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Rural News

MN:Grants available to keep wolves away from livestock

Duluth News Tribune | Posted on November 30, 2017

Minnesota livestock producers have until Dec. 15 to apply for grant money to help prevent wolf attacks. The deadline was extended three weeks due to a late harvest that kept farmers in the fields longer than average, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said.The Wolf-Livestock Conflict Prevention Grants are a new program funded by the 2017 Minnesota Legislature with $240,000 available over the next two years.


Rural Case on Net Neutrality

DTN | Posted on November 30, 2017

The neutrality debate pits major internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Mediacom -- just to name a few -- against a growing industry of internet content providers such as Google, Facebook, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Caught in between are rural residents who lag behind urban residents in quality internet service, but also have growing demands for internet content.The FCC created the net neutrality rule in 2015 when Democrats controlled a majority of votes at the commission. The rule essentially classified high-speed internet as a public utility that should provide equal access. The FCC said Tuesday that the commission will return to "a light regulatory touch" that had been the FCC strategy for more than a decade leading up to the 2015 rule.Defenders of net neutrality argue internet companies could block websites or throttle down their speeds, especially if entertainment providers are unwilling to pay for faster access. Companies could potentially favor search engines they own. Verizon Communications, for instance, owns Yahoo.Another potential concern is that internet providers will start splitting various high-traffic websites into bundled packages, much like cable providers do with television stations. People would then be forced to pay higher fees to view other websites or find the speeds for those unbundled websites throttled down or shut off altogether.


States Face Children’s Health Coverage Uncertainty

Roll Call | Posted on November 22, 2017

About two months after federal funding lapsed for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, state officials still don’t know exactly when they’ll run out of money or when Congress will renew funding — leaving families that depend on the program increasingly anxious about their benefits. At least a few states say that they could exhaust funds as soon as next month. States are growing more concerned about the program with just a few days left on the congressional calendar until December and no signs that lawmakers plan in the immediate future to renew funding. 


Opioids and their impact on our rural counties

Farm and Dairy | Posted on November 22, 2017

Our series shares stories from three rural counties with high rates of drug overdose deaths. But they are just an illustration of the opioid epidemic that’s hitting your county, too. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to solving the opioid epidemic, but these solutions are from Ohio and around the country. Some are personal action items, some can be accomplished by organizations and others require local, state or federal governments to act. Which ones are at work in your community, and which ones can you work to put in place?


Concentrated Poverty Increased in Both Rural and Urban Areas Since 2000, Reversing Declines in the 1990s

University of New Hampshire, Carsey School | Posted on November 21, 2017

The number of nonmetropolitan counties with high poverty rates increased between the 2000 Decennial Census and 2011–2015 (hereafter 2013) American Community Survey (ACS), and so did the share of the rural population residing in these disadvantaged areas. Over this time period, the percentage of rural counties with poverty rates of 20 percent or more increased from a fifth to nearly one-third, and the share of the rural population living in these places nearly doubled to over 31 percent. Levels of concentrated poverty increased substantially both before and after the Great Recession in rural areas, while increases in urban areas occurred mainly during years affected by the economic downturn. Increases in county-level poverty rates were also concentrated in rural areas with small cities, and the share of the population residing in high-poverty counties increased much more among the non-Hispanic white and black populations in rural areas than among the rural Hispanic population.


NY: Cuomo offering free admission at state parks on Black Friday

New York Daily News | Posted on November 21, 2017

Gov. Cuomo is offering New Yorkers a less costly way to spend Black Friday than shopping — visiting a state park. Cuomo announced Friday that state parks will have free admission on the day after Thanksgiving and will host various family friendly events and programs throughout the holiday weekend.


Florida let hepatitis C go untreated in prisons. Now it may cost taxpayers millions.

Miami Herald | Posted on November 21, 2017

The state of Florida may have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in treatment costs to as many as 20,000 sick inmates after a federal judge ruled that prison officials had failed to properly care for felons infected with the hepatitis C virus. The ruling, by U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker, requires the Florida Department of Corrections to immediately treat a significant portion of the state’s 98,000 inmates who test positive for the viral infection with direct acting antiviral drugs, a 12-week treatment that now costs about $37,000 per patient.


School mergers seen as barrier in rural economy

Time Argus | Posted on November 21, 2017

According to the nearly three dozen witnesses who testified at a Nov. 7 hearing of the state’s Rural Development Caucus, Vermont’s small towns are losing population, have unreliable internet, fewer job opportunities, higher transportation costs and a smaller tax base that makes paying for essential services difficult. Despite these challenges, they said, Vermont’s small towns offer an unmatched quality of life and are ready to make the investments needed to welcome new business and create new jobs.The hearing, organized with support from House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the Vermont Council on Rural Development, was held to help lawmakers determine what Vermonters think are the most significant factors impacting Vermont’s rural economy.“The economies and economic development challenges of rural areas are different from those of more densely populated parts of the state,” said Rep. Chip Conquest, of Newbury, cochairman of the caucus. Co-chairwoman Rep. Laura Sibilia, of Dover, agreed. “While we have our own experience and ideas, we know there is knowledge and insight along the back roads that will help us improve legislation and enact better policies,” she said.Act 46, a state law whose purpose is for school districts to work toward mergers with neighboring districts, and could result in the closure of some schools, dominated much of the two-plus-hour discussion.


MI Soybean Farmers Partner with Midland County to Promote Better Rural Bridge Evaluation and Management

Thumb.net | Posted on November 16, 2017

 Michigan farmers depend upon rural bridges to efficiently deliver their commodities to the local elevator or processing facility. The structural integrity of this infrastructure is essential to farmer profitability. Unfortunately, an increasing number of rural bridges in the state are load limited, requiring vehicles transporting agricultural commodities to detour - often at significant distances. This results in additional costs being inserted in the nation's food delivery system and diminished profitability for Michigan farmers. In an effort to promote better evaluation and management of the state's rural bridges, the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee and the Soy Transportation Coalition have partnered with the Midland County Road Commission in central Michigan on an innovative project designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of load testing technology when assessing the condition of rural bridges. The partnership employs the use of load testing sensors attached to the underside of the bridge. After the sensors are installed, test loads are driven over the various segments of the bridge surface to determine a precise understanding of the capabilities of the bridge. 


Community Health Workers’ Role in Health Care Delivery

Rural Pennsylvania | Posted on November 16, 2017

With current shortages of health care professionals in rural Pennsylvania, community health workers have the potential to play a significant role in the delivery of rural health services, according to research out of Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. Currently, there is no single definition of a community health worker (CHW). However, the research used the definition from the Human Resources and Services Administration’s Community Health Workers National Workforce Study, which defines CHWs as lay members of communities who work or volunteer with local physical health and/or mental health care systems and usually share ethnicity, language, socio-economic status, and life experience with the community members they serve. According to the CHW survey, 91 percent of CHWs are female, with an average age of about 48. CHWs have worked or volunteered in the field for 9 years, on average, with 76 percent of the respondents being paid workers. The educational background of CHWs varied, and ranged from a high school education to a college degree.Twenty percent of CHWs earn between $20,000 and $30,000 per year. It was evident from the focus groups and leadership phone interviews that low pay, high turnover, and lack of adequate funding were significant issues for many agencies.According to the CHW survey, 89 percent of respondents received some type of training to be a CHW. It was evident from the leadership interviews and focus groups that there was a variety of training opportunities being offered to CHWs, depending on the work setting and whether they were volunteer or paid workers. On-the-job training, conference training, certificate programs, shadowing, and formal education were the predominant types of training.


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