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Rural News

County ramping up to comply with state’s organic waste law

| Posted on October 10, 2023
  • By CLAUDIA ELLIOTT For Tehachapi News






Three collection cans, including one for food and organic waste, are coming to some parts of the Greater Tehachapi Area sometime next year.

  • Courtesy of Cal Recycle


Unincorporated areas of Tehachapi that are within the Tehachapi Universal Collection Area for mandatory three-can trash collection are shown in red. The city of Tehachapi, Bear Valley Springs, Golden Hills and Stallion Springs are not part of the Tehachapi UCA.

  • Courtesy of Kern County



If you live in some areas of greater Tehachapi — not including the city, Bear Valley Springs, Golden Hills or Stallion Springs — be prepared to learn about and pay for universal collection.

As reported by The Bakersfield Californian on Sept. 12, counties across California are required to implement a qualified waste disposal system by Jan. 1 as part of Senate Bill 1383, a 2016 state law with a goal of throwing 75% less organic waste into landfills by 2025. This includes all census tracts containing more than 75 people per square mile.

Property owners in affected areas will soon receive — or may have already received — a letter from the county informing them about the plan to establish universal collection areas to meet state requirements.


Within each of the collection areas, the county plans to implement a three-container waste collection system with one can each for regular household trash, recyclables and organics, including food waste.

Payment will be through the county’s property tax system. The $559.80 per residential unit per year rate includes a $12 per unit per year Solid Waste Administration Fee.

The Tehachapi Universal Collection area will use WM as a waste hauler and 451 residential parcels have been identified as those that will be charged $559.80 per year.

According to a report provided to the Kern County Board of Supervisors at its Sept. 12 meeting, people who reside in the Tehachapi Universal Collection Area may be self-hauling trash or may already be participating in a two-can collection program.

“If they are currently using the service of a franchise hauler, then they are already paying $26.63 per residential living unit per month,” the report said.

The monthly charge will be discontinued once the board approves universal collection.

Proposition 218 hearing

Because the universal collection program charges will be collected on the tax roll, California law requires that the county go through what is called the Proposition 218 process before the charges can be imposed.


The Board of Supervisors has set public hearings for each of the county’s 14 universal collection areas on Dec. 5.

Property owners may protest the planned charges in writing. The Board of Supervisors will not be able to adopt the charges if a majority of property owners submit a written protest.

Protests must be received no later than the time of the hearing and each must include the name of the property owner or tenant, the address or Assessor’s Parcel Number and be signed in a manner that allows confirmation of the owner’s name.

Informational meetings

The county plans a number of informational meetings prior to the Dec. 5 public hearing.

In Tehachapi, the meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Tehachapi Veterans Building, 125 E. F St.

Another meeting for any of the 14 collection areas will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Public Services Building, 2700 M St., Bakersfield.

City, other areas

The city of Tehachapi is also working through a years-long process to comply with the law and is awaiting a rate study recently authorized by the City Council. Once the study is complete, the city will work with its contractor, WM, to establish rates.

In a report to the council on Sept. 18, Assistant City Manager Corey Costelloe said city plans to add a third can for residential customers by next summer. 

Rural agriculture needs reliable communication: Josh Peschel launches new technology in ag hotspots | Posted on March 7, 2023

Mobile communication has changed the world around us nearly overnight.

Yet still, with much progress in this realm of technology, remote, rural areas are still struggling to connect with the outside world. These remote areas are hotspots for agriculture, with acres upon acres of crops and animals.

That’s why Josh Peschel, assistant professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering, is linking agriculture and technology together in a nationwide research project funded by the National Science Foundation. The team, led by Hongwei Zhang, a professor in electrical and computer engineering, is launching a test bed for experimentation to develop new, wireless networking tools that would serve remote areas – especially ones here in Iowa.

The test bed takes place in the form of a wireless living lab across Iowa State University, the city of Ames and surrounding farms and rural areas.

With this new wireless infrastructure, the team is also launching an application with a focus on agriculture – and that’s where Peschel comes in.

“A lot of agriculture as we know it is very remote and disconnected,” Peschel said. “If we want to have better wireless connectivity for these remote outposts of agriculture, we need something as powerful as this.”

Peschel is installing cameras that are connected to the wireless test bed in pig barns and cattle pens around the area.

“When we put cameras in pig barns and cattle pens to monitor their behavior in real-time, those videos can be electronically transported back from very remote locations,” Peschel said. “Whereas now, you wouldn’t even be able to get a text message at those remote locations. But with this project, you could perhaps have streaming, high-definition video coming from those places, from the cameras.”

