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New use of wireless holds promise for rural broadband

For all the talk about fiber being the future of broadband, an increasing number of rural communities are finding a prominent seat at the table for wireless technology as well. Now that Google has dropped both oars in the wireless waters, expect communities to follow suit. “For the entire broadband industry, Google has definitely made things interesting,” says Joel Mulder, vice president of sales at eX2 Technology, which designs and installs broadband networks. The potential of wireless is especially apparent for rural areas.

Research pets to be put up for adoption in NY

New York cats and dogs used for research by colleges and universities will soon be put up for adoption after their work is completed, according to a law signed Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The new law requires higher education institutes and laboratories that partner with them to make "reasonable efforts" to offer research animals for adoption, either through a private placement or a partnership with a local shelter or adoption agency. The law, which will take effect in 30 days, is meant to prevent animals that are suitable to become pets from being euthanized.

Massachusetts pressured to expand conservation tax credit

A tax break for landowners who shield property from development has a nearly three-year wait because of a state cap that environmentalists say is undermining conservation efforts.  Landowners who set aside property under the state program can get income tax credits for 50 percent of their land's value. A landowner may claim up to $75,000 in tax credits, but the program is capped statewide at $2 million per year.  Environmental groups want to raise the limit to $5 million, if not eliminate it.

COE Rejects Arizona Vet School Proposal

The University of Arizona’s plan to open the nation’s 31st veterinary school was dealt a severe setback when the Council on Education refused to issue a letter of reasonable assurance of accreditation, UA announced today. The decision will be appealed, said Shane C. Burgess, Ph.D., the interim dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine.  Council chairman John R. Pascoe, BVSc, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVS, told UA in a letter that the school’s plan fell short on five of the 11 standards that colleges of veterinary medicine are expected to meet.

How Rural Farming Communities Are Fighting Economic Decline

The vacant storefronts on Main Street make it clear that the town is no longer in its prime. Like many rural towns, Brookfield's top moneymakers in decades past were agriculture, transportation and manufacturing. While those industries still exist today, each has taken a hit. The town lost an auto plant. The railroad station is no longer bustling. And farming isn't bringing in as much as it used to. This story is a familiar one for thousands of towns across rural America.

The brave new world of robots and lost jobs

The deeper problem facing the United States is how to provide meaningful work and good wages for the tens of millions of truck drivers, accountants, factory workers and office clerks whose jobs will disappear in coming years because of robots, driverless vehicles and “machine learning” systems. The political debate needs to engage the taboo topic of guaranteeing economic security to families — through a universal basic income, or a greatly expanded earned-income tax credit, or a 1930s-style plan for public-works employment. Ranting about bad trade deals won’t begin to address the problem.

Florida Locals Bugged by Proposed Release of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Locals in the Florida Keys are concerned about the prospect of their community becoming a testing ground for the release of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes marketed as a solution to the Zika virus, and plan to protest the potential experiment.Ultimately, however, the decision will be up to the five-member mosquito control board.

California is in flames right now, with fires fueled by historic drought

California is burning.  The state has nine active wildfires as large as 25 acres or more, including the massive Clayton fire north of San Francisco that forced nearly 1,500 residents to flee their homes after it erupted Saturday in dry conditions created by the state’s extreme drought. On Sunday the blaze doubled in size.  “The winds really kicked up, and the fire crossed over tentative lines in place [to slow its advance] and started impacting a whole new area,” Suzie Blankenship, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Monday.

What $100 can buy, state by state

Spend enough time traveling around the United States and you’re bound to notice a dramatic variation in what a dollar can buy.  Everything from the price of a cup of coffee to the cost of a house can fluctuate among, and even within, states. A gallon of regular gas costs $2.74 in Hawaii but just $1.82 in South Carolina. The average Connecticut resident pays twice as much for electricity as the average Tennessee resident. Tuition at public colleges varies by orders of magnitude.


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