Skip to content Skip to navigation

Rural News

Nevada USDA rural properties to be available as drug abuse recovery housing

Reno Gazette Journal | Posted on September 1, 2016

Residents recovering from substance abuse in rural Nevada will be getting new options for transitional housing through a new federal program.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture named Nevada as one of four states chosen for a pilot program that would turn vacant USDA properties in rural areas as housing for people who are recovering from opioid, painkiller or other substance abuse disorders.

Nearly 1,000 households near North Carolina coal ash facilities to receive alternate drinking water

Fox 46 | Posted on September 1, 2016

State environmental officials say they have notified well owners within half a mile of coal ash facilities that they will receive a permanent alternative drinking water supply.  Official say letters went out to 1,000 households. 
“North Carolina continues to lead the nation in addressing the decades-old problem of coal ash,” said Tom Reeder, assistant secretary of the state environmental department. “As we work toward closing every coal ash pond in the state, we are providing residents with the peace of mind that comes from receiving alternate water connections.” 
Governor McCrory signed legislation in July that require Duke Energy to install and pay for new water supplies to households located near coal ash ponds as soon as possible, but no later than the fall of 2018.

Hackers halt hunting, fishing license sales in some states

Capital Press | Posted on August 31, 2016

Washington state has suspended selling fishing and hunting licenses because hackers have gained access to personal information stored by the company that sells licenses online, according to officials.  The Idaho Department of Fish and Game, which also contracts with ACTIVE Network, has suspended online sales. Licenses and tags can still be bought at offices and businesses, which use a system separate from that involved in the security breach, according to the department.  The Washington Department of Fish and Game has shut down all sales through dealers and by phone, as well as online, a WDFW spokesman said. WDFW was working today on a temporary rule to authorize hunting and fishing while investigators probe the breach, the spokesman said. Other Western states are investigating similar breaches.

Potholes in the plans to rebuild America

The Hill | Posted on August 25, 2016

In recent weeks, both presidential candidates have unveiled plans to repair and improve the country’s bridges, roads, internet and water systems. Democratic nominee Clinton says she will allocate $275 billion to the cause, including the creation of a national infrastructure bank designed to spur private investment, in what she has called the “biggest job creation program since World War II.”  Meanwhile, presidential hopeful Trump boasts that he would “at least double” Clinton’s pledged investment. Taken at face value, that means Trump would allocate more than half a trillion dollars to reviving America’s infrastructure. There certainly needs to be a major investment in modernizing and repairing America’s infrastructure. Far too many of us worry if the water our children drink is safe, how we will get to work despite crumbling roads and broken public transit systems or how we will get vital information without access to reliable communications technologies. An investment in the systems we rely on could resolve these issues, but it could also do so much more.  While there has been much discussion of how improvements and repairs to our infrastructure will be financed, there has been little talk of how it will be pursued. If paired with an equity agenda, such an investment could provide a bold vision for tackling the most pressing problems of our time. The decisions embedded in how we pursue a massive modernization project could provide an opportunity to address climate change and racial and economic inequity.

Washington county authorizes action against wolves

Capital Press | Posted on August 25, 2016

Ferry County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Friday authorizing the sheriff’s office to kill the remaining nine members of a wolf pack in the northeastern Washington county, if state wildlife officials don’t resume shooting wolves.  “That pack of wolves needs to be gone,” Commissioner Mike Blankenship said. “I feel the sheriff has that power and that obligation as much as he would with a wild dog out there.” The Department of Fish and Wildlife halted the search Thursday for the Profanity Peak pack 13 days after shooting two adult female wolves from a helicopter. Four adults and five pups survive. It may not be necessary. WDFW says it will resume hunting for the Profanity Peak pack if more depredations occur. If the county targets wolves, it would test WDFW’s jurisdiction over the state’s wildlife.

Rural-Urban Voters False Dichotomy

Daily Yonder | Posted on August 25, 2016

One key to understanding current political reporting is that many national reporters seem to think that any area that is not within a major U.S. city is rural. Which leads to an aside: Isn’t it interesting how this data is always pitched as rural versus urban. A better description is that the nation’s huge cities are voting very differently from everyone else.  The NPR reporter runs down the differences between major cities and the rest of the country – major cities are more mixed racially, for example, and people there on average have more education. But she makes the case that “living in a rural area by itself shapes a person’s politics, and can particularly drive a voter toward Trump.” Finally, we would remind everyone that if the fight is between rural and urban voters, urban is going to win every time. Only about 15 percent of the population lives in a rural county.

