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Rural News

Healthy Key deer may be corralled to save herd

Miami Herald | Posted on November 1, 2016

Federal wildlife managers have begun building an enclosure across several acres of the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key. If the number of deer battling an outbreak of New World screwworm climbs too high, they will begin fencing healthy deer to save the herd

Endangered, with climate change to blame

High Country News | Posted on November 1, 2016

A court decision on Oct. 24 was a win for species threatened by climate change. The case centered on National Marine Fisheries Service findings that estimate a Pacific bearded seal subspecies will lose so much sea ice habitat, they will become endangered by 2095.  In 2012, the seals had been federally listed as threatened based on climate change predictions, but a lawsuit brought by oil and gas companies, indigenous tribes and the state of Alaska challenged the classification. The courts at the time ruled in the dissenters’ favor, saying that the listing was “arbitrary and capricious.” The latest ruling in the appeals court overturns those findings, reinstating protection.

Wildlife Services to revisit predator removal effects

High Country News | Posted on November 1, 2016

Wildlife Services has long rankled wildlife advocates; in 2014, the federal agency killed 2.7 million animals — golden eagles, barn owls, black-tailed prairie dogs, mountain lions and wolves as well as invasive species. The agency researches but rarely uses nonlethal alternatives, and reform has been stalled in part because half of its budget, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is funded by contracts with state and county municipalities, ranchers and businesses. In October, a federal court approved a settlement between the Santa Fe-based nonprofit WildEarth Guardians and Wildlife Services in Nevada, stating that the agency can no longer rely on its 22-year-old, nationwide baseline assessment and must perform a new analysis of how native wildlife removal cumulatively impacts the environment in Nevada. Wildlife Services agreed to update other state analyses that rely on the old assessment, and will halt work in Nevada’s wilderness and wilderness study areas until the new one is finished.  

Demographic and Economic Characteristics of Immigrant and Native-Born Populations in Rural and Urban Places

University of New Hampshire, Carsey School | Posted on November 1, 2016

In recent years, researchers have documented the changing demographics of rural areas, with a specific focus on changes in racial-ethnic composition and immigration patterns,1 particularly the increased migration of Hispanics to rural places.2 In spite of this attention to the changing demographics of rural America, surprisingly little is known about how rural immigrants compare to both their urban peers and native-born counterparts. In this brief we use American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates to document demographic and economic characteristics of the immigrant and native-born populations in the United States by metropolitan status. We focus on a wide range of demographic and economic indicators that relate to immigrants’ ability to assimilate and thrive in rural America. Our analysis finds that rural immigrants are different than their rural native-born and urban immigrant counterparts on a host of demographic characteristics, including age, education, and family structure. Rural immigrants also differ from urban immigrants with regard to when they arrived in the United States and where from. In terms of economic characteristics, rural immigrants have relatively low family income and high poverty rates, even among those currently working and those who work full time. 

A Cure for What Ails Rural America?

DTN | Posted on November 1, 2016

Miller, who graduated from The University of Iowa in 2009, heard about a program in North Dakota that was financing grants for telepharmacies, a business model that blends traditional pharmacy services with telemedicine technology. Miller was inspired and intrigued by the program. "I began building a similar platform for my family's business," he said.  Even so, the family was forced to close one of its pharmacies and sell another. The remaining four the family owned were at risk, and Miller knew he needed a solution to save them. So he did, with something he called TelePharm Technologies.  Miller's initial goal was to set up a software solution that allowed several pharmacies to share in the cost of a pharmacist. Utilizing Miller's software platform, one pharmacist is available to both fill and approve prescriptions remotely. In addition, the pharmacist can consult with patients via a videoconferencing feature on the software. "It allows the pharmacist to work in a traditional town and also be in the small town with certified technicians working in the store," Miller explains. Once they got the TelePharm software platform down pat, Miller and the team he enlisted to help support the pharmacies expanded their business model. "We either help a current pharmacist keep a store open, or we go into a community and work with them to put in our own pharmacy," Miller said of his "any pharmacist, any pharmacy" approach. With this model, Miller is seeing a sort of anecdotal ripple effect in small, rural communities. "A pharmacy or drugstore creates a storefront back on their main street, which adds more foot traffic," he explains. "There are few certified pharmacy techs [in rural America], so adding one to a pharmacy creates educated jobs for the community."

