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Friday, December 8, 2023

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Some South Dakota farmers are unhappy with industrial ag getting conservation funds; Texas judge allows abortion in Cox case; Native tribes express concern over Nevada's clean energy projects.

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The Colorado Supreme Court weighs barring Trump from office, Georgia Republicans may be defying a federal judge with a Congressional map splitting a Black majority district and fake electors in Wisconsin finally agree Biden won there in 2020.

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Texas welcomes more visitors near Big Bend but locals worry the water won't last, those dependent on Colorado's Dolores River fear the same but have found common ground solutions, and a new film highlights historical healthcare challenges in rural Appalachia.

The Farm Credit System is cumulatively the largest lender to the agricultural sector, making about 45% of all agricultural loans, with $350 billion in assets. (Dusan Kostic/Adobe Stock)
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Thursday, December 7, 2023
A new report is calling for greater accountability in the system providing funding to farmers in underserved communities. The research takes a dive …

In Alabama correctional facilities, prisoners are allowed a total of four books, to include a Bible or equivalent religious study book, an educational dictionary, a law book, and/or novel, at any one time. (Adobe Stock)
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An Alabama bookstore is working to make sure people in prison have access to books. The Burdock Book Collective in Birmingham is on a mission to …

Alabama is one of only 12 states still taxing groceries. (Adobe Stock)
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Alabama Arise, a statewide advocacy group, is fighting for marginalized communities affected by poverty. The organization recently unveiled its 2024 …

Arkansas' income tax rate drops from 4.7% to 4.4% on Jan. 1, 2024, and there are efforts to eliminate it completely. (Eyegelb/Adobe Stock)
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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Arkansas is set to reduce income tax rates for individuals and corporations starting next year. Opportunity Arkansas is advocating for the …

Prior to the start of this 2024 open enrollment period, about 1.5 million more people enrolled in marketplace coverage nationwide from March to Sept. 2023, compared to the same period in 2022.<br />(STOATPHOTO/Adobe Stock)
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In Arkansas and across the nation, open enrollment for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act ends on December 15 at midnight. The …

Duck hunting season is already underway in Arkansas and the Natural State is home to five major classes of wetlands based on water source, geology and landscape position. (Ajamils/AdobeStock)
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Arkansas and other states are dealing with the fallout from a Supreme Court decision in May, which effectively removed federal protections for more …

Some worry the push to drop sociology from general education requirements comes after a new law, part of Senate Bill 266, Florida's anti-diversity, equity and inclusion law, which forbids institutions of higher education from spending state funds on DEI programs or initiatives. (Pixabay)
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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Another controversial move in Florida's education system is a proposal to drop sociology, the study of social life and the causes and consequences of …

The ongoing Israel and Hamas conflict is affecting student organizations in Florida and across the country. (hosnysalah/Pixabay)
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The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…

In 2022, about 29% of the people in Florida's prison system were age 50 or older, which is one reason their advocates are urging state lawmakers to ensure prison housing units are climate-controlled. (geralt/Pixabay)
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Florida lawmakers are being asked to use the winter months to swiftly install air conditioning in prison housing units before the return of scorching …

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Research shows one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. (Adobe Stock)
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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Research in Georgia is getting a boost to help enhance the lives of people living with Alzheimer's disease and provide better support. In Georgia…

The Farm Credit System is cumulatively the largest lender to the agricultural sector, making about 45% of all agricultural loans, with $350 billion in assets. (Adobe Stock)
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A new report calls for greater accountability in the system that provides funding to farmers in underserved communities. The research takes a dive …

The courts have commended Georgia for its progress in increasing political opportunities for Black voters in the 58 years since passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But some observers argued the progress has not been shared equally among Black voters across the state. (Lamar Carter/Adobe Stock)
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In just over a week on Nov. 29, state lawmakers will return to Atlanta to decide on Georgia's new congressional voting district maps. Grassroots …

An analysis of government data by the health policy group KFF estimates that nearly one in 10 adults, or roughly 23 million people nationwide, owe significant medical debt. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
It's estimated that one in three Kentuckians struggles to pay medical bills, and the issue continues to be a driving factor in personal bankruptcy …

Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at an economic development event in Henderson in 2022. (Tkayne/Wikimedia Commons)<br />
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By Anna Massoglia and Jimmy Cloutier for OpenSecrets.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan for Kentucky News Connection reporting for the OpenSecrets-Pu…

Eleven nonprofit organizations have been selected to receive funding from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky's Funding for Recovery Equity and Expansion program. (Ally Wells)
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A new statewide program in Kentucky is providing addiction advocacy groups and recovery centers with flexible funding to focus on resource equity and …

