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Rural News

Telemedicine shrinks the West’s vast health desert

High Country News | Posted on September 19, 2016

Every minute counts during a stroke. Blood-thinning drugs and surgery can prevent traumatic brain injury, but doctors must act fast: A life-saving procedure called a clot retrieval, for instance, is only effective within about eight hours of a stroke’s onset.  A drug called tPA, which dissolves stroke-inducing blood clots, must start acting within about four hours. Moreover, a wrong move can be deadly when treating a stroke patient. Few rural emergency room doctors are trained to confidently make such high-stakes calls. As a result, only a tiny fraction of rural stroke victims eligible for the life-saving blood-thinner actually get it, said Howard Yonas, a neurosurgeon at the University of New Mexico.  Instead, many rural doctors opt to fly patients by helicopter to the state’s only Level 1 trauma center in Albuquerque, a costly and sometimes unnecessary measure that consumes precious hours. Now, Yonas and other New Mexico doctors are turning to the power of remote medicine to help stroke patients avoid expensive life-flights and receive timely procedures. The strategy is to loop Albuquerque specialists into rural emergency rooms by video and immediately share brain scans before deciding to transfer the patient. The program, called Access to Critical Cerebral Support Services, or ACCESS, started in 2014 with a $15.1 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In the two years since, one hospital in Roswell has gone from shipping about half its brain trauma victims to Albuquerque to transferring just 6 percent.

A Good Dentist Is Hard To Find In Rural America

NPR | Posted on September 15, 2016

A study by the Federal Reserve found that a quarter of Americans went without dental care they needed in 2014 because they couldn't afford it.  For those in rural areas, the problem is far worse. A 2015 report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that people in rural areas are poorer and less likely to have dental insurance than their urban counterparts. They're also less likely to have fluoridated water, and more likely to live in an area where dentists are in short supply. Those dentists that are there probably don't take Medicaid, government health insurance for the poor.


Sluggish Chinese Economy, Brexit Bite Tourism States

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on September 15, 2016

The British decision to leave the European Union, China’s economic slowdown, a strong dollar and other global factors spell trouble for states that depend on international tourists for tax revenue.  In Florida, where 23 percent of sales tax revenue comes from tourism, officials are worried that the weakness of the British pound, one effect of the “Brexit” vote, will keep British tourists away and hurt local businesses and tax receipts. Because international travelers typically book their trips 4-6 months in advance, Florida might not feel the effects of the Brexit vote for several more months. Las Vegas has long depended on international visitors, who stay longer and spend more than U.S. tourists. Analysts say slower growth in the number of Chinese visitors, which started two years ago, is showing up in less wagering at high-stakes baccarat tables, a favorite game of Asian tourists.

Wisconsin Economic Development to give $500K to help entrepreneurs

Post Crescent | Posted on September 15, 2016

A new statewide grant program aims to award start-up funds to programs outside the vortex of Wisconsin's metro areas.  The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announced plans Monday to award a total of $500,000 to 10 or so business development groups in cities or rural areas that may have been overlooked by past entrepreneurship programs.  The agency ultimately will award grants between $10,000 and $100,000 to projects across the state, said Aaron Hagar, WEDC's vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation.

While most of US gets a raise, rural areas stand pat | Posted on September 15, 2016

In another sign that the economic recovery is moving very slowly for rural America, median household incomes for rural Americans didn’t improve from 2014 to 2015 while they did for metropolitan areas.  The Census Bureau’s newly released income and earnings report for 2014-2015 showed that median household incomes rose last year for the nation for the first time since 2007. Nationally, median household income grew by about $2,800 to reach $56,516 in 2015. That’s an increase of a little more than 5 percent. But the national increase hides geographic differences. People living in the principal cities of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) saw their median income rise by an estimated 7.3 percent. People in the suburbs (inside an MSA but not living in the principal city) had a median-income increase of 4 percent. But median household income for rural Americans (those living outside a metropolitan statistical area) dropped by an estimated 2 percent from 2014 to 2015. The drop was within the survey’s margin of error, meaning the drop could be a little more or a little less than the estimate. But either way, rural America’s income picture is different from the rest of the nation’s. “I think the most interesting thing is that the rural numbers were some of the only estimates [in the report] that did not show a statistically significant, gain,” wrote Keith Wiley, a researcher at the rural-focused Housing Assistance Council. In other words, the rest of the nation did measurably better while rural America saw virtually no change. The Census report had similar news for rural America in its poverty estimates. Metropolitan areas did better; rural areas did the same or perhaps a little worse.