Getting over the ‘taboo’ in a gun-rights conversation

High Country News | Posted on November 1, 2016

Despite his misgivings, von Lossberg couldn’t stop thinking about the data he’d received from local members of Moms Demand Action, comparing states that have passed gun safety measures to those that have not.  In the eight states that require background checks on all gun transfers, there were 38 percent fewer deaths of women shot by intimate partners, as well as lower rates of gun suicides and aggravated assaults with firearms. By contrast, Montana ranks fifth in gun deaths per capita and received an “F” from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in 2015. To make matters worse, seven of the 11 Western states also earned failing grades, including all four of Montana’s neighbors.  These figures led von Lossberg to another important number: His daughter had recently turned 4 years old.  “Hunting and guns are really important parts of Montana culture, and I want my daughter to pursue hunting, but I also want to set a good example for her on gun transactions,” he says. “The research shows when communities use this tool, it benefits the community. I want her to follow that example.”   on Lossberg introduced an ordinance a year ago this September. A month later, over 300 people attended a hearing on the measure. Testimony lasted five hours and was interrupted several times by disruptive behavior, including one speaker who passionately accused council members of treason. And yet the majority of speakers supported the measure. It was as if a “pressure valve” had been opened, according to von Lossberg. “The number of people who want this topic discussed and addressed – it was overwhelming.”  The councilman was encouraged by the support, but he also listened to his opponents. He worked with Councilwoman Marilyn Marler, a co-sponsor and fellow gun owner, to revise the original ordinance. They agreed to include language exempting concealed-carry permit holders, because they already go through a background check. The change earned praise from some skeptics, and the gap between supporters and opponents began to shrink. 

CEO explains precisely why companies are moving jobs to smaller cities

The Washington Post | Posted on November 1, 2016

Andrew Florance hires hundreds of recent college grads for research and tech jobs for his  real estate data firm CoStar Group. When considering where to open a new 700-person research hub recently he made top-notch local colleges a priority.  But Florance — whose company owns — is also acutely aware of how difficult it is now for his employees, some of them making $45,000 or $50,000 a year, to afford to live in cities like his hometown, Washington, D.C.  As other employers have discovered, many younger workers are choosing jobs that don’t require driving — even if it means turning down more money or a promotion. D.C. wasn’t the answer.  So Florance surveyed markets from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains and looked at 10 states closely before narrowing his search to three places with far lower costs of living: North Carolina, Kansas City and Richmond, Va.  Florance announced he’d chosen Richmond, where he will begin relocating employees next month. He said North Carolina’s anti-transgender “bathroom” bill was “more controversy than we want to engage in right now” and said proximity to Washington gave Virginia’s capital an edge over Kansas City.

An update on the tri-state water wars

Southern Legislative Conference | Posted on November 1, 2016

An important turning point in the pre-existing litigation over water resources in the ACF River Basin came in 2011, when the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed and vacated a 2009 District Court ruling from the Middle District of Florida.D The Eleventh Circuit held that the District Court lacked jurisdiction over claims made by Alabama, Southeastern Federal Power Customers, and Apalachicola because they did not challenge final agency action by the Corps as required by the Administrative Procedure Act. The Eleventh Circuit found that Congress, in the River and Harbor Act of 1946, had unambiguously provided that the Buford Dam ProjectE would be operated to accommodate downstream water supply demands and, therefore, allowed an allocation of storage in Lake Lanier for that purpose. The Corps was given one year (until June 2012) to arrive at a well-reasoned, definitive, and final judgment as to its authority to reallocate storage in Lake Lanier to water supply. The United States Supreme Court declined a request from Alabama and Florida to review the Eleventh Circuit ruling that water supply is an authorized purpose of Lake Lanier. By declining the states’ request, the Supreme Court effectively affirmed the Eleventh Circuit ruling, putting an end to the litigation over the ACF River Basin.

Spain court overturns bullfighting ban

Spanish News Today | Posted on November 1, 2016

The ruling of the Constitutional Court, the highest in Spain, is that the regional law baning bullfighting  trespassed on culture in which only the national government is empowered to legislate.

Jury finds occupiers of Oregon wildlife refuge not guilty

High Country News | Posted on November 1, 2016

A jury found seven defendants not guilty of charges filed against them for their part in the 41-day armed occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January and February. Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy and five others were charged with conspiracy to prevent federal employees at the refuge from doing their jobs by intimidation, threats or force.  Some of the defendants were also charged with having firearms at a federal facility; the 12-person jury acquitted the occupiers of those charges as well. One defendant, Ken Medenbach, was even acquitted of the charge of stealing federal property, although he admitted in court to using a government vehicle. The verdict is a shock to attorneys and observers on all sides of the high-profile case, which lasted six weeks in U.S. District Court in Portland. Many critics of the occupation fear the verdict will embolden people in Western states who dislike the federal government to use violence or threats to try to force land agencies to bend to their will. The Bundys and their supporters say federal lands are mismanaged and should be turned over to state or local control.