The cameras, intentionally linked to the team’s wireless network, wirelessly transmits information back to the team using their experimental technologies to help them better understand bandwidth requirements, minimum video quality and more.

Healthcare Access in Rural Communities

| Posted on January 4, 2023

Access to healthcare services is critical to good health, yet rural residents face a variety of access barriers. A 1993 National Academies report, Access to Healthcare in Americadefined access as “the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best possible health outcomes.” A 2014 RUPRI Health Panel report on rural healthcare access summarizes additional definitions of access with examples of measures that can be used to determine access.

Ideally, residents should be able to conveniently and confidently access services such as primary care, dental care, behavioral health, emergency care, and public health services. In 2012, Healthy People 2020 identified that access to healthcare is important for:

  • Overall physical, social, and mental health status
  • Disease prevention
  • Detection, diagnosis, and treatment of illness
  • Quality of life
  • Avoiding preventable deaths
  • Life expectancy

Rural residents often encounter barriers to healthcare that limit their ability to obtain the care they need. Access to healthcare implies that healthcare services are available and obtainable in a timely manner. Yet rural residents often encounter barriers to healthcare access. Even when an adequate supply of healthcare services exists in the community, there are other factors that may impede healthcare access. For instance, to have healthcare access, rural residents must also have:

  • Financial means to pay for services, such as health or dental insurance that is accepted by the provider
  • Means to reach and use services, such as transportation to services that may be located at a distance, and the ability to take paid time off of work to use such services
  • Confidence in their ability to communicate with healthcare providers, particularly if the patient is not fluent in English or has limited health literacy
  • Trust that they can use services without compromising privacy
  • Confidence that they will receive quality care

This guide provides an overview of healthcare access in rural America, including discussion of the importance and benefits of healthcare access and the barriers that rural residents experience. The guide includes information regarding:

  • Barriers to care, including workforce shortages, health insurance status, transportation issues, health literacy, and stigma in rural communities
  • Access issues for specific populations and healthcare services
  • Strategies and resources to improve access

For information on access to public health services in rural communities, see the Rural Public Health Agencies topic guide.

Immigrant families forgoing food, housing in fear of Trump's visa plan

Newsweek | Posted on May 23, 2019

Immigrants in the United States and their families are forgoing essential welfare benefits like public housing, food stamps and Medicare over fear of persecution, a new study has found. One in seven immigrants avoided public benefit programs in 2018 out of concern they would risk their future green card status, the Urban Institute found.Last week, President Donald Trump proposed changing the nation’s legal immigration system to limit green cards given to migrants who rely on welfare benefits or who are not financially independent. Instead, the president said he would prioritize well-off citizen-seekers with job offers or job creation ideas.

Rural and urban economies can improve with cooperation

Wisconsin State Journal | Posted on May 23, 2019

Data revealed Thursday at MadREP’s “State of the Madison Region Economy” event highlighted significant challenges facing the seven counties outside Dane while also breaking down research reports on the region’s target economic sectors: agriculture, food and beverage; advanced manufacturing; health care; information communications technology; and bioscience.“Our rural areas are significantly under-performing compared to Dane County,” said MadREP President Paul Jadin, who presented the region’s next five-year economic development strategy.There are many reasons for that, not the least of which is the lack of robust broadband connections in parts of those counties, a farm economy that is suffering in some sectors – and a mix of opportunity and social factors that have contributed to rural out-migration in America for a century or more.Some of the friction in Wisconsin is cultural and political. Local officials in parts of the state often see cities such as Madison and Milwaukee as wealthy enemies, even if so much of the state’s economy depends on healthy urban centers. City officials, on the other hand, are sometimes accused of land grabs to build municipal tax bases.

School Meals Expansion story

AP News | Posted on May 23, 2019

In a story May 16 about school meals programs in Oregon, The Associated Press reported erroneously the number of public school students in Oregon. There are about 580,000 students, not 400,000. A corrected version of the story is below:Oregon OKs largest expansion of federal free lunch program. Oregon is spending $40 million to dramatically expand the federal free breakfast and lunch program, ensuring that more than 60 percent of its 58,000 public school students will be included, the only statewide effort in the country

