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Russell Lewis

As NPR's Southern Bureau Chief, Russell Lewis covers issues and people of the Southeast for NPR — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. His work brings context and dimension to issues ranging from immigration, transportation and oil and gas drilling for NPR listeners across the nation and around the world.

In addition to developing and expanding NPR's coverage of the region, Lewis assigns and edits stories from station-based reporters and freelancers that air on NPR's news programs, working closely with local correspondents and public radio stations. He spent a year in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, coordinating NPR's coverage of the massive rebuilding effort and the reverberations of the storm in local communities. He joined NPR in 2006 and is based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Lewis is also a key member of NPR's 'Go Team' — a small group of experienced NPR producers and reporters who respond to major disasters worldwide. He is often among the first on the scene for NPR — both reporting from these sites as well as managing the logistics of bringing additional NPR reporters into disaster areas that lack functioning transportation systems, basic utilities, food, water and security.

He was dispatched to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, where he helped manage a group of NPR journalists. He created an overland supply line for the NPR team between the Dominican Republic and Haiti and brought listeners stories about the slow pace of supply distribution because of border bottlenecks. In Japan in 2011 he was quickly on the scene after the earthquake and tsunami to help coordinate NPR's intensive coverage. In 2013, he was on the ground overseeing NPR's reporting in the Philippines in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Covering the impact of the massive earthquake in Nepal in 2015, he field-produced NPR's coverage and also reported how a lack of coordination by the government and aid workers slowed response. Lewis managed NPR's on-the-ground coverage in 2015 of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and reported from Brussels, Belgium. He returned to Brussels in 2016 after the terrorist bombings at the airport and metro station. He helped field-produce NPR's coverage and also reported several stories about the response and recovery.

Lewis's international coverage also includes spending six weeks in Brazil in 2014 handling logistics and reporting on the World Cup. In 2015, he did the same in Canada for the Women's World Cup. In 2016, Lewis reported and oversaw NPR's team of journalists at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2010, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University awarded him a prestigious Ochberg Fellowship. The Fellowship is designed to improve reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. Lewis has continued his work with the Dart Center and has trained reporters on behalf of the organization in Trinidad and Tobago and the Cayman Islands.

Lewis began his public radio career in 1992 as reporter and executive producer at NPR member station WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. He also spent time at WSVH in Savannah, Georgia and was Statehouse Bureau Chief at Kansas Public Radio. For six years he worked at KPBS in San Diego as a senior editor and reporter. He also was a talk show host and assistant news director at WGCU in Fort Myers, Florida.

When he's not busy at work, Lewis can be found being creative in the kitchen or outside refereeing soccer games.

Astronaut Dick Gordon who flew to the moon but never got a chance to walk on the surface has died at his California home at age 88, according to NASA.

NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said, "Dick will be fondly remembered as one of our nation's boldest flyers, a man who added to our own nation's capabilities by challenging his own. He will be missed."

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For more on the shooting, let's turn to Democratic congressman Vicente Gonzalez. He represents Texas's 15th congressional district, of which Sutherland Springs is a part. Good morning, Congressman.

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Nothing like waiting until the last minute — or, in this case, the final game — of World Cup qualifying to see if the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team will make next year's tournament in Russia.

A lot is on the line for the U.S. squad: The team has made the last seven tournaments. When it comes to the world's biggest sporting event, there are a lot of numbers. Consider:

  • The World Cup is played every four years and qualifying takes two years.

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And I want to bring in another voice now, NPR's Russell Lewis. He is in Fort Myers, Fla., at our member station WGCU. Hey there, Russell.

RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning.

The U.S. women's national soccer team got some disappointing (and not unexpected) news Friday — it fell out of first place in the FIFA world rankings for the first time in years. The demotion follows a last-place finish in a U.S.-hosted tournament of some of the world's best teams earlier this month.

The last person to leave footprints on the moon has died. NASA reported that Gene Cernan died Monday at the age of 82, surrounded by his family.

Gene Cernan flew in space three times, including twice to the moon. Cernan was big, brash and gregarious. And if he hadn't been lucky, he could have missed his chance to walk on the moon.

Updated 5 p.m. ET

The first American to orbit the Earth has died. John Glenn was the last surviving member of the original Mercury astronauts. He would later have a long political career as a U.S. senator, but that didn't stop his pioneering ways.

Glenn made history a second time in 1998, when he flew aboard the shuttle Discovery to become the oldest person to fly in space.

Glenn was 95 when he died; he had been hospitalized in an Ohio State University medical center in Columbus since last week.

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Olympics Day 1: U.S. Takes First Gold

Aug 6, 2016

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One of the world's most famous and oldest spacecraft is revealing some of its past. Apollo 11 was the first mission to land humans on the moon. As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface, Michael Collins circled above in the command module called Columbia.

Tonight marks the end of an era for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team. The World Cup champions play their final Victory Tour match against China in New Orleans. It's also the final game for one of their longtime stars: Abby Wambach.

The 35-year-old forward is hanging up her cleats after a stellar career. Consider:

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center says the eye of Hurricane Patricia has made landfall near Cuixmala on Mexico's southwestern Pacific coast. Its winds were measured at 165 mph, somewhat weakened but still a Category 5 storm capable of catastrophic damage.

Our original post continues:

Authorities on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean have found debris that may be from a missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

A source familiar with the investigation tells NPR's Geoff Brumfiel that the debris appears to have come from a large passenger aircraft, but it remains unclear whether it's from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished from radar on March 8, 2014.

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