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Saturday, March 2, 2024

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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)
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Friday, March 1, 2024
The Alabama House and Senate both passed bills this week that would help people resume in vitro fertilization and provide legal protections for provid…

Federal debt among borrowers age 62 and older has increased by 36.8% since 2017, according to Education Data Initiative. (Adobe Stock)
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Student loan borrowers in Alabama and across the country have a chance to slash their college debt or see it disappear entirely. The U.S. Department …

To be eligible for judicial review under House Bill 29, an inmate must have been sentenced prior to May 26, 2000, meaning anyone eligible would have served at least 24 years in prison. (Adobe Stock)
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More than 7,000 people age 50 or older are serving time in Alabama prisons, and prison reform advocates have said the system is ill prepared for …

Women, Black, Hispanic and Latino people are less likely to receive bystander CPR. (Asier/AdobeStock)
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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
During Black History Month, the American Heart Association is emphasizing the significance of heart health education and establishing a heritage of …

More than 2,900 students who have earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Arkansas are currently employed, with an average salary of more than $90,000. (Gift Culture Media/KOTO)<br />
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By Matthew Moore for KUAF-FM.Broadcast version by Danielle Smith for Arkansas News Service reporting for the KUAF/Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation-Publ…

Since the most recent avian influenza outbreak began, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates almost 82 million birds have been affected in 47 states. (Anton Dios/Adobe Stock)
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In the wake of the latest, highly contagious bird flu outbreak in Arkansas and across the country, Congress is considering a bill to improve the …

From book bans to teacher qualifications, a new national report from the Network of Public Education examines the laws and policies that support or undermine each state's public schools and the students who attend them. (Pixabay)
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Friday, March 1, 2024
A new Network for Public Education report grades Florida an "F" for its public school funding. As Florida lawmakers negotiate the state budget in …

The Florida Senate unanimously approved a comprehensive plan championed by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and other advocates to broaden health care accessibility to accommodate the state's growing population. (TotalShape/Pixabay)
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The Florida House is expected to follow the Senate's lead by signing off on an initiative to pour millions into the state's health care industry…

Oral-health experts note the fact that everyone's mouth is full of bacteria. They recommend a daily routine of brushing and flossing as the best defense against bad bacteria known as plaque. (renatalferro/Pixabay)
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Beyond celebrating Valentine's Day, February is Children's Dental Health Month - which serves as a reminder to prioritize oral health habits that can …

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According to America's Health Rankings data, Georgia ranks 19th in teen suicide. (Adobe Stock)
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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
A coalition of organizations in Georgia is joining forces to combat the rising rate of suicide among children and teenagers. According to national …

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of children aged 6-8 have had a cavity in at least one of their primary (baby) teeth. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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February is Children's Dental Health Month and experts are urging parents to establish good dental health early. According to the Centers for …

Since 2017, right whales have been experiencing an Unusual Mortality Event, which has resulted in more than 20 percent of the population being sick, injured, or killed. (Adobe Stock)
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Advocates are calling for action to save the North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered species. The Biden administration has appropriated $…

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in Nov. 2023, nationwide utility companies saw a 2% average revenue increase per kilowatt-hour compared to the previous year. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Many eastern Kenuckians will see their monthly energy bills increase by around $8 per month, after a ruling last month by the state's utility …

Kentucky now ranks 14th in the nation in child victims of maltreatment, according to the latest Child Maltreatment report from the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Adobe Stock)
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Kentucky saw a 48% reduction in child victims of maltreatment from 2018 to 2022, according to the latest federal data. However, child abuse and …

Nearly 700 Kentuckians died by gun violence in 2019, an average of nearly two people every day. Suicides made up 65% of gun deaths, according to the Kentucky Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.(Adobe Stock)<br />
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New legislation under consideration by Kentucky lawmakers would allow police to confiscate guns from people whose family members are concerned about t…

Black students are twice as likely as white students to be in districts with funding below estimated "adequate" levels, and 3.5 times more likely to be in "chronically underfunded" districts, according to the report. (Adobe Stock)
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A new report finds Louisiana is among a handful of states that chronically underfunds its K-12 schools. Public school funding is largely left up to …

The Race for Results index measures well-being indicators across states and racial/ethnic groups, highlighting differences in early childhood, education, family resources and neighborhood context.(Adobe Stock)
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The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2024 Race for Results report examines child well-being, and finds children of color in Louisiana face significant …

Feeding America estimates more than 57,000 food-insecure people live in Jefferson Parish. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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The American Federation of Teachers recently gave out grants in urban, suburban, and rural communities across America to increase literacy and …

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The three oral conditions that most affect overall health and quality of life are cavities, severe gum disease and severe tooth loss, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Drazen/Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
The Magnolia State is in the top five for worst access to dental care, according to a county-by-county report. More than 70 million Americans live in …

