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Rural

Renewable energy and jobs up in rural areas

While an ambitious “Green New Deal” to convert the country to 100-percent renewable energy by 2030 is discussed in Washington, the rural Midwest is already heading that way, according to a new report verified by area experts. Renewable energy is growing, says “Green Energy Sweeps across Rural America,” an 18-page study from the Natural Resources Defense Council, with support from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Dodge City manager offers blueprint for dealing with rural Kansas housing shortage

City Manager Cherise Tieben’s firm belief housing construction was a market-driven segment of the economy didn’t survive a 2007 meeting with exasperated Dodge City bankers, developers, realtors and employers. She learned from the group the southwest Kansas community’s housing stock was profoundly inadequate and the private sector was incapable of keeping pace. Teachers were residing in colleagues’ basements. Employers placed hires in hotels for up to six months. Families paid a premium for deplorable rentals. Bank financing was scarce.

A Netflix Model for Hepatitis C: One Price, Unlimited Meds

Two states fighting an escalating hepatitis C crisis will soon pay a flat fee for unlimited drugs — Netflix style — to treat prisoners and low-income residents suffering from the deadly liver disease, with the goal of all but eliminating the infection. Both states will pay a drugmaker to provide enough medication each year to treat its prisoners and Medicaid patients.

Wall Street, Seeking Big Tax Breaks, Sets Sights on Distressed Main Streets

Distressed America is Wall Street’s hottest new investment vehicle. Hedge funds, investment banks and money managers are trying to raise tens of billions of dollars this year for so-called opportunity funds, a creation of President Trump’s 2017 tax package meant to steer money to poor areas by offering potentially large tax breaks.Little noticed at first, the provision has unleashed a flurry of investment activity by wealthy families, some of Wall Street’s biggest investors and other investors who want to put money into projects ostensibly meant to help struggling Americans.

Why your hospital bill is too high or too low

Medical billing systems drive up the cost of commercial health insurance. One way to ease that strain is to get more low-income people on Medicaid. Hospitals have to collect as much as it costs them to take care of their patients. That is hard for small hospitals, most of which are rural.

Go for the vacation, stay for the worker subsidy

Vermont is offering $10,000 to workers who move with their remote job to the state. It’s part of larger efforts in Northern New England to attract more young people.  When measured by median age, the three Northern New England states (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) are the three oldest in the country.

Land Use Planning Tools to Reduce Wildfire Risk

Timber management on federal lands can be justified for valid reasons — protecting watersheds, conserving wildlife habitat, promoting overall forest health —  but it rarely helps communities confront looming wildfire disasters. The best solutions: better land use planning and improved building designs. The President issued an executive order last month that instructs federal land managers to treat 8.45 million acres of land and cut 4.4 billion board feet of timber.

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