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Thursday, June 20, 2024

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Conservationists tout Indiana's old mines and brownfields to develop renewable energy; Louisiana becomes 1st state to require the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools; Black Hills Visitor Center under new joint tribal, federal oversight; Judge set to rule on massive MT logging project.

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Former President Donald Trump says he loves Milwaukee, civil rights groups reject designated protest zones for the RNC convention and a New York Equal Rights Amendment is restored to the November ballot.

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Rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town, prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands and a Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival.

Alabama releases abot 220,279 men and 78,247 women from its prisons and jails annually. (Adobe Stock)
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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Alabama has a goal to reduce recidivism by 50% by 2030 but a recent report from the Prison Fellowship warned state-level barriers to critical needs ma…

Child poverty increased by 5% from 2019 to 2022, with Alabama ranking 45th in the nation at 22%, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count Data Book. (Adobe Stock)
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A new report sheds light on child well-being in Alabama, highlighting the need for greater academic and economic support. According to the latest …

Think Big is a national narrative learning community seeking to fill the gap in the progressive communications infrastructure. Think Big Alabama is powered by Topos Partnership in cooperation with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (Adobe Stock)
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Alabama groups are empowering residents to influence community policies with a new training program. Alabama Arise and Alabama Values are launching …

In 2023, Arkansas' Farm to School Kitchen Equipment Grant Program increased the capacity to process and serve more specialty crops to students through the school cafeteria. (Cheangchai/Adobe Stock)
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Thursday, June 20, 2024
School children in Arkansas are learning how to grow their own fruits and vegetables through the Farm to School and Early Childhood Education program …

The number of Arkansas children living in poverty remained the same as last year. (bonniemarie/Adobe Stock)
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Arkansas is ranked 45th in the 2024 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The annual report ranks states on the overall condition …

Over the last three years, the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund's CityStart program has focused specifically on racial wealth equality. (JonoErasmus/Adobe Stock)
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The City of Little Rock is part of a national grant program designed to improve the financial status of Black communities. The Cities for Financial …

Reenactors recreate a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at the Knott House Museum in Tallahassee in 2015. (Florida Memory)
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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Florida's official day to commemorate the end of slavery is May 20, known as "Mayteenth." However, as communities across the nation celebrate …

The number of Florida eighth graders not proficient in math increased in the most recent Kids Count Data Book ranking from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Pixabay)
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Florida is ranked 30th in the 2024 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The annual report ranks states on the overall condition …

Salt marshes are composed of a variety of rushes, sedges and grasses. Florida's dominant salt marsh species include black needle rush (Juncus roemerianus). (Florida DEP)
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With the start of hurricane season, salt marshes are among the natural features playing a critical role in protecting coastal communities by …

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In a survey conducted by World Animal Protection, 80% of U.S. consumers said they were concerned about the treatment of factory-farmed pigs. (Adobe Stock)
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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Advocates for animal welfare are calling on restaurants in Georgia to end the use of gestation crates for pregnant pigs in their supply chain…

Georgia's highest ranking among four domains studied by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in its Kids Count Data Book is in education, at 31st. (Adobe Stock)
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Georgia remains among the bottom 10 states for children's health, according to the latest Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation…

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, about 87,000 people are incarcerated in Georgia's state prisons and/or local jails, compared to about 6,500 in federal prisons in the state. (Felix Mizioznikov/Adobe Stock)
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Some Georgia lawmakers want to lower the jail population, especially in Fulton and Muscogee counties, due to safety concerns and staffing shortages…

In 2021, an estimated 352,000 children and adolescents younger than 20, or 35 per 10,000 U.S. youths, had diagnosed diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Monday, June 17, 2024
Experts say sedentary lifestyles, food insecurity, and other factors are driving an increase in childhood diabetes in Kentucky. Research shows …

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land funding over 15 years. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Kentucky will receive $74 million to clean up legacy pollution in regions decimated by decades of coal mining. The money is part of $725 million in …

More than 80% of 65-to-69-year-olds are internet users, and two-thirds say they have broadband internet connections at home, according to data from The Pew Research Center. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Kentucky is set to spend $12 million over the next three years to boost internet access in communities across the state. The funding will go toward …

Many school children are still "catching up" on their education after the disruptions during the COVID pandemic, according the 2024 Kids Count report.  (Adobe Stock)
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A report on the condition of America's children ranks Louisiana near the bottom of the 50 states for economic well-being, health and family, but …

Industrial emissions of carcinogenic chemicals disproportionately occur in neighborhoods where African American, Hispanic, Latino residents, including many living in poverty. (Oleksii Fadieiev/Adobe Stock)
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An environmental justice organization in Wallace, Louisiana, says it won't back down in a fight for the health of its historic community. The …

The current Louisiana Constitution protects Medicaid and salary stipends for police, firefighters and other first responders. (Felix Mizioznikov/Adobe Stock)
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Teachers in Louisiana are trying to stop an upcoming constitutional convention proposed by Gov. Jeff Landry. The governor, who has been in office for …