Imported dogs bring exotic disease risk to Canada, experts warn

CBC News | Posted on September 15, 2016

Joey Chihuahua got a death-row pardon.  A few months ago, he was scooped from the streets of California, taken to a shelter and put up for adoption. But after no one claimed him, he was moved to the kill floor — until a kind-hearted Canadian flew to the rescue.  Judy Carter, who's with Heart Prints Dog Rescue Society in Edmonton, said she heard of Joey's plight and brought him home. She says Chihuahuas are one of the most euthanized breeds in California.  "They're throw-away dogs down there." Carter isn't alone. It's estimated that Canadians bring in tens of thousands of dogs from around the world each year, many of them rescue dogs like Joey.  But experts warn Canada does very little monitoring and has few regulations for importing adult dogs into the country. The challenge? Some of these furry refugees carry parasites, bacteria and viruses rarely seen in this country — pathogens that could pose a serious threat to local pets, wildlife and people.

National Sheriffs Association patners with HSUS

| Posted on September 13, 2016

We are proud to work with The Humane Society of the United States because of their expertise on illegal animal cruelty and fighting and frequent collaboration with law enforcement in pursuing those crimes.  The HSUS has provided free training to tens of thousands of law enforcement officials across the country on how to investigate illegal animal cruelty and its connection with crimes against people.

Portland bans the retail sale of dogs and cats

Bangor Daily News | Posted on September 13, 2016

The Portland Council unanimously passed an ordinance that would prohibit the retail sale of dogs and cats in the city, meaning pet stores will not be allowed to sell dogs or cats unless they came from a rescue organization.The state legislature passed a puppy and kitten bill last year but it was vetoed by the governor. Supporters say they are now going city-by-city to have pet sales banned, with Portland as the first stop. There are currently no retail stores selling dogs or cats in Portland.

Sad Day for Elephants - Governor Brown signs bullhook bill

Help Elephants Now | Posted on September 13, 2016

Governor Brown signed SB 1062, the ban the “bullhook” bill on August 29th.   Starting January 1, 2018 it will be illegal to use the elephant guide tool in California.  Many of you have written letters and made calls to urge the legislators to make the right choice and allow responsible animal owners to use all of the tools available to them including the guide.  It is unfortunate that politics and animal extremist agendas get in the way of people trying to care for their animals properly.

E-Commerce Is a Boon for Rural America, but It Comes With a Price

The Wall Street Journal | Posted on September 13, 2016

Providing small-town residents with big-city conveniences is costly for retailers and delivery services.  E-commerce hasn’t just reached rural America, it is transforming it by giving small-town residents an opportunity to buy staples online at a cheaper price than the local supermarket. It also provides remote areas with big-city conveniences and the latest products. Contemporary fashion, such as Victoria Secret bathing suits or Tory Burch ballet flats are easily shipped. Consumers increasingly are shopping online instead of driving, often long distances, to stores. Online shopping also brings with it deals and new entrepreneurial opportunities. These consumers, however, are the most expensive to serve for both retailers and delivery companies. To offset the cost, UPS and FedEx charge an extra $4 per package for remote residential deliveries. The prevalence of free shipping to consumers and the need to price items the same online and in stores, typically leaves retailers bearing this additional cost. It is a double-whammy for retailers, which also are losing in-store customers to e-commerce. Wal-Mart built its business by combining muscular buying power and a vast transportation network to provide a wide variety of items and low prices to small towns.