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Daily Audio Newscast - July 1, 2024

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News from around the nation.

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Mail carriers celebrated on National Postal Workers Day; Beryl becomes 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 hurricane expected to bring life-threatening conditions to the Caribbean; Massachusetts boosts funding for 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline services; Nevada June primary shows high preference for mail ballots.


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The Public News Service Daily Newscast, July the 1st, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

Today is National Postal Workers Day, a celebration of the job they do to deliver the mail.

More from Eric Tegethoff.

Postal workers provide a vital service, especially during big election years like 2024 and in states like Oregon, where elections are conducted completely by mail.

Daniel Cortez is the Oregon Legislative and Political Director for the American Postal Workers Union.

Whether it be America's election mail or letters from grandparents, care packages to our service members overseas, vital prescriptions for our seniors and veterans, it's important to remember that all of that happens because of the dedication of the postal workers, day in and day out.

The United States Postal Service began with Benjamin Franklin on July 26th, 1775.

We should note the Postal Service is currently experiencing a shakeup with the Trump-appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, implementing his so-called 10-year Delivering for America plan.

DeJoy has remained in office under President Biden because only the Postal Board of Governors can oust him.

Meantime, Hurricane Beryl has become an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm as it inches closer to the Windward Islands, bringing life-threatening winds and storm surge to the Caribbean.

That from NBC News.

Their report, Beryl expanded its strength for two days, reaching Category 4 strength on a scale of five on Sunday, packing sustained winds of 130 miles an hour, the storm likely to be a destructive force through the early week, aiming for a possible clash with Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

The National Weather Service reports the U.S. Hurricane Warning is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, Grenada, and Tobago, where hurricane conditions are possible early today.

Next to Massachusetts, where community groups are cheering continued funding to support the state's 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Public health officials have announced more than $8 million in grants to better support those experiencing emotional distress or suicidal thoughts.

Nearly 7,000 calls were routed through the state in May alone.

Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Program Director Danielle Bulldock says the hotline offers free confidential support at any time of day.

We really encourage folks to reach out, maybe even before they're in a crisis state, so we can do some preventative work and get folks support.

Bulldock says dedicated support is available for veterans, LGBTQ+ youths, and young adults.

She says the state is ensuring staffing is in place ahead of a larger 988 public awareness campaign planned for later this summer.

Nearly two years since the hotline's activation, a new report offers a roadmap for states to better support 988 services, and especially free up law enforcement resources.

Several cities in Massachusetts, including Springfield and Worcester, have established mobile response units to help those experiencing a mental health emergency rather than police.

I'm Catherine Carley reporting.

This is Public News Service.

Voting rights advocates say turnout for the Nevada June primary election was low overall, but those who did vote did so mostly by mail.

Just over 383,000 voters participated with 65 percent voting by mail.

Priscilla Gomez with Silver State Voices says it's worth noting that despite Nevada's most populous counties, Clark and Washoe, seeing 63 and 70 percent voter turnout by mail respectively.

Other more rural counties like Douglas have seen a substantial increase.

We noticed that in 2022, vote by mail in Douglas County had the highest, and they remained the highest for 2024, which was 79 percent in Douglas.

So it's interesting to see that that county is continuously increasing.

Gomez contends Nevadans have become more familiar with the vote by mail system.

The state first transitioned to universal mail ballots in 2020 as a response to the pandemic, a change that was later made permanent in 2021.

I'm Alex Gonzalez reporting.

Data show about 17 percent of those who voted in the Nevada primary did so in person during early voting.

Close to 18 percent showed up on election day.

Meantime, Philadelphia addressing its opioid crisis by deploying mobile medical units to provide Medicaid funded street medicine to the unhoused population.

More from our Daniel Smith.

This initiative was made possible by the recent Pennsylvania policy change allowing the city to build Medicaid for outreach site medicine.

Mara St. Ledger from Project Home says the opioid epidemic has significantly increased homelessness in Philadelphia, and its mobile unit aims to offer both essential care and dignity to unhoused people.

We are the only team that we know of who is we're providing primary care.

So there are a lot of people that will go out with vans who will do point of care testing for HIV, for example.

There's another van that just does wound care, but we do all of that.

Using city data to identify overdose hotspots, the team deploys its mobile unit to provide crucial resources to the hardest hit communities.

Finally, from Kathleen Shannon, July is one of the busiest months for national parks, and wildlife advocates have tips for reducing conflicts with animals.

Jamie Anderson with Defenders of Wildlife says visitors should consider wildlife with respect, but some are thinking otherwise.

And they approach these animals as if they're at a zoo, but these are not zoos.

These animals are very wild, and we need to keep them wild.

And part of that is having that respect, recognizing that we're there in their habitat, in their homes.

Park staffers recommend staying at least 100 yards from bears and wolves, and 25 yards from all other wildlife.

This is Mike Clifford, and thank you for starting your week with Public News Service.

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