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PNS Daily Newscast - April 5, 2018
Thursday April 5, 2018 PNS Daily Newscast - April 5, 2018
The Trump administration tries to quell fears of a trade war, but Iowa farmers remain worried. Also on the rundown: Florida goes to court over restoring ex-felons' rights to vote; John Bolton heads to the White House, but will his super PAC’s activities haunt him? And a look at how the GOP tax plan clouds the future of historic renovations.
Environmental News Roundup
Study Finds One in Three U.S. Species at Risk of Extinction
The Bobwhite Quail is one of 377 species in Arkansas which, due to habitat loss, are at risk of becoming extinct. (Pixabay)
April 3, 2018
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A new report warns that as many as one-third of wildlife species in America are in crisis but with funding, their recovery is possible.
The report, released jointly by the National Wildlife Federation, the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society, finds that more than 150 U.S. species have already gone extinct and 500 additional species have not been seen in decades and could be extinct.
Bruce Stein, chief scientist and associate vice president of the National Wildlife Federation says while there are other causes, loss of habitat is the main reason many species across America are disappearing.
"Wildlife need habitat in order to survive," he notes. "As we have converted much of the natural habitat across America to other uses, that sort of put a squeeze on many of the species, particularly those that require very specialized habitats."
The groups are backing the Recovering America's Wildlife Act, a bipartisan measure pending in Congress that would dedicate $1.3 billion a year to fund state Wildlife Action Plans. Under the legislation, the Arkansas Wildlife Plan would receive about $9 million a year toward the conservation needs of 377 species and their habitats.
Trey Buckner, president of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation says restoring the depleted habitat of a single species can set off a chain of improvements for other wildlife species.
"It's what they are doing for the Monarch Conservation Coalition, and what they're doing with the Quail Initiative," he says. "On the game and fish end, if we could get the quail back restored and the Monarch conservation implanted and keep going, that's going to pick up some of the birds, some of the salamander species and some of the other species."
Stein says the effects of climate change pose a major threat to habitat and wildlife.
"There are many different cascading effects that increasing temperatures and changes in rainfall and precipitation are having on many species across the country and we're beginning to see species responding and declining as a result," Stein explains.
Funding for the Recovering America's Wildlife Act would come from an existing tax on energy and resource industries for the right to develop on federal lands.
Mark Richardson/Shaine Smith, Public News Service - AR
Health and Wellness News Roundup
Health Advocates: Make April 'Move More Month'
Children can lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle by being active early in life. (Curriculum_Photografia/Pixabay)
April 4, 2018
FARGO, N.D. - Health advocates are encouraging North Dakotans to move more this month.
The American Heart Association is touting the benefits of exercise during Move More Month - a message that is especially important considering that fewer than half of North Dakotans are reaching the recommended amount of physical activity. At a minimum, people should get in 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.
Cheryl Stetz, a community health educator with Fargo Cass Public Health, said it's important for young children to lay the foundation for being active because they can carry that habit with them the rest of their lives. She encouraged activity at child-care facilities.
"What we strive for is to have that provider leading the children in that active play and encouraging them all to be physically active," she said. "We want them to be running, jumping, skipping, hopping, anything that's going to get their heart rate up - but is fun as well."
Children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are five times more likely to stay that way as adults. That puts them at increased risk for chronic ailments such as heart disease, stroke and some cancers. About two in three adults and one in three children nationwide are overweight or obese.
Stetz said the benefits of active play for children extend beyond a positive body image and healthy weight.
"If you can get kids physically active before a lesson plan, that helps them be able to sit down and concentrate better on that lesson that you're teaching," she said. "It also shows that kids eat better, they sleep better, and they also improve their social-emotional skills with other children as well."
The AHA has proposed that North Dakota clarify minimum standards for physical activity within the state's child-care licensing administrative rules so that kids get a stronger start when it comes to being active.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND
Social Issues News Roundup
Grant Program Open to Help Communities Become Age-Friendly
Last year, a Community Challenge grant funded a Seattle hackathon to develop an app aimed at making the city more livable for aging residents. (Seattle.gov)
April 5, 2018
SEATTLE – A grant program is looking for project submissions to help make cities and towns in Washington state and nationwide friendlier to people of all ages and can be developed quickly.
AARP is back for a second year with the Community Challenge grant program. Last year, nearly 90 projects were funded, including a Renton proposal that turned parking spots into mini-public spaces and a Seattle "hackathon" where participants developed apps to help aging residents.
Executive vice-president of AARP Nancy LeaMond sees the program as a laboratory for ideas that might eventually spread to other towns.
"When we meet with mayors of towns and cities, one thing they always say is they love to be the second to do something, which means they love to steal ideas and adapt them to their own locales," says LeaMond.
LeaMond is in Seattle Thursday, hosting a "Pecha Kucha" - a fast-paced presentation-style developed in Tokyo. It will focus on age-friendly communities. The Pecha Kucha begins at 6 p.m. at the Seattle Central Library.
This year, AARP is focusing on three areas for community grants: accessible transportation, vibrant public spaces and affordable housing, although LeaMond adds that ideas can tackle any issue in a city or town. She says the grant program provides an opportunity to break down bigger issues communities are facing.
"I think people tend to kind of think, 'Oh, this is too big to be tackled. It's going to require too big an investment,'” she says. “What we're seeing is that cities are able to identify smaller steps to take to build to these broader goals."
Last year, the organization allotted $780,000 in grants. The deadline for applications is May 16 and all projects must be completed by November 5.
It's open to nonprofits and government entities, although other organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA