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Rural News

Proposed border wall will harm Texas plants and animals, scientists say

Science Daily | Posted on April 2, 2018

In the latest peer-reviewed publication on the potential impacts of a border wall on plants and animals, conservation biologists say that border walls threaten to harm endangered Texas plants and animals and cause trouble for the region's growing ecotourism industry.

Washington state has the first comprehensive drug take-back program. Which state will be next?

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on March 30, 2018

After years of skirmishes, the most comprehensive statewide drug take-back program in the nation became law late last week in Washington, potentially creating a new template for states to press the pharmaceutical industry to underwrite these efforts. The Washington law requires drug makers to fully finance and operate the program, which is designed to lower the threat of drug abuse stemming from medicines that linger in households and also reduce contamination in drinking water.

West Virginia bill requires food stamps recipients to work

Washington Examiner | Posted on March 30, 2018

Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill into law Tuesday that will require state residents to work or volunteer to receive food stamps. The requirement will begin Oct. 1 and will apply to people who use the program formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The program funds up to $192 for food a month, or $6.40 a day.To continue receiving SNAP benefits, West Virginia residents on the program between the ages of 18 to 49 will need to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week. People with disabilities, parents with dependent children, pregnant women, and veterans will be exempt.

Blimp to bring broadband to rural areas

New Hampshire Union Leader | Posted on March 30, 2018

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a ... broadband blimp? A company founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun constructing a new research and development center in Fremont where it will test an industrial version of a blimp known as an aerostat that’s designed to provide wireless broadband coverage in rural and remote areas.Altaeros Energies of Somerville, Mass., has been given town approval to create the permanent test site near a gravel operation at 662 Main St. that will feature a concrete launch pad and a large hangar to house the aerostat.
The aerostat will essentially be a tethered aerial cell tower that provides the same coverage as a network of cell towers. The company said it could eliminate the need for 20 to 30 conventional towers and reduce total network costs by 50 to 70 percent.

CoBank 2018 Year Ahead Report: Forces That Will Shape the Rural Economy

CoBank | Posted on March 29, 2018

Expect an expanding global economy, strong U.S. consumer confidence and persistent economic recovery in many rural areas, but temper that optimism with another year of on-farm belt tightening due to lingering financial stress from low commodity prices, says a wideranging 2018 outlook report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “The rural economy is uniquely impacted by what happens in Washington, the broader U.S. economy and around the world,” says Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “In the coming year, rural America will rise with the broader economic tide, but it will also contend with persistent barriers to prosperity.”

3 Rural Iowa has a housing crisis. Here's how a handful of communities are solving it

Des Moines Register | Posted on March 29, 2018

The need for housing in southwest Iowa is so acute that each new obituary reads like a real estate listing.  "The joke is that good homes sell at the funeral home," said Manning City Clerk Dawn Meyer.This story of Iowans desperately looking for suitable housing is hardly unique to Manning. At the inaugural Iowa Rural Development Summit in 2016, organizers heard the same complaint over and over: There just is not enough housing outside of Iowa's booming metropolitan areas.The problem is widespread, affecting small communities in every corner of the state. And it runs deep.  Demand is so great that many Iowa communities have already taken matters into their own hands, offering creative financing or incentives for new homes and renovations. And one Des Moines-area builder is considering an entire division devoted to building new homes in rural Iowa.  

Rural America gains populaiton for first time in 6 years

Daily Yonder | Posted on March 29, 2018

Nonmetropolitan counties saw an increase in population over the last year -- the first such gain since 2011. The increase was slight and confined to rural counties that are closest to cities, according to a report from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy.

The FCCs blurry vision of satellite broadband

Daily Yonder | Posted on March 29, 2018

The availability of broadband soared from 2015 to 2016. Or did it? The claimed increase in broadband availability may have more to do with a bureaucratic change in the reporting system than in technology.

Rural Counties add 150,000 jobs over last year

Daily Yonder | Posted on March 29, 2018

Last year was the first of a new administration, but the job trends in 2017 were same-old, continuing the movement of jobs into the country’s major metropolitan areas.  The number of jobs increased in both rural and urban areas of the country. But the increase was fastest in metropolitan areas of a million or more people. These giant urban regions increased their share of the nation’s job pool. Smaller cities and rural areas lost share. 

Wild sheep, goats test positive for Mycoplasma Ovis in Alaska

Juneau Empire | Posted on March 29, 2018

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has announced that several wild sheep and goats tested positive for a pathogen that has caused respiratory disease in Lower 48 herds.  The implications of the pathogen, called M. ovi for short, aren’t quite clear yet, but Alaska’s sheep have stayed relatively clear of respiratory disease, officials said