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Sunday, April 21, 2024

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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.


State meteorologists in Minnesota say several climate change effects have greatly increased the amount of fuel available for wildfires, which can grow rapidly and be difficult to extinguish. (Adobe Stock)

Thursday, April 18, 2024

More summer smoke? Experts monitor climate-fueled events and health effects

Wet weather this spring has improved drought conditions in Minnesota and southern Canada. However, experts remain on alert for increased wildfire …

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Turnover of election officials has been lower in smaller jurisdictions over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New data illustrates turnover trends among local election administrators

Local offices around the country that help administer elections have seen higher rates of turnover in the past two decades. Newly compiled data show …

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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)
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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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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