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Daily Audio Newscast - June 7, 2024

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News from around the nation.

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Salt Marsh Initiative aims to protect South Carolina Lowcountry from storm surges; Biden mixes D-Day commemoration with warnings about democracy's vulnerability; Environmental groups want say in Critical Mineral Agreements; Connecticut church hosts STEM advocacy talks for Hispanic students.


The Public News Service Daily Newscast for June the 7th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

With hurricanes now underway, South Carolina's 344,000 acres of salt marshes are the first line of defense for the state's low country against storm surge, but only if they stay healthy.

As climate change drives Atlantic storms to higher frequency and intensity, environmental scientists have developed plans to protect the salt marshes.

Greta Jessen with the South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative says it's crucial to protect the state's coastal wetlands.

Salt marshes help reduce the impact of flooding because they can absorb some of that excess water that's coming up into our infrastructure.

They can hold in and kind of contain that water, and that's a really important impact to our communities and way of life as well.

Jessen said the marshes not only protect the low country from flooding and erosion, but also provide a rich habitat for plants and animals.

Scientists and government agencies have the South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative plan to protect the region's salt marsh ecosystem.

Mark Richardson reporting.

Meantime, for the most part, Joe Biden's address marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day sounded like a familiar ode to a historic war victory.

But tucked into the speech was a warning to Americans.

That from NBC News.

They report Biden name checked the World War II veterans who sat behind him on stage in wheelchairs, blankets draped over their laps.

NBC notes he pivoted to a plea to those who will decide in a few months whether he remains in power.

Biden's message was democracy is a fragile thing.

And all these years later, the battle for its survival is still in doubt.

And a group of environmental and civil society organizations is fighting for better working conditions for people in countries that supply critical minerals to the US.

Nickel, cobalt, lithium and other minerals are mined and shipped to the US for use in manufacturing electric vehicles, long storage batteries, microchips and solar panels.

Clayton Tucker is with the nonprofit Trade Justice Education Fund and says conditions in countries where the minerals are mined do not meet US standards.

Mining cobalt, there's artisan mines and child slavery is very, very commonly used.

With nickel and Indonesia, the mine that you basically have to raise entire parts of the jungle and raise basically entire indigenous communities.

Almost 219,000 electric vehicles are registered in the state of Texas, and the Department of Transportation is working on infrastructure to increase the number of charging stations across the state.

Several nonprofits in Texas recently received federal grant funding to install solar panels in low income neighborhoods, increasing the number of households using the clean energy.

I'm Frida Ross reporting.

This is Public News Service.

We head next to Connecticut, where a church is hosting a discussion this weekend to encourage Hispanic students to work in STEM fields.

The talk is part of Hispanic Access Foundation's Pathways to Science program, a five year mission to build up the next generation of Hispanic STEM professionals.

Research shows people who identify as Latino or Hispanic comprise 8 percent of all STEM workers, while accounting for 17 percent of the total workforce.

Benji Saprice with Church of the City says seeing representation in these career fields helps break barriers.

Maybe one of the largest barriers is when our students don't see representatives of themselves in careers like this.

They might be less inclined to go after these careers.

Or a different lens, students don't know the pathway or don't have the support system.

I'm Edwin J. Vieira.

Meantime, the Affordable Care Act, in place for nearly 15 years now, has survived repeal attempts, but there is renewed talk of reducing its funding.

Later this year, Congress will have to agree on a new federal budget, and the Republican Study Committee proposes cuts to certain social programs, including the ACA.

Chris Ostenzo owns an optometry clinic with her husband in northern Wisconsin, and says at first, premiums under the ACA were expensive.

But recent caps ushered in through temporary tax credits have given her a lot more wiggle room.

When I realized I was going to be saving $1,000 a month on my health care premium, I basically just had the freedom to raise all my employees' salaries.

But temporary caps only run through 2025, prompting separate calls for extensions.

As for the current budget debate, Ostenzo worries people would lose coverage if the ACA sees cuts, resulting in skipped doctor's visits, worsening health outcomes.

I'm Mike Moen.

Finally, Crystal Blair lets us know in Michigan, 22 percent of people are enrolled in Medicare for their health coverage, and scams are on the rise.

Nationally, Medicare loses about $60 billion a year to a combination of fraud, errors, and abuse.

To combat these issues, this is Medicare Fraud Prevention Week.

Senior organizations in Michigan and across the country are using media and mailers to raise awareness.

Sherry Smith, a Medicare program manager with Ageways, formerly an area agency on aging, says if anyone calls and says they're from Medicare, it's a scam because Medicare doesn't call people.

They'll call and they'll say, "I'm from Medicare and we're calling to confirm your number.

Is it 12345, for example?"

And you're taken by surprise and go, "Oh no, it's 678910."

Says if someone calls saying they're from Medicare, hang up immediately.

This is Mike Clifford for Public News Service.

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