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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 U.S. Energy Information Administration finds Connecticut natural gas prices have risen steadily since the late 2000s, peaking in August 2022 at $31.68 per thousand cubic feet. (Adobe Stock)
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Today is the final public hearing for Connecticut ratepayers to comment on two proposed rate increases for gas utilities. Connecticut Natural Gas …

More than 700,000 people in Connecticut receive Social Security benefits. (Adobe Stock)
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Lawmakers and union leaders are calling on Congress for fiscal changes during the year. Along with conversations about the budget and fair pay…

Legislation will be brought before Connecticut's legislation to provide financial aid to immigrants seeking healthcare in Connecticut. A 2022 Universal Healthcare Foundation of Connecticut survey found 57% of respondents support expanding the state's Medicaid program to all immigrants. (Adobe Stock)
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A Connecticut group wants to work with the General Assembly on improving health equity. A 2023 Health Equity report from the nonprofit group …

The White House says it plans to boost investments in child care, since costs have increased 26% in the last decade, and skyrocketed 200% in the last three decades. (Adobe Stock)
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A new annual report suggests Delaware needs further investments in areas affecting children and young families, particularly in education. This …

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Local and federal resources for Mainers who have been affected by the damaging storms that hit Maine on December 18, 2023, and January 10, 2024, are available through the Maine Emergency Management Agency by calling 1-800-452-8735. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Monday, February 19, 2024
Reintroduced federal legislation aims to preserve Maine's iconic, working waterfronts still recovering from recent powerful storms. Strong winds and …

Consumer advocates say the growth of health care facility fees stems from an increasingly consolidated health care provider market, highly complex billing systems, and frequently inadequate health insurance coverage. (Adobe Stock)
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Maine lawmakers are calling for greater transparency in how hospitals and other health care centers charge so-called facility fees. A legislative …

Studies show fewer than half of people with a mental illness are able to access prompt care while rural and lower-income communities in particular suffer from a lack of behavioral health care providers. (Adobe Stock)<br /><br /><br />
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Advocates for mental-health care in Maine are applauding Gov. Janet Mills' push to increase access to services, following last year's deadly shooting …

Data from 2021 estimated only 3.5% of organic waste generated in Baltimore was diverted for composting. (Adobe Stock)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
The founder of the Baltimore Compost Collective wants Baltimore to ditch trash incineration, fight climate change and grow healthier food. Marvin …

The last federal government shutdown from December 2018 to January 2019 lasted 35 days. (Adobe Stock)
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Federal employees rallied in Washington D.C. this week calling on Congress to raise their wages and avoid a government shutdown. With more than 120,…

New one- and two-family homes and townhouses would be required to have at least one EV-capable parking space. (Herr Loeffler/Adobe Stock)
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With Maryland's commitment to be carbon neutral by 2045 on the horizon, the General Assembly is taking up the issue of building codes. During this …

Studies show a correlation between ample tree canopy in urban areas and reduced heat-related ambulance calls during extreme heat events. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
A new online tool is helping community groups in Boston ensure all neighborhoods reap the benefits from urban tree canopies. The Tree Equity Score …

40% of public schools nationwide reported it was very difficult or difficult to fill mental health professional roles, during the 2022-23 school year. (Adobe Stock)
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Time management is an essential skill for academic success, but school counselors say it can also help counter students' increasing struggles with …

Every registered voter in Massachusetts received an official 2024 Vote by Mail application in January. In addition to the March 5 presidential primaries, voters can also use that application to apply for mail-in ballots for the Sept. 3 state primary and Nov. 5 state election. (Adobe Stock)
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Voters in Massachusetts are being encouraged to complete their applications for mail-in ballots ahead of next month's presidential primary. The …

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Backers of an updated climate-change curriculum in New Hampshire said it should include how the crisis impacts the state today, including shortened winters and ski seasons, water quality, local agriculture and sea level rise. (Adobe Stock). <br /><br /><br />
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Monday, February 19, 2024
New Hampshire lawmakers are requesting state education officials improve students' understanding of the climate crisis and better prepare them for a g…

