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Rural News

Some Anti-Vaxxers Aren't Getting Their Pets Vaccinated.

Time | Posted on March 14, 2019

Dogs can’t get autism, and even if they could, vaccines couldn’t cause it. But some anti-vaxxers are increasingly making the same unfounded claims about pets and vaccines they’ve been repeating about children and vaccines for the past 20 years: that vaccines are unnecessary, dangerous and that they can cause a form of (canine) autism, along with other diseases. Just as with kids, that may be driving down pet vaccination rates. And the movement, while niche, shows no sign of stopping; in some states in the U.S., anti-vax activists have recently agitated to make state laws about mandatory pet vaccinations more lax.

Eating livestock feed killed dogs found on Lockport roadside

The Buffalo News | Posted on March 14, 2019

Two dogs found dead on the side of Wilson Road in Lockport died from eating livestock feed, Niagara County Sheriff's Office Capt. Bruce Elliott said Thursday. Toxicology tests were done by the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory."They died from a feed pellet that's usually used for livestock. They can be harmful to domestic animals when ingested in large quantities," Elliott said.A necropsy Jan. 10 by an SPCA of Niagara veterinarian concluded the two-year-old dogs — a wire-haired terrier and a Lhasa Apso — were poisoned. Their fur was singed, but that did not contribute to their deaths, Elliott said.

Lagging internet left rural South Carolina biz stranded. Lawmakers seek to fix ‘digital divide’

Greenville News | Posted on March 13, 2019

Orders were coming in and business was brisk, yet dozens of jobs hung in the balance for a rural S.C. manufacturer — all because of lagging internet. “The company was growing, but we could not reliably communicate with our (global) customers ... because of either insufficient or unreliable service,” said David Cline, owner of Piedmont CMG, near Ware Shoals. But frequent drops in internet service meant workers could not download blueprints and files from its customers due to “extremely limited” bandwidth, Cline said.“We also couldn’t talk amongst ourselves reliably,” he said, noting difficulty communicating between the company’s production facilities. “Weather, sometimes affected service, along with squirrels or rodents chewing on the lines.“There were extreme limitations, even on a good day.”A bill in the state House would provide state grants to help pay for the cost to expand broadband in economically distressed counties in the state. Applicants would be required to show that local residents, government, businesses and institutions support the project, according to the bill. State officials could claw back grant money if companies fail to keep their promises, including advertised connection speeds.

Consumers are asked to fill in the gaps on how fast rural internet is.

Daily Yonder | Posted on March 13, 2019

Three national groups combine their resources to create a new app to measure broadband speeds around the country. All they need now is you and your smart phone.The National Broadband Map has been decommissioned. The latest report from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has serious flaws, researchers say. And private efforts to measure access speeds tend to underrepresent rural areas and cause confusion about what speed is available and what consumers actually pay for. A collaboration of three national rural nonprofits hopes to create a more accurate picture for researchers and advocates to use to see how their communities measure up. The TestIT smartphone app invites rural residents to participate in the effort, identifying current broadband speed and service gaps in underserved communities.   

Illinois Acting state ag director seeks funding for broadband in rural areas

Illinois News Network | Posted on March 13, 2019

Rural Illinois residents could be a step closer to getting access to high-speed internet access, but state leaders still need to come up with the money and a plan to make it happen. Illinois Department of Agriculture Acting Director John Sullivan sees a need for broadband in the rural parts of Illinois and is working to get funding for it.There is a need to implement rural broadband in the state, said to Rick Holzmacher, director of governmental affairs at the Illinois Rural Broadband Association. He said broadband access could drive the economy.

Maine Senate rolls out plan to give relief from high prescription prices

Press Herald | Posted on March 13, 2019

Party leaders will submit a handful of bills, that would allow bulk importation of medications from Canada, regulate pharmacy benefit managers – the middlemen who can exclude certain medications from insurance plans – create more transparency in drug prices, and permit individuals to import drugs from Canada.

Former Coal Mining Towns Turn to Tourism

PEW | Posted on March 13, 2019

The same Main Street winds through the old mountain mining towns of Cumberland, Benham and Lynch, crosses a river and runs alongside a creek. The early 20th century coal mining boom drew people to this remote corner of southeast Kentucky, until coal’s dizzying decline sent them away. Today, Main Street hints at a roaring past and the potential for change.Poor Fork Arts & Crafts, which sells Appalachian handcrafted and vintage items, the Back Street Bar and a senior center sit alongside empty storefronts, vacant lots and boarded-up spaces. Pizza Hut and Hardee’s rival locally grown Dairy Hut Too and Charlotte’s Hoagie Shop. Visitors can tour an underground coal mine in what was once the largest company-owned coal town in the world.The Tri-Cities are counting on their natural beauty, history and culture to reinvent themselves as tourist destinations. But with a small and declining population, a remote location and limited funding, it won’t be easy.

Washington House approves minimum wage parity for disabled workers

AP News | Posted on March 13, 2019

The Washington House has passed a bill that would require physically or mentally disabled workers to be paid the same minimum wage that other workers in the state receive.Under current law, employers can receive special certificates from the state's Department of Labor and Industries to pay wages below the minimum wage for workers with disabilities. In the application, employers must not the nature of the disability and how it affects the work performed, and the pay rate may not be less than 75 percent of the minimum wage unless a lower rate is determined to be justified.

Fate of Native Children May Hinge on U.S. Adoption Case

Pew Trust | Posted on March 13, 2019

A case before a federal appeals court could upend an historic adoption law meant to combat centuries of brutal discrimination against American Indians and keep their children with families and tribal communities. For the first time, a few states have sued to overturn the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which Congress enacted in 1978 as an antidote to entrenched policies of uprooting Native children and assimilating them into mainstream white culture.Now, in a country roiled by debates over race and racial identity, there’s a chance the 41-year-old law could be overturned by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the country’s most conservative court. (The law applies to federally recognized tribes.)Overturning the law, its proponents say, could significantly increase the number of American Indian children adopted into non-Native families. Hundreds of tribal nations vehemently oppose the lawsuit. They say it threatens the sovereignty of Indian Country and seeks to “return Indian children to the arbitrary and discriminatory whims of state courts and state agencies, unfettered by the centuries-old trust obligations this nation owes to Indian tribes and Indian peoples.”Meanwhile, some states and private adoption attorneys pushing for change argue the Indian Child Welfare Act interferes in state affairs and “requires them to place Indian children in accordance with statutory requirements based on race, rather than the children’s best interests.”

Rural America’s dramatic decline

Farm and Dairy | Posted on March 13, 2019

The gap between America’s rural poor and non-poor, like in urban America, continues to widen. The difference in rural America, however, is that the gap is widening faster than in any of the nation’s grittiest cities or suburban counties.That’s the conclusion of two recent reports by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy.Both point to a dramatic downturn in rural America’s economic and social outlook over the past decade and neither sees many signs of a quick turnaround.The USDA report shows that for the first time in the nation’s history rural (or “nonmetro”) America lost population. Indeed, between 2010 and 2016 a historically high 1,351 rural counties lost population while only 487 rural counties had positive — albeit very small — population growth.The losing rural counties lost far more overall: 790,000 lost to only 281,000 gained.