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Friday, December 1, 2023

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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Guidance for SNAP Recipients as Pandemic Boost Ends

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Monday, March 6, 2023   

Wisconsin residents receiving federal food assistance have now seen their final round of emergency aid prompted by the pandemic. Hunger-fighting groups have tips on how to ease the transition.

Additional SNAP benefits offered a bridge to low-income families as they navigated the economic impact of the crisis. Wisconsin was one of 32 states still tapping into extra aid, but the federal government has now ended the temporary support.

Matt King, associate director of Wisconsin's Hunger Task Force group, said going back to pre-pandemic levels will result in dramatic swings in monthly support. He provided this example for older populations.

"Seniors will see a drop from $281 down to $23," said King. "So, that's a really significant decrease in money that they have available to buy groceries."

Wisconsin administers SNAP aid through its Food-Share program. King encouraged recipients to review their eligibility factors to make sure they're receiving the maximum level of aid.

And he said you have up to a year to spend the benefits you receive. That means that stretching those dollars, especially any leftover funds from the pandemic boost, can help in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, returning to normal benefit amounts comes as households continue to grapple with higher grocery costs.

Ailen Arreaza, co-director of the national advocacy group Parents-Together, said its recent survey shows many families are juggling a lot of expenses.

"Sixty-four percent of families are saying that they are having trouble making ends meet right now," said Arreaza. "And the biggest challenges are paying for things like diapers, formula, paying for utilities, paying for housing."

Meanwhile, Arreaza said families in need should be more outspoken about what's happening.

"These types of benefits," said Arreaza, "that help families, that help kids thrive, that put food on the table for hungry kids - this is something that families deserve."

The group says it's especially worried with congressional Republicans floating new work requirements or general cuts to SNAP aid, as part of negotiations about the debt limit.

GOP lawmakers say it's about incentivizing able-bodied people to return to work. But Democrats are expected to fight these proposals, suggesting they'd only make it harder for some people to get back on their feet.




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According to the National Family Farm Coalition, the average U.S. farmland value is now $3,800 per
acre, the highest since the 1970s. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

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North Dakota's farming landscape is seeing policy shifts dealing with corporate ownership of agricultural interests. Now, there's fresh debate at the …


Social Issues

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Advocates for unpaid family caregivers in Maine say they'll need continued support beyond the recently passed paid family and medical leave program…

Social Issues

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The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…


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A new report from WGU Labs, a nonprofit affiliate of Western Governors University based in Millcreek, Utah, is shedding light on the importance of …

Social Issues

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Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…

The Thrive Indianapolis Annual Report 2022 says Indianapolis has been recognized as a Tree City USA for 35 consecutive years. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

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Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …

Health and Wellness

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New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …

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Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …

 

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