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I Photographed the Wonders of North America on a 15,000 Mile Trip

Back in September 2016, I decided to fulfill my dream of traveling and photographing North America. Without any set itinerary, I hit the road and ended up driving and flying more than 24,000km (~15,000mi), experiencing some of the most amazing scenery and adventures.   I had the trip of my life, and am so glad I decided to pick up my camera and embark on it. I’d like to share the very best of my trip in 20 pictures.

‘Hacktivists’ Increasingly Target Local and State Government Computers

Early last year, hackers launched a cyberattack against the state of Michigan’s main website to draw attention to the Flint water crisis. In May, they targeted North Carolina government websites to protest a controversial state law requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate.

2 drug distributors to pay $36M to settle WV painkiller lawsuits

Two of the nation’s largest drug wholesalers have agreed to pay a combined $36 million to settle lawsuits that allege the companies benefited from West Virginia’s problem with prescription drug abuse. Cardinal Health, the largest supplier of drugs in West Virginia, will pay the state $20 million. AmerisourceBergen, the state’s third-largest drug distributor, agreed to pay $16 million. It’s believed to be the largest pharmaceutical settlement in state history.

Oregon counties pressured to exit $1.4 billion forest lawsuit

Fifteen Oregon counties must soon decide whether to opt out of a class action lawsuit seeking $1.4 billion for allegedly insufficient logging in state forests.  As the Jan. 25 deadline approaches, a coalition of environmental and fishing groups is urging counties and the taxing entities within them — including school and fire districts — to exit the litigation.

Pact opens doors for U.S. turkey exports to New Zealand

A new veterinary certificate approved by New Zealand authorities will open that nation’s market to cooked turkey products from U.S. sources, according to a news release from the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).  New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries approved the agreement after two years of direct negotiations between the regulators and USDA after new import health standards were approved there in 2015. The process of opening the pathway for U.S.

This Small Town Refused to Settle for Wal-Mart When Its Last Local Grocery Store Closed

For two months in 2012, longtime Iola, Kansas, resident Mary Ross trudged through the sweltering heat, waving gnats from her view as she walked door to door with a petition. It was the hottest summer since moving there with her family about 30 years ago, but Ross was determined to gather signatures requesting a grocery store be established in the small rural town of fewer than 6,000 people.

Rural residents pool cash to save last bars, gathering sites

Once-bustling Renwick, Iowa, lost its grocery, hardware store, school and Ford dealership years ago, but when its sole bar closed last June, it seemed to some residents there wasn't much of a town left. So a group of seven friends and spouses who had met for beers at the bar for decades took matters into their own hands. One of them bought the place and the others pooled their money to fix it up, showing up after work to replace floors and walls on steamy summer nights before reopening in September as the Blue Moose Saloon.

Rural-urban divide missing in Idaho, survey finds

The rural-urban divide that splits many states hasn’t reached Idaho yet, a new survey shows. The University of Idaho survey found that residents of Idaho’s two main urban counties see eye-to-eye with their rural counterparts in Owyhee County on many natural resource issues, such as public lands grazing and logging. Owyhee County in southwestern Idaho is heavily dependent on agriculture, particularly raising livestock. Some 80 percent of the county’s economic output is tied to the farming industry.

College helps Okla. tribe build meat plant

The University of Arkansas Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences and School of Law are helping the Quapaw Tribe design and build a meat processing plant near Miami, Okla., to produce and maintain a sustainable local food supply, the college announced in a news release. The $1 million facility, expected to begin operations in May 2017, also will provide the school’s students opportunities for training. The plant will include a classroom, laboratory and test kitchen, and is being designed to process up to 50

New Michigan law helps protect pets from animal abusers

A package of bills intended to keep pets away from known animal abusers was signed into law Wednesday by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.  The bills passed the Legislature with strong bipartisan support in December. The bills allow Michigan animal shelters to conduct a criminal background check using the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) and determine whether someone has a criminal history of animal abuse before allowing adoption of an animal.


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