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Rural News

A Wyoming county pursues a private immigration jail

High Country News | Posted on November 9, 2017

Uinta County officials have endorsed a private company’s proposal to build a for-profit immigration jail near Evanston, Wyoming. Both Evanston’s city council and Uinta County’s commission unanimously passed resolutions in June to support the Management Training Corporation’s plan to build and manage an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center just outside Evanston city limits. The jail would have the capacity to hold 500 undocumented immigrants detained by ICE while they await court hearings in Salt Lake City.Uinta officials are uncertain whether they need Wyoming’s five statewide elected officials to approve the project. It is possible a jail holding immigration detainees does not require the same level of approval as other forms of private prisons regulated under Wyoming law, a county official said. Either way, MTC’s efforts to jail immigration detainees from throughout the northern rockies in Uinta County have thus far gone largely without notice in the state at large.The private jail would be similar to an MTC-operated ICE detention facility in Southern California, said Mike Murphy, MTC’s vice president of corrections marketing.

‘Ponce’s Law’ bill allows animal abusers to be barred from having pets

Daytona Beach New Journal | Posted on November 9, 2017

A bill called “Ponce’s Law” would put more bite into Florida’s animal cruelty cases by allowing judges to prohibit people convicted of abusing animals from owning pets and giving prosecutors more leverage in the cases, said state Rep. Tom Leek, who introduced the bill. The bill is named in honor of Ponce, a Labrador retriever puppy found beaten to death in the Ponce Inlet backyard of Travis Archer earlier this year. The bill is a positive note to an otherwise grim event, said Leek, an Ormond Beach Republican.

Addiction: a Rural Reality

Farm and Dairy | Posted on November 8, 2017

“In these rural areas, it’s a great challenge to cover distances with people and get people to where they need to be,” Black said. But rural communities also have their advantages. Karen Wiggins, director for the Guernsey County Alcohol and Drug Services, said rural communities have the advantage of “working together” and being able to give people battling addiction “a personal touch.”“We can’t lose sight of the clients we’re working with,” said Wiggins. “My big thing is personal touch, talking with people — making them feel like they matter.”But Wiggins, like Black, admits that rural communities have challenges. There’s less funding, fewer facilities and greater distance between those facilities.

Millennials to Small Cities: Ready or Not, Here We Come

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on November 7, 2017

Tyler and Alissa Hodge, two of the hundreds of young professionals who have moved here in recent years, noticed that despite the influx there was not a single city-style coffee shop downtown. So the couple opened one in May, with sofas, baked goods and local micro-roaster beans, adding a play area as a nod to the family-friendly culture of this southern Indiana city and their own three children.“The 18- to 35-year-olds expect something like that, but they just didn’t have it,” said Tyler Hodge, 32, who used crowdfunding to help finance the shop. The same tactic was used for a rock climbing gym opened in September by a group of young engineers who, like Hodge, spend their weekdays working at Cummins Inc., the diesel engine company that is the city’s largest employer.“There’s not that much to do here for the young people,” said Juan Valencia, a 25-year-old Colombian immigrant who is one of the founders of the climbing gym. “We think this will help.”Before the gym opened, aficionados had to drive an hour north to Indianapolis or south to Louisville, Kentucky, for an indoor climbing wall.As the economy improves and millennials move around the country in search of jobs, some are finding themselves far from the youth culture they learned to expect from city life in other parts of the country. But the tradeoff can be a less burdensome cost of living, a more tightknit community, and a chance to make new towns their own.

Solved: Deer bringing death to moose in Minnesota

Minneapolis Star Tribune | Posted on November 7, 2017

The parasites that deer carry into the North Woods prove fatal, but hunters resist thinning the herd. After spending millions of dollars and tracking hundreds of moose with GPS collars, scientists have pinpointed the primary culprit behind the animal’s ever-shrinking numbers in Minnesota.It’s the deer. Parasites they carry into Minnesota’s North Woods have emerged as the leading cause of death for moose, state and tribal biologists have concluded.But solving that mystery creates a thornier one: How can state wildlife managers balance efforts to save the iconic moose with the demands of hunters who want more deer in Minnesota’s far North Woods?

Breed bans are popular, but do they make the public safer?

AVMA | Posted on November 7, 2017

Breed-specific laws ban or restrict ownership of dog breeds believed to be responsible for the most serious attacks on people. Pit bull–type dogs are the poster child of breed laws, but they can also apply to Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and other large breeds. The American Kennel Club explained in a statement to JAVMA News that "pit bull" is a term commonly used to describe a particular type of dog—many being of mixed breeding—that has some ancestry relating to breeds in the United States, such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. The AKC said "pit bull" is also used sometimes to describe mixes or breeds not registered with the AKC with names such as American Pit Bull Terrier or American Bully. "AKC does not consider Pit Bulls to be purebred dogs, and we register no such dogs," the organization said.Breed restrictions emerged and proliferated during the 1980s as news reports increasingly portrayed pit bull–type dogs as an apex predator, one on which no other animals prey. Sports Illustrated highlighted a story on dogfighting in its July 27, 1987, issue with a cover featuring a snarling dog under the headline "Beware Of This Dog: The Pit Bull Terrier." Hollywood, Florida, enacted the nation's first breed-specific ordinance in 1980 after a pit bull–type dog scalped a 7-year-old boy and mangled his face. That law, which required owners of such dogs to prove they possessed $25,000 in personal liability insurance, was overturned two years later; the judge cited a lack of evidence that pit bull–type dogs were more dangerous than other dogs.Communities reeling after a vicious dog attack may respond by prohibiting or strictly regulating what is assumed to be the responsible breed as a quick fix to a legitimate problem, according to Rebecca Wisch, associate editor and clinical staff attorney with the Animal Legal and Historical Center at Michigan State University College of Law. "Breed-specific laws give people a sense of security," she explained, adding that owners of a banned breed sometimes email MSU's animal law center. "These people face either having to get rid of a dog they consider a family member or move out of the city. That's a pretty tall order for some people," Wisch said.

