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Rural

Losing our local fabric, one thread at a time

But everything changes, and that will, too. Wisconsin-based Book World, which somehow managed to be the fourth-largest book chain in the U.S., will soon vacate storefronts across the Midwest. The company cited the loss of sales to online competitors. So small communities like Rice Lake, Sturgeon Bay, Shawano and 17 others in Wisconsin will lose one more thread of local fabric. A few may have a local bookstore tended by dedicated owners. Most will go without, and their communities will be the less for it. Hopefully a new model will emerge in these towns.

Rural Housing Challenges Through the Lens of Two New England Communities

In this brief, we use interview and focus group data to describe some of the ways that restricted rural housing stock affects working families in two rural New England counties, and explore solutions proposed by rural residents and experts to make housing affordable (see Box 1 on page 2). Rural amenities and scenery make residence in certain New England regions desirable for second-home owners, vacationers, and retirees.

Rural program generates energy savings through efficiency

Low-to-moderate income renters and homeowners in rural Arkansas are reaping the savings from a program they pay for themselves over time to improve energy efficiency in their house or apartment.Tammy Agard, president and co-founder of EEtility in Arkansas, told nearly 190 people attending the 46th annual meeting of the Northern Plains Resource Council Saturday about a program in which an energy cooperative lends people money for energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements to their homes.Residents pay nothing out-of-pocket for the improvements, but instead pay off the loan over time t

Dairy Farmers of America breaks ground on new plant in Kansas

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) officially announced plans to build a dairy ingredients plant in Garden City, Kansas. In a ceremony at its 156-acre site in Garden City, representatives from the Cooperative were joined by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, city and state officials and the area’s dairy farmers to break ground on the facility. The state-of-the-art plant will produce whole, skim and nonfat dry milk powder, as well as cream, and is a partnership between DFA and 12 of its member farms in Southwest Kansas.

Minnesota Testing Farmer Health-Care Cooperative

The idea of a farmer health-care cooperative had been kicked around in Minnesota since 2009 but had faced multiple regulatory stumbling blocks. At the end of last year, Minnesota farmers complained to state lawmakers that the insurance exchange was collapsing down to one insurance option across much of the exchange and as many as seven counties in the state were looking at no insurance option. Minnesota lawmakers passed legislation last spring specifically allowing farmers and their employees to form a health-care cooperative.

New Pa. law makes leaving animals in cold felony

The new Pennsylvania state law could make pet owners felons if they mistreat or neglect dogs and other pets — that includes leaving them outside in the cold for too long. As it pertains to cold weather, dogs may not spend more than nine hours tethered in a 24-hour period. The maximum time limit dogs can be left outside when temperatures are below freezing is 30 minutes.

Animal rights groups demand action against Iowa fur farm

Federal inspectors have repeatedly ordered a southeast Iowa fur farm to improve the grim living conditions for ferrets, foxes, raccoons and skunks it sells to government laboratories and pet stores. So far no charges or enforcement action has been taken against the Ruby Fur Farm near New Sharon, 65 miles southeast of Des Moines.

‘Ponce’s Law’ bill allows animal abusers to be barred from having pets

A bill called “Ponce’s Law” would put more bite into Florida’s animal cruelty cases by allowing judges to prohibit people convicted of abusing animals from owning pets and giving prosecutors more leverage in the cases, said state Rep. Tom Leek, who introduced the bill. The bill is named in honor of Ponce, a Labrador retriever puppy found beaten to death in the Ponce Inlet backyard of Travis Archer earlier this year. The bill is a positive note to an otherwise grim event, said Leek, an Ormond Beach Republican.

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