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Daily Audio Newscast - June 11, 2024

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News from around the nation.

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Louisiana kids rank near the bottom of states for poverty, health, family life; Jury in Hunter Biden gun trial begins deliberations; Kentucky to use $12M to boost internet access in underserved communities; Texas students with disabilities gain workforce training through summer internships.


The Public News Service Daily Newscast for June the 11th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

A report on the condition of America's children ranks Louisiana near the bottom of the 50 states for economic well-being, health and family.

But advocates there say the numbers contain some bright spots.

The annual Kids Count report found that Louisiana fourth graders made gains in reading proficiency and in high school, more students graduated on time.

Teresa Fogu is director of data and research for New Orleans based Agenda for Children.

She says how children do in school is often affected by their home environment.

Child poverty is a big predictor of outcomes for children.

When they don't have their basic needs met, children are more likely to experience negative health outcomes to do worse in school.

And all of the other things that we know can really harm children's outcomes in life.

Report ranks Louisiana 48th overall with ratings of 42nd in education, 49th in economic well-being, 49th in health and 48th in family and community.

N.E.Casey Foundation study did find that fewer Louisiana kids are living in poverty and fewer children are living in single parent homes.

Mark Richardson reporting.

The report is published annually by the N.E.Casey Foundation.

Rankings are based on 16 indicators in four areas, economic well-being, education, health and community and family.

And a jury will return to court today to consider whether to convict President Biden's son, Hunter, of federal gun charges in a closely watched case.

That for The Washington Post.

They report the 12 jurors began deliberating Monday afternoon following closing arguments by prosecutors and defense lawyers at a trial that focused in searing detail on Hunter Biden's years long struggle with drug addiction.

The Post quotes Assistant Special Counsel Leo Weiss as saying the evidence was personal, it was ugly and it was overwhelming.

Prosecutors charged Hunter Biden with three felony counts related to a gun he purchased in October 2018.

Next to Kentucky, where the state is ready to spend $12 million over the next three years to boost Internet access in communities across the state.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration approved the state's digital equity plan earlier this year, unlocking more federal dollars to help address broadband barriers.

Beth Brinley, with the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet, says the plan will help ensure residents have the technology skills needed to improve economic opportunity and quality of life.

We want to make sure that all of those populations are empowered to fully participate in Kentucky's economy and to develop meaningful relationships through civic engagement and other activities.

She says more than 500 local partners, including libraries and advocacy groups, will participate in the digital equity initiative.

Nadia Ramlagan reporting.

This is Public News Service.

Teens and young adults in Texas who have disabilities have an opportunity to get a paid internship this summer.

The Texas Workforce Commission Summer Earn and Learn, or SEAL program, works with students between the ages of 14 and 22.

The students are placed with large and small businesses to earn a paycheck and learn valuable work experience.

Texas Workforce Commissioner Joe Esparza says all 28 workforce development boards across the state participate in recruiting students and employers.

The employers are obviously benefiting because they're investing in their communities and they get somebody who's motivated to work.

So I think having that opportunity gives these students a chance to interact with customers, to learn IT systems, to just engage in something that they're very interested in.

He says more than 14,000 students have been placed in internships since the program started in 2017.

Students and employers interested in participating should contact their local Texas Workforce Solutions office.

I'm Freda Ross reporting.

Now more from the Kids Count report that finds the pandemic's aftermath dragged down Connecticut's kids' well-being.

The state ranks eighth in the Annie E. Casey Kids Count data book, up from ninth last year.

While the state advanced kids' economic well-being, progress stagnated in education.

Fourth graders not proficient in reading and eighth graders not proficient in math grew exponentially.

Emily Byrne with Connecticut Voices for Children says the report's recommendations can improve children's academic performance.

Ensuring access to low or no cost school meals, reliable internet connections and a place to study and time to be with friends, teachers and counselors.

Another recommendation is around expanding access to intensive tutoring for students who are behind in their classes.

I'm Edwin J. Vieira.

Finally, our Eric Galatas lets us know to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2040, a move seen as critical for averting the worst impacts of climate change, Colorado must generate five times more solar power and triple its wind capacity.

To address the scale of these challenges, state lawmakers recently passed Senate Bill 24-212.

Chris Menges with the Nature Conservancy in Colorado says the new law will give tribal and municipal governments the resources they need to site new clean energy projects and power lines to get that electricity to homes and businesses.

This is a great step toward the clean energy future in Colorado that's responsive to community needs and conservation priorities while we build the infrastructure that is necessary to meet the state's clean energy goals.

SB 24-212 aims to put Colorado communities in control of decisions that will impact local residents, including wildlife and surrounding landscapes.

This is Mike Clifford for Public News Service.

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