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Daily Audio Newscast - April 23, 2024

News from around the nation.

Audio file

Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in New York trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.


The Public News Service DOA newscast April the 23rd, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

Conservation groups are rejoicing over the decision Friday by the Biden administration to reject a proposed mining road in Alaska.

The 211-mile Ambler Road would have sliced through the gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, severing the migration route for a western Arctic caribou herd.

Alex Johnson, with the National Parks Conservation Association, says it was important for the feds to take a stand in Alaska so mining interests don't start eyeing other national parks.

This is a very expensive, destructive, and just highly speculative project that does not in any way support our clean energy goals as a country and ultimately would permanently threaten the health and well-being of local communities and the tribes.

I'm Suzanne Potter.

The road was seen as a negative for tourism to the Brooks Range area.

That's according to the Alaska Travel Industry Association.

Next, from CNN, prosecutors and Trump attorneys delivered opening statements and the first witness, a former National Inquirer publisher, was called Monday in the historic and unprecedented criminal trial of a former president.

CNN reports each side got their first chance to lay out their theory of the case.

Prosecutors told jurors that the reimbursement of hush money was part of a larger conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

The former president's attorneys responded, telling the jury that Trump was innocent and not involved in the creation of the 34 business records he's charged with falsifying.

And a case before the U.S. Supreme Court could have implications for the country's growing labor movement.

More from Eric Kanoff.

Justices will hear oral arguments in Starbucks versus McKinney today to determine if the bar should be raised for the National Labor Relations Board when it seeks to impose court-ordered injunctions on companies.

David Groves with the Washington State Labor Council says the Supreme Court could further undermine the power of the NLRB, the independent federal agency that protects employees' rights.

We already have weak labor laws in this country that have such minor penalties for breaking union organizing laws that companies routinely do it and this is another opportunity for them to weaken labor laws even further.

The case involves Starbucks firing of seven employees in Memphis during their union campaign in 2021.

The coffee company says it rehired the workers and denies wrongdoing.

If the justices rule in favor of Starbucks it could make it harder for the NLRB to seek court orders.

Many labor organizations support the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize or PRO Act in Congress.

It would strengthen labored laws including providing greater authority to the NLRB.

This is Public News Service.

Presidents in a rural North Carolina town are grappling with economic challenges.

Daniel Smith tells us they're now getting a pathway to home ownership.

In Enfield the average annual income is about $25,000 while the average home price in the state exceeds $300,000.

This significant gap between income and housing costs makes home ownership unattainable for many residents.

It's an issue that the mayor of Enfield, Mundell Robinson, is all too familiar with growing up in the town.

He acknowledges the dire housing conditions faced by many residents.

Housing there is third world and I know that term is not politically correct but I use it intentionally to remind people that while we may be in the so-called richest country in the world my people are suffering from houses that are killing them.

He says many people in the town are living with things like severe mold or failing foundations.

Recognizing the challenges posed by limited resources both on a town and federal level, Robinson says he's tackling the issue by forming partnerships with construction firms and lending institutions.

Qualified families will move into new homes by June while ongoing support aims to assist others in future qualification.

Next to Wisconsin where Mike Moen reports lawmakers recently debated reforms for payday loans.

The Center for Responsible Lending is out with findings that detail how earned wage advances from digital platforms come with extra cost disguised as things like tips.

Traditional payday lenders are often criticized for charging excessive interest rates on loans that are usually around five hundred dollars.

The center's Lucia Constantine says customers are usually seeking smaller amounts from the apps but she warns they can be just as costly.

They are trapping consumers in a cycle of borrowing that is similar to that of a payday loan.

The report says after using these financial products customers are seeing overdrafts on their checking accounts increase by 56 percent on average.

Finally our Joey LaRourie lets us know the U.S.

House has approved a measure to expand the child tax credit.

Despite bipartisan support the bill is stalled in the Senate.

Advocates praise the credit's pivotal role in combating child poverty pointing to its effectiveness in the past.

Candace Baker of Indianapolis is married with four children.

She says the previous tax credit expansion worked for her family and she wants it reinstated.

Having a child and I had to get on some government assistance programs my grandmother never did because she just didn't want that stigma with her but I utilized those services when I had a child.

I didn't want to neither but I'm like I need this support.

The child tax credit did not pass in time for this year's tax deadline and its prospects for the future are uncertain.

This is by Clifford for Public News Service.

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