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Rural News

One of world's oldest trees discovered in NC swamp

Dayton Daily News | Posted on May 16, 2019

Researchers have discovered an ancient forest of bald cypress trees along a North Carolina river, documenting some trees older than than 2,000 years old.One of the bald cypress trees along the Black River was documented to be at least 2,624 years old.

Diabetes mortality gap widens for rural Americans

Daily Yonder | Posted on May 9, 2019

The rate of death from diabetes is decreasing in metropolitan America while the rate remains relatively unchanged in rural areas. Researchers aren’t sure of the cause.

Proposed Changes Would Increase the Cost and Decrease the Benefit of Listing Species as Endangered

Choices | Posted on May 9, 2019

Much of the debate concerning the ESA surrounds the role of economics, which plays an obvious role in determining the congressional budget allocations used to administer and implement the ESA. The ESA faces well-documented funding shortfalls (Miller et al., 2002; Stokstad, 2005), which may undermine the effectiveness of ESA recovery efforts (Ferraro, McIntosh, and Ospino, 2007) and have caused the number of species proposed for listing to outpace listing decisions, leading to backlogs (Stokstad, 2005). But most of the recent debate over the role of economics in the ESA has focused on prioritizing species for protection and defining recovery. When enacting the ESA in 1973, Congress noted that decisions concerning the listing of species as endangered or threatened must be based solely on “the best available scientific information” with a prohibition on economic criteria. This “science only” mandate for listing decisions presents two challenges for the ESA. First, it limits the ability to manage how nonscientific variables such as public opinion and the physical appearance of the species indirectly influence the probability of listing. Second, the “science only” mandate makes it harder to define clear criteria to guide listing decisions, which creates uncertainty and confusion for landowners and leaves considerable discretion in the hands of agency officials. Assessments of the likelihood of future impacts on a particular species or the habitat on which it relies must be made in the face of considerable uncertainties. To deal with this uncertainty, the statutory language that guides listing decisions adopts a precautionary principle approach (Prato, 2005). While this precautionary principle approach correctly acknowledges the need to act before uncertainty is completely resolved, it is difficult to define when precaution should be exercised.

Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace

The New York Times | Posted on May 9, 2019

Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

Washington sets aside $21.55 million for faster rural internet

Capital Press | Posted on May 9, 2019

Over the next two years, Washington plans to lend $14.44 million and give another $7.11 million to public agencies, tribes and businesses to bring high-speed internet to rural areas and Indian reservations. The money, set aside in the new two-year capital budget, is a fraction of the $1 billion the Washington Independent Telecommunications Association estimates will be needed to blanket the state with service that meets the federal definition of high-speed internet.Because the funding will be mostly loans, the program may not do much to introduce internet to isolated areas with few paying customers, the association’s executive director, Betty Buckley, said.“If we could make money or even repay a loan, we’d have done it already,” said Buckley, who represents 18 small companies that serve rural areas. “We are cutting out the really remote areas,” she said. “Everyone wants to make rural broadband happen, but no one wants to pay for it.”

Rural hospital CEOs call for medicaid expansion

Daily Yonder | Posted on May 8, 2019

At a roundtable meeting April 24, CEOs of rural North Carolina hospitals explained to Gov. Roy Cooper and state Health and Human Services Sec. Mandy Cohen that expanding Medicaid would help their institutions keep the doors open. There were some common elements to all their stories. For starters, all of their hospitals are operating on thin margins.The group nodded in agreement as each talked about excessive use of their emergency departments and the uncompensated care resulting from ED patients who were uninsured or unable to pay.Adding to their problems, many said they have a difficult time recruiting medical professionals, and that their counties are turning into “doctor deserts.”The consensus was that Medicaid expansion wouldn’t solve all their problems overnight, but they agreed it would go a long way to relieving pressure on their emergency departments and create a healthier patient population.

Towns without newspapers

Daily Yonder | Posted on May 7, 2019

Last week I saw a news story that the West Virginia state auditor had recently completed a report that concluded: Richwood “appears to be in more need of finance recovery than before the flood,” because, as the news report stated: “The report … concludes  city leaders spent precious federal dollars to hire themselves, friends and family for flood relief jobs. Much of the money was not spent for its stated purposes. “ As a result, the mayor, the former mayor and the city recorder are charged with embezzlement. The town’s police chief is accused of mishandling his state purchasing card and was fired and the town council asked the mayor to resign. The town might have to pay back over $2 million of the money received.All of course are innocent until proven guilty. It’s unclear whether what happened in Richwood was the result of greed and corruption, or simply a case of the town’s leaders being in way over their heads with no knowledge of managing such a vast recovery effort and no direction from state or federal agencies.

Aging in the heart of rural Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin | Posted on May 7, 2019

Rural communities are aging more rapidly than are other areas, in Wisconsin and across the country. Nearly everyone wants to stay in their community as they age. Increasingly, rural leaders are asking how they can help older residents to thrive. Some are pioneering age-friendly approaches that other communities can learn from.In Wisconsin, three coalitions—in Iowa County, Langlade County, and the city of Waupun—are working with the Center for Aging Research and Education (CARE) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing to support rural aging-in-place.

UCalgary study finds vaccine protects against chronic wasting disease

University of Calgary | Posted on May 1, 2019

Cases of an infectious disease that kills deer, elk, and moose are on the rise in Alberta.   Similar to mad cow disease (BSE) in cattle, chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease of members of the deer family. Infected animals lose weight drastically (wasting), and suffer other symptoms like stumbling, lack of co-ordination, and drooling. CWD is fatal in all cases. There is no cure, treatment, or way to prevent it.But the study of a vaccine against CWD has made researchers in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) hopeful. The study was published recently in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. It found the vaccine, tested in a mouse model, prolonged the time before infected animals developed symptoms by up to 60 per cent.

Cutting off funding for animal research would prove deadly for humans

Houston Chronicle | Posted on May 1, 2019

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals just launched a new campaign aimed at an unlikely audience of one. The organization wants President Trump to slash funding for the National Institutes of Health. PETA claims the agency wastes money funding “experiments on animals that fail to produce cures or treatments for humans.” So it paid a mobile billboard to drive around the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort urging him to “Cut $15 Billion!” from the NIH budget.PETA’s publicity stunts may garner attention, but they’re utterly divorced from reality. Animal research is an irreplaceable step in the drug development process. Without such research, medical advances would grind to a halt — and countless patients would die of otherwise curable diseases.