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Daily Audio Newscast - July 2, 2024 Afternoon Update

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News from around the nation.

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One million acres of forest protected under The Conservation Fund, including in Oregon; Trump seeks to set aside his New York hush money guilty verdict after Supreme Court immunity ruling; 'Share the Pennies' weatherization program tackles climate solutions, reduces cost; Utah feels the impact of California's ban on gestation crates.


The Public News Service Tuesday afternoon update.

I'm Mike Clifford.

The Conservation Fund, which works to protect land and nature across the U.S., has announced it has protected more than a million acres of working forests across the country.

Eric Tegethoff gives us perspective from Oregon.

The organization's milestone comes as forests are rapidly disappearing, as much as 13 million acres in the next few decades.

The Conservation Fund's Brian Dangler says valuable work continues on the protected land, which adds to the nearby economy.

The beauty of these projects is that the receipts from the timber sustainable management of forests, timber harvest, really helps local folks to keep the schools going, the fire department, the local services.

Next from the Associated Press, former President Donald Trump's lawyers have asked the New York judge who presided over his hush money trial to set aside his conviction and delay his sentencing scheduled for next week.

The letter to Judge Juan Merchant cited the U.S.

Supreme Court ruling on Monday of presidential immunity.

They report that the lawyers argue that the Supreme Court decision confirmed a position that the defense raised earlier in the case that prosecutors should have been precluded from introducing some evidence.

They said constituted official presidential acts, according to the letter.

And as summer heats up, a Memphis utility program, Share the Pennies, helps low-income homeowners make their houses more comfortable.

Daniel Smith has more in this Tennessee Lookout Solutions Journalism Network, Tennessee News Connection collaboration.

The program offers weatherization improvements such as attic installation and window replacements and other energy-saving repairs.

Margie Borum-Smith with Memphis Light, Gas and Water says that previously requiring enrollment, the program still boosts an 87 percent participation rate.

To receive services, residents apply through the Metropolitan Interfaith Association during open enrollment in January.

She adds the program is a cost-effective way to improve homes and save on energy costs.

"There is an education process with each and every customer that we go to the home so that we show them how to be more energy efficient, which in return, we would hope that that would help them to reduce their utility consumption.

In other words, their utility bills."

This story produced with original reporting from Ashley Blow for Tennessee Lookout.

And farm advocates claim price gouging on meat and poultry in California is spreading across the country, including to Utah's pork industry.

The Ag Group Farm Action issued a report that says in addition to blaming the California law, corporate meat producers also continue to use supply chain disruptions as an excuse for price gouging.

Farm Action's Joe Maxwell offers as evidence a 20 percent hike in California pork prices.

"And one thing we want to be very clear on is that the consumer knows it's not the farmer.

The farmer's getting squeezed just as much as is the consumer."

This is Public News Service.

Next to Indiana, where a new report gives high marks for its rollout of a 988 mental health hotline.

But our Julie LaRue reports it also highlights that all states need to do more to support and reach people in every community.

The research by the nonprofit Inseparable evaluates state progress in implementing the National 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and shows Indiana continues to lead the nation in crisis response.

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Dan Resenayak says most Hoosiers who reach out for help are finding it.

"Since we launched 988 last July, we have seen tremendous benefits already.

Indiana routinely is in the top five states for our in-state answer rate for 988, and we have been over 90 percent." 988 launched nationwide in 2022 and sunsetted the Be Well Crisis Helpline, or 2-1-1.

While 10 states have implemented cell phone surcharges to fund the helpline, Indiana has not, relying instead on a combination of federal and state funds.

"If you are in a crisis or know someone who is, call or text the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988."

As summer kicks into full gear, North Carolina dentists stress the importance of maintaining kids' dental health.

Dr. Miranda Kolaski with the North Carolina Dental Society says with more outdoor activities and changing routines, dental care can often be neglected, leading to cavities and dental trauma.

Her advice is that parents keep up with preventative care and encourage healthier eating habits.

"Try to pick a healthy summer snack.

That can be fruit, that can be vegetables, just not something dry, not something processed.

And the more processed you have, the more dried it is, the more likely it is to fix their teeth."

She says it's that left-behind food that can cause cavities.

Shantia Hudson reporting.

"Experts say kids should be seen by a dentist when they get their first tooth and then every six months after that."

Finally, Mike Moen lets us know new polling shows that most Americans still favor non-fossil fuel energy sources, but support for certain renewables is not quite as strong these days.

The Pew Research Center is out with a new public opinion report on energy choices. 63 percent of those surveyed support the U.S. taking steps to become carbon neutral by 2050.

But support for expanding wind and solar development has gone down from well past 80 percent to around 75 percent.

Dr. Kieran Gallagher of the group Clean Wisconsin feels it's important to remind residents that climate change is happening at their doorstep.

"We can point to the drought that affected our farmers last summer and then in stark comparison the intense rain and flooding events we've been experiencing this spring and summer."

This is Mike Clifford for Public News Service, a member and list of supporters.

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