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Rural News

CDC report finds vector-borne diseases on the rise

Veterinary Practice News | Posted on May 16, 2018

According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been significant increase in instances of vector-borne diseases across the U.S., with reported cases of diseases transmitted through the bites of blood-feeding ticks, mosquitos, and fleas nearly tripling nation-wide over a 13-year span.

Does Rural Entrepreneurship Pay?

Iowa State | Posted on May 16, 2018

Rural entrepreneurship can help stimulate local economies by creating local jobs and providing goods and services that improve the quality of life of nearby residents. However, as Reynolds et al. (1995) note, rural entrepreneurs can face difficulties through lack of sufficient capital, infrastructure, and access to educated labor. These hardships often result in lower firm entry rates when compared to urban areas and businesses characterized as low-income and low-growth. This leads to the common notion that rural entrepreneurship is necessity driven—entrepreneurs create rural businesses in order to remain in, or relocate to, a rural location. Recent research, however, has shown that the factors that affect rural business location also increase the likelihood that business will survive, suggesting that rural entrepreneurs possess location-specific capital that increases the probability of becoming an entrepreneur and offers greater returns relative to being a wage earner. In order to fully analyze and understand the location choices of entrepreneurs, we analyze survey results from 4,448 Iowa State University alumni who graduated between 1982 and 2007. Furthermore, we assess returns to location-specific human capital by location and the relative earnings of rural and urban wage earners and entrepreneurs.

Trump officials worried about 'public relations nightmare' over contaminated drinking water near military bases

CNBC | Posted on May 16, 2018

Trump administration officials are worried about a Health and Human Services report on a class of chemicals that could be a "public relations nightmare." The HHS study indicated that the chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, present a risk to health at levels far lower than EPA previously determined. The chemicals have already been found in drinking water and groundwater at levels beyond what EPA says is safe near 126 U.S. military locatio

What Another Dry Winter Means for Colorado and the West

5280 | Posted on May 16, 2018

With dangerously low snowpack levels across the state, Colorado is facing a severe water shortage. We take a look at what that means for rivers, wildfires, and the future of water use in the West. It was another low snow season, the latest in what is becoming an increasingly common occurrence in Colorado. As skiers across the state bemoaned the lack of fresh powder this winter, climate scientists and hydrologists recognized something more acute: The dry winter exacerbated water scarcity in the Centennial State, placing more stress on our rivers and increasing the likelihood of an active fire season.To put things in perspective, on April 9—which is historically the peak day for snowpack in Colorado—almost the entire state was sitting at below-average levels. Southern Colorado had it worst. The Upper Rio Grande basin, for instance, boasted a meager 43 percent of its normal snowpack. The Gunnison basin sat at only 57 percent. The Arkansas basin was at 63 percent. Only the North and South Platte River basins approached normal levels.

Health Centers look to new Facebook tools for help during disasters

Fox News | Posted on May 16, 2018

Community health centers in Texas that helped thousands of people during and after Hurricane Harvey have new crisis-response tools from Facebook that could enhance their ability to reach victims when a hurricane hits. The hurricane season officially starts next month. And with the effects of Harvey still lingering in many communities — nearly nine months after the storm devastated parts of the coast and Houston area — about 20 centers from around the state met in Houston this week to hear about how the new tools could help them better publicize their services and distribute resources during a natural disaster.  One is Community Help, a page within Facebook where aid organizations, businesses and government agencies can now post what services they offer during a specific crisis. The other is Disaster Maps, which uses geolocation data gathered from people using Facebook to show select organizations where people are located to help improve aid delivery.Disaster Maps is currently being used in Hawaii to show how local residents are moving in response to the eruption of the Kilauea volcano. It also used in December during wildfires in California to help with the distribution of respirator masks, said Andrew Schroeder, director of research and analysis for Direct Relief. The California-based medical aid nonprofit responded during Harvey and sponsored the workshop in Houston.

