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Daily Audio Newscast - July 8, 2024

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News from around the nation.

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Clean-water advocates head back to court over Colorado factory farms; Tropical Storm Beryl expected to make landfall in Texas as a hurricane; 'Drive-thru' blood network addresses critical shortage in rural Montana; Kentucky to provide health coverage for people leaving incarceration.


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The Public News Service Dela Newscast, July the 8th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

Clean water advocates are heading to State District Court after Colorado regulators turned their back on a judge's decision last year, calling for better oversight of factory farm waste.

As Tyler Lobdell with Food and Water Watch explains, human sewage goes through water treatment plants or septic systems, but he says operations where thousands of cattle are confined in concentrated spaces have been dumping millions of tons of untreated manure onto nearby fields.

It inevitably overwhelms the landscape and overwhelms watersheds such that this pollution has nowhere to go but into our drinking water and into our lakes, rivers, and streams.

Last year's ruling found that Colorado was in violation of state and federal law because the state's general permit did not require monitoring of water quality near factory farms.

But the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment dismissed the ruling, arguing that because there was no evidence of leaks, there was no need to monitor.

Industry groups also claim current regulations are tougher than in other states.

I'm Eric Galatas.

Excess nitrogen and phosphorus from manure can also produce toxic blooms and waterways that can kill people, pets, and livestock.

Next, from NBC News, tropical storm Beryl expected to make landfall on the Texas coast as a category one hurricane early today, accompanied by a life-threatening storm surge and damaging winds.

US forecasters said the storm, which was a category four hurricane when it devastated parts of the Caribbean, had weakened to a category two by the time it made landfall Friday on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

NBC notes the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi said the cyclone was likely to be a strong category one hurricane when it reaches landfall today in Texas.

Meantime, doctors in the state health department are using a novel approach to address a critical blood shortage in rural Montana.

We get the details in this KFF Health News, Big Sky Connection collaboration.

It started by chance in 2019 when a patient was taken by ambulance from tiny lame deer two and a half hours to Billings and had to stop for blood at rural hospitals along the way.

According to reporting from KFF Health News, Montana State Trauma System Manager, Alyssa Johnson, says health leaders thought, why not formalize this and make it the norm?

That was really what started this idea of, well, what if you could just pick up blood and keep going and keep moving forward?

If there's a patient at point A and they're going to point C, they're gonna stop by a hospital, which is point B.

Johnson says as soon as an ambulance passes through a small town and gets an emergency supply of blood, that rural hospital works with the state to start replacing it.

I'm Mark Moran.

This is Public News Service.

Next to Kentucky, one of a handful of states recently approved to provide health insurance coverage to soon to be released incarcerated individuals.

The new rules allow Kentucky to provide Medicaid and CHIP coverage up to 90 days before re-entry into society.

John Bowman with the national nonprofit says the move will help people re-entering society avoid gaps in coverage and reduce barriers to treatment for chronic diseases and substance use disorders.

Getting these resources in place before they leave incarceration is gonna be a game changer.

Hopefully we can get to the point where we get it in our county jails as well, instead of just our prisons.

Right now, our county jails are excluded.

Nadia Ramlagon reporting.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, all federal prisons in at least 40 states charge incarcerated people on the average a copay of around $2 when seeking medical care.

And supporters of a new state-sponsored retirement savings program in Maine are celebrating a significant milestone.

More than six months after the launch of the Maine Retirement Investment Trust, or MERIT, enrolled employees have saved more than $1 million.

Alf Anderson with AARP Maine says the program was created to help the roughly 200,000 private sector workers without access to a retirement plan at their job.

You know, one of the most important things for people as they plan for retirement is having that financial security to be able to do the things they wanna do when they do get to that point in their lives.

And so that milestone was really exciting for us to see.

Anderson says businesses with at least five employees can register with MERIT to help set up savings for workers who would otherwise seek out an independent financial planner.

More than 1,500 employers have already signed on.

I'm Catherine Carley reporting.

Surveys show more than half of Americans are concerned they won't be able to achieve financial security in their retirement.

Finally, from the newest member of our PNS News team, Mason Kennedy reports members of the Service Employees International Union start this week in the Portland area with new contracts for their work.

SEIU Local 49 members work as security officers and janitorial staff for some of the biggest employers in the Pacific Northwest.

The Portland team bargained for about a month and gained wage increases, additional paid leave, and health and safety improvements.

Renato Quintero, a janitor at Intel, says they had to work hard to make these changes, but he thinks the effort was worthwhile.

Those things are really good for our work and for our family too, you know, they've been able to have more money and also starting to enjoy our family life.

The new contracts will affect nearly 2,000 workers in the Portland metro area.

This is Mike Clifford for Public News Service.

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