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Rural News

New Ohio law requires migrant worker housing upgrades

Toledo Blade | Posted on August 24, 2016

A series of improvements to housing facilities in Ohio migrant worker camps, including running water, smoke detectors, and improved toilets, will soon be required with a state regulation that goes into effect Jan. 1. The new rule, instituted by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, requires installing sinks with hot and cold running water in existing structures and including them in any new facilities built. Also required will be smoke detectors in housing units, the installation of partitions in communal toilets, and mandates that non-flush toilets be emptied and cleaned at least once a week. Farm owners will have five years to come into compliance with the most substantial change regarding hot and cold running water. Proponents say the upgrades will improve health and safety of everyone involved in the agriculture business.

Park Service ended a wolf study in Alaska, since so many have been killed

High Country News | Posted on August 23, 2016

For more than two decades, the National Park Service monitored the wolf packs in Alaska’s Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Now, so many of the predators have been killed by the state’s Department of Fish and Game that the feds have had to drop the program. It's no longer feasible to conduct research.  The state has been shooting the wolves when they wander outside the boundaries of the federal preserve, to try to increase populations of moose and caribou for human hunters. According to Greg Dudgeon, superintendent of the preserve, since 2005, 90 wolves with ranges in Yukon-Charley have been killed, including 13 radio-collared animals that were essential to the park’s study. Each of the preserve’s nine wolf packs has lost members, and three packs have been entirely eliminated, while another five have been reduced to a single wolf each. The last population count by the National Park Service in 2011 came up with 77 wolves. Since that count, the Park Service wound down its study, officially ending it in 2014. Jeff Rasic, chief of resources for Yukon-Charley Rivers and Gates of the Arctic National Park, says that federal budget constrictions played a factor in ending the study, but so did the number of collared wolves killed by ADFG and the fact that the state stopped giving the Park Service permits for collaring wolves on state land. “The state was pretty successful in killing wolves,” Rasic adds.

WDFW calls off hunt after shooting two wolves

Capital Press | Posted on August 23, 2016

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife today ended its hunt for wolves in the Profanity Peak pack, 13 days after shooting two females.  WDFW issued a statement Thursday afternoon, saying it will resume lethally removing the pack in Ferry County if there is another confirmed attack on livestock. WDFW Jim Unsworth authorized the partial removal of the pack after the department confirmed its members had killed at least four calves and a cow in the past month. State wildlife officials shot and killed the two wolves, including the pack’s breeding female, from a helicopter Aug. 5. The department has not reported shooting any more wolves. The last confirmed depredations on livestock occurred on Aug. 3.

Groups file lawsuits to stop plan to spay wild horses

Capital Press | Posted on August 23, 2016

More advocacy groups have filed lawsuits seeking injunctions to stop researchers from surgically sterilizing more than 200 wild mares in Central Oregon.  The Bulletin reports the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and The Cloud Foundation jointly filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Bureau of Land Management arguing that the agency had violated the groups’ First Amendment rights by rejecting their request to record the procedures. Bureau officials say they are still reviewing the latest lawsuits. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has said the research in Hines, Oregon, would help determine whether the three methods to be studied could be safely used to control the wild horse population. Front Range Equine Rescue and Friends of Animals have also sued the agency over the proposed sterilization.

Why females care more, theoretically speaking

Science Daily | Posted on August 22, 2016

Across the animal kingdom there is a strong trend for females to be more caring parents. Why? Researchers have now expanded upon previous theories to better explain why mothers and fathers differ in the effort they put into caring for young.

The Advanced Bioeconomy and the Pet Wellness Revolution

Biofuels Digest | Posted on August 22, 2016

These days, we don’t call it algae, we call it nutritional superfood, and we don’t call our furry friends “pets”, we call them companion animals. So, it’s hot news in the world of the advanced bioeconomy when TerraVia and Nestle Purina Pet Care announced a joint development agreement targeting the companion animal market. The agreement, which spans multiple years, will leverage certain commercially available algae-based advanced nutrition ingredients that TerraVia has developed as well as additional innovative ingredients and product concepts in TerraVia’s development pipeline. And it’s not entirely coincidental that the incoming CEO at TerraVia, Apu Mody, was most recently head of Mars North America — and though many know Mars for its snack and candy businesses, their a huge player in the pet food market. Er, I meant companion animal nutritional wellness space.

How a police chief used compassion to combat his community’s drug problem

High Country News | Posted on August 18, 2016

The message from the chief lit up Facebook in May 2015. “Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged,” read the memo, posted to the page of the Gloucester, Massachusetts, police department. “Instead we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery,” the message continued. “Not in hours or days, but on the spot.” The stunning memo was a last-ditch attempt by Leonard Campanello, Gloucester’s frustrated chief of police, after the town’s fourth fatal opiate overdose in the first few months of 2015 – more than had died by drug overdose the entire previous year. Campanello’s words, written in the straight-talking lingo of a police officer who means business, set off a chain of events even the seasoned chief couldn’t have predicted. Since that 2015 message, more than 450 addicts from across the state have walked through the police station’s doors. Nearly all have been placed into treatment, some multiple times. Rates of crimes typically associated with substance abuse – like shoplifting and breaking and entering – in Gloucester have plummeted by roughly 30 percent. Only one person has overdosed and died in Gloucester.

Bringing Back Manufacturing Jobs Would Be Harder Than It Sounds

NPR | Posted on August 18, 2016

he United States has lost nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000 alone, hollowing out factory towns all over the country and leaving countless working-class Americans struggling.  Getting those jobs back is a goal that politicians of all stripes eagerly line up behind. But the plain truth is that, legally speaking, there's not a lot that Trump or any other president could do to bring those jobs back, without an act of Congress. Presidents simply don't have the power to tell companies whom to hire or where to manufacture, says Jeffrey Bergstrand, professor of finance at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. "Firms are going to make the decisions for their shareholders. If he wants to do this, he is going to have to use government institutions and laws to restrict the decisions of firms," Bergstrand says. And it's not at all clear Congress would support such an effort. What presidents can do is try to make it tough for companies that ship jobs overseas to make money in the United States, by imposing tariffs on their products. Trump has often talked about doing so. Presidents do have the power to impose tariffs unilaterally in the interest of national security, although it's rarely been done, says Chad Bown, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Farm children safer, but die too often in accidents

USA Today | Posted on August 18, 2016

Weichelt is among the researchers at the forefront of monitoring injuries and deaths among children related to farming and agriculture at the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. The 2016 report from the center released in July shows that children on farms are much safer from nonfatal injuries today than they were 18 years ago, but not any safer from fatal ones. Every three days, a child dies in an agriculture-related incident, Weichelt said. Thousands of children younger than 20 are injured every year, with the majority of the injuries occurring in the Midwest, he said. "A farm can be littered with potential hazards," Weichelt said. While the number of deaths among children has averaged around 110 per year nationally for the past two decades, fewer kids are being injured on farms. In 1998, the number of injuries among youth per 1,000 farms was 16.6 and by 2014 the rate had dropped to 5.7, said Marsha Salzwedel, a colleague with Weichelt at the children's center, which is a branch of the National Farm Medicine Center

Mystery of Bizarre Bird Deformities May Be Solved

National Geographic | Posted on August 18, 2016

Scientists working with sophisticated DNA sequencing technology think they may have solved a 20-year-old mystery of what has caused thousands of Alaska’s wild birds to be afflicted with deformed, twisted beaks. The findings suggest that a newly discovered virus – poecivirus – may be the culprit behind the bizarre beak deformities in chickadees, crows, and other birds. Birds with the defective beaks, which sometimes cross like warped chopsticks, starve to death or die early.