A University of New Hampshire study showed annual rainfall, which has increased more than eight inches since 1901, is expected to increase another 7% to 9% by the middle of the century. Scientists say most of this increase will arrive in heavy precipitation events, increasing the risk of flooding and significantly affecting agriculture. (Adobe Stock)
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Two proposed relief funds for New Hampshire farmers aim to recover losses from climate change-related weather events. Years of droughts were …

At least 20 states have approved a version of a complete ban on transgender athletes playing on K-12 and collegiate sports teams. (Adobe Stock)
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New Hampshire lawmakers have voted to advance a so-called "bathroom bill," which opponents said will allow anti-LGBTQ discrimination. House Bill 396 …

A 2015 Rutgers-Eagleton poll found 63% of New Jersey residents supported medical aid in dying, compared with 29% opposed. (PolinaZait/Adobe Stock)
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After a five-year court battle, New Jersey's medical aid-in-dying law has been affirmed by the state's Supreme Court, which rejected an attempt to …

Over the past ten years, New Jersey and the nation have seen improvements on six of the 11 indicators of child well-being measured in the 2024 Race for Results report. (Monkey Business/Adobe Stock)
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New Jersey kids score higher than the national average for overall well-being but large racial disparities persist, according to a new study…

Feeding America reports over 800,000 people in New Jersey are facing hunger, including nearly 200,000 children. (Oksana Kuzmina/Adobe Stock)<br />
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Groups battling hunger in New Jersey are sounding the alarm about a type of food assistance that needs more funding in the New Year. In one month…

A 2023 Bureau of Labor Statistics report finds close to 60% of disabled people work in the service industry, a higher percentage than the nondisabled community. A New York bill could help these and many other workers with disabilities remain safe from wage theft. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
New York disability rights advocates are working to break barriers in numerous legislative areas, including those in transportation, housing…

Climate change infrastructure costs in New York could reach $10 billion annually by 2050. (Adobe Stock)
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A New York bill would make polluters pay for climate change damage the state endured. The Climate Change Superfund Act requires companies who've …

Some 37% of New York foster care kids are being placed in family-based care than in previous decades, when the majority would have been placed in a group home. (Adobe Stock)
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A bill in the New York State Legislature could alter how the foster care system operates in the state by ending the requirement for parents to pay for…

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The American Federation of Teachers says its "Real Solutions for Kids and Communities" campaign is working to strengthen public schools across the country. (LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe Stock)<br />
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Monday, February 19, 2024
Pennsylvania's teachers' union is voicing concerns that the state's public school voucher program will negatively affect public education in lower-inc…

Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who do not. (Georgerudy/AdobeStock)
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During Children's Dental Health Month in February, parents are encouraged to establish good oral health habits early on so kids can avoid dental …

Hispanic adults are the fastest-growing group in Pennsylvania, and in 2022 had a college-degree attainment rate of 29.7%. (Brastock Images/Adobe Stock)
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Pennsylvania lags only slightly behind national figures for the number of working-age adults who have earned college degrees or other professional cer…

Rhode Island's average annual cost of infant care is $13,696, equating to $1,141 per month, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The state ranks 13th among states for most expensive infant care. (Adobe Stock)
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A new annual report finds Rhode Island families need better access to affordable child care. The Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count Data Book …

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Between 2007-11 and 2017-21, smaller percentages of children in every racial and ethnic group were enrolled in nursery school, preschool or kindergarten, with the largest drops for Black, Asian and Pacific Islander and white children, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation report. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Children of color in Vermont fare relatively well compared to their peers nationwide, but a new report says economic disparities persist for their …

The majority of caterpillars and moth species rely on the leaf layer for their primary habitat, allowing them to serve as the primary food source for backyard birds and their young during nesting season. (Adobe Stock)
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Autumn leaves will soon be falling and a growing number of homeowners in Vermont are willing to leave them on the ground. A new survey from the …

Advocates for families say the failings of the child care market also affect the current and future health of Vermont's economy, costing the state $195 million a year in lost earnings, productivity and tax revenue, according to one study. (Adobe Stock)
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Vermont ranks fourth in the nation on measures of child well-being, according to a new report. The 2023 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E…

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