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Rural News

House approves rural phone quality measure

Agri-Pulse | Posted on September 29, 2016

The Rural Broadband Association is applauding the House of Representatives for passing the Communications Act Update Act of 2016, which includes provisions to combat problems of telephone calls failing to complete to rural areas as well as measures to relieve small business network operators from burdensome broadband obligations. NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield said the legislation holds great significance for rural Americans and the small hometown businesses committed to providing them with quality voice and broadband services.

New law allows Californians to rescue pets from hot cars

San Luis Obispo Tribune | Posted on September 28, 2016

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that allows Californians to rescue animals trapped in hot cars without fear of prosecution. The bill signed on Saturday lets citizens smash car windows to set the pets free as long as there is no other way to rescue them. That means rescuers can break into the car if the animal appears to be in peril, the car is locked and law enforcement is not arriving quickly enough. The rescuer must stay at the scene until law enforcement respond to the situation. The bill was introduced after a series of incidents in which dogs died after being left in closed cars on hot days.



Still Not Enough Treatment in the Heart of the Opioid Crisis

Pew Trusts | Posted on September 28, 2016

This city, where the rate of drug overdose deaths is nearly 10 times the national average, has done more than most to fight the heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic.  Local police have been diverting drug users to specialized drug courts for treatment. The city opened a syringe exchange program to reduce the spread of infectious diseases among drug users. And doctors and nurses from a local hospital have developed a model facility to care for the hundreds of opioid-dependent infants born to heroin-addicted mothers.  But instead of getting better, Huntington’s opioid problem is getting worse. In just one afternoon last month, 28 people in this city of 50,000 overdosed on heroin. Since January, 773 people have overdosed on opioids (including prescription painkillers and heroin), a 24 percent increase over last year. An estimated 8,000 Huntington residents are addicted, mostly to opioids.

Some insurers thwart efforts to use medication treatment for addiction

USA Today | Posted on September 28, 2016

Krista Sizemore's brain was crying out for heroin.  But she knew she was pregnant. She knew her baby needed her to stay safe. She knew what could happen if she used again. She thought she'd been through it all, even overdosing once in her father's home. Sizemore, 26, called her mother, Kimberly Wright. "I knew I wasn't going to stop without help," Sizemore said. But when Sizemore tried to get help from a top addiction doctor in Northern Kentucky, the insurance blocked the first attempt. WellCare of Kentucky gave her a little Suboxone but required Zubsolv, a similar medication used to reduce cravings and stabilize heroin users.Then, on Labor Day weekend, Sizemore tried to get her second prescription filled. Again: Denied. The insurance company wanted a new prior-authorization form, just a month after the first. Sizemore is not alone in struggling with insurance. During a nationwide epidemic in which one American dies every 19 minutes from opioid or heroin overdose, addiction doctors say insurance barriers to medication that can save lives are instead putting them at risk for death.

Food Habits of Recolonizing Cougars in the Dakotas: Prey Obtained from Prairie and Agricultural Habitats

South Dakota State University | Posted on September 28, 2016

Food habits of cougars (Puma concolor) in North America have been documented for western populations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Most studies assessed diets of cougars occupying typical habitats, and within established populations. We evaluated food habits of cougars in prairie and agricultural landscapes in the Dakotas (regions that had been devoid of the species for roughly a century) located well outside of known resident populations. We obtained stomach and gastrointestinal (GI) tracts from 14 cougars (10 male; 4 female) from 2003–2007, and evaluated contents via frequency of occurrence (%) of various prey items. Deer (Odocoileus spp.) had the highest frequency of occurrence (50.0%). Other native mammalian prey included jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii, L. californicus), porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), beaver (Castor canadensis), badger (Taxidea taxus), mink (Mustela vison) and rodent species (e.g., vole). No domestic livestock species were documented as part of the cougar diet in the Dakotas, although remains of domestic housecat (Felis silvestris) were found in GI tracts of two animals. Based on our results, cougars occupying non-typical, newly recolonized habitats were successfully adapting predation techniques for capture of natural and newly confronted prey species. The wide range of prey encountered suggested that prey was being obtained opportunistically in prairie and agricultural landscapes of the Dakotas.

Palm Beach County bans dog, cat sales at new pet stores

Sun Sentinel | Posted on September 28, 2016

w pet stores in Palm Beach County will no longer be able to sell dogs or cats as part of an effort to crack down on substandard breeders known as puppy mills.  Commissioners approved the measure despite concerns from animal advocates. They argued it doesn't go far enough to cut off demand for puppies and kittens from commercial breeders who may put profits ahead of animal welfare. Existing stores could continue to sell puppies and kittens provided they are purchased from a licensed breeder that meets U.S. Department of Agriculture standards. Eight pet stores in Palm Beach County sell dogs or cats, according to Animal Care and Control. David Torgerson, a Delray Beach animal advocate, said grandfathering in pet stores will allow stores to keep selling animals from commercial breeders that he thinks don't do enough to care for breeding dogs and cats.

North Dakota tax collections continue falling below forecast

Bismarck Tribune | Posted on September 27, 2016

North Dakota continues to see bleaker-than-expected state tax revenue collections from declining slumping oil and crop prices in the state.Office of Management and Budget Director Pam Sharp says revenues for August totaled $139.3 million. That's $9.2 million less than what had been projected.

Millions in US climb out of poverty, at long last

The New York Times | Posted on September 27, 2016

Not that long ago, Alex Caicedo was stuck working a series of odd jobs and watching his 1984 Chevy Nova cough its last breaths. He could make $21 an hour at the Johnny Rockets food stand at FedEx Field when the Washington Redskins were playing but work was spotty  Today, Mr. Caicedo is an assistant manager at a pizzeria with an annula salary of $40,000 and health benefits.  The Caicedos are among the 3.5 million Americans who were able to raise above the poverty line last year according to census data. 

Wildfire rehab in Idaho, Oregon includes fall herbicide

SFGate | Posted on September 26, 2016

The federal government's 5-year, $67 million rehabilitation effort following a 2015 rangeland wildfire in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon is entering its second year with another round of herbicide applications combined with plantings of native species. The U.S. Bureau of Land Managementhas started applying the herbicide Imazapic on federal lands to knock out invasive weeds in Oregon and will begin in Idaho in October, officials said. The rehabilitation is part of the federal government's plan to develop new strategies to combat increasingly destructive rangeland wildfires, mainly in Great Basin states that contain significant habitat for greater sage grouse, a bird found in 11 Western states. About 200,000 to 500,000 remain, down from a peak population of about 16 million. About 100 square miles of aerial spraying is taking place in Idaho and Oregon and visitors are asked to stay away from posted areas.

Despite State Barriers, Cities Push to Expand High-Speed Internet

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on September 23, 2016

Websites take minutes to load and photos take hours to upload at Ryan Davis’ home in the small southern Tennessee city of Dayton. If Davis gets in his car and drives about half an hour south to Chattanooga, though, everything takes under a second.  The city-provided fiber optic network there is so fast — up to 10 gigabits per second — that Chattanooga is known as Gig City. Chattanooga wants to expand outside of its current service area to Dayton and other rural spots. But a state law bans cities from doing so, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit last month rejected an attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to block the state law.  The court’s decision was limited to Chattanooga and Wilson, North Carolina, another city that wants to expand its service. But about 20 states have laws that ban or restrict municipal broadband, and the ruling means that any city that attempts to get around the laws won’t be able to turn to the federal agency for help.  The outcome sends the fight back to the local level, where cities are looking for ways to work within the laws so they can reach residents on the other side of the digital divide.