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Rural News

Rural Americans support progressive solutions to the issues facing small towns and rural communities

Daily Yonder | Posted on November 15, 2018

Without a doubt, rural voters lean right: two-thirds of rural residents (68%) consider themselves to be conservative or moderate, over 50 percent (52%) approve of Donald Trump’s job performance, and when it comes to generic House candidates, Republicans hold a 10 point margin (43-33). However, polling also strongly suggests that small-town folks feel the system is rigged for the powerful and wealthy, and a clear majority (77%) of rural residents think Congress is giving tax breaks to the wealthy instead of investing in rural areas.Over 75% think politicians blame new immigrants or people of color to divide and distract from the real source of our problems instead of delivering for working people.Two out of three (67%) support offering free tuition to local community colleges and trade schools, and a similar number (64%) want Medicare to cover all Americans. Over half (54%) back an increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and only 38 percent support outlawing abortions.But despite the popularity of progressive policies among small town voters, a majority of rural Americans (55%) don’t think Democrats are fighting for their community.

Missouri dislikes democrats but likes their policies

Daily Yonder | Posted on November 15, 2018

The Show Me State elected a Republican U.S. senator and, by roughly the same margins, turned around and approved ballot initiatives that reform elections, raise the minimum wage, and legalize medical marijuana.

Rural resilience calls for new practices in land use

Houston Chronicle | Posted on November 14, 2018

The ability to be resilient is a practical necessity for residents of rural areas. But the long-practiced goal of self-sufficiency now has a broader definition that calls on residents in the region to adapt to change, regional planning experts note.Resiliency could be be applied to land use practices, according to a proposed regional program, such as expanding maple sugar operations and the ability to grow new varieties of fruit trees. Called the “Rural Resiliency Community,” the program was discussed Wednesday with members of the Northwest Hills Council of Governments.Regional planner Joanna Brown presented draft information to the members, which included a vision statement and a 16-item action plan. It calls on regional governments and residents to “implement strategies to manage change while maintaining and celebrating its rural character.”Strategies could be applied to changing weather patterns, which affect farming, the management of natural resources or the simple act of neighbors helping neighbors, Brown noted in the proposal.

6-foot gator, pythons removed from Kansas City home

KSHB Kansas City | Posted on November 12, 2018

 Deputies in Kansas City, Missouri serving an eviction notice on Wednesday morning got quite the surprise when they found some illegal animals at the home.  A six-foot, 150-pound alligator, three pythons, a rabbit and several “domesticated” animals, including cats, were found at a home in the Kansas City, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Opioid marketing unintentionally protected rural black region

Daily Yonder | Posted on November 8, 2018


Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, put the sales pressure on doctors who already wrote more opioid prescriptions. That steered the pill away from black, rural counties and toward regions with greater numbers of whites. A noticeably lower overdose rate across the rural Deep South may be one result. Rural counties in the South with a high percentage of African Americans tend to have lower drug-overdose rates, leading to speculation that racism may have had the unintended consequence of insulating blacks from some of the opioid epidemic.“Across the rural South and into the Delta region, where you have very large proportions of rural African American populations, the overdose rate is actually relatively low,” said Michael Meit, co-director of the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, which released a map of county-level overdose deaths earlier this fall.

Mississippi project builds on cultural strengths

Daily Yonder | Posted on November 8, 2018

If you want to build something strong and beautiful, get creative people involved.  That advice works whether you are building a house, a piece of art, or even a regional economy, says a Delta nonprofit leader who is helping develop the business skills of “creatives” in Mississippi.“I think some people forget how innovative the Delta really is,” says Tim Lampkin, the founder of Higher Purpose Co., a community development nonprofit based in Clarksdale, Mississippi.  To help make that happen, Higher Purpose Co. teamed up with a Minnesota nonprofit arts service organization, Springboard for the Arts, to provide free business training for artists and other “creatives".