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To participate in Mississippi's work-release program, individuals must be within two years of their release date and have not had disciplinary action within the last 12 months. (Tjshot/Adobe Stock)
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Thursday, June 20, 2024
Mississippi's pilot work-release program for incarcerated individuals has been extended to three years. The program allows qualified participants to …

Individuals convicted of a nonviolent felony offense in Mississippi will be eligible for parole consideration only after serving either 25% of their total sentence or a minimum of 10 years in prison, whichever is less time. (wolfhound911/Adobe Stock)
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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Advocates said continuing parole is vital for Mississippi's families, businesses and communities. Senate Bill 2448 keeps the current parole law in …

Both public and private organizations across Mississippi reported using Mississippi Kids Count data for grant applications over the past three years resulted in a collective $48 million to programs and services in the state. (gpointstudio/Adobe Stock)
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Mississippi ranks near the bottom among states for children's well-being, at 49th overall in the new Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey …

In a survey conducted by World Animal Protection, 80% of U.S. consumers said they were concerned about the treatment of factory-farmed pigs. (Adobe Stock)
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Thursday, June 20, 2024
Advocates for animal welfare are calling on restaurants in North Carolina to end the use of gestation crates for pregnant pigs in their supply chain…

According to Jonathan Tyndall, about 30% to 40% of farm produce goes to waste and doesn't get used. He says Ripe for Revival is working to make those numbers smaller. (Courtesy of Joe Mecca/Coastal Credit Union)
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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
A new mobile market is tackling food deserts in North Carolina, where 1.4 million people struggle to find healthy food. Ripe for Revival, a nonprofit …

Other efforts in North Carolina aimed at protecting salt marshes include Gov. Roy Cooper's Executive Order 80, and the state's 2020 Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan. (Adobe Stock)
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Hurricane season is here, and conservationists are shining a light on the role salt marshes play in protecting coastal North Carolina communities…

About 40% of children in America have had one or more adverse childhood experiences such as divorce, incarceration of a parent, domestic violence or even witnessing a violent act, according to the 2024 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Adobe Stock)
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A report on the condition of America's children ranks South Carolina near the bottom of the 50 states in economic well-being, education and family …

Clapper rails find food, shelter and a place to raise their young in the highly productive South Carolina salt marsh habitat. (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources)
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With hurricane season underway, South Carolina's 344,000 acres of salt marshes are the first line of defense for the state's lowcountry against storm …

As of last December, 4.16 million fewer children were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program nationwide than the month before each state began the process of renewing post-COVID eligibility. (Adobe Stock)
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More than 65,000 children in South Carolina have lost their health insurance through Medicaid, despite being eligible for coverage, according to a …

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Connectus Health received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last year. The funding helps improve health outcomes for patients at the highest risk of maternal morbidity and mortality. (Gorodenkoff)
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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
The Tennessee Primary Care Association and its affiliated community health centers are working to increase accessibility to essential women's health-c…

As of March, Tennessee still had about 23% of its federal education funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief program, which could be used to help boost achievement. The deadline to allocate the funding is Sept. 30. (Adobe Stock)
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Tennessee ranks in the middle among states for the well-being of its children, at 36th overall in the new Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E…

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has proposed issuing water withdrawal permits, which would allow several local water utilities to increase the amount of water they pull from the Duck River by about 16 million gallons daily. (RobertMiller/Adobe Stock)<br />
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The Duck River, which flows through seven Middle Tennessee counties, has made a national list of "most endangered" rivers. The group American Rivers …

One in eight undergraduate students at Virginia public colleges is also a parent. (Adobe Stock)
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Thursday, June 20, 2024
A new report examines how Virginia public colleges can help student parents. The Urban Institute report reviews three policies schools can …

A U.S. Water Alliance report finds maintaining Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding in water infrastructure could reduce service disruptions to water-reliant businesses, saving them 46% over 20 years. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Recent reports are calling on Virginia and the U.S. to invest in water infrastructure. The U.S. Water Alliance's Bridging the Gap report reviews two …

The Annie E. Casey Kids Count Data Book finds 13% of Virginia kids live in poverty, a figure that has stagnated from previous years. However, it is lower than the national average of 16%. (Adobe Stock)
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A new report finds Virginia's economic instability disturbs kids' well-being. The Annie E. Casey Kids Count Data Book ranks Virginia 16th nationwide …

A zombie mine is shown in Clintwood, Kentucky. (Erin Savage)
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Monday, June 17, 2024
West Virginia and other Appalachian states are littered with hundreds of "zombie mines," abandoned mines neither producing coal nor undergoing reclama…

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in Abandoned Mind Land funding over 15 years. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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West Virginia will receive $140 million to clean up legacy pollution in regions decimated by decades of coal mining. The money is part of $725 …

Chronic absence from school may be driving learning loss. Thirty percent of all students, or about 14.7 million, were chronically absent in 2021-2022, nearly double pre-pandemic rates, according to new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Math and reading proficiency among West Virginia kids has worsened over the past five years, according to new data. The latest Kids Count Data Book …

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