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Rural

Veterinarian works to stop rabies in New Brunswick

The provincial government has doubled the number of baited oral vaccines for wildlife to 500,000. It plans to air drop and hand deliver the vaccines over the next two months to Carleton County, Saint John, and Fredericton and Chartlotte County. The vaccines, with capsules that smell of maple, will be coated in fat, marshmallow and sugar and will be placed where raccoons and skunks hang out. When eaten, the animal becomes immune to rabies in about two weeks.

Drones are the blackfooted ferret's last hope

The flea-borne sylvatic plague has wiped out most of the ferret’s favorite snack—prairie dogs—and when the dogs die, so do the ferrets. So the US Fish and Wildlife Service wants to use drones to sprinkle peanut butter-flavored plague vaccines over the prairie dog’s habitat. If it gets approved, the agency wants to start testing the method in UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Montana, where they’ve been trying to reestablish a ferret population for more than two decades.  “It’s a good year if it takes more than two hands to count them all,” says USFW biologist Randy Matchett.

Pace of U.S. Health Spending Increased in 2015, With Further Rise Expected

Growth in U.S. health-care spending quickened slightly in 2015 and will continue to rise at a moderate pace over the next decade, but not at the fast clip seen in the 20-year period before the recession, federal actuaries said. Spending on all health care is estimated to have grown 5.5% in 2015 compared with 5.3% growth the previous year. Growth is expected to dip to a slightly lower rate of 4.8% in 2016, according to actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Wild hogs can now be shot from helicopters in North Carolina

Now wild hogs can be culled by aircraft in North Carolina — provided they are shot by federal or state wildlife control officers.  The 2016 North Carolina Farm Act, which lawmakers passed July 1, contains two sentences making the change.

A look at how and why North Dakota became a leader in deployment of fiber optic Internet

A fiber optic connection is considered the “gold standard” for quality, high-speed Internet access, and in the Midwest, it’s in pretty short supply. Except in North Dakota. In the region’s most sparsely populated state, 60 percent of the households, including those on farms in far-flung areas, have fiber. (That compares to 24 percent in the Midwest, where most of the existing fiber networks serve urban areas.) In all, North Dakota ranks fifth in the nation in fiber access.

Kansas extends ‘angel investor’ tax credit; North Dakota mulls changes to its program

Lawmakers in two Midwestern states have given close scrutiny in recent months to a targeted tax credit that has become an increasingly popular policy tool for trying to help entrepreneurs and startup companies. Known as “angel investor” tax credits, these incentives encourage investment in early-stage firms by mitigating some of the potential loss if a company fails. Most states in the Midwest have some form of this tax credit. Kansas’ 11-year-old program was on track to sunset this year, but passage of SB 149 extended it for five years.

The True Cost of Rural Hospital Closures

After 66 years in business, my hometown hospital recently closed its doors to patients. Gone is the emergency room, skilled nursing facility, lab, radiology, and physical therapy services — as well as 67 full-time jobs.  Meanwhile, in the past six years. 72 rural hospitals in the U.S. have closed, including nine already in 2016.  One in three rural hospitals is at risk of closing, and according to the National Rural Health Association’s Journal of Rural Health, closure rates have increased 600 percent in the put five years.

Broadband Access: We are all in the middle of somewhere

Fast Internet access is the critical element in building healthier rural economies that create opportunity and improve quality of life. Here are some ways to get your community focused on the need for speed. Lack of Leadership is a deal breaker. Transitioning to the digital age implies change, and many rural communities are not thrilled about change. It is critical to have at least one trusted local champion. The local champion or champions should introduce the concept and work with the community to drive the efforts.

Farmers, Fisherman have highest suicide rates

Farmers, lumberjacks and fishermen have the highest suicide rate in the U.S., while librarians and educators have the lowest, according to a large study that found enormous differences across occupations. The study didn't explore the reasons behind the differences, but researchers found the highest suicide rates in manual laborers who work in isolation and face unsteady employment. High rates were also seen in carpenters, miners, electricians and people who work in construction. Mechanics were close behind.

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