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Monday, June 17, 2024

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Family farmers call for tougher CAFO regulations in Farm Bill; The Midwest and Northeast brace for record high temperature in heatwave; Financial-justice advocates criticize crypto regulation bill; Ohio advocates: New rules strengthen protections for sexual-assault victims.

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The RNC kicks off its election integrity effort, Democrats sound a warning bell about conservatives' Project 2025, and Republicans suggest funding cuts to jurisdictions with legal cases against Trump.

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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.

More summer smoke? Experts monitor climate-fueled events and health effects

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Thursday, April 18, 2024   

Wet weather this spring has improved drought conditions in Minnesota and southern Canada. However, experts remain on alert for increased wildfire activity and other climate changes affecting people's health.

Poor air quality was a frequent topic last year in the upper Midwest, as smoke pushed down from Canadian wildfires. Researchers said climate change is fueling hotter and drier summers, making forests more susceptible to large fires.

Dr. Bruce Snyder, co-founder of Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate, worries about a repeat summer of thick, hazy smoke in the air creating unhealthy conditions.

"When that happens, people have more respiratory disease; people who have chronic lung disease tend to get sicker," Snyder explained. "There's a lot of downstream consequences for people all over the world, but certainly here in Minnesota."

Snyder noted the transition to cleaner energy sources is complex, but acknowledged pollution events place more emphasis on the need for less reliance on fossil fuels, due to their contributions to a warming planet. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said the state has had 46 air quality alerts since 2015, and 34 of those were because of wildfire smoke.

Snyder emphasized it is not just air pollution from wildfire smoke to worry about. He pointed out there are other ways a person's health can suffer from climate change.

"We've got many more dangerous insects -- ticks, mosquitoes, and so forth," Snyder stressed. "This is having a profound effect on our wildlife. But also, we're seeing a lot more progressively rising rates of Lyme disease, of West Nile virus."

Year-over-year statistics may vary, but state health officials say the median number of Lyme disease cases has risen in the past decade. Snyder added adverse health effects of climate change can be much harder for populations lacking stable housing.


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Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, 22 states have passed laws to protect or expand access to abortion.

Health and Wellness

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Nebraska physicians and their patients have been dealing with the state's 12-week abortion ban since it went into effect just over a year ago…


Environment

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West Virginia and other Appalachian states are littered with hundreds of "zombie mines," abandoned mines neither producing coal nor undergoing reclama…

Health and Wellness

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Ohio advocates said the Biden administration's new Title IX regulations better protect victims of sexual assault, even as a group of states …


Social Issues

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A Legislature-backed Commission on Poverty in Massachusetts aims to address the state's historic wealth gap. The commission will study demographic …

Participating in the arts may improve older adults' health, well-being and independence, according to the National Institute on Aging. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

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Teaching artists can now apply for grant funding centered on programs for older Wyomingites. The Creative Aging Project Grant, from the Wyoming Arts …

Social Issues

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A new report finds New York's rising cost of living and having living-wage jobs are priority issues for young voters. Research shows a single …

Environment

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The U.S. House of Representatives will likely vote this summer on a version of the Farm Bill, which passed through the committee process last month…

 

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