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Daily Audio Newscast - May 15, 2024

News from around the nation.

Audio file

Trump's defense will have Michael Cohen back on the stand today for cross-examination; Poll: Montana battleground voters are 'economic populists'; Empowering Cincinnati, a Bloomberg grant fuels climate and equity initiatives; Pick up a hammer? Minnesota apprentices say, 'Why not?'


The Public News Service Daily Newscast, May the 15th, 2024.

I'm Mike Clifford.

First to New York, where Donald Trump's defense will continue to cross-examine Michael Cohen today, as they aim to discredit the prosecution's key witness in the former president's first criminal trial.

That from CNN.

They report during a Times' fiery exchanges, Trump's attorney and fixer Tuesday was pressed in court about his shifting views on Trump and money he made commenting on him.

CNN adds that Cohen's testimony does tie together the prosecution's allegations that Trump broke the law by falsifying business records to reimburse Cohen and conceal the payment to Stormy Daniels.

Trump is pleaded not guilty.

Meantime, a New York appeals court rejected Trump's attempt to overturn the gag order against him in the hush money case.

And a new report by the Rural Democracy Initiative shows voters in key Bataglan states, including Montana, could play a significant role in the 2024 elections, but only if the right messenger knocks on the door.

The RDI survey interviewed more than 1,700 rural and small-town voters in 10 battleground states.

Patrick Toomey is with Breakthrough Campaigns and says these voters consider themselves to be economic populists who support a progressive political agenda and think things could be better for them, but don't fall into traditional rural voter stereotypes.

Rural voters do feel like things are getting worse for them and in their communities economically.

It's very clear that rural voters are not a cultural monolith either.

The poll found 15 percent of rural voters in swing states are unsure of who they will vote for or if they'll vote at all in this year's election.

Next to Cincinnati, which is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies' $200 million Sustainable Cities Initiative, and will hire three new staff members to merge climate solutions with Black financial empowerment.

This initiative is part of Cincinnati's broader strategic plans, including the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan for carbon neutrality by 2050 and the Financial Freedom Blueprint to combat poverty and racial inequity citywide.

Led by Ali Kroner, Cincinnati's Office of Environment and Sustainability will prioritize green workforce development, minority-owned business support, energy poverty solutions and climate adaptation strategies.

Kroner says it's all grant-funded.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is making an investment in cities that are really trying to go big in both of these spaces.

So this will bring dollars and people to support the effort over the next three years.

The award aims to accelerate progress in 25 U.S. cities, including Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Akron and Cleveland, leveraging federal funding to further boost economically thriving communities.

Kroner notes the importance of five Ohio cities in the program, given the state's lack of climate change plan.

Farah Siddiqui reporting.

This is public news service.

It's graduation season and in Minnesota, it's not just high schools and universities sending off waves of students.

Organizers say they've seen a lot of people complete apprenticeship training for careers in the construction trades.

Building Strong Communities is a statewide apprenticeship program that prepares future construction workers over a 12-week period.

At its spring graduation at North Hennepin Community College, 105 men and women received their certificates.

Program director Rick Mardigan says that's up 41 percent from last year.

He says coinciding with that growth is a more diverse group of apprentices, including older students.

And a lot of people are making a career change as adults who have been in the workforce for quite a while.

He feels there's been a more intentional effort to recruit the next generation of workers in the trades.

Mardigan says starting wages are strong and earned credentials can be used all over the country.

National forecasts show an overwhelming need for skilled trade workers.

I'm Mike Moen.

Meantime, an environmental justice organization in Wallace, Louisiana, says it will not back down in its fight for the health of its historic community.

The Descendants Project, which focuses on the cultural and historic preservation of enslaved Africans, has been successful in one lawsuit against St.

John the Baptist Parish, but is heading back to court.

The dispute is over zoning ordinances that allow industrial giants to set up shop on the borders of residential areas.

And the battle is far from over, says Jo Banner, Descendants Project's co-founder and co-director.

So the land was reverted back to residential, but unfortunately, our parish administration and parish council went right back and switched, going to land back to heavy industry.

The land at the center of the conflict is known as the Greenfield property, where the company Greenfield Louisiana LLC wants to build a large grain elevator and export terminal.

Banner says the area between New Orleans and Baton Rouge already has an overload of grain and petrochemical industries and has been nicknamed Cancer Alley.

Banner adds that her organization has now filed another lawsuit against the parish to have the land zoning revert once again to residential.

Crystal Blair reporting.

Finally from our Eric Tegedorf, AARP Idaho is seeking nominations in the state for its prestigious award for outstanding volunteers.

The Andrus Award for Community Service is named after the founder of AARP, Dr.

Ethel Percy Andrus.

For the award, AARP Idaho will select a person or couple age 50 or older who perform services without pay in their communities.

Pamela Root is with the organization.

This award honors those age 50 plus for sharing their experience, talent and skills to enrich the lives of their community.

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

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