Digital Access Gap Hits Some Subgroups Harder

Daily Yonder | Posted on August 25, 2016

The overall gap between Internet use in rural and urban areas has remained relatively consistent for the past two decades. Since 1998, rural people have used the Internet at a rate that is 6 to 9 points lower than urban residents. Lower levels of Internet usage are not uniform across different segments of the rural population. Some rural Americans use the Internet at rates comparable to their urban counterparts, but the rural-urban gap gets more pronounced for those with less education and money.  A new report from the National Telecommunications and Infrastructure Administration shows that there are significant differences within the rural-urban digital divide when you look below the surface at sub-groups of rural Americans. Rural college graduates, for example, use the Internet at about the same rate as urban graduates (83 and 84 percent respectively). But as education levels fall, the gap between rural and urban usage increases. Sixty-three percent of rural residents with just a high school diploma use the Internet. That’s 6 points lower than the rate for urban residents with a high school diploma. The gap was slightly larger for rural residents who did not have diploma. For that group, 52 percent of rural residents used the Internet, while 59 percent of urban residents who lacked a high school diploma used the Internet.

Flood relief in a West Virginia town

Daily Yonder | Posted on August 25, 2016

In this summer of catastrophic floods – first in West Virginia in late June and now in Louisiana – scores of small communities will face the daunting task of digging out and trying to start over. For one inundated West Virginia town, help came from down the road, across the country, and next door. And a good bit of that help came from folks who once called Richwood, West Virginia, home. Townspeople rallied, and a state official stepped in briefly to lead until the mayor-elect, Bob Henry Baber, could take over. The situation was dire for a town already long impoverished by the demise of the coal industry. The sewer system was largely destroyed. Water intakes were compromised. Roads were torn up. Ninety residents of a nursing and rehabilitation center had been evacuated by staff and neighbors amid waist-deep rising waters; the building was later abandoned and 130 jobs lost. Only 5 percent of homeowners had flood insurance. Already a food desert, the town’s last place to buy groceries, Dollar General, had been ravaged. Experts were calling it a 1,000-year flood. Within hours of the flooding, a dozen utility workers from the town of Hurricane, West Virginia, more than two hours away, came with everything from a dump truck and jetter to a 1,000-gallon water buffalo. They got water and sewer to most of the town up and running that same evening, and to more people later. Then they cleaned out churches, community centers, and houses, staying six days in all, the guests of a church miles away. Hurricane later sent four more crew members and three police officers. Its mayor, Scott Edwards, himself came down a week later and helped clean out debris under houses.

New Iowa lawsuit seeks 'emergency' stop to pipeline construction

Storm Lake Pilot Tribune | Posted on August 24, 2016

the Davis Brown Law Firm filed an emergency motion with the Iowa Utilities Board to temporarily prevent construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across the property of fifteen Iowa landowners while a lawsuit remains pending in Polk County District Court. The motion filed with the IUB is a result of guidance from District Court Judge Jeffrey Farrell after a hearing held Friday, August 19 to decide whether to apply an emergency stay against pipeline construction. The pending lawsuit in Polk County asks whether a private company, which provides no service to Iowans, may use the state's power of eminent domain to seize land from Iowa citizens for its private use. Earlier this year, the Iowa Utilities Board ruled that Dakota Access may use the state's power of eminent domain and could proceed with its proposed oil pipeline.

New Ohio law requires migrant worker housing upgrades

Toledo Blade | Posted on August 24, 2016

A series of improvements to housing facilities in Ohio migrant worker camps, including running water, smoke detectors, and improved toilets, will soon be required with a state regulation that goes into effect Jan. 1. The new rule, instituted by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, requires installing sinks with hot and cold running water in existing structures and including them in any new facilities built. Also required will be smoke detectors in housing units, the installation of partitions in communal toilets, and mandates that non-flush toilets be emptied and cleaned at least once a week. Farm owners will have five years to come into compliance with the most substantial change regarding hot and cold running water. Proponents say the upgrades will improve health and safety of everyone involved in the agriculture business.