Virginia’s uneven recovery mirrors its growing political divide

The Washington Post | Posted on November 7, 2017

The averages may say that Virginia’s job growth almost tracks the nation’s recovery. But those overall numbers are driven by large urban counties, especially in the northern suburbs of the District. Across Virginia, as voters decide the nation’s most-watched election this year, most areas had fewer jobs in 2016 than in 2007.This uneven economy could impact the governor’s race between Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. Of the 133 counties and cities in Virginia, 85 have lost jobs since 2007. Job growth was mainly concentrated in booming urban areas, like Northern Virginia and the central part of the state around Richmond. Meanwhile, to the south and west, communities are still dealing with the decline of their four key industries — coal mining, tobacco, textiles and furniture-making.Those differences matter because the divide between job winners and losers mirrors Virginia’s growing political divide. Virginia voters rank the economy as their most important election issue, along with health care. Virginia’s last gubernatorial race in 2013 was close, decided by only 2.5 percent of the more than 2.2 million votes cast. And so is the current race, according to recent polling. So a shift in the votes of any region of the state could be decisive.

Notes from the Senate: Rural Georgia’s economy

Savannah Now | Posted on November 7, 2017

The Georgia House and the Senate have appointed study committees to examine issues in rural development. Attendance at the meetings has been strong. Rural hospitals top the list. Communities with no healthcare facilities are pretty much dead in the water for economic development.There’s the fear that an existing hospital will close its doors and a community will be perceived as without a future.This has caused local governments to support their hospitals with local tax dollars. Problems of payer mix and low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement is made worse by the amount of uncompensated care for those with no ability to pay. Often, the local tax base includes homes, farmland and forestland with little industrial base. Rural communities’ retail infrastructure has shrunk through the years for many reasons: lack of jobs, population shifts and the influence of regional shopping areas. A shrinking or stagnant tax base leads to other problems, such as stress on school and hospital funding.

Veterinarians help reverse K-9 overdoses

WAND | Posted on November 6, 2017

The opioid epidemic is affecting more than just people. "They're not just dogs I mean the dog lives with me, he's my partner, he's with me 24/7," Deputy Chad Beasley, with the Champaign County Sheriff's Office, says. "I always jokingly say, 'he's with me more than my wife' which is probably true."Arco is Deputy Beasley's partner. He is a 5 year old Dutch Shepherd."I've had him on the street for about 4 years now," Beasley says.Arco helps with tracking people, finding weapons, and seeking out heroin. That job is becoming increasingly dangerous."A lot of the heroin that we're seeing now is mixed with that fentanyl and carfentantil so they're mixing it and we don't know what's in it," Beasley says. "That's the problem - it's very potent so it can not only injure the officers but injure the dog."Because of a dogs heightened sense of smell, sniffing out this laced heroin can cause them to overdose. That's where veterinarians at the University of Illinois come in."These animals are out there on the front lines saving lives, we really need to be taking care of them," Dr. Maureen McMichael, a professor of emergency medicine and critical care, says.

Regulation Is Killing Community Banks – Public Banks Can Revive Them

Common Dreams | Posted on November 2, 2017

Crushing regulations are driving small banks to sell out to the megabanks, a consolidation process that appears to be intentional. Publicly-owned banks can help avoid that trend and keep credit flowing in local economies.The number of US banks with assets under $100 million dropped from 13,000 in 1995 to under 1,900 in 2014. The regulatory burden imposed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act exacerbated this trend, with community banks losing market share at double the rate during the four years after 2010 as in the four years before. But the number had already dropped to only 2,625 in 2010.  What happened between 1995 and 2010?Six weeks after September 11, 2001, the 1,100 page Patriot Act was dropped on congressional legislators, who were required to vote on it the next day. The Patriot Act added provisions to the 1970 Bank Secrecy Act that not only expanded the federal government’s wiretapping and surveillance powers but outlawed the funding of terrorism, imposing greater scrutiny on banks and stiff criminal penalties for non-compliance. Banks must now collect and verify customer-provided information, check names of customers against lists of known or suspected terrorists, determine risk levels posed by customers, and report suspicious persons, organizations and transactions. One small banker complained that banks have been turned into spies secretly reporting to the federal government. If they fail to comply, they can face stiff enforcement actions, whether or not actual money-laundering crimes are alleged.