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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.

To be eligible for judicial review under House Bill 29, an inmate must have been sentenced prior to May 26, 2000, meaning anyone eligible would have served at least 24 years in prison. (Adobe Stock)
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More than 7,000 people age 50 or older are serving time in Alabama prisons, and prison reform advocates have said the system is ill prepared for …

In Alabama, you lose your voting rights if you are convicted of certain felonies under state<br />law. If you are convicted in federal court or in another state, you only lose your voting rights if your conviction would constitute a disqualifying offense under Alabama law. (Adobe Stock)
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As people in Alabama mobilize for the 2024 General Election, one group wants to make it easier for those with felony records to understand their …

About 60% of the nation's students in chronically underfunded districts are in just 10 states, including Alabama. (Adobe Stock)<br /><br />
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A new report showed Alabama is among 39 states that "critically underfunds" its K-12 public schools. The report on the state school finance systems …

More than 2,900 students who have earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Arkansas are currently employed, with an average salary of more than $90,000. (Gift Culture Media/KOTO)<br />
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Monday, February 19, 2024
By Matthew Moore for KUAF-FM.Broadcast version by Danielle Smith for Arkansas News Service reporting for the KUAF/Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation-Publ…

Since the most recent avian influenza outbreak began, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates almost 82 million birds have been affected in 47 states. (Anton Dios/Adobe Stock)
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In the wake of the latest, highly contagious bird flu outbreak in Arkansas and across the country, Congress is considering a bill to improve the …

Asian or Pacific Islander adults are the fastest-growing group in Arkansas, and in 2022 had a degree attainment rate of 52.3%. (Xavier Lorenzo/AdobeStock)
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New data show how many people pursue degrees or other credentials after high school, and the numbers show Arkansas has some work to do to improve…

Oral-health experts note the fact that everyone's mouth is full of bacteria. They recommend a daily routine of brushing and flossing as the best defense against bad bacteria known as plaque. (renatalferro/Pixabay)
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Beyond celebrating Valentine's Day, February is Children's Dental Health Month - which serves as a reminder to prioritize oral health habits that can …

The Agency for Health Care Administration is responsible for Medicaid in Florida. (fernandozhiminaicela/Pixabay)
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Florida's Community Health Centers are raising concerns about their own financial health due to what they've said are inadequate Medicaid reimbursemen…

The National PTA and ConnectSafely are hosting a free virtual event to help parents safely navigate digital screen times with children and teens. (Pixabay/twinquinn84)
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As Florida lawmakers advance bills to restrict children's access to social media, today's Safer internet Day is a global campaign to raise awareness …

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of children aged 6-8 have had a cavity in at least one of their primary (baby) teeth. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Monday, February 19, 2024
February is Children's Dental Health Month and experts are urging parents to establish good dental health early. According to the Centers for …

Since 2017, right whales have been experiencing an Unusual Mortality Event, which has resulted in more than 20 percent of the population being sick, injured, or killed. (Adobe Stock)
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Advocates are calling for action to save the North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered species. The Biden administration has appropriated $…

In Georgia, more than 75,000 drivers own electric vehicles. (Adobe Stock)
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Despite the common belief that electric vehicles are more expensive than gas-powered cars, the latest findings say EVs can actually save their …

Kentucky now ranks 14th in the nation in child victims of maltreatment, according to the latest Child Maltreatment report from the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Kentucky saw a 48% reduction in child victims of maltreatment from 2018 to 2022, according to the latest federal data. However, child abuse and …

Nearly 700 Kentuckians died by gun violence in 2019, an average of nearly two people every day. Suicides made up 65% of gun deaths, according to the Kentucky Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.(Adobe Stock)<br />
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Monday, February 19, 2024
New legislation under consideration by Kentucky lawmakers would allow police to confiscate guns from people whose family members are concerned about t…

In 2023, the USDA Forest Service and AmeriCorps signed a five-year agreement to establish the Forest Corps, which aims to create job opportunities to reduce wildfire risk, support reforestation and make national forests and grasslands healthier and more resilient. (Adobe Stock)
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A Biden administration program called the American Climate Corps aims to hire and train 20,000 people in conservation, climate and clean energy jobs…

Black students are twice as likely as white students to be in districts with funding below estimated "adequate" levels, and 3.5 times more likely to be in "chronically underfunded" districts, according to the report. (Adobe Stock)
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A new report finds Louisiana is among a handful of states that chronically underfunds its K-12 schools. Public school funding is largely left up to …

The Race for Results index measures well-being indicators across states and racial/ethnic groups, highlighting differences in early childhood, education, family resources and neighborhood context.(Adobe Stock)
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The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2024 Race for Results report examines child well-being, and finds children of color in Louisiana face significant …

Feeding America estimates more than 57,000 food-insecure people live in Jefferson Parish. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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The American Federation of Teachers recently gave out grants in urban, suburban, and rural communities across America to increase literacy and …

