PROMO 64J1 Miscellaneous - United States US Map News Newspaper National Microphone Recap - iStock - Bet_Noire

Daily Audio Newscast - June 12, 2024

© iStock - Bet_Noire

News from around the nation.

Audio file

New Hampshire leads in child well-being, but chronic absentee rates lower test scores; Judge blocks Florida's transgender youth care ban for minors; Groups challenge proposed refinery near Columbia River; Iowa Hunger Coalition pushes back on SNAP cuts in Farm Bill.


(upbeat music)

The Public News Service Daily Newscast June the 12th, 2024, I'm Mike Clifford.

First to New Hampshire, a state that ranks first in the nation for overall child wellbeing, but trauma and pandemic-related learning loss continue to impact students.

That's according to a new report.

The latest Kids Count data book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation gives the Granite State high marks for health and economic wellbeing, but more than one in three children have suffered an adverse experience, like witnessing domestic violence or parents serving time in jail.

Rebecca Voitkowski with the nonprofit New Futures says even unstable housing reveals itself in students' academic performance.

There are trends that we need to be directing our communities and lawmakers to be aware of and continue to redirect resources to ensure that children have what they need in New Hampshire.

Voitkowski says the state has more than $300 million in unspent federal pandemic funding, which could provide greater access to lower no-cost meals, in-person tutoring, and mental health services.

I'm Katherine Carley reporting.

Research shows that students who don't advance beyond lower levels of math may be 50 percent more likely to be unemployed after high school.

And a federal judge has called Florida policies restricting gender-affirming care for minors and adults unconstitutional, blocking the state's policies from being enforced.

That from NBC News.

They quote the judge Robert L. Hinkle as saying, "Transgender opponents are, of course, "free to hold their beliefs, "but they are not free to discriminate "against transgender individuals "just for being transgender."

That in a 105-page decision.

Hinkle wrote that bans on puberty blockers and hormone therapy for minors, even when they're medically appropriate, is unconstitutional.

Next, a lawsuit is challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision not to acquire a permit for the construction of a new refinery on the Columbia River.

Our Eric Tegethoff explains.

Next Renewable Fuels has proposed a refinery for renewable diesel in a rail yard in Port Westward, near Klatskany, Oregon.

Columbia Riverkeeper's staff attorney, Audrey Leonard, says the construction could threaten levy infrastructure and low-lying farmland nearby.

The reason that a permit would be required is to just ensure that all that activity doesn't degrade or harm the infrastructure.

The road could impact levy infrastructure built in 1915 to protect more than 5,700 acres of farmland.

Leonard notes that Next has said it will need to conduct studies to determine how much weight the road and levy can withstand.

The Army Corps claims the project will have no impact on the levy.

In their legal complaint, Columbia Riverkeeper and 1,000 Friends of Oregon say the project will destroy 120 acres of wetlands and store more than a million barrels of diesel and aviation fuel near the Columbia River.

This is Public News Service.

One version of the farm bill being debated in the Congress would cut billions of dollars in SNAP benefits from agriculture-dependent states, including Iowa.

Groups fighting hunger in the state are pushing back.

The version of the farm bill released by House Agriculture Committee Chair, Glenn Thompson, would cut nearly $30 billion in SNAP benefits, over the next decade, 170 million in Iowa, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Iowa Hunger Coalition Board Chair, Luke Elzinga, says, based on those projections, the cuts would have a big impact on the most vulnerable people in the state.

I think that's especially concerning because right now we have food banks and food pantries across the state that are facing record-breaking demand.

The so-called Thrifty Food Plan, which creates funding formulas for SNAP and other food assistance programs, would also freeze future benefits.

Thompson and others have argued this version of the farm bill amounts to responsible budgeting and future planning.

I'm Mark Moran.

The coalition provided numbers showing that SNAP benefits are already not enough to keep up with providing the lowest-cost meals in the state and coming in about 20 percent below what it takes to make ends meet at the dinner table.

Meantime, Colorado lost ground, dropping from 15 to 17 overall in this year's Kids Count Data Book published by the N.E. Casey Foundation.

Madeline Ashore with the Colorado Children's Campaign says before the pandemic, just 16 percent of Colorado students were chronically absent from school, but that rate jumped to 30 percent by 2022.

She says that's a lot different from Ferris Bueller days when two absences meant a visit to the principal's office.

They're missing 10 percent or more of the academic school year.

Missing that amount of school has really serious long-term effects on learning, especially in the younger grades.

I'm Eric Galatas.

Finally, Faris Hadeki lets us know federal student loan interest rates have surged to their highest levels in over a decade, posing another challenge to students and families navigating paying for college.

We get this perspective from Missouri.

The delays in the FAFSA application process are adding to the stress, leaving parents and students scrambling to find the best way to cover the rising costs of college.

According to Brian Walsh at the personal finance company, SoFi, it's essential for Missourians to make informed decisions about their loans and overall financial planning for higher ed.

The most important thing is to review your financial aid package, build out a budget to figure out exactly what you're gonna be spending across all different areas and know where to cut, and then really weigh all your different options before deciding school.

One important decision is whether to take out loans in a parent's name or in the student's name with the parent co-signing.

This is Mike Clifford for Public News Service, member and listener supported.

Hear us on radio stations big and small, your favorite podcast platform. Find our trust indicators at