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Monday, July 15, 2024

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President Joe Biden calls on the nation to 'lower the temperature' on politics; Utah governor calls for unity following Trump assassination attempt; Civil rights groups sound the alarm on Project 2025; New England braces for 'above-normal' hurricane season.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

For some families, paying with plastic is a lifeline at the grocery store

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Wednesday, May 15, 2024   

North Dakota is in the top half of states for average weekly grocery bills and a new national report detailed how consumer debt is bridging the gap for households having a hard time covering food expenses.

Policy experts said grocery price increases have outpaced overall inflation. Findings from the Urban Institute showed in 2023, 60% of adults reported their families used credit cards to buy groceries and 7% were not able to make minimum monthly payments on the charges. Nearly one in five dipped into savings to maintain their food supplies.

Kassandra Martinchek, senior research associate at the Urban Institute, said the report reflects the financial strain some people are feeling.

"Some families are really struggling to even meet their basic needs and are taking riskier financial strategies that could leave them less capable to cope with a future financial shot," Martinchek observed. "Something like losing their job."

For those taking advantage of Buy Now, Pay Later options for groceries, 37% reported missing payments on loans. A separate report earlier this year found North Dakota is just below the national average for grocery expenses. However, it is still 23rd highest in the nation, sitting above neighboring states.

Even if food prices start to come down, Martinchek emphasized missed debt payments during the price hikes could have lasting effects.

"They could have constrained access to affordable credit options and struggle to take advantage of different wealth building opportunities," Martinchek explained.

She added it is especially the case for historically disadvantaged households. The report suggested policymakers strengthen social safety nets to help these families as pandemic aid expires. But increasing payments under programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program might be hard in a divided Congress. Another recommendation called for bolstering credit counseling and debt management services.


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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