The private sector does not have a stellar record of timely technology deployment in rural America. Those of us who get our electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority or a rural electric cooperative know that public, quasi-public, and private partnerships are essential. That path made telephone service much more accessible. Neither technology is universally available, but it is clear that without the government lending a hand, much of rural America would be off all the grids. Private enterprise and the government need to work together to find a way to get more rural Americans online. It will take innovative thinking, ruling out nothing, to get high speed internet to rural communities across the country. Let’s work to make sure that both parties remember that strong communities are connected communities, and that access to the economy requires access to the internet.
Rural America continued to add jobs in July, according to figures just released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are 124,000 more jobs in rural counties this July compared to July 2015, according to the BLS. The pace of job growth in rural America, however, was a fraction of that in metropolitan areas. While the number of jobs in rural counties increased by 4.8 percent in the past year, job growth in metropolitan counties was 13.3 percent – more than twice the rural rate. Metropolitan counties added 2.5 million jobs in the last year. This is a continuing story. For the past few years, job growth has been concentrated in metropolitan areas. Job growth in rural counties has been slower than in the cities – and concentrated in oil and gas producing counties. Unemployment rates have come down everywhere, but unemployment remains a bigger problem in rural counties than in metro areas. The unemployment rate in urban counties has dropped from 5.5 percent to 5.1 percent in the last year. In the nation’s most rural counties, the rate has declined from 5.9 percent to 5.6 percent in July of this year.
“For the last couple of months, Benz has been asking for a ‘cow having a calf’ cake for his birthday. “We tried our best to persuade him, in fact I overheard Tyler say to Benz, ‘a Thomas the Train cake would be cool.. Would you like Mom to make one for your birthday?’. To which he replied, ‘I don't even watch Thomas the train’. We tried. “So there I sat, Google imaging "cow having a calf cake" and guess what, there were zero results, surprise, surprise! “So as I'm moulding rice crispy squares into little hooves I'm thinking to myself, no Mother is ever really prepared for this kind of stuff. And as I'm applying cherry pie filling as afterbirth, I found myself thinking.. Thank goodness it's only family coming to this party!”
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency in Pawnee County after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck northwest of Pawnee. The earthquake struck at 7:02 a.m. Saturday and was felt throughout the Midwestern United States, although no severe damage or serious injuries were reported. The quake ties a 2011 earthquake for the strongest earthquake in recorded state history. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is requiring the shutdown of 37 wastewater disposal wells in the area around the epicenter of a magnitude 5.6 earthquake. The mandate from the commission's Oil and Gas Division comes after the Saturday morning earthquake near Pawnee and includes 514 square miles under commission jurisdiction. Commission spokesman Matt Skinner says another 211 square miles in Osage County is under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency. He says the commission is working with the EPA, which will decide what action to take there.
The Iowa Foundation for Microenterprise and Community Vitality (Iowa Microloan) has received a $99,000 USDA Rural Business Development Grant to develop a Rural Ventures Accelerator program in partnership with Ag Ventures Alliance, based in Mason City, and Iowa State University. The program seeks to develop a collaboration that provides targeted business and development with technical assistance to “assist strategic rural ventures and smaller rural communities that may not have the capacity and local networks that larger communities possess."
Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram explained that it takes hours for the body to metabolize carfentanil, which means that this drug is a longer-lasting high. When someone overdoses on the said drug, they are difficult to revive and save their lives. "We've been getting lots of reports that they're using two or three doses to get people to come back," says Ingram. He's trying to apply a stronger version of naloxone. Carfentanil is also referred to as synthetic opioid analgesic fentanyl. It is about 10,000 times more potent than morphine, which makes it the most potent commercially used opioids. It is also marketed with a trade name Wildnil, which is used as an anesthetic agent for big animals. Its side effects include nausea, itching and serious respiratory depression, which is life-threatening.
A powerful drug that's normally used to tranquilize elephants is being blamed for a record spike in drug overdoses in the Midwest. Officials in Ohio have declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says communities everywhere should be on alert for carfentanil. The synthetic opioid is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the prescription painkiller that led to the death earlier this year of the pop star Prince. Fentanyl itself can be up to 50 times more deadly than heroin. In the past few years, traffickers in illegal drugs increasingly have substituted fentanyl for heroin and other opioids. Now carfentanil is being sold on American streets, either mixed with heroin or pressed into pills that look like prescription drugs. Many users don't realize that they're buying carfentanil. And that has deadly consequences. "Instead of having four or five overdoses in a day, you're having these 20, 30, 40, maybe even 50 overdoses in a day," says Tom Synan, who directs the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition Task Force in Southwest Ohio. He's also the police chief in Newtown, Ohio. Synan says carfentanil turned up in Cincinnati in July. At times, the number of overdoses has overwhelmed first responders.
Washington state attorneys asked a judge to fine the Grocery Manufacturers Association $43.8 million for campaign finance violations, a penalty that the association’s lawyer said was intended to ruin the trade group. The penalty would be by far the largest ever levied in Washington for not reporting campaign activities. In the biggest penalty to date, the Washington Education Association settled a case in 2008 by paying $975,000. Assistant Attorney General Garth Ahearn said GMA’s actions were unprecedented. The trade group schemed to conceal from voters the food and beverage companies that spent $11 million to defeat an initiative in 2013 that would have required labels on products with genetically engineered ingredients, he said. GMA reported itself as the source of the campaign contributions, but Hirsch ruled in March that GMA broke the law by not disclosing the companies the contributed to GMA. A trial to determine GMA’s penalty concluded Tuesday with closing arguments. Hirsch said she hoped to rule within a month.
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.
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.