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Newscast 10.13.22: Nebraska using human trafficking hotline; New effort to assist Afghan evacuees

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Human Trafficking Hotline

AAA Iowa is reporting gasoline prices in the state are about 30 cents a gallon higher than a month ago.

AAA Iowa spokeswoman Meredith Mitts says the reason we’re seeing the price hike is while crude oil is still hovering around roughly the same prices, we’re seeing an increase in demand,

Gas prices in the weeks ahead are expected to rise because of holiday travel and Mitts says weather may be another factor.

A new coalition will help Afghan arrivals through the complex immigration process. University of Iowa’s Center for Human Rights, Drake University College of Law’s legal clinic and the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice are partnering to help Afghan evacuees apply for a more permanent legal status.

Many Afghans who arrived last year are only permitted temporary residence in the U-S. And, Amy Weismann of the University of Iowa says the state doesn’t have the resources to help them all apply for asylum.

There's an ongoing need for additional services. And now with the influx of this particular community with its very unique needs, the service provision is really urgent.))

The group is using federal funding to expand its services, conduct outreach and establish a virtual help desk. Weismann says the hope is the coordinated effort will help identify gaps in service.

Nebraska state officials have set up a hotline that will allow people to report suspected sex trafficking or labor trafficking.
The Nebraska Human Trafficking Hotline can be reached 24 hours per day at 833-PLS-LOOK (833-757-5665).
The hotline is designed to receive tips on possible human trafficking and direct the information to local investigators.

Tips can be made anonymously and go directly to the Nebraska Information Analysis Center, a division of the Nebraska State Patrol, according to a press release from the patrol.
The hotline is a collaboration involving the patrol, the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force and the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem will not call a special legislative session to have lawmakers consider repealing the state’s tax on groceries ahead of the November election, despite calls for a special session from a handful of Republican lawmakers as well as her Democratic challenger.

The Republican governor acknowledged her campaign proposal does not currently have the votes necessary for passage in the state Senate, and she will have to win over lawmakers when they are scheduled to reconvene in January. Repeal of the state tax on groceries, which would cost the state about $100 million in annual revenue, has become a central issue in her reelection bid against her Democratic opponent, Rep. Jamie Smith.

Results of a national college entrance exam released Wednesday are not very encouraging for Nebraska or the nation, and an exam official said the results can’t just be pinned on the pandemic.
The national average ACT composite score for the high school class of 2022 was 19.8, the lowest average score in more than three decades, according to data released Wednesday. It was the first time since 1991 that the average ACT composite score was below 20. The highest possible score is a 36.

Several colleges in the region are partnering together to create a new entrepreneurial hub with the help of a five-year, $14 million grant from the National Science Foundation, according to the Argus Leader.

The grant will create the Great Plains Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Hub, with North Dakota State University serving as the lead institution for the Hub, and South Dakota State University, the University of South Dakota, the University of North Dakota, South Dakota Mines, Dakota State University, the University of Nebraska Omaha and the University of Wyoming serving as partner institutions.

Researchers on SDSU’s campus will now have a framework to help them turn their innovative discoveries into viable commercial products, as the I-Corps Hub will provide training to research teams to help them bring their ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace.

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