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Rural News

The Advanced Bioeconomy and the Pet Wellness Revolution

Biofuels Digest | Posted on August 22, 2016

These days, we don’t call it algae, we call it nutritional superfood, and we don’t call our furry friends “pets”, we call them companion animals. So, it’s hot news in the world of the advanced bioeconomy when TerraVia and Nestle Purina Pet Care announced a joint development agreement targeting the companion animal market. The agreement, which spans multiple years, will leverage certain commercially available algae-based advanced nutrition ingredients that TerraVia has developed as well as additional innovative ingredients and product concepts in TerraVia’s development pipeline. And it’s not entirely coincidental that the incoming CEO at TerraVia, Apu Mody, was most recently head of Mars North America — and though many know Mars for its snack and candy businesses, their a huge player in the pet food market. Er, I meant companion animal nutritional wellness space.


How a police chief used compassion to combat his community’s drug problem

High Country News | Posted on August 18, 2016

The message from the chief lit up Facebook in May 2015. “Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged,” read the memo, posted to the page of the Gloucester, Massachusetts, police department. “Instead we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery,” the message continued. “Not in hours or days, but on the spot.” The stunning memo was a last-ditch attempt by Leonard Campanello, Gloucester’s frustrated chief of police, after the town’s fourth fatal opiate overdose in the first few months of 2015 – more than had died by drug overdose the entire previous year. Campanello’s words, written in the straight-talking lingo of a police officer who means business, set off a chain of events even the seasoned chief couldn’t have predicted. Since that 2015 message, more than 450 addicts from across the state have walked through the police station’s doors. Nearly all have been placed into treatment, some multiple times. Rates of crimes typically associated with substance abuse – like shoplifting and breaking and entering – in Gloucester have plummeted by roughly 30 percent. Only one person has overdosed and died in Gloucester.


Bringing Back Manufacturing Jobs Would Be Harder Than It Sounds

NPR | Posted on August 18, 2016

he United States has lost nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000 alone, hollowing out factory towns all over the country and leaving countless working-class Americans struggling.  Getting those jobs back is a goal that politicians of all stripes eagerly line up behind. But the plain truth is that, legally speaking, there's not a lot that Trump or any other president could do to bring those jobs back, without an act of Congress. Presidents simply don't have the power to tell companies whom to hire or where to manufacture, says Jeffrey Bergstrand, professor of finance at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. "Firms are going to make the decisions for their shareholders. If he wants to do this, he is going to have to use government institutions and laws to restrict the decisions of firms," Bergstrand says. And it's not at all clear Congress would support such an effort. What presidents can do is try to make it tough for companies that ship jobs overseas to make money in the United States, by imposing tariffs on their products. Trump has often talked about doing so. Presidents do have the power to impose tariffs unilaterally in the interest of national security, although it's rarely been done, says Chad Bown, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.


Farm children safer, but die too often in accidents

USA Today | Posted on August 18, 2016

Weichelt is among the researchers at the forefront of monitoring injuries and deaths among children related to farming and agriculture at the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. The 2016 report from the center released in July shows that children on farms are much safer from nonfatal injuries today than they were 18 years ago, but not any safer from fatal ones. Every three days, a child dies in an agriculture-related incident, Weichelt said. Thousands of children younger than 20 are injured every year, with the majority of the injuries occurring in the Midwest, he said. "A farm can be littered with potential hazards," Weichelt said. While the number of deaths among children has averaged around 110 per year nationally for the past two decades, fewer kids are being injured on farms. In 1998, the number of injuries among youth per 1,000 farms was 16.6 and by 2014 the rate had dropped to 5.7, said Marsha Salzwedel, a colleague with Weichelt at the children's center, which is a branch of the National Farm Medicine Center


Mystery of Bizarre Bird Deformities May Be Solved

National Geographic | Posted on August 18, 2016

Scientists working with sophisticated DNA sequencing technology think they may have solved a 20-year-old mystery of what has caused thousands of Alaska’s wild birds to be afflicted with deformed, twisted beaks. The findings suggest that a newly discovered virus – poecivirus – may be the culprit behind the bizarre beak deformities in chickadees, crows, and other birds. Birds with the defective beaks, which sometimes cross like warped chopsticks, starve to death or die early.


