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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.

New Philanthropy Fund Helps With Tornado Recovery

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Thursday, April 13, 2023   

A record number of tornadoes struck U.S. communities in the first three months of this year, prompting the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to establish a Tornado Recovery Fund.

Sally Ray, director of domestic funds for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, said local and federal governments are prepared to help with immediate needs such as food and shelter. But those in small towns or rural areas, where tornadoes are common, typically do not have the funds to rebuild infrastructure quickly and equitably.

"We will be engaged in understanding what's going on now," Ray explained. "But as soon as those communities begin to move into the recovery phase, that's when we'll be supporting some local nonprofit organizations that are there to help make sure that people have access to resources they need for that recovery."

At least 410 tornadoes struck the U.S. in January, February and March, according to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration's Storm Prediction Center, topping the previous record for the same period of 398 set in 2017. The agency said many of the tornadoes were in the South and Midwest.

Ray pointed out the Center's funds go toward mid- to long-term recovery from domestic disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and even snowstorms. Tornadoes used to hit during particular seasons in the country or in what was called "tornado alley" in the central U.S., But Ray said they are less predictable now, which means people need to be prepared.

"There's not really a season anymore, there's not really an alley," Ray stressed. "It's not that you didn't ever have a tornado in December or January, just they were a lot less frequent, and they seem to be more common now, and part of that is because of climate change."

Texas, the most tornado-prone state in the U.S., averages roughly 136 tornadoes each year. In 2022, the Lone Star State saw a total of 160 tornadoes, with the most significant activity taking place in the months of April and May.



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