The state established a 1-mile buffer zone off Elmers Island and Grand Terre Island, and a 3-mile buffer off of Grand Isle. (Adobe Stock)
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With news of more large-scale fish dumps in coastal Louisiana waters in recent weeks, advocates are calling for more regulations on the menhaden …

Louisiana has the most narrow menhaden buffer zone among nearby Gulf states. (Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership)
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Advocates are calling for catch limits and a buffer zone to protect menhaden in the Gulf of Mexico. Menhaden, known in Louisiana as pogies, are small …

One measure of children's well-being has not improved in Louisiana. The number of kids in poverty remained at 27% between 2019 and 2021, according to the new Kids Count Data Book. (Adobe Stock)
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A new annual report finds Louisiana has stagnated on measures to improve children's well-being. The Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey …

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A 2021 Empower Mississippi report reveals the state earns an "F" for its public defense policies. Overall, Mississippi received a "D" in grading justice. (Negro Elkha/Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
By Caleb Bedillion for The Marshall Project.Broadcast version by Danielle Smith for Mississippi News Connection reporting for the Marshall Project-Pub…

A report from AARP found expanding the use of innovative, effective models for nursing homes can improve both quality of care and quality of life, such as with smaller facilities and private rooms. (Rawf8/Adobe Stock)
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A new report finds Mississippi could be doing a lot more to better serve the people in the state who need long-term care. AARP's Long-Term Care …

Volunteers for Big House Books distributed 557 packages containing more than 1,671 books to Mississippi correctional facilities in September and October. (Lightfield Studios/Adobe Stock)
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A Mississippi-based organization is providing free books to incarcerated individuals to promote literacy and pave the way for prison reform. Prison …

More than 2,000 patients with intellectual or developmental disabilities have received dental care in group home day center settings across North Carolina, according to Access Dental. (Adobe Stock)
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Friday, December 8, 2023
Most people probably never give a second thought to their visits to the dentist, but not everyone can navigate this process with ease. People with …

According to data by SCORE, 75% of small business owners donate an average of 6% of their profits to charitable organizations each year. (Adobe Stock)
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Small Business Saturday has come and gone and the North Carolina Sustainable Business Council urged people to keep "shopping local" this season…

The Farm Credit System is cumulatively the largest lender to the agricultural sector, making about 45% of all agricultural loans, with $350 billion in assets. (Adobe Stock)
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A new report is calling for greater accountability in the system providing funding to farmers in underserved communities. The research takes a dive …

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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According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the Y12 complex has about 4,500 employees and another 2,000 contractors. (Enzo/Adobe Stock)
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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
A Knoxville-based environmental group is voicing health and safety concerns about the development of a landfill for radioactive waste from the Y12 Ura…

Determining SNAP eligibility involves considering such factors as residency, age, relationship, citizenship, Social Security number assignment, employment, resources, income and relevant deductions. (Mikhailov Studio/Adobe Stock)
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With the next Farm Bill stalled in Congress and rising food insecurity in Tennessee, advocacy groups say there's a pressing need to address a hurdle …

The latest KFF survey reveals one in six respondents say they can't afford to take time off work to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including more than one-third of Hispanic adults and one-in-five Black adults. (Lakshmiprasad/Adobe Stock)
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A new survey found 59% of Black and Hispanic adults reported they have already received the new COVID-19 vaccine or intend to do so. According to …

Along with flooding, Virginia is experiencing sea level rise. Between 1950 and 2023, the state has seen a 14-inch rise in sea level rise, putting 45,000 homes at risk of tidal flooding. (Adobe Stock)
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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
A recent report found wetlands forming on surface mines in Virginia can benefit the state. The wetlands form because surface mining flattens land…

Virginia's Department of Energy is one of nine state and tribal programs to receive funds from Congress for repurposing abandoned mine lands. It was first authorized in 2016, and the state received $10 million in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. (Adobe Stock)
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A Virginia group is working out ways to reforest former mines across Appalachia. The state has several hundred thousand acres of mine land, which …

Based on current environmental impacts, residents of Petersburg have a life expectancy 10 years lower than the national average, according to U.S. News & World Report. (Adobe Stock)
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a plan extending a natural-gas pipeline in Virginia. The Virginia Reliability Plan and Transcot's …

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than 400,000 people nationwide received methadone as part of their addiction treatment in 2019. (Adobe Stock)
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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Senate lawmakers are soon expected to vote on the Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act, legislation introduced this year by Republican Sen…

According to the group West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare, around 30% of  West Virginia residents have medical debt in collections. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Since West Virginia's Medicaid eligibility review began this spring, around 100,000 residents have been kicked off the rolls. Experts have said many …

In the second quarter of 2022, nationwide residential solar set its fifth consecutive quarterly growth record, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. (Adobe Stock)<br />
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Major utilities in West Virginia, Mon Power and Potomac Edison, want to reduce the credit their solar customers get for producing power the utilities …

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