The Postmaster General implemented a 10-year transformation plan known as "Delivering For America," which touts that 91% of first-class mail was delivered on time against the USPS service standard in 2022. (salarko/AdobeStock)
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Postal service staffing shortages across the United States, including in rural areas of Mississippi, are being cited as one of the reasons for mail …

Operation Good works to improve life in Jackson and recently collaborated with University of Mississippi Medical Center for a violent crime interruption research project. (Operation Good Mississippi)
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A group of formerly incarcerated people is making headway in Jackson, Mississippi, to turn young lives around and prevent violent crime. On average…

According to the "Public Schooling in America 2024" report, North Carolina offers enrollment privileges to tuition-paying foreign exchange students and the students of selected private preschools. (Adobe Stock)
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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
North Carolina's public school system is facing a crisis, according to the recently released "Public Schooling in America 2024" report. It ranks the …

According to the CDC, untreated cavities can lead to a severe infection under the gums which can spread to other parts of the body and have serious, and in rare cases fatal, results. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
February is Children's Dental Health Month and dentists want to raise awareness about the most common childhood disease and how to prevent it…

About 30% of U.S. households, or 38.6 million households, are eligible for weatherization. Only about 0.2% of low-income households in the United States receive much-needed weatherization services each year, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. (Marina Gordejeva/Adobe Stock) About 30% of U.S. households, or 38.6 million households, are eligible for weatherization. This means that only about 0.2% of low-income households in the United States receive much-needed weatherization se
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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
By Elizabeth Ouzts for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Shanteya Hudson for North Carolina News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism…

Vessel strikes can lead to slow or quick deaths for right whales. The North Atlantic right whale population has been put in grave danger from both, according to Defenders of Wildlife. (Adobe Stock)
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Wildlife advocates are calling on the Biden administration to tighten regulations protecting right whales in the North Atlantic following a series of …

Beaufort County is ranked among the healthiest among all 46 counties in South Carolina.(Olivia Lewis/Direct Relief)
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In celebration of Juneteenth, one South Carolina organization is shining a spotlight on health equity for all communities - and showcasing their …

While most health data for South Carolina children showed declines in this year's Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count Data Book, the number of kids without health insurance improved slightly. (Adobe Stock)
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A new annual report finds South Carolina could be doing better to support children's health. The Annie E. Casey Foundation's latest Kids Count Data …

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More than 131,000 Tennesseans have already cast their ballots during early voting. (rawpixel/Adobe Stock)
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As municipal elections in Tennessee fast approach, groups are making an urgent push for more voter education - especially in the Nashville metro area…

Regaining voting rights has been shown to reduce recidivism rates, meaning more Tennesseans would<br />be able to reenter their communities, work, and earn money to pay off their debts. (rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock)
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In Tennessee, almost a half million people won't be able to vote in any upcoming elections because of a past felony conviction, and one organization …

Bryce Shanklin, a Williamson County career rural mail carrier, unloads the U.S. Postal Service vehicle he uses for delivering mail. (Jeremy Woodard)
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Across the country, and especially in rural parts of Tennessee, U.S. Postal Service staffing shortages are being blamed by some for delays in mail …

Cavities are a consistent problem for kids. The CDC found more than half of kids ages 6-8 have had a cavity in at least one baby tooth. And more than half of kids ages 12 to 19 have had a cavity in at least one permanent tooth. (Adobe Stock)
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As part of Children's Dental Health Month, Virginia pediatric dentists are working to improve kids' dental health habits. Recent surveys indicated …

The Annie E. Casey Foundation reported neglect is a growing reason Virginia children end up in foster care. Some experts feel the system ends up punishing families for food insecurity or financial hardship. (Adobe Stock)
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Virginia's General Assembly is taking up a bill to address outcomes for kids in foster care. Previous legislation either failed to pass or was …

Polls show 71% of voters across party lines oppose book bans and challenges at their local library. From Jan. 2023 to Aug. 2023, 1,915 unique book titles were subject to challenges. (Adobe Stock)
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Libraries across Virginia and the nation are fighting back on censorship issues. So far this year, 100 bills are pending at the state and federal …

According to the U.S. Forest Service, West Virginia has more than 15,000 acres of state-owned lands. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill to allow private forest fire management on state lands but environmental groups said they are concerned its…

More than two dozen states have legalized the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk, according to the CDC. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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West Virginia House delegates passed a bill this week that would allow raw milk products from farmers to be sold directly to consumers. Maria Moles…

The New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia. In 2023, the U.S. Forest Service and AmeriCorps signed a five-year agreement to establish the Forest Corps, to create job opportunities that reduce wildfire risk, support reforestation and make national forests and grasslands healthier and more resilient. (Adobe Stock)
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A Biden administration program, the American Climate Corps, aims to hire and train 20,000 people in conservation, climate and clean energy jobs…

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