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The Postmaster General implemented a 10-year transformation plan known as "Delivering For America," which touts that 91% of first-class mail was delivered on time against the USPS service standard in 2022. (salarko/AdobeStock)
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Postal service staffing shortages across the United States, including in rural areas of Mississippi, are being cited as one of the reasons for mail …

Operation Good works to improve life in Jackson and recently collaborated with University of Mississippi Medical Center for a violent crime interruption research project. (Operation Good Mississippi)
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A group of formerly incarcerated people is making headway in Jackson, Mississippi, to turn young lives around and prevent violent crime. On average…

New Lumina Foundation data revealed Mississippi's attainment of higher-education degrees or certificates increased 19.6% between 2009 and 2021. (Prostock-studio/Adobe Stock)
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A new report looked at how many people go on to get degrees or other education credentials after high school, and showed Mississippi has some work to …

According to CleanAIRE NC, frontline communities are constantly dealing with a range of environmental risks, including power plants, sewage plants, roads and highways, landfills and others. (Adobe Stock)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
North Carolina is taking action to address environmental injustice, specifically targeting areas disproportionately affected by pollution and climate …

U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup polling first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century. (Matt Apps/Adobe Stock)
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In North Carolina, congregations are banding together to repurpose empty churches as community pillars to address issues like housing. According to …

According to the Tech Report, women hold only 26.7% of jobs in the technology sector, while men hold 73.3%, and 83.3% of tech executives in the United States are white. (Adobe Stock)
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By Laura Aka for WorkingNation.Broadcast version by Shanteya Hudson for North Carolina News Service reporting for the WorkingNation-Public News Servic…

Vessel strikes can lead to slow or quick deaths for right whales. The North Atlantic right whale population has been put in grave danger from both, according to Defenders of Wildlife. (Adobe Stock)
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Wildlife advocates are calling on the Biden administration to tighten regulations protecting right whales in the North Atlantic following a series of …

Beaufort County is ranked among the healthiest among all 46 counties in South Carolina.(Olivia Lewis/Direct Relief)
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In celebration of Juneteenth, one South Carolina organization is shining a spotlight on health equity for all communities - and showcasing their …

While most health data for South Carolina children showed declines in this year's Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count Data Book, the number of kids without health insurance improved slightly. (Adobe Stock)
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A new annual report finds South Carolina could be doing better to support children's health. The Annie E. Casey Foundation's latest Kids Count Data …

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Regaining voting rights has been shown to reduce recidivism rates, meaning more Tennesseans would<br />be able to reenter their communities, work, and earn money to pay off their debts. (rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
In Tennessee, almost a half million people won't be able to vote in any upcoming elections because of a past felony conviction, and one organization …

Bryce Shanklin, a Williamson County career rural mail carrier, unloads the U.S. Postal Service vehicle he uses for delivering mail. (Jeremy Woodard)
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Across the country, and especially in rural parts of Tennessee, U.S. Postal Service staffing shortages are being blamed by some for delays in mail …

Hispanic adults have made the most progress in attainment in Tennessee, with an increase of 12.6 percentage points from 2009 to 2022. (Drobot Dean/Adobe Stock)
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New data show how many people pursue degrees or other credentials after high school, and the numbers show the Volunteer State has some work to do to …

On average, school divisions across the country receive 14% more per student than those in Virginia, or about $1,900 more per student than Virginia. (Adobe Stock)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
Virginia child advocates are calling on state lawmakers to improve school funding. The concern grew when several bills focused on building up school …

Gas power plants are vulnerable to adverse weather. A report showed during Winter Storm Elliott in late December, gas-fired power plants were responsible for around 70% of unplanned outages. (Adobe Stock)
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Monday, February 19, 2024
A proposed power plant in Chesterfield County is meeting with the ire of local residents. Dominion Energy's Chesterfield Energy Reliability Center …

A 2020 Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action report finds transportation sources are responsible for 190 air pollution-related premature deaths annually in the state. (Adobe Stock)
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Virginia has adopted a new rule advancing clean car use. The Advanced Clean Cars II Rule requires carmakers to only sell zero-emission vehicles by 20…

More than two dozen states have legalized the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk, according to the CDC. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
West Virginia House delegates passed a bill this week that would allow raw milk products from farmers to be sold directly to consumers. Maria Moles…

The New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia. In 2023, the U.S. Forest Service and AmeriCorps signed a five-year agreement to establish the Forest Corps, to create job opportunities that reduce wildfire risk, support reforestation and make national forests and grasslands healthier and more resilient. (Adobe Stock)
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A Biden administration program, the American Climate Corps, aims to hire and train 20,000 people in conservation, climate and clean energy jobs…

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va (far left), and other lawmakers join President Joe Biden as he signs the Inflation Reduction Act into law on Aug. 16, 2022. (Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm/Wikimedia Commons)
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By Harshawn Ratanpal for OpenSecrets.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan for West Virginia News Service reporting for the OpenSecrets-Public News Serv…

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