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Rural News

Ways to help latest wildfire, hurricane victims

Ag Daily | Posted on September 14, 2017

Whether they’re part of the mainstream media’s 24-hour news cycle or not, disasters are hitting multiple parts of the United States right now. States in the Pacific Northwest are fighting scores of wildfires, while Hurricane Irma’s rise through Florida has drawn most of the attention over the weekend. And though Harvey itself may no longer be an acute threat to Texans, there’s is plenty of relief that needs to be done there. We’ve brought together many of the major ways you can help our brothers and sisters in agriculture in these devastated regions. If there are others that you know of, we invite you to include them in the comments to help raise awareness for any organization or fund that’s hoping to help people, as well as reaching all of those in need of help.If you are considering donating to a group you haven’t heard of before or to a fund that isn’t administered by a reliable source, please check out the list of legitimate charities on Charity Navigator or GuideStar to make sure that you’re not getting scammed.

USA threatened by more frequent flooding

Science Daily | Posted on September 14, 2017

The East Coast of the United States is threatened by more frequent flooding in the future. According to this study, the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are most at risk. Their coastal regions are being immersed by up to three millimeters per year -- among other things, due to human intervention.

Biodiversity just as powerful as climate change for healthy ecosystems

Science Daily | Posted on September 14, 2017

Biodiversity is proving to be one of humanity's best defenses against extreme weather. In past experiments, diversity has fostered healthier, more productive ecosystems, like shoreline vegetation that guards against hurricanes. However, many experts doubted whether these experiments would hold up in the real world. A study offers a decisive answer: biodiversity's power in the wild surpasses experimental predictions, in some cases topping even effects of climate.

When it matters most, the industry pulls together to help pet owners and their pets through disaster.

Pet Food Industry | Posted on September 14, 2017

“Pet store and veterinary hospital groups, manufacturers and distributors, and associations and organizations within the pet industry are pooling their resources and working with lead disaster and shelter officials to coordinate the logistics of providing much-needed supplies, including sharing warehouses, facilities and distribution centers for storage until affected areas can be accessed,” said the Pet Leadership Council. “They are also tapping resources to help provide vehicles and helicopters to assist with evacuations and providing financial assistance to rescue organizations.”

Ohio law may shield Fire Ball manufacturer in fatal fair accident

Columbus Dispatch | Posted on September 14, 2017

The manufacturer of the Fire Ball ride that broke apart at the Ohio State Fair, killing one person and injuring seven others, could be protected from liability by a state law approved more than a decade ago. What was then called “tort-reform” legislation now will “make the fight for justice much more difficult to achieve” for the victims of the ride failure, said Columbus attorney Michael Rourke. He represents Tamika Dunlap, a 36-year-old woman whose legs were shattered when one of the ride’s gondolas broke loose and crashed to the ground on July 26.Lawsuits that are certain to be filed in the case will be affected by legislation that took effect in 2005, Rourke said.That legislation got much of its attention for placing caps on jury awards for businesses and individuals in lawsuits. But the law also set a 10-year limit on a manufacturer’s liability for a product’s defects.The limit, known as a statute of repose, would appear to protect KMG, the Netherlands-based manufacturer of the Fire Ball. The ride that broke apart was built in 1998.Under the law, “No cause of action based on a product-liability claim shall accrue against the manufacturer or supplier of a product later than 10 years from the date that the product is delivered to its first purchaser or lessee.”

EPA grants pollution waiver to Florida utilities after Irma

AP | Posted on September 12, 2017

 State and federal environmental regulators issued a blanket waiver on Monday for Florida electricity companies to violate clean air and water standards without penalty for the next two weeks.

Craft beer sales slow, and industry changes may be on the way

Capital Press | Posted on September 12, 2017

A bubble in Oregon’s revered craft beer industry? Sales have slowed and some breweries have closed, but the state Office of Economic Analysis isn’t going on a bender about it. Senior Economist Josh Lehner, who has written extensively about the economic impact of the state’s “alcohol cluster,” said it’s likely the industry is maturing. Some shakeout is not unexpected.In a post on the department website, Lehner said making good local beer, as breweries and brewpubs around the state do, is no longer enough to assure success.As craft beer sales slow, however, more breweries will struggle to retain market share, he said.“I do think the brewery closure rate will increase in the coming years,” Lehner reported. “It is likely to converge toward the rates seen in other industries.“Currently, the growing and largely successful beer industry is enticing even more breweries to enter,” he said. “Eventually this will lead to (over)saturation and for closures to rise as a result.”

Wildfires may be a wakeup call to urban residents

Capital Press | Posted on September 12, 2017

Portland’s downtown disappeared from view this week as thick smoke from wildfires settled in for an uncomfortable stay.And that made it a problem, even though forest fires have been burning elsewhere in the West for several weeks.All told, there were 65 active fires in nine Western states as of mid-day Sept. 6, including 19 in Oregon. The active fires have burned 1.4 million acres.The biggest fire in Oregon, by far, is the Chetco Bar Fire in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness northeast of Brookings on the Southern Oregon coast. As of mid-day Sept. 6 if had burned nearly 177,000 acres, destroyed six homes, damaged another and threatened 8,523 more.As multiple rural residents said in effect on social media: Welcome to our world, Portland.Some Oregonians who work in or support the state’s stagnant timber industry had another response: We told you so.

The largest school district in the US just started offering free lunch for all 1.1 million students

Business Insider | Posted on September 12, 2017

The New York City Department of Education announced Wednesday that all public school students, regardless of family income, will receive free lunch. The program — called Free School Lunch For All — aligns with the start of the school year.

Employment, Poverty, and Public Assistance in the Rural United States

University of New Hampshire, Carsey School | Posted on September 7, 2017

A large body of research focuses on the divide between the rural and urban United States. These studies tell us that poverty is higher in the rural United States, incomes are lower, and job growth is nearly non-existent.  But, as demographer Kenneth Johnson states, “‘Rural America’ is a deceptively simple term for a remarkably diverse collection of places.In this brief, we provide a glimpse of the economic and demographic characteristics of life in the rural United States. Using data from the American Community Survey, we compare those living in low- and lower-middle-income counties (counties with average family incomes below the median for all counties in the United States) to those living in upper-middle- and high-income counties. Additionally, we compare counties at the extremes, where median incomes are in the bottom and top 10 percent of the income distribution.Low-income rural counties are clustered in the South, lower-middle- and upper-middle-income rural counties are clustered in the Midwest, and high-income rural counties are clustered in the West. Still, low-, middle-, and high-income rural counties dot nearly every corner of the United States. In Georgia, for example, over three-quarters of rural counties are low income and just 2 percent (and two counties, to be exact) are high income. In Kansas, as in most states of the Midwest, almost 80 percent of rural counties are middle income. Our research also reveals that differences in income levels coincide with differences in demographics. People in low-income rural areas are less educated and less likely to be employed, and those who do work are more likely to do so in manufacturing and production and less likely to do so in management, business, science, arts, recreation, and entertainment. Their incomes are also more likely to fall below the federal poverty line, and they rely more heavily on public support.