Dog and dog owner injured in Victoria after cat attacks seven pit bulls

Vancouver Sun | Posted on August 18, 2016

In a case of canine/feline role reversal, seven pit bulls were set upon by an aggressive cat — sending a dog and an owner for medical treatment. “The dogs were walking by, completely minding their own business,” she said. “The cat just goes at all of the dogs, not backing down.”  The pit bulls and pit bull crosses were leashed and none of them fought back, Grover said. They just began barking after the attack began.  Del Thompson said the sight of all the dogs would have been intimidating for his cat, Baby.  “She’s a watchdog and doesn’t know it,” he said. “Cats and dogs don’t get along too well sometimes.”  Thompson and his wife agreed to pay the $222 veterinarian bill for the dog with the injured face, Bandida.


New use of wireless holds promise for rural broadband

Daily Yonder | Posted on August 18, 2016

For all the talk about fiber being the future of broadband, an increasing number of rural communities are finding a prominent seat at the table for wireless technology as well. Now that Google has dropped both oars in the wireless waters, expect communities to follow suit. “For the entire broadband industry, Google has definitely made things interesting,” says Joel Mulder, vice president of sales at eX2 Technology, which designs and installs broadband networks. The potential of wireless is especially apparent for rural areas. “Few people dispute that in many ways fiber is a superior technology for broadband compared to wireless,” states Terry Rubenthaler, vice president of operations and engineering at Midwest Energy Cooperative. Midwest is Michigan utility that provides energy and Internet services “However, the reality is that terrain issues, geographic isolation, low-income status, and other factors make it virtually impossible to deliver fiber ubiquitously.” Other than terrain and geography issues, what’s driving wireless’ popularity is innovation and cost. Several companies are testing products that enable wireless networks to deliver up to a gigabit Internet access speeds to businesses and individuals.


Appeals court sides with states on muni broadband limits

Daily Yonder | Posted on August 18, 2016

A federal court had high praise for municipal broadband networks in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina. But that didn’t stop the Sixth District Court of Appeals from siding with the state governments and major telecommunications companies that wanted to restrict the networks’ growth.  Last week the court sided with North Carolina and Tennessee, where state laws restricted the growth of publicly managed broadband providers beyond a utility district service area in Chattanooga and the city limits in Wilson.  Last year the FCC said states couldn’t enact such restrictions because they countermanded the goals of the Telecommunications Act to promote competition and expand broadband service. The court said Congress had not granted the FCC any specific authority to invalidate the state laws, so the regulators had overstepped their authority.  The case was an important bellwether in efforts to expand broadband access for communities that say major telecommunications companies aren’t responding to community needs for faster speed and more affordable prices.


Research pets to be put up for adoption in NY

The Journal News | Posted on August 17, 2016

New York cats and dogs used for research by colleges and universities will soon be put up for adoption after their work is completed, according to a law signed Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The new law requires higher education institutes and laboratories that partner with them to make "reasonable efforts" to offer research animals for adoption, either through a private placement or a partnership with a local shelter or adoption agency. The law, which will take effect in 30 days, is meant to prevent animals that are suitable to become pets from being euthanized.


Massachusetts pressured to expand conservation tax credit

Eagle Tribune | Posted on August 17, 2016

A tax break for landowners who shield property from development has a nearly three-year wait because of a state cap that environmentalists say is undermining conservation efforts.  Landowners who set aside property under the state program can get income tax credits for 50 percent of their land's value. A landowner may claim up to $75,000 in tax credits, but the program is capped statewide at $2 million per year.  Environmental groups want to raise the limit to $5 million, if not eliminate it.


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