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Utah passes 'free-range parenting' law, allowing kids to do some things without parental supervision

A new law legalizing free-range parenting will soon take effect in Utah allowing children to do things alone like travelling to school.  The bill redefines "neglect" in Utah law so that kids can participate in some unsupervised activities without their parents being charged. “Kids need to wonder about the world, explore and play in it, and by doing so learn the skills of self-reliance and problem-solving they’ll need as adults," Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement to ABC News.

Where Small Town America is Thriving – Conclusion

It is widely assumed that high-tech employment, for the most part, will cluster either in big cities or their suburbs. But some venture funders, including some from Silicon Valley, are taking a look at smaller cities, notably in the Midwest. Several smaller cities have achieved growth in STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering and math-related) that are far above the national average over the past decade. Much of this has to do with the location of federal labs or universities.

UN reports see a lonelier planet with fewer plants, animals

Earth is losing plants, animals and clean water at a dramatic rate, according to four new United Nations scientific reports on biodiversity. Scientists meeting in Colombia issued four regional reports Friday on how well animal and plants are doing in the Americas; Europe and Central Asia; Africa; and the Asia-Pacific area.Their conclusion after three years of study: Nowhere is doing well. The work was about more than just critters, said study team chairman Robert Watson.

Virginia primes itself for a tax experiment in rural areas

The General Assembly has passed — and sent to Gov. Ralph Northam for his signature — a bill by Del. Will Morefield, R-Tazewell (with help from state Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County) that offers a seven-year tax break to companies that locate in certain economically-distressed localities and create a certain number of jobs (the number varies depending on the investment). The list of those eligible includes much of Southwest and Southside Virginia, along with many localities along the Chesapeake Bay. The General Assembly also passed a bill by state Sen.

Food stamps cuts will hit rural America the hardest

n Owsley County, a 200-square-mile patch of eastern Kentucky, Trump’s victory was propelled by a full 80 percent of the vote—an unsurprising outcome, perhaps, for a county seated in a congressional district that has elected and re-elected Republican representative Hal Rogers by similar margins since 1980.

Opportunity Zones might unblock rural America's potential

Buried more than 300 pages into the late December tax overhaul signed by President Donald Trump is what some officials think might be a route to economic prosperity for rural America. A community development program written into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, these so-called “Opportunity Zones” are designed to encourage long-term private investments in low-income areas by providing federal tax incentives. South Carolina is among the first states in the country to submit a list of designees to the U.S.

FCC set to waste billions on the wrong rural broadband providers

Rural communities have already proven that cooperatives are the way to get good, fast Internet access to underserved areas. So why are AT&T and other big corporations in line to get $2.5 billion in government funding to reach customers – again. The Connect America Fund is the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) effort to connect the unconnected, mostly by throwing billions of dollars to the companies that have most resisted investing in rural areas.

Domestic Migration and Fewer Births Reshaping America

New Census Bureau data released on March 22, 2018, demonstrate the continuing influence of domestic migration on U.S. demographic trends. Migration patterns are reverting to those common before the recession. Suburban counties of large metropolitan areas, smaller metropolitan areas, and rural counties proximate to metropolitan areas all gained more domestic migrants in the last year. In contrast, domestic migration losses grew in the core counties of metropolitan areas of 1 million or more and remained substantial in rural counties that are not adjacent to an urban area. 

Rural Counties Are Making a Comeback, Census Data Shows

Some long-declining small towns and farming and manufacturing counties are adding people as population growth in large cities cools, according to a Stateline analysis of census estimates released Thursday.  “This seems to be the beginning of a return to population dispersal after a decade or so of clustering into cities and the biggest metropolitan areas,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.

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