Eric Westervelt

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Homelessness is a vexing national problem, but nearly half of the country's unsheltered homeless live in one state: California.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

It's recreation time at a Los Angeles County jail known as the Twin Towers. Nearly a dozen disheveled young men stand docilely as they munch on sandwiches out of brown paper bags.

They're half-naked except for sleeveless, thick, blanket-like restraints wrapped around them like medieval garments.

All are chained and handcuffed to shiny metal tables bolted to the floor.

"It's lunchtime and they're actually [in] programming right now," says a veteran guard, LA County Sheriff's Deputy Myron Trimble.

Charles Gibson pushes a shopping cart toward his soggy tent on a tenuous patch of a grassy drainage ditch along a bike trail in Santa Rosa, Calif. He's one of nearly 200 people living in a sprawling camp here that has sprung up along a popular recreation corridor. It's a community, Gibson says, that often feels caught between opposing forces who aren't always listening.

"I mean, they [local officials] want us to be able to govern ourselves, but they are not giving us the tools we need," Gibson says. "They don't want you hiding, but they don't want you in their face, you know?"

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Water and wildlife in the nation's public forests are slowly being poisoned by insecticides and other chemicals used in illegal marijuana operations, say forest police and researchers. They warn that the potential environmental damage could last generations.

Many of the grows are the work of highly organized drug cartels that take advantage of the forests' thick canopy to help hide their operations. Some sites go undetected for years.

A year after one of the country's most destructive wildfires ravaged Paradise, Calif., just 3,000 people have returned full time to a town that was once home to 27,000 . Many are commuting to school in Paradise from surrounding cities and towns, including almost all of the town's high school football team, the Bobcats. The team is undefeated, and is about to find out if they are making it to the playoffs.

Pages