Opportunity Zones Skip Over Hard-Hit Rural Places

Nonprofit Quarterly | Posted on May 23, 2019

Shelterforce is right on the money in their article, “Pushing Opportunity Zones to Fulfill Their Promise.” The piece urges urban leaders across the country to set guiding principles to make sure this new tax incentive, called the “most significant community development program to pass in a generation,” leads to equitable development and not displacement of low-income residents and people of color. Opportunity Zones were created by the federal tax overhaul in 2017 to entice private investors to underserved areas by eliminating capital gains taxes owed on prior investments if reinvested in Opportunity Zone communities for at least a decade. The new program has already attracted $28 billion in investment capacity.But many rural communities, like many urban neighborhoods, need outside investment to create jobs, build affordable housing, provide critical services, and incent broadband and renewable energy infrastructure. So why are rural communities barely targeted in the Opportunity Zone marketplace? According to the experts, the deals are too small, the risk is too high, the real estate doesn’t appreciate so as to produce capital gains, and investors don’t know rural places and players.At least six states, however, are testing strategies that can crack the code for rural. Three states, Kentucky, Alabama, and Texas, are seeking to sweeten the deal for investments in rural Opportunity Zones through proposed legislation enabling state tax credits on top of the federal ones. Just signed into law in the State of Washington is a new tax preference for state taxpayers who contribute to a Rural Development and Opportunity Zone Fund, for a total of $65 million/year. But perhaps most useful are Virginia’s, Oregon’s, and Alabama’s efforts to respond to the persistent challenge of limited development capacity in rural places—lack of local expertise to move qualified deals forward and connect them with state and national capital sources.

Colorado to reward companies for hiring remote workers in state’s far-flung areas

Denver Post | Posted on May 23, 2019

Companies have relocated thousand of jobs to Colorado since the Great Recession, many drawn by the state’s job growth incentive tax credit program (JGITC), which provides a state tax credit based on payroll taxes paid. But most of those positions have landed in metro Denver or now and then in nearby cities like Fort Collins or Colorado Springs. That Front Range concentration has frustrated economic development officials to no end. The Hickenlooper administration rolled out even more targeted and generous incentive programs to convince employers to go rural. The state devoted outreach and resources to help overlooked areas boost their attractiveness. And employers have continued to keep their distance.Starting next year, when companies apply for a JGITC award from the state, they can count remote workers based in rural areas toward that award, not just those in the primary Colorado location. If they have 15 or more remote workers in a rural area, employers can receive another $5,000 per worker beyond the JGITC award. For fewer than 15, the award drops to $2,500 a hire, unless those remote workers are on the Ute Mountain or Southern Ute reservations.

Rural Strength and Possibility

Daily Yonder | Posted on May 23, 2019

Smart and effective community development financial institutions are investing in the success of rural America. The results contradict arguments that America should write off everyone who lives outside large cities. Rural America isn’t going to hell in a handbasket. There’s more strength and possibility in rural areas than today’s popular narrative would have us think. I’ve spent much of my career on and around rural development issues, and I believe we can’t just write off 14 percent of the country’s population and 85 percent of its land mass, throw up our hands, and tell people to buy a bus ticket out or be doomed. There is a power to place. We need people in rural America.Modern American agriculture leads the world in food, fuel, and fiber innovations—there’s a strength here that as a nation we need to encourage. some of the most forceful, creative, and capable community development practitioners—community development financial institutions (CDFIs)—are fighting in and for highly distressed rural areas. They are proving the fight can be won.CDFIs have proven experience and the conviction that decent housing, clean drinking water, and life enriching community facilities and opportunities can happen in even the remotest and poorest areas. We’re not grappling with the mysteries of cancer. We know how to solve problems in rural infrastructure, housing, banking, small business, and healthcare. The solution is capital, resources, and perseverance.

Nevada Governor signs surprise emergency room billing compromise, pre-existing condition protections into law

The Nevada Independent | Posted on May 23, 2019

Two sweeping health-care bills that would prevent patients from getting hit with surprise emergency room bills and protect Nevadans with pre-existing conditions were signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak. The move brings Sisolak one step closer to fulfilling the health-care agenda he touted on the campaign trail, including standing up to President Donald Trump on protections for people with pre-existing conditions and ending surprise emergency room bills. But it also represents the culmination of years of work — and for surprise billing, decades — on issues Democratic lawmakers had championed at the Legislature but were unable to bring to fruition under a Republican governor. The surprise billing compromise, AB469, is the byproduct of an interim working group tasked by Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson with figuring out how to ensure that patients aren’t caught in the middle of a debate between their insurance company and their provider after receiving out-of-network emergency care. The final bill they settled on holds patients harmless by requiring them to only pay whatever copay, coinsurance or deductible they would have been responsible for at an in-network facility for emergency care.