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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.

ND Reaches New Heights in Community Livability Projects

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022   

Towns and cities across America are rolling out recruiting efforts to keep their populations stable. A grant program for community-led projects puts the emphasis on making places livable for everyone, and the response is growing in North Dakota.

Since 2017, AARP has been awarding Community Challenge grants - which call for quick turnaround improvement projects carried out by civic leaders, nonprofits and residents.

At the state and national level this year, the program awarded its largest amount of grants so far.

Janelle Moos - advocacy director for AARP North Dakota - said as municipalities monitor population trends, putting a finer point on certain quality-of-life issues is important.

"Maybe it's making streets more walkable, making their downtown areas more friendly," said Moos. "How do they create community gardens?"

In North Dakota this year, four groups with ideas to improve their communities received grants totaling $52,000.

Among them is a plan for a public fishing spot in Devils Lake, as well as informational videos to promote the use of public transportation in the Bismarck, Mandan and Lincoln area.

Last year, Bismarck received funding to revitalize an underused park in a diverse area, with a new mural serving as a key component of the upgrades.

The city's Nutrition Services Program Coordinator Katie Johnke said she hopes it can spark conversations for similar efforts, while allowing area residents to come together on a range of issues.

"I think there's a lot of opportunity to use those spaces as a neutral environment for people to have those conversations," said Johnke.

The program is broadening its scope in considering projects, including those that address challenges such as affordable housing.

Moos said these collective efforts still center around the idea of making life better for everyone who either resides in or is looking to move to a specific community.

"We all want very similar things," said Moos. "So, these projects really look at what keeps people in communities but what attracts them and then how can we apply that funding to make sure that that is something that the community needs and wants."




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