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As Rural America Ages, Volunteers Give a Hand

Haller, a 65-year-old widow with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who uses an oxygen generator, was rushed to the emergency room several times this year because of breathing problems her doctors said were exacerbated by the mold. She badly needed help, but couldn’t afford the repairs.  Last month, the Harpswell Aging at Home team came to Haller’s rescue.

The 6th District Court of Appeals has taken a stand by placing a higher value on companion animals.

The court recently remanded a 2015 civil suit over an injured dog back to Toledo Municipal Court for a hearing on damages awarded in the case by determining “substantial justice was not done” by the trial court in awarding the plaintiff only $400 — or the dog’s market value — in December.  “We agree with and acknowledge that pets do not have the same characteristics as other forms of personal property, such as a table or sofa which is disposable and replaceable at our convenience,” the three-judge panel wrote in the decision.  The original lawsuit filed in municipal court in April, 2015, sh

How poor management left Mexican wolves dangerously inbred

On the surface, things seemed to be looking up for the entire Mexican wolf population. In 1998, after Mexican wolves were poisoned and shot out of existence here, the Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced 11 wolves, with the initial goal of growing their numbers to 100. After years of struggle, the population crossed that threshold for the first time in 2015. Biologists counted 110 animals, a 25 percent increase over the previous year. M1296 was among 97 wolves counted in this year’s census.  Yet trouble lurks even in these historic numbers.

N.Y. negotiates national settlement with Cigna on opioid treatment

The insurer Cigna will no longer require  pre-authorization for prescriptions to treat opioid addiction under the terms of a national settlement announced late Thursday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  Doctors and patients complain that while it may be common to require doctors to get prior approval for other prescriptions, a delay in getting medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for heroin addiction can be deadly, as addicts can easily relapse and overdose. While pre-authorizations should just take hours, it can often take days if there are problems with the paperwork.

Attack of the flesh-eating screwworm pushes up Key deer death toll

As of Friday afternoon, Oct. 14, 2016, 83 endangered Key deer had been euthanized because of an infestation of the New World screwworm. The screwworm, not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s, is leaving open wounds on the deer and then eating the flesh until the deer is incapacitated. U.S. Fish & Wildlife, in partnership with the Florida and U.S. Dept.

AEM Seeks Answers to Rural Infrastructure Challenges

AEM hopes to help find answers to the infrastructure challenges facing the U.S. agriculture sector.  Under its Infrastructure Vision 2050 thought-leadership initiative, AEM will seek innovative ideas and best practices to address those challenges in the context of current and future U.S. infrastructure trends.

Service dog or pet? Maine clarifies law

Those who try to pass off pets as service animals in Maine now face a $1,000 fine under a new law.  The Maine Human Rights Commission says many people in the disability community are unaware of the changes, which include a new category called assistance animals. Such animals are either trained or determined to be necessary to provide comfort and support to people with physical or mental disabilities.

Alienation rates in politics higher in rural areas than in cities

A new poll finds a stark geographic division in the nation’s culture and politics. The study was conducted by Gallup for the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. The polling finds deep distrust in the nation’s institutions and leaders.

Farm fatality summary highlights trends, continued danger in ag

Purdue University’s annual Indiana Farm Fatality Summary reported 28 farm-related deaths in 2015, a 10 percent increase from the 2014 total of 25. However, overall trends are still declining.  Statistics were collected by the Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program from news reports, Internet searches, personal interviews and reports from individuals and Extension educators.  Tractor and farm machinery accidents continue to be the most commonly reported cause of fatal injury, with overturned tractors accounting for 39 percent of deaths in 2015.

Opioid addiction scars Wisconsin's rural landscape

The United States Department of Agriculture convened this discussion, and others like it across the state and across rural America, because the opioid epidemic is not just a big-city issue. And the only way that the scourge can be addressed, Baldwin said, is through cooperation among leaders at the local, state and federal level.“We have not done our job, until we create a better and more effective partnership with regard to funding the services that we need,” Baldwin said. The U.S. Congress has done its part — but not completely, according to Baldwin.

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