Kraftig Brewing Co. founder William K. "Billy" Busch is now offering $1 more than his siblings in his effort to buy Grant's Farm in south St. Louis County.
Busch on Monday increased his offer for the attraction to $26,000,001. He is offering an additional $8 million to buy the family mansion and 22 acres that adjoin the popular attraction that includes 900 animals and is home to some of the Budweiser Clydesdales. It opened in 1954.
Grant's Farm has long been owned by the Busch Family, founders of Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch InBev, formed when the Belgian brewer purchased Anheuser-Busch in 2008, leases Grant's Farm from the Busch family.
Last year, four of the six siblings tried to sell it to the St. Louis Zoo, which would have used it for a third campus and breeding site for endangered animals.
Billy Busch, with the support of one brother, sought to buy Grant's Farm himself, originally offering $24.2 million. The zoo announced in March it was no longer interested, and the other four siblings made a $26 million offer in April to buy it from a trust.
"I do not want to get into a bidding war with my brothers and sisters, who I love, but if they and their advisers have been so intent on getting the Trust to sell Grant's Farm, why do they now want to buy it?" Billy Busch asked in a statement. "Why not authorize the trust to sell it to me? My plan would benefit each of us."
In recent years, state government has taken a more active role in helping provide citizens with greater access to reliable broadband Internet. By using funding or incentives to encourage providers to expand broadband into underserved areas, policymakers hope to address equity issues involving access, as well as the role that access plays in terms of improved education, economic development and even public safety.
In June of last year, Iowa lawmakers approved legislation (HF 655) that provides property tax abatements to companies that install equipment to build out broadband infrastructure throughout the state. In August, Gov. Terry Branstad announced that an additional 90,000 Iowa households would have access to high-speed Internet as a result of the plan.
This session, lawmakers in Wisconsin and Minnesota have also weighed proposals for making broadband service more available throughout their states. Wisconsin’s AB 820, signed into law in March, seeks to expedite development in the state’s most remote areas by reducing bureaucratic and fiscal barriers for service providers.
Shepherd made his own opportunity here in Whitesburg. He decided to open a restaurant on the main street. It's called Heritage Kitchen, and the food is homey and fresh. "Growing up, you don't know what you want to do," Shepherd said. "It just doesn't seem like the place, there's no opportunity, unless you wanted to work in the coal mines, so I was like, well, I'm getting out of here where there's nothing to do. But you just keep wanting to come home."
That theme — coming home — is one that echoes throughout the hills of Letcher County.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described the depth of poverty in rural America at a Farm Foundation Forum Monday, while at a separate meeting, Lisa Mensah, his top assistant on rural development, called for increased access to broadband as a way to give an economic boost to underserved communities.
Vilsack, speaking at the National Press Club, stressed the importance of targeting USDA resources in rural counties that are persistently impoverished - where at least 20 percent of the county's population has been living in poverty for the last 30 years or more.
Nationwide, there are between 350 and 384 of these “persistent poverty” counties (PPCs) and about 85 percent of them are rural. Of the rural PPCs, about two thirds are located in the Old Confederacy and about one-fourth are within Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, referred to as the Mid-South.
“In the Mid-South, there are 39 PPCs and 35 of those (have a population that is) majority black,” said forum participant Bill Bynum, the CEO of a community development bank called Hope Credit Union Enterprise Corp., which provides affordable financing to underserved communities across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
From February 2015 to February 2016, unemployment remained higher in nonmetropolitan areas. The rural heartland did better than the South or the eastern coalfields.
What’s it like to grow old in rural America?
When it comes to attention and medical resources, “we’re kind of underrepresented,” said Dr. Bill George, who practices at Beartooth Billings Clinic in Red Lodge. “People sometimes feel forgotten.”
The rural American population is older: About 15 percent of residents are 65 or older, compared with 12 percent in urban areas, largely because many people have left in search of education and jobs.