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Monday, April 15, 2024

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25 million Blacks, Latinos missing from voter databases; major news organizations urge Biden and Trump to commit to presidential debates; NM gun-control advocates praise federal rule closing 'gun show loophole; Arkansas group raising awareness during Black Maternal Health Week.

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House Republicans want citizenship proof for federal election voting, under White House pressure Israel shows restraint after Iran's attack and Trump's hush money trial starts.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Minnesota

Elsa-Ruth Pryor plays a Hardanger fiddle that she made during a wintertime concert in the Fargo area. (Photo courtesy Gabby Clavo)

Monday, April 15, 2024

Midwest communities embrace unique musical instrument

By Kate Mothes for Arts Midwest.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Arts Midwest-Public News Service Collab…

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In the mid-1990s, news media from around the world descended upon Los Angeles for wall-to-wall coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder trial. (Adobe Stock)

Friday, April 12, 2024

Measuring long-term impact of Simpson trial on media literacy

O.J. Simpson's death has the nation looking back on the infamous murder trial that resulted in his acquittal. Experts say one of the lasting impacts …

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PFAS are chemicals used since the 1940s. They are found in everyday products such as nonstick cookware. Public officials are sounding the alarm about health risks associated with the chemicals, including their presence in drinking water. (Adobe Stock)<br />
EPA finalizes national standard for PFAS in drinking water

Minnesota is the site of a high-profile drinking-water contamination case linked with so-called forever chemicals and advocates are hopeful residents …

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If Minnesota adopts a plan that asks private companies to fund innovations in recycling and the collection of discarded materials, the state also would set a goal of all packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2032. (Adobe Stock)
MN plan would overhaul its recycling approach

Minnesota ranks high for its recycling rate, but it still has a waste problem, putting more pressure on local governments. A plan in the …

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The IRS says undocumented workers who don't have a valid Social Security number need to complete a W-7 form so they can get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), a key tool they need to file their federal and state tax returns. (Adobe Stock)
During tax time crunch, multilingual sites in MN pitch in

Minnesotans who haven't completed their tax returns yet might be fretting about meeting the April 15th deadline. For those facing language barriers …

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Public school leaders say competition from charter schools - and in some states, vouchers for private schools - are contributing to enrollment declines, impacting how much aid districts receive. (Adobe Stock)
Mpls. funding fight underscores larger school budget pain

From expiring pandemic aid to declining enrollment, school districts in Minnesota face financial pressure and public school advocates and community …

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Straw purchases for guns are already a felony under federal law, but Minnesota lawmakers are expressing the need to do the same under state law following the recent fatal shooting of three first responders in a Twin Cities suburb. (Adobe Stock)
Tragedy has MN lawmakers focused on straw purchases for guns

Minnesota lawmakers return this week following an Easter break. They're expected to resume talks on a gun-safety proposal seeing renewed urgency…

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Organizations fighting wage theft said it harms affected workers and surrounding communities because the money withheld is not being circulated through the local economy. (Adobe Stock)
Pulling back the curtains on wage-theft enforcement in MN

A mix of policy updates and staffing boosts has helped to put wage theft enforcement on the radar in Minnesota, and officials leading the efforts are …

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As part of its Climate and Resilience Action Plan, the city of St. Paul plans to convert the Como Zoo Conservancy building to geothermal heating and cooling. (Flickr)
St. Paul Climate Action Plan aims for net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050

By Frank Jossi for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Netwo…

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Researchers with North Star Policy Action say Minnesota has more ambitious clean energy goals than neighboring states, but lags behind some of them in output. Permitting issues in Minnesota are cited as a big factor. (Adobe Stock)
MN tinkers with policy to speed up wind and solar projects

Minnesota has about 15 years to achieve its mandate of 100% carbon-free electricity from utilities. To get there, clean energy voices say the …

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During the pandemic, the federal government rolled out a temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit. Policy experts say it helped many families temporarily escape poverty. Supporters of Minnesota's new credit hope for similar results. (Adobe Stock)
New MN Child Tax Credit aligns with economic justice efforts

With tax season winding down, efforts continue to spread the word about Minnesota's new Child Tax Credit. Outreach leaders say it's another way to …

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Minnesota officials said not only climate-fueled storms are driving up homeowner insurance costs. They said economic factors, such as higher labor and material supply costs, also play a role. (Adobe Stock)
MN sees spike in complaints related to homeowner insurance claims

While there's snow in the immediate forecast, the spring storm season has arrived in Minnesota and state officials said with complaints related to …

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