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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.

Massachusetts

Studies show a correlation between ample tree canopy in urban areas and reduced heat-related ambulance calls during extreme heat events. (Adobe Stock)

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

New online tool helps Boston grow tree equity

A new online tool is helping community groups in Boston ensure all neighborhoods reap the benefits from urban tree canopies. The Tree Equity Score …

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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)
School counselors teach time management to counter students’ high rates of stress

Time management is an essential skill for academic success, but school counselors say it can also help counter students' increasing struggles with …

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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)
MA voters urged to register, complete mail-in ballots ahead of upcoming primary

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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New immigrants arriving in Massachusetts can expect to earn a median wage of about $24,000 per year, according to a report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. (Adobe Stock)
Report: New immigrants adding to MA economy, workforce

A surge of new immigrants in Massachusetts is currently straining the state's emergency shelter system and budget but a new report found they will bri…

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Education Support Professionals are working to lift their pay to achieve a living wage as defined by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Living Wage Calculator, which shows workers require a minimum of $45,000 to get by. (Adobe Stock)<br />
MA public school support staff fight for a living wage

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering legislation to ensure Education Support Professionals in public schools earn a living wage. ESP's do it …

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Over the last decade, the average grant aid per full-time undergraduate student has doubled, from $5,190 in 2001 to $10,590 in 2021. (Adobe Stock)
MA families in limbo as college financial-aid awards delayed

Families in Massachusetts will have to wait even longer for financial aid offers from colleges and universities this year because of an error in the F…

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The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who make roughly $60,000 or less get access to tax credits that can add up to over $8,000. (Adobe Stock)
MA agencies make expanded tax credits easier to access

Lawmakers in Massachusetts passed some of the nation's most generous tax credits - and now, help is available to make sure families can take …

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The Greater Boston Food Bank reports one in three households in Massachusetts experienced child-level food insecurity in 2022. That means a child was hungry, skipped a meal or did not eat for<br />a whole day because there wasn't enough money for food. (Adobe Stock)
Stalled Farm Bill puts pressure on MA food banks

Massachusetts food banks are struggling to keep up with demand as the Farm Bill remains stalled in Congress. The bill is renegotiated every five …

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Supporters of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution said it is needed to protect future generations from crippling federal debt but opponents countered it could limit lawmakers' ability to cope with economic recessions or respond to national emergencies. (Adobe Stock)
Voting rights groups call constitutional convention efforts a threat to democracy

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering a resolution to convene a Convention of States, a process voting rights groups said could put civil …

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In 34 states, low-income families are taxed at higher rates than everyone else despite having the least ability to pay. Just six states plus D.C., tax low-income families at lower rates, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. (Adobe Stock)<br />
Report: Fair Share Amendment helps improve tax fairness in MA

A new analysis finds that Massachusetts' recently adopted millionaire tax makes the state and local tax system much more equitable. Adopted through …

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The Jan. 6 Committee's final report revealed members of the Oath Keepers and other Trump allies stockpiled weapons near Washington, D.C., as they waited for the former president to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy the military for domestic law enforcement. (Adobe Stock)<br />
Social media's 'networked incitement' the latest challenge to democracy

The use of social media to organize the Jan. 6 insurrection marked a turning point in American political protest, according to a leading media and …

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Studies show the development and dissemination of vaccines have saved millions of lives and played a critical role in historic increases in average life expectancy - from  47 years in 1900 in the U.S. to 76 years in 2023. (Adobe Stock)
Vaccination rates decline as health misinformation spreads online

Public health experts say the rapid spread of health misinformation online is contributing to a dangerous decline in vaccination rates. Surveys …

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