County-Level Data Show Changes in the Number and Concentration of Food Stores

USDA | Posted on May 16, 2018

This county-level picture of the food retailing landscape also provides a starting point for measuring access to healthy, affordable food—a measure explored in more detail in another ERS mapping tool, the Food Access Research Atlas. The Food Access Research Atlas allows users to investigate multiple measures of access at the census tract level. These measures include a population’s distance from residence to a large grocery store, supermarket, or supercenter; household availability of a vehicle to drive to the stores; and the poverty rate and median family income for census tracts.

2019 Maryland Operating Budget Includes Historic Funding for Rural Communities

Rural Maryland Council | Posted on May 16, 2018

The Maryland Legislature approved the Fiscal Year 2019 State Operating Budget that includes funds to support the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (RMPIF), a key step forward in addressing disparities in the State’s rural areas.  The Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund will receive $6,000,000 in funding for targeted investment to promote economic prosperity in Maryland’s traditionally disadvantaged and undeserved rural communities. These funds will sustain efforts to promote rural regional cooperation, facilitate entrepreneurial activities, and support key community colleges and nonprofit providers. For Fiscal Year 2018, 27 grants were distributed to 27 organizations throughout the State.

U.S. ‘Nothing But You and the Cows and the Sirens’ — Crime Tests Sheriffs Who Police Small Towns

Wall Street Journal | Posted on May 15, 2018

Ross County, with its rolling forested green hills and quaint two-century-old county seat, is an image of idyllic rural America. But as night fell here on a warm Tuesday in May, chaos descended on the Ross County Sheriff’s Office. A neighbor called to report a disturbance, likely a violent domestic dispute, and another called to report a man slumped over the steering wheel of his pickup, likely an overdose. Calls of other suspicious vehicles came flooding in. The violent-crime rate in rural areas rose above the national average for the first time in a decade, according to the most recently available data from the federal government. Though cities, on average, still have a higher violent-crime rate than rural areas, large metropolitan areas are safer than they have been in decades, while small communities in some states are getting more dangerous. “It is nothing but you and the cows and the sirens,” said Sgt. Brenton Davidson, a patrol sergeant at the sheriff’s office. “You are seeing more violence, and you never know where your backup is coming from.” Small departments, where budgets and the number of deputies have remained stagnant, are overwhelmed. The number of sheriff’s deputies patrolling 691 square miles in Ross County, which sits some 50 miles south of Columbus, has remained at four over the past two decades. The population over the same period has increased to 77,000 from about 72,000. Starting pay for deputies is $35,000 a year, compared with the Ohio average of about $60,000.

This Jobs Program Just Might Get People Back to Work

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on May 15, 2018

When the man in the teal hoodie mentioned that he had trained as a pharmacy technician, Lachelle Hill’s voice rose in excitement. “Why don’t I see that on here?” the state job counselor asked, pointing at the paperwork on the table between them. Unemployment insurance beneficiaries are required to look for work, but Hill wasn’t just checking Corey’s paperwork for compliance. She was helping him focus his job search, and trying to steer him toward positions he was qualified for.Such conversations are central to a reemployment grant program that the U.S. Department of Labor has touted for years. In February, Congress passed a budget bill that would make the program permanent and increase its funding from about $100 million last year to more than $3 billion over the next six years.To push states to improve their programs further, the law requires that starting in 2023 states must spend a quarter of their money on “evidence-based interventions” that have been proven to get people jobs faster. ut creating evidence-based employment programs can be tricky. While research generally shows that employment assistance helps people get jobs, it’s not always clear why certain programs work well and whether they can be expanded.The nationwide employment program that Corey’s benefiting from is based on a Nevada model that significantly reduced the amount of time people received unemployment benefits. Studies have yet to determine whether the Nevada approach can get the same results elsewhere.

Millions of dogs threatened by rise of 'anti-vax' pills made from diseased flesh sold online, warns RSPCA

The Telegraph | Posted on May 15, 2018

Millions of dogs and cats are at risk of avoidable death from an increase in unproven anti-vaccination “remedies” being sold online, the RSPCA has warned. Amazon this week agreed to remove advertisements for products made from the diseased flesh of dead animals after a Sunday Telegraphinvestigation revealed misleading boasts claiming the “homeopathic nosodes” provide immunity from fatal conditions. The rise in online marketing of “anti-vax” materials risked “horrific suffering” among pets whose owners reject conventional jabs.