USDA programs cover the essentials

Daily Yonder | Posted on November 8, 2018

The federal Ag Department’s programs address the fundamental goods and services that humans need to survive. Water, food, housing, electricity and more are all part of the department’s portfolio. A book that we have recently read, No Small Hope: Towards the Universal Provision of Basic Goods by Kenneth Reinert, makes the argument that there is a minimal set of basic goods and services that should be put into the hands of everyone in the world. Reinert is professor of public policy and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Reinert brings a wealth of experience to his analysis, having served as senior economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission and consultant for the World Trade Organization, the OECD Development Organization, the World Bank, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Reinert argues that the minimal set of basic goods and services that should be available to every person in the world includes “nutritious food, clean water, sanitation, health services, education services, housing, electricity, and human security services.” Looking at that list, one cannot help but notice that some aspect of most of these basic goods and services is part of the work of the United States Department of Agriculture. Even as we wrestle with the provisions of our own farm bill and its impact on farm profitability, we cannot afford to ignore the challenges facing farmers around the globe—most of the world’s hungry live in rural areas. 

Illinois closely watching virus that has killed more than 400 deer

The Telegraph | Posted on November 8, 2018

Illinois says a virus outbreak has claimed more than 400 deer this year and has spread to 49 counties, including Schuyler, Greene, Macoupin, Cass and Sangamon counties in west-central Illinois. While most of the deaths of white-tailed deer from Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease have been in Peoria, Lawrence and Fulton counties, the numbers as of this week were significant in Schuyler, Menard and Macoupin counties in the region. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has received reports of 432 suspected cases of the disease so far this year. While the disease is not hazardous to humans or pets, it has been shown to affect livestock, prompting the state to caution producers to be vigilant.Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is a viral disease of white-tailed deer that can cause localized die-offs when conditions are favorable for transmission. Infected animals develop a high fever, and dead animals often are found near water sources. Hunters may encounter deer killed by the disease when they go into the woods during the fall deer hunting seasons.

Frederick Wiseman's new film may just change the way you look at small-town America.

The Washington Post | Posted on November 8, 2018

For more than half a century, documentary-maker Frederick Wiseman has observed American life from a discreet distance, creating visual and aural essays that fall into a felicitous middle ground between reportage and sheer poetry. “Monrovia, Indiana” stands as an exceptionally straightforward, four-square example of Wiseman’s strategy. Filmed in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, the film takes viewers to the kind of rural Midwestern town that tipped that race: small (pop. 1,443), largely white, deeply religious and unsure what the future holds in an economic context of technological and cultural change.Rest assured, “Monrovia, Indiana,” never invokes partisan politics. As usual, Wiseman simply trains his camera on what he deems important, creating a closely observed portrait of a community by way of still images and scenes captured on a static, dispassionate camera. The film’s opening scene, of rolling cropland, handsome farmhouses, gentle-eyed cows and empty roads, could easily be accompanied by a soaring score by Aaron Copland. Wiseman doesn’t go in for such dramatics: His only soundtrack is the sound of rustling leaves, chirping birds and occasional conversations among the citizens he keeps at a respectful arm’s length.The result is a classic on a par with “Winesburg, Ohio” and “Our Town,” a narrow slice of contemporary American life that manages to be both admiring, yet capable of polite skepticism.

Human Pressures Have Shrunk Wildlife Populations by 60 Percent

Scientific American | Posted on November 5, 2018

In 40 years, human actions like deforestation have taken a major toll on wildlife, a new report finds.Humans have wiped out about 60 percent of the world’s wildlife populations in the last four decades, a new report has found.Over-exploitation of species, deforestation and agricultural use have destroyed key animal habitats around the planet from 1970 to 2014. And now, the growing threat from human-caused climate change is increasing pressure on animals, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s 2018 Living Planet report.“Earth is losing biodiversity at a rate seen only during mass extinctions,” the report states.