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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.

Service opportunities remain at heart of MLK Day

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Monday, January 15, 2024   

Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Minnesota residents are reminded to seek out service opportunities to make their communities a better place to live.

MLK Day is the only federal holiday recognized as a day of service. Julia Quanrud is the CEO of ServeMinnesota - which is the state's hub for Ameri-Corps, the national service and volunteer program.

She said whether it's pitching in on the holiday or if you're inspired to volunteer long-term, there's plenty of need. Quanrud emphasized that giving your time can have a huge social impact.

"What we know is that AmeriCorps offers ways for people of all backgrounds to serve and to make a difference on education issues," said Quanrud, "to help protect Minnesota's environment, to help Minnesota be a healthier and a safer place to live."

Programs carried out by ServeMinnesota include tutoring for math and reading, as well as doing work to preserve forests.

According to Census data, Minnesota is among the top five states with the highest formal volunteering rate. It also ranks high for informal helping, such as doing favors for neighbors.

Quanrud also pointed out that many individuals still might be feeling the impact from isolation during the early stages of the pandemic. She said volunteer work can help foster much-needed social connections.

"So, one of the things that I've been hearing is people looking for opportunities for people to really kind of get to know each other again and to build relationships," said Quanrud. "You know, I do think that service is one of the ways that that can happen."

Other volunteer-driven organizers say staying committed to community improvement is vital in Minnesota as the state continues to address long-standing racial disparities that received heavy attention following the murder of George Floyd.




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