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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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Minnesota public safety agencies reeling from weekend tragedy; Speaker Johnson faces critical decision on Ukraine aid; Public comment sought on proposal to limit growth in health-care costs; MS postal union workers voice concerns about understaffing, mail delays.

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Truckers for Trump threaten to strike over his massive civil fine for business fraud in New York City. Biden wants Norfolk Southern held accountable one year after an Ohio derailment and dangerous chemical spill and faith leaders call for peace in the Israel-Hamas war.

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Drones over West Texas aim to improve rural healthcare, the Ogallala Aquifer, the backbone of High Plains agriculture, is slowly disappearing and federal money is headed to growers of wool and cotton.

The World Health Organization reported tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are some of the highest risk factors for heart disease. (Adobe Stock)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
This is American Heart Month and new findings published by the American Heart Association say irregular sleeping patterns -- over years, weeks or …

According to a 2023 NACHC report 'Closing the Primary Care Gap,' more than 100 million people in the United States don't have a primary care provider, and about a quarter of those are children.<br />(Adobe Stock)
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The price of healthcare has many Americans struggling with costly prescriptions, doctor visits and hospitalizations. Uninsured people are the focus …

Eight objectives in a report by European juvenile-justice groups include encouraging the adoption of age-appropriate alternatives to isolation and preventing tensions between peers and detention center staff. (Adobe Stock)
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There is growing concern over what happens to young offenders in Illinois as they await their first court hearing. A report by European juvenile-…

A similar bill failed to pass last year. Opponents of the revived legislation say it's a win for puppy mills and pet-store owners. (Adobe Stock)
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Some Hoosiers want Indiana lawmakers to rethink proposed legislation that would usurp existing local laws that prohibit retailers from selling puppies…

According to the Indiana Association of Realtors, high interest rates, low supply, and strained household budgets are influencing the state's current homebuying market. (Adobe Stock)
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Homeownership continues to be out of reach for many Americans but one Indiana program is helping educators achieve the dream in hopes of boosting recr…

Food banks universally need four things: Donations of food, financial donations, volunteers and advocates. (Adobe stock)
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A fundraiser timed to kick off on the heels of Super Bowl 58 will help tackle food insecurity in Indiana. Since 1994, Hoosier Hills Food Bank has …

The Wildlife Disease Surveillance for Pandemic Prevention Act seeks to create a Wildlife Disease Surveillance Program though the Wildlife Health Office at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Adobe Stock)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
Wildlife advocates are asking Congress to pass bill that would help states track diseases killing wildlife across the country. In Iowa, the measure …

A bill to expand the Child Tax Credit to as many as 129,000 Iowa kids awaits action in the U.S. Senate. (Adobe Stock)
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An advocacy group is calling on the U.S. Senate to pass a tax bill to expand the Child Tax Credit for more than 100,000 children in Iowa. It is part …

Practical Farmers of Iowa now has a full-time Spanish Engagement Outreach Coordinator to assist the growing number of Latino farmers in the state. (Adobe Stock)
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A rural advocacy group has invested in reaching out to Spanish-speaking farmers in Iowa - a population that has grown dramatically. There has been …

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The Kansas rankings in the 2023 Kids Count Data Book include: 17th in overall child well-being; 22nd in health; 24th in family and community, and 26th in education. (Adobe Stock)
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Kansas ranks seventh among states in the area of economic well-being in the 2023 Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count Data Book. Rankings on the …

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Ice cover duration for Lake Michigan has declined by 22 days over the last 50 years. (Climate Central 2024)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
The Great Lakes region has experienced record low ice cover this winter, and scientists said it is important to keep an eye on the warming trends…

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children from low-income families are twice as likely to have cavities in their teeth as those from higher-income families. (Adobe Stock)
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A new Michigan law signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December will expand access to dental care for children statewide. Once funding is approved to …

More than half of Dearborn's nearly 110,000 residents are of Middle Eastern or north African origin.(munir/Adobe Stock)
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Biden administration officials traveled to Dearborn on Thursday to meet Muslim and Arab-American community leaders, in an effort to repair relations …

Beyond high-risk situations, such as assisting with a domestic violence call, Minnesota fire chiefs say peer support groups are becoming an important tool as first responders navigate stress from the daily calls they take on. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
The risk first responders face is getting renewed focus following the fatal shooting of two police officers and a paramedic in Minnesota. Amid …

Leaders with a hunger-fighting group in Minnesota cite several reasons why more people are visiting food shelves. They acknowledge that skyrocketing rent is likely leaving less room for other necessities, including food. (Adobe Stock)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
Food shelves across Minnesota continue to adapt to record demand, that isn't showing any immediate signs of slowing down. This month, Hunger …

Leaders with the Minnesota Dental Association said there is a misconception only children can get cavities. It is another reason it's important to establish healthy habits in childhood, to avoid problems with teeth and gums as an adult. (Adobe Stock)
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February is Children's Dental Health Month, and Minnesota parents are encouraged to establish good oral health habits early on, so kids can avoid …

