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Oklahoma:Professionals sought for rural areas

Two state House bills intended to attract doctors and workers to sparsely populated areas of Oklahoma were endorsed in committees recently.  House Bill 2301 by Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka), would authorize a tax exemption on the first $25,000 of annual income earned by any “qualifying doctor” who moves to a rural area of Oklahoma.

Washington Farm Bureau joins suit against pay, sick leave law

The Washington Farm Bureau and other business groups are suing to overturn the initiative that raised the minimum wage and mandated paid sick leave, pointing to a 2016 state Supreme Court ruling to bolster their claim the double-barreled measure is unconstitutional. The lawsuit contends Initiative 1433 imposed two policies. Washington’s constitution limits initiatives to one subject, an article the high court cited last year in voiding a tax-cutting measure sponsored by Tim Eyman.

Rural America broadens our economic, intellectual, cultural diversity

Rural people and issues generally receive little attention from the urban-centric media and policy elites. Yet, rural America makes unique contributions to the nation’s character and culture, as well as provides most of its food, raw materials, drinking water and clean air. The recent presidential election also reminds us that, though rural America may be ignored, it continues to influence the nation’s future.“Rural America” is a deceptively simple term for a remarkably diverse collection of places. It includes nearly 72 percent of the land area of the United States and 46 million people.

When private pain becomes a community problem

Overall, the response to the epidemic in the West has been a “whack-a-mole approach,” Susan Kingston, coordinator for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the Center for Opioid Safety Education in Seattle, told me. “We’re trying to make any change we can. Big solutions are happening, but they are slow and need a lot of money and political commitment.” In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established $11 million in grants for Colorado, among 10 other states, to expand rehabilitation services for those with opioid addiction disorders.

Deadly U.S. heroin overdoses quadrupled in five years: study

The number of deadly heroin overdoses in the United States more than quadrupled from 2010 to 2015, a federal agency said on Friday, as the price of the drug dropped and its potency increased. There were 12,989 overdose deaths involving heroin in 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, compared with 3,036 such fatalities five years earlier. In 2010, heroin was involved in 8 percent of U.S. drug overdose deaths, a study by the Atlanta-based center said. By 2015, that proportion had jumped to 25 percent.

Should People Be Barred From Buying Junk Food With Food Stamps?

At the food pantry she founded in poor, rural Quitman County, Mississippi, Angie Crawford spends her days teaching food stamp recipients how to shop, cook and eat healthy on a tight budget. Then, at the grocery store, she sees people using food stamps to buy junk food, like big bags of potato chips in bulk. It troubles her. As a nutrition educator for the federal Food Stamp Program — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — Crawford is one of many public health officials across the country who say there should be more rules about how food stamp money is spent.

After Trump’s immigration order, anxiety grows in Florida’s farm fields

Rumors about deportation raids started to circulate around the fields again, so Catalina Sanchez and her husband began to calculate the consequences of everything they did. Cirilo Perez, 36, had to go to work because the tomato crop was getting low, and he needed to pick as much as he could as fast as he could. Sanchez’s medical checkup would have to wait — going to a clinic was too risky. What they fretted most about was what to do with their daughter Miriam — a natural-born citizen in the third grade — who they worried would come home one day to an empty trailer.

This century is broken

For every one American man aged 25 to 55 looking for work, there are three who have dropped out of the labor force. If Americans were working at the same rates they were when this century started, over 10 million more people would have jobs. As Eberstadt puts it, “The plain fact is that 21st-century America has witnessed a dreadful collapse of work.” That means there’s an army of Americans semi-attached to their communities, who struggle to contribute, to realize their capacities and find their dignity.

Our Miserable 21st Century

From work to income to health to social mobility, the year 2000 marked the beginning of what has become a distressing era for the United States.  From peak to trough, the collapse in work rates for U.S. adults between 2008 and 2010 was roughly twice the amplitude of what had previously been the country’s worst postwar recession, back in the early 1980s. In that previous steep recession, it took America five years to re-attain the adult work rates recorded at the start of 1980. This time, the U.S.


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