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Friday, June 14, 2024

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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Minnesota

Between 2017 and 2022, Minnesota saw a more than 30% increase in farm acres planted with cover crops. (Adobe Stock)

Friday, June 14, 2024

Cover crops: A mighty force for land health, with room for growth

When Minnesota farmers watch their crops grow this summer, some will monitor land that has better soil health. It's because of a fairly popular …

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Minnesota has joined nearly a dozen other states in passing Clean Light laws that center around banning the sale of fluorescent bulbs, which contain mercury. (Adobe Stock)

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

MN turns out the light on fluorescent bulbs

Walk through a store or schools, and there's a chance the overhead lighting will come from long fluorescent tubes. Minnesota is taking steps to phase …

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Organizations like Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota recommend bolstering tutoring programs and other out-of-school learning opportunities for kids to help address lagging test scores. (Adobe Stock)

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Patience urged as MN policies evolve to improve outcomes for kids

Despite a handful of concerning results for child well-being in Minnesota, one policy expert says the state is well positioned to make structural …

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Those behind a new electric ambulance say standard gas-powered EMS vehicles usually only last about seven years. But they say their electric model can stay on the road for a full decade. (Adobe Stock)
You've heard of electric buses, but what about zero-emission ambulances?

From passenger cars to school buses, the transportation sector is steadily ramping up its push for all-electric vehicles. In the future, ambulances …

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The 2024 Kids Count Data Book says 68% of eighth graders in Minnesota were not proficient in math. (Adobe Stock)
Report: Education challenges overshadow MN child well-being

Mirroring national trends, Minnesota has some concerning educational metrics in an annual child well-being report. However, there are some positive …

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When it was adopted last year, Minnesota's Driver's Licenses for All law was forecast to allow more than 80,000 undocumented individuals to begin the process to secure a license. (Adobe Stock)
Several months in, Latino advocates assess MN's Driver's Licenses for All

Events are scheduled this month to inform more people about Minnesota's new law eliminating the need for proof of legal residence to get a driver's li…

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United Health Foundation says for older adults, the early death rate has gone down by 8%. Officials say while that's an improvement, the rate is still higher than pre-pandemic levels. (Adobe Stock)
Mixed outlook revealed in new well-being report for older adults

Older adults in Minnesota and across the nation are navigating various challenges that affect their quality of life. An annual report shows progress…

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The research community reported sexually exploited boys commonly experience adverse mental health effects including depression, PTSD and substance use disorder. (Adobe Stock)
Report sheds light on service gap for boys who are sexually exploited

Experts in the fight against the sexual exploitation of minors said there is a gap in highlighting how young men are targeted and new research said ma…

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The pandemic brought a new focus on mental-health care needs, but the industry says it's still adapting to increased demands for services. (Adobe Stock)
Mental health care and MN's facility crunch

Human services leaders say Minnesota is in a mental-health crisis, complicating efforts to manage behavioral health facilities. Closure plans for …

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The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy says a law change, which includes updating the state's public waters list, could provide protections for at least 640 miles of additional waterways across the state. (Adobe Stock)
To shield public waterways from runoff, MN takes an inventory dive

What might seem like an under-the-radar administrative task could end up being a lifesaver for Minnesota waterways in need of safeguards against agric…

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The meal pictured above was served at a recent Minneapolis event designed to call more attention to climate change and its effect on food production. (Photo courtesy of Jayme Halbritter)
Can fancy dinners deliver message on climate change?

By Cinnamon Janzer for Civil Eats.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-Public N…

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According to various tracking organizations, 47% of FAFSA applicants are first-generation college students. (Adobe Stock)
New digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes

The effect of technical glitches in overhauling the student financial-aid form known as FAFSA is still being felt. Issues stemming from a redesign …

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