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Pennsylvania Landowners Helping Indiana Bat through ‘Spooky’ Declines

When most people think of bats, images of dark caves, vampires and Halloween come to mind. But actually, bats get a bad rap, and we often don’t know how important they are for controlling insects, pollinating plants, dispersing seeds and improving biodiversity. Many of our nation’s bats are facing population declines to near-extinction levels, primarily because of disease and loss of habitat. One of those species is the Indiana bat, an endangered species that has experienced rapid declines since the 1960s.

Vermont approves all-payer model

The Green Mountain Care Board voted Wednesday morning to approve the all-payer waiver, giving the go-ahead for the state to implement a model the governor says will curb rising health care costs.  Gov. Peter Shumlin has been travelling the state in recent weeks to promote the initiative. Under an all-payer model, providers are paid set amounts for care, rather than being paid per test, service or procedure. Al Gobeille, the chairman of the Green Mountain Care Board, said the new way of paying health care providers will save Vermont $10 billion over the next 10 years.

PA:Opioid awareness education plan passes Senate

Legislation to create a new opioid awareness program for students in middle and high school was approved unanimously by the state Senate and is now headed to the House of Representatives for consideration. Sponsored by state Senator John N. Wozniak (D-Cambria/Bedford/Clearfield), the proposal — Senate Bill 1212 —  would require the Department of Education in consultation with the state departments of health and drug and alcohol programs to craft an opioid awareness curriculum for public and private schools. The program is targeted to students in grades six through 12.

Zika virus 'not controllable': CDC director's grim warning

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention delivered a grim assessment Tuesday of the government's ability to contain Zika, saying it's too late to stop the dangerous virus from spreading throughout the United States.  "Zika and other diseases spread by (the Aedes aegypti mosquito) are really not controllable with current technologies," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said. "We will see this become endemic in the hemisphere."

Barn Raisers doc explores history of classic American buildings

New film looks at rural American landmarks, and why they’re disappearing. According to filmmaker Kelly Rundle, few things symbolize the country’s nostalgia for its rural roots more than historic barns. That’s why the new documentary he’s making with his wife, Tammy, Barn Raisers, explores the importance of these humble structures, and raises concern about their rapid disappearance from the landscape.

Scientists just completed a census of the creepy crawlies that live in our homes

Do you know the bugs that share your home?  No? Well, pull up a chair and get acquainted. Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Colorado Boulder just completed a census of creepy crawlies from hundreds of households across the country and found that creatures from more than 600 genera of arthropods live alongside us in our homes.

Before protest conflict, pipeline builder found artifacts

The company building a controversial oil pipeline north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation failed to immediately notify regulators after finding four stone cairns and other artifacts during construction in Morton County as tensions grew among pipeline opponents, documents show. Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, waited at least 10 days to notify the North Dakota Public Service Commission about an unanticipated discovery in mid-October, a potential violation of the state permit for construction. The company formally notified regulators Oct.

Ag production vs widget production

In a theoretical world, one place is as good as another for producing goods. But agriculture is where you find it, and for good reason. That’s just one of the factors that makes the ag market behave differently from the widget market. It’s also why some form of risk-mitigation through government farm programs are a good idea, say two ag-policy analysts. Rural and urban residents have seen this happen time and time again.

Where’s HSUS on the Ballot this Year?

Every time you look up it seems as though the Humane Society of the United States is spending money –except on pet shelters. With Election Day fast approaching, let’s take a look at some of the ballot initiatives that has HSUS reaching for its checkbook or media rolodex.  One of the initiatives HSUS is pumping money into is Question 777 in Oklahoma. This amendment would make any law “restricting or regulating” the farming industry in the state  more vulnerable to lawsuits, which would likely result in fewer government regulations over the industry.

HSUS cuts workers amid ‘restructuring'

AUdio - An advocacy group critical of the Humane Society of the United States claims HSUS has laid off 55 staffers to cope with a $20 million shortfall. The Center for Consumer Freedom says the problems show the public is turning against the organization.  HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle, without confirming details of the cutback, acknowledged in an email to Agri-Pulse that HSUS is restructuring to focus on strategic priorities and eliminating several dozen positions.

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