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U.S. schools rethink ‘lunch shaming’ policies that humiliate children with meal debts

The U.S. Agriculture Department is requiring districts to adopt policies this month for addressing meal debts and to inform parents at the start of the academic year.The agency is not specifically barring most of the embarrassing tactics, such as serving cheap sandwiches in place of hot meals or sending students home with conspicuous debt reminders, such as hand stamps.

Rural hospitals more likely to be unrated

Rural hospitals are nearly three times more likely than urban hospitals to lack a rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid. That could lead to consumer confusion about the quality of care those facilities offer, UNC researchers say.

Don't Cut a Vital Lifeline for Rural Children

A report released recently by Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the University of North Carolina Rural Health Research Project, Medicaid in Small Town America: A Lifeline for Children, Families and Communities, confirms what many of us who care for patients in rural areas suspected: Children and families in small towns and rural areas rely on Medicaid for health coverage, and cuts to Medicaid could be devastating for rural America.In Texas, 46 percent of children in rural areas and small towns are enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP

Michigan state officials want hunters to help control bovine tuberculosis

State officials want hunters to shoot more deer in northeastern lower Michigan. Infected deer in the area spread a disease called bovine tuberculosis. It can kill cows, and it can be passed to people through unpasteurized dairy products.The state has already spent more than $150 million trying to eradicate the disease over the past two decades. But rates of bovine TB have spiked among the deer population in recent years, and several cattle herds have been newly infected. In April 2015, Jeremy Werth got the phone call that every dairy farmer in this area dreads.

Rural America’s image problem

Over the past several weeks, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Washington Post have all published articles that collectively portray rural Americans as culturally alienated from urban America— either unemployed or working in such dangerous jobs that they are in pain and turn to drugs, or at least cigarettes, for relief. Many articles have also pointed out that rural Americans expressed their frustration by voting for President Trump in the highest percentages in the country.

The Vaccine that Could Halt the Opioid Epidemic

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and Virginia Commonwealth University recently published a study that could be game-changing in the treatment of opioid-dependent patients. Working with rhesus macaque monkeys, researchers developed a vaccine that was effective in blocking the high of heroin, which, they believe, could prevent drug use relapse when administered to recovering addicts. Why were monkeys part of the study?Rhesus monkeys are arguably the most similar to humans, said the study’s first author Paul Bremer.

Senate health care bill called Anti-Rural

The head of the National Rural Health Association said the organization will oppose the Senate’s healthcare bill because the legislation will hurt rural America. “In its current form, this bill is anti-rural,” said Alan Morgan, NRHA chief executive officer.The bill, named the Better Care Reconciliation Act, contains several provisions that would hit especially hard in rural areas, Morgan said.Among these are deep cuts in Medicaid spending and an end to Medicaid expansion.

New AL House committee created for urban and rural development

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-House District 25, announced Monday the creation of the House Urban and Rural Development Committee.According to McCutcheon, the committee will focus its attention on the unique issues that impact Alabama’s rural and urban communities while working to combat the pockets of poverty that exist across the state.The committee could consider legislative topics like broadband access, infrastructure and development and other factors contributing to impoverished areas, McCutcheon said.Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Cullman, will chair the committee. 

Beyond Urban Versus Rural

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, commentators focused on the political polarization separating residents of urban and rural America. Certainly rural–urban differences are only one of several factors that contributed to the surprising 2016 outcome, but rural voters are rightly acknowledged as one key factor in Donald Trump’s electoral success. Yet, defining 2016 as the tale of two Americas—one urban, one rural—hinders a nuanced understanding of the country’s political geography.


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