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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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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.

CT group helps residents with pandemic’s lingering impacts

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Thursday, May 9, 2024   

Connecticut groups are still addressing the pandemic's aftermath. Along with connecting residents to vital services, United Way of Connecticut is also helping them deal with mental health challenges.

Once the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline adopted the shortened number 988, calls increased. The challenge of answering thousands of calls is being met through the United Way of Connecticut.

Lisa Tepper Bates, president and CEO of the nonprofit, said the pandemic presented pros and cons for what she could accomplish.

"It forced us to think in new ways, to learn new ways to work, and at the same time maybe set back some efforts," Tepper Bates recounted. "Because we just couldn't work on them while we had to address the needs that people had during the height of the pandemic."

Building health care connections for residents is what lies ahead. Tepper Bates noted rising costs for basic needs are leading to physical health declines. She explained the United Way of Connecticut's future work will center around working with health care providers to better connect people with support to meet their needs, which can reduce certain health care costs.

Tepper Bates pointed out much of United Way of Connecticut's work is ongoing. A particular focal point is helping ALICE residents -- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed -- who are struggling to make ends meet. In her time with the organization, she said she has learned about resilience from people United Way serves.

"There are a lot of folks in our state who I think are, every day, managing very challenging situations, and yet are so resilient," Tepper Bates observed. "I think that's what, to me, is always inspiring: people who are making it work."

Other work to help ALICE families is advocating for a state child tax credit. DeDeclines in child poverty and other benefits came from expanding the federal credit, which has since shrunk to pre-pandemic levels.

The United Way of Connecticut has been vocal about the work, leading Tepper Bates to receive several honors, including an award from Connecticut Voices for Children later this month.

Disclosure: The United Way of Connecticut contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Children's Issues, Housing/Homelessness, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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