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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Cleveland expands local air monitoring program

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Wednesday, December 27, 2023   

The City of Cleveland wants new community air advisers to help expand air monitoring in historically redlined neighborhoods.

Christina Yoka, chief of air pollution outreach for the Cleveland Department of Public Health, said children in the city's predominantly Black communities -- a "C"-shaped area known as the Cleveland Crescent -- have higher rates of asthma and other respiratory conditions.

She emphasized the project's goal is to improve the accuracy of air pollution monitoring at the local level.

"So that we can really take a good look at, how does air quality in those neighborhoods compare to other areas within the City of Cleveland?" Yoka explained.

Community advisers in the area will decide where to place 30 new air sensors and collect feedback from residents, and they will receive a quarterly stipend for their efforts.

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued ambient air quality standards for six types of harmful air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone and lead. Funding for the project comes from an American Rescue Plan Act grant through the EPA.

Yoka added prospective air advisers must be 18 years or older and live within the City of Cleveland.

"They just need to be comfortable talking to their neighbors," Yoka pointed out. "Getting out there and finding out from their community, from their neighbors, what are the problems and the concerns that they're seeing?"

The American Lung Association's 2022 "State of the Air" report found Cleveland harbors high levels of particle and ozone pollution, and is ranked 27th among the most polluted cities in the nation.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks Cleveland 4th in the nation for being one of the most challenging places to live with asthma.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.


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