Tuesday, March 28, 2023


Nashville mourns six dead in the latest mass shooting, the EPA takes public input on a proposal to clean up Pennsylvania's drinking water, and find ways to get more Zzz's during Sleep Awareness Month.


A shooting leaves six dead at a school in Nashville, the White House commends Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to pause judicial reform, and mayors question the reach of state and federal authorities over local decisions.


Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Staggering Rise in School Lunch Debt Across Ohio


Tuesday, February 21, 2023   

As families struggle with inflation and high gas prices, Ohio schools said they are seeing a staggering rise in the number of students whose parents cannot afford to pay for lunch, but who do not qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Lindy Douglas, coordinator of whole child and wellness programs for Alexander Local Schools in Athens County, said school lunch debt has more than doubled this year from pre-pandemic levels.

She pointed out cafeteria workers are being forced to deny children food because they owed charges.

"That was a little heartbreaking for my staff to deny children and take the tray away," Douglas noted.

According to the group Hunger Free Schools Ohio, it would cost the state less than $2 per child per day to provide free school meals to all students in Ohio.

Advocates said eliminating school meal debt and significantly reducing the administrative work required to operate School Nutrition Programs could help solve the problem.

One in six Ohio children, and as many as one in four children in certain counties, lives in a household facing hunger. Douglas emphasized even kids who received free school breakfasts do not always get fed, and start the day on an empty stomach.

"What I also found is that children who come to school late, they end up in panic mode, worried to death they're not going to get their breakfast because they missed it and the doors closed," Douglas observed.

Katherine Ungar, policy associate for the Children's Defense Fund of Ohio, said school meals are just as important to student's academic success as textbooks.

"They are linked to better educational outcomes, including increased test scores, improved academic attendance and increased graduation rates," Ungar outlined.

A 2022 survey conducted by Baldwin Wallace University in collaboration with Children's Defense Fund-Ohio found 87% of respondents agreed school meals should be provided at no cost to all Ohio students.

get more stories like this via email
Black Americans are the most likely to suffer from insufficient sleep. (ChadBridwell/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

March is Sleep Awareness Month and health experts say Americans are not getting enough of it. United Health Foundation data found more than 32% of …


Environmental groups are seeking greater input as California puts the finishing touches on its application to become a hub for hydrogen fuel productio…

Social Issues

This month marks 160 years since the first Medal of Honor was awarded by President Abraham Lincoln. More than a dozen of the 65 recipients alive …

According to The Medal of Honor Museum and Foundation, 3,514 men and one woman have won the Medal of Honor in service of their country from the Civil War to the present day. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

160 years ago, Civil War soldiers were awarded the first Medals of Honor. Now, a Medal of Honor Monument will soon be built on the National Mall in …

Social Issues

The meat processing industry continues to face scrutiny over labor practices in states like Minnesota. Proposed legislation would update a 2007 law…

A report published in late February says children of mothers who are abused or neglected were more likely to demonstrate symptoms and behaviors linked to depression, along with other health issues. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

New findings suggest health effects stemming from child maltreatment can be passed on to the next generation. In South Dakota, leaders in early-…

Social Issues

Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle will pay workers at its former location in Augusta, Maine as part of a settlement over labor law violations…


One Arizona mayor is among the more than 2,800 elected city officials in Washington, D.C., this week for The National League of Cities' Congressional …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021