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Florida Legislature cuts all funds for Florida Forever land conservation program

Lawmakers Friday tentatively agreed to defund the state's main land conservation program to free up money for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to curb discharges, and other legislative priorities. On the chopping block is Florida Forever, which acquires land for trails, natural spaces and conservation areas. That's not final until the Legislature passes a state budget by the May 5 end of session, and things still could change, state Sen. Rob Bradley said.

Broadband vouchers won't help rural America connect; so what will?

Recent events have put rural America and our country’s ability to bring broadband to rural locations in the spotlight. As part of this broader conversation about rebuilding rural America, one question keeps rising to the top: how best can those in charge of telecom policy address connectivity needs that will only grow in the coming years? We should be looking—as the FCC has been looking—to build upon the successes of the current universal service support mechanisms.

White House advisor erroneously calls ag the primary driver of rural economy

In fact, agriculture is not the “number one driver” of the rural economy, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Agriculture (including forestry, fisheries, and hunting) ranks fifth in earnings out of seven rural economic sectors tracked by the BEA. Agriculture ranks sixth out of seven sectors in the number of jobs it provides in rural America.

Antibiotic resistance in humans is a real problem, but causes less clear

The most recent CDC report on the growing problem of antibiotic resistant microbes was published in 2014, entitled Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the U.S., 2013. The study states, “Antimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats. Infections from resistant bacteria are now too common, and some pathogens have even become resistant to multiple types or classes of antibiotics.

Is climate change responsible for record-setting extreme weather events?

After an unusually intense heat wave, downpour or drought, Noah Diffenbaugh and his research group inevitably receive phone calls and emails asking whether human-caused climate change played a role."The question is being asked by the general public and by people trying to make decisions about how to manage the risks of a changing climate," said Diffenbaugh, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

Florida Keys says goodbye to flesh-eating screw flies

About 190 million screw flies later, South Florida appears to be free of the flesh-eating pest that threatened to wipe out the planet’s last remaining herd of tiny Key deer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its final sterile fly to combat an infestation confirmed in September, which marked the first outbreak in the continental U.S. in three decades.

4000 Snow Geese Deaths Due to Heavy Metals in Water in Montana Pit

The estimated 3,000 to 4,000 snow geese that perished in December 2016 in the Berkeley Pit’s toxic water died of both heavy metals and sulfuric acid, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson Ryan Moehring. The necropsy report does not make the findings clear, stating only that lesions in the stomach, intestines, and throats were severe and “suggestive of chemical tissue damage induced by a corrosive substance.”Copper and zinc, both of which were found inside the birds’ stomachs, could have been the cause or a contributing factor in the lesions, according to the report.

McDonald's, fast-food chains find antibiotic-free beef, pork hard to deliver

Consumers are demanding more antibiotic-free meat. At McDonald's, so is a group of nuns. The world's largest burger chain and its fast-food brethren have made commitments to remove antibiotics from chicken, but plans to curb the use of antibiotics in beef and pork have been far less common. It's a far more complex and expensive proposition, and fast-food chains are largely taking a wait-and-see approach before changing the way their burgers and bacon are made.

The impact of minimum wage increases in rural and urban Pennsylvania

This research, conducted in 2016, estimated the effects of increasing the minimum wage in rural and urban Pennsylvania from $7.25 to either $9.00 or $10.10 per hour, assuming that such a change will be implemented in 2017. In terms of socio-demographic characteristics, there were many similarities between rural and urban minimum wage earners in Pennsylvania. They were mostly female, white, younger, never married, with a high school diploma or less, English speaking, driving to work, and commuting less than 15 minutes to work.

Rural population drops for 5th straight year

The Great Recession continues to reverberate in rural America and is the most likely cause of the slight decline in population from 2015 to 2016. But in other ways, rural counties appear to be headed back to “normal” population gains. All in all, it’s another wait-and-see year for rural population trends.  On one hand, the rural population decreased again. It’s a problematic trend, because it usually means fewer people working, fewer kids in school, fewer people shopping and doing the other things that contribute to the local economy.


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