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A Company Owner Asks His Customers for Understanding—and Help—After Raising Prices in the Wake of Trump’s Steel Tariffs

On July 2nd, a month after the Trump Administration imposed a twenty-five-per-cent tariff on steel imported from Mexico, Canada, and the European Union, Stuart Speyer sent a carefully worded letter to his customers. Speyer is the president of Tennsco Corporation, a “storage and filing solutions” manufacturer based outside of Nashville, in Dickson, Tennessee. ”Ninety-nine per cent” of the steel that Speyer buys, he recently explained to me, is manufactured by domestic suppliers, including Nucor.

Cancer concerns, environmental testing in Johnson County prompts more actio

Parents raising concerns over the number of child cancer cases in Johnson County are now getting attention from local, state and federal officials following the release of environmental testing results. The results showed high levels of TCE, PCE and radon in some homes near two sites in Franklin raising concerns about environmental contamination, and are causing worry for some families about their own health.

Greenfield won't be last Iowa town to have drinking water threatened by toxic blue-green algae, environmentalists say

Greenfield is the first city in Iowa to warn residents against drinking its water, fearing contamination from toxic blue-green algae. But it won't be the last, environmentalists say.Dozens of Iowa cities and towns rely on lakes, rivers and reservoirs at risk for cyanobacteria — or blue-green algae — to source their drinking water.Tests on Greenfield's water came back clean for toxins Wednesday, enabling officials to lift a bottled-water order.

Farmers on the line as substation fire ravages wheat country

Over just three days this week, they lost thousands of acres of wheat. “The thing you have to remember, this is our neighborhood,” she said. “It’s not a subdivision, you’re not close together. You don’t have close neighbors like you might in a city.”The amber wheat was on the cusp of harvest, and the Kortges said it looked like their best crop yet. Now they have barren land covered in a layer of smoldering, black ash.“There’s a huge economic loss, loss of history,” said Brad McManigal, Cynthia’s brother.He’s spent much of this week fighting fire alongside his friends and neighbors.

Gov. Reynold signs executive order aiming to help rural Iowa communities

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is hoping to help rural areas of the state through an executive order.  Reynolds signed the order Wednesday that creates the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, according to a release. They say the initiative will identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes through a partnership with the Iowa Rural Development Council. with co-chairs Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Sandy Ehrig of the Iowa Rural Development Council.

Rural America is spending 40% more on energy bills

Rural households across the United States spend a disproportionately high share of their income on energy bills — about 40 percent more than their metropolitan counterparts, according to a new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) coalition. The problem is most glaring in the East and Southeast, and among low-income households across all regions.

All wildfires are not alike, but the U.S. is fighting them that way

In cities we know how to keep houses from burning. We have to relearn that in areas where human developments mingle with forests. It will need to be a local task, not just a federal one.  So far, the 2018 fire season has produced a handful of big fires in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado; conflagrations in Oklahoma and Kansas; and a fire bust in Alaska, along with garden-variety wildfires from Florida to Oregon. Some of those fires are in rural areas, some are in wildlands, and a few are in exurbs.

Two rural communities cross the political divide

When Massachusetts and Kentucky residents from politically polar-opposite regions met, it was “love at first sight.” Led by Paula Green, who has led “conflict transformation” efforts for decades in Bosnia, Rwanda and other trouble spots around the world, Hands Across the Hills has included more than a dozen hours of direct dialogue — last October in Leverett and then in April in Whitesburg, Ky.

United States Drought Monitor Shows Growing Drought

An active summer pattern continued over the central and northern Plains and into the upper Midwest, with several areas seeing well above normal precipitation associated with thunderstorms. Along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, precipitation was plentiful and widespread as ample moisture continued to be transported into the region. The precipitation along the Gulf also helped to keep temperatures 1-3 degrees cooler than normal for this time of year.

People on food stamps may no longer be able to shop at farmers’ markets

Squabbles over a government contract may prevent low-income families from having easy access to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. At issue: The ability of low-income Americans on government assistance to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to buy food at farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets have to be equipped to accept the EBT cards. If markets are not able to operate devices that can handle EBT payments, vendors must use manual paper vouchers instead. Congress has approved $4 million each year so the USDA can provide EBT equipment to markets and farmers, the USDA said.

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