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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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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.

Community Action Month Highlights Solutions to Poverty

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Thursday, May 19, 2011   

ST. PAUL, Minn. - May is National Community Action Month, a time to highlight the plight of the working poor and honor the community-level work that assists them. Each year, Community Action agencies serve 20 million people in rural, suburban and urban communities around the nation, through a variety of poverty-fighting programs.

Denise Stahura, senior director of planning with Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties, says Community Action agencies across the state help struggling Minnesotans keep a roof over their head, their lights on and enough food on the table.

"We're serving all sorts of people in the community - everybody from the senior who's having problems making her Social Security check stretch, to the four-year-old who needs high-quality early childhood education, to the couple across the street who lost their jobs and are trying to figure out what to do next."

Stahura says the programs offered through the various Community Action agencies differ throughout the state. One agency may offer a health program, food shelf and energy assistance, while another agency may offer a child care program, housing assistance or senior services.

"That's what's special about them. They're not 'one size fits all;' it's 'one size fits one community.' If you look at them across the state, you'll see some things in common, but you'll also see programs that have developed because that's exactly what that county needed."

She adds that Community Action agencies also mobilize volunteers within their communities. Throughout Minnesota, over 93,000 volunteers clocked 1.6 million-plus hours of service last year. If valued at the federal minimum wage, this work amounts to more than $11.8 million dollars.

Stahura says the agencies' presence is critical to the fabric of the community and the programs they offer are not hand-outs.

"They're programs that keep people working, get them back to work, train them to be self-sufficient. These are basics of life - education, housing, jobs, food and paying bills. And coming out of the Great Recession, these are the programs that get people back on their feet and stabilized."

Twenty-eight Community Action agencies across the state serve some 300,000 Minnesotans through programs such as energy assistance, weatherization, Head Start, financial education, housing, transportation, and job training and placement.

Community Action Network, Head Start and other anti-poverty programs were established in 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty."





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