coaxed myself into thinking I needed to try them to be more a part of the place I live, to be a true-blue Coloradoan.

Just 18 and still in high school, Camila Rodriguez did not feel prepared for motherhood when she learned she was unexpectedly pregnant. She began asking around her school, hoping to find someone selling Misoprostol, a pharmaceutical drug that treats stomach ulcers, but which has been banned in Chile since 2001 because it can also induce abortions.

In the final presidential debate, Donald Trump said he supports the federal ban on "partial-birth" abortion because, under the procedure, "in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother."

He added that this can happen "as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth."

But that is not at all likely.

Cameron Smith was a fifth-grader with straight A's when her school, Fickett Elementary, was caught up in a national cheating scandal.

The story started in 2001, when scores on statewide tests across Atlanta began improving greatly. The superintendent, Beverly Hall, was hailed as a highly effective reformer, winning National Superintendent of the Year in 2009.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had one job in his third and final debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: break out.

He needed to break out from the narrative that is fast enveloping his campaign — the way evening overtakes the late afternoon.

He needed a breakout performance showing himself to be disciplined and knowledgeable enough to be president.

Our cars and trucks are being made with more safety features. New technologies such as lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, vehicle stabilizers and anti-lock brakes can, and do, save lives.

Yet more people are dying on the nation's roadways — nearly 18,000 in the first six months of this year. That's a huge jump of 10.4 percent over the same time period in 2015, and it's part of a disturbing trend, according to federal officials, because traffic fatalities rose significantly last year, too.

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Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered and rookie Ryan Merritt delivered shutdown pitching as Cleveland beat Toronto 3-0 to win the American League Championship Series in five games.

The Indians are heading to the World Series for the first time since 1997 and will host the first two games. Cleveland last won a World Series in 1948.

Mike Napoli's double off of Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada put Cleveland on top in the first inning. Estrada also gave up two home runs.

As Donald Trump warns about the prospect of a "rigged" presidential election, he's getting some help from a conservative activist group.

Project Veritas, which has carried out several damaging video sting operations, has posted several videos in recent days purporting to show Democratic operatives bragging about inciting violence at Trump's campaign events, and appearing to detail how they could bus out-of-state supporters in to commit voter fraud.

Phil Chess, co-founder of the iconic Chicago blues and rock 'n' roll label Chess Records, died Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz. He was 95.

Phil and his brother, Leonard Chess, emigrated to the U.S. from Poland in 1928. Chess Records biographer Nadine Cohodas told their story to NPR in 2000.

"It was a scrappy kind of existence," Cohodas said of the Chess brothers' early years in Chicago. "Their father was very determined and he opened a junk shop, as did many other immigrants from Eastern Europe."

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The Pentagon says two Americans were shot and killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and at least two others were wounded. One of those who died was a service member, the other was a civilian.

NPR's Tom Bowman reported the assailant opened fire at the entrance to an ammunition depot near Camp Morehead, a training center for Afghan commandos. The camp is about an hour's drive south of Kabul.

As Tom reported for our Newscast unit:

Jason Margolis

When I went for a ride-along with Officer Dustin Robinson of the Boise Police Department, I was waiting for a cop car to come pick me up. Much to my disappointment, he showed up in an unmarked SUV, and he was wearing a coat and tie. It makes sense though: He wants to put the refugees he works with at ease.