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The group Everytown For Gun Safety ranks Missouri as the seventh-highest state for all gun-related deaths. (JJ Gouin/Adobe Stock)
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Wednesday's Kansas City Chiefs' victory parade turned fatal, prompting gun-law activists to call for reform. One person died and three people are in …

Bryce Shanklin, a career rural mail carrier, in the U.S. Postal Service vehicle he uses for delivering mail. In the second year of USPS' 10-year 'Delivering For America' plan, 50,000 workers were converted from non-career positions to employee roles. (Jeremy Woodard)
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Across the country and especially in rural parts of Missouri, U.S. Postal Service staffing shortages are being blamed by some for delays in mail …

Census data from 2020 included population counts of nearly 1,500 race and ethnicity groups and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages. (Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock)
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A new report examined children's well-being in every state and found in Missouri, the outcomes vary greatly depending on race. In its "Race for …

In a 2024 report, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Foundation pointed to the importance of legal immigrants for improving Nebraska's ongoing workforce shortage. (Moab Republic/Adobe Stock)
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Immigrants whose cases are heard in Omaha's Immigration Court are often denied their due process rights, according to a report from the ACLU of …

The 12 nursing homes that closed in Nebraska in the past three years amount to 556 fewer beds for Nebraskans needing nursing-home level care. (luckybusiness/Adobe Stock)
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Nebraska saw nine long-term care facility closures in 2022, second only to 13 in Texas. In the past three years, Nebraska has lost a combined 29 …

A study of voting in the 2022 midterms conducted by Civic Nebraska found some of the highest voter turnout rates were in counties with all vote-by-mail. (Michael Vi/Adobe Stock)
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Nebraska is among at least 14 states that enacted voting restrictions last year, passing a voter ID law. Next week, a legislative committee takes up …

When North Dakota lawmakers reconvene in 2025, they're expected to consider ideas from a task force about getting more teachers into classrooms. The panel is just beginning to hold discussions. (Adobe Stock)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
This coming Thursday, a new task force will meet to advance discussions about boosting teacher recruitment and retention in North Dakota. The panel …

A new poll regarding North Dakota's Legacy Fund shows voters want the agency in Bismarck overseeing investments to shift their focus, including leveraging the account for property tax relief. (Adobe Stock)
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In a new poll, North Dakota voters say they'd like to see big changes to the state's Legacy Fund, which operates as a savings account funded by oil …

An American Express report notes there are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the United States. (Adobe Stock)
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National Entrepreneurship Week runs through Saturday. In North Dakota, outreach continues to ensure women business owners face fewer obstacles in …

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According to a report by the group Attendence Works, during the 2021-2022 school year, the number of schools where chronic absence levels were very high or extreme -- where 20% to 30% of students were chronically absent -- significantly increased. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Around 30% of Ohio students are chronically absent from school, but in one district, a long-term partnership with the juvenile court system has …

There are nearly 1 million acres of modern coal mines in 12 states that have not yet been reclaimed, according to analyses by Appalachian Voices and the Western Organization of Resource Councils. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Advocates from coal-mining communities are proposing a roadmap to help address and prevent so-called "zombie mines," - abandoned mine lands on hold in…

According to the National Institutes of Health, coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. About 80% of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factors for coronary heart disease. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Nationwide, heart-disease awareness among women has declined, particularly among Black and Hispanic women. This Valentine's Day, health experts are …

According to the new Census of Agriculture, the total number of farms with more than $1 million in sales has gone up by 36 percent. Advocates said such growth squeezes out smaller producers. (Adobe Stock)
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The nation has seen its total number of farmers and farmland decrease over the past five years and advocates for smaller producers in South Dakota sai…

The Internal Revenue Service reported roughly 80% of tax returns in the U.S. are now filed electronically. (Adobe Stock)
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In the coming weeks, South Dakotans will be given a chance to file their taxes online directly with the Internal Revenue Service at no cost. Plans …

To date, 40 states, including South Dakota, have expanded Medicaid with help from the Affordable Care Act. (Adobe Stock)
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As South Dakota continues to implement a Medicaid expansion approved by voters in 2022, controversy has emerged with some lawmakers seeking approval …

Between 2017 and 2022, Wisconsin saw a 23% increase in the acreage of farmland with cover crops. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Farming trend researchers are poring over new federal data that only come around every five years. The latest information helps some organizations …

The American Biogas Council says across the U.S., more than 2,300 digester sites are producing biogas. (Adobe Stock)
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Wisconsin is part of a movement to reduce livestock emissions by converting manure into energy sources, and there are calls to weave in a careful …

Political researchers have long noted Wisconsin has had some of the most gerrymandered political boundaries in the country. (Adobe Stock)
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Wisconsin is closer to adopting political maps for legislative seats advocates insist would reverse years of gerrymandered districts. One coalition …

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