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Rural News

West Virginians were promised coding jobs in Appalachia. Now they say it was a fraud.

MSN | Posted on May 16, 2019

Many West Virginians like Ms. Frame signed up for Mined Minds, quitting their jobs or dropping out of school for the prized prospect of a stable and lucrative career. But the revival never came. Almost none of those who signed up for Mined Minds are working in programming now. They described Mined Minds as an erratic operation, where guarantees suddenly evaporated and firings seemed inevitable, leaving people to start over again at the bottom rungs of the wage jobs they had left behind.Over two dozen former students in West Virginia are pursuing a lawsuit, arguing that Mined Minds was a fraud. Out of the 10 or so people who made it to the final weeks of Ms. Frame’s class in Beckley, only one formally graduated. He is now delivering takeout.

As the Opioid Crisis Peaks, Meth and Cocaine Deaths Explode

Pew Trust | Posted on May 16, 2019

Most states are keeping a close eye on opioid overdose deaths, but they may need to start focusing on cocaine and other stimulants as well. It turns out that the same lethal drug that has been driving the nation’s spiraling opioid epidemic is also causing an historic surge in overdose deaths among cocaine users.That’s according to a new analysis of death certificate data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that fentanyl — a cheap synthetic opioid that is a hundred times more potent than morphine — and other opioids were involved in nearly three-fourths of all cocaine overdose deaths and an increasing number of methamphetamine deaths.In a drug overdose epidemic that has killed more than 700,000 Americans since 1999, state and local officials have been primarily concentrating on opioids, which were involved in nearly 70% of overdose deaths in 2017.

Wild Pig Wars: Controversy Over Hunting, Trapping in Missouri

AgWeb | Posted on May 16, 2019

Under gray skies on a fall morning, Rick Clubb wears an expression of disbelief as he walks across 10 acres of strafe-bombed pasture and stares down at ground turned upside down overnight. Wild pigs have unleashed hell. Again. The field is flipped and cratered, green gone brown in multiple stretches, testament to the wrecking ball capacity of a phenomenally opportunistic survivor. Head in hands, Clubb rubs his temples as the proverbial dollars drain from his pockets, keenly aware of the stark reality on his southeast Missouri farm: The wild pigs always return. “I call it the hog apocalypse,” he says. “They’re multiplying so fast and nobody in my state wants to damn well admit it.”

26 U.S. states ban or restrict local broadband initiatives

Tech Spot | Posted on May 16, 2019

Faced with high fees, slow speeds and poor customer service, many communities in the U.S. have turned to community broadband projects to free themselves from the clutches of major telecom providers. But this isn’t an option for everyone, as 26 states either severely restrict or outright ban community broadband initiatives. Healthy competition is meant to be the cornerstone of the U.S. economy, but the telecom industry has not only never embraced that mentality, it has apparently gone one step further by successfully lobbying to reduce competition through restrictions and outright bans.

FCC Rural Broadband Fund Would Move Funds From Existing Program | Posted on May 16, 2019

The rural broadband fund that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai proposed last week would rely on funding from an existing broadband program slated to expire next year, while also setting higher standards for internet speeds, according to the FCC. Around $2 billion has been available annually in recent years through the Connect America Fund and that same amount would be shifted to the new fund, dubbed the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, said Mark Wigfield. The new program, as envisioned, would differ from the Connect America Fund in some key ways, Wigfield said.For one, he said it would also establish a minimum speed threshold of 25 megabits per second for downloads and 3 megabits per second for uploads, as opposed to 10 mbps and 1 mbps.

Oregon dentists become first in U.S. to be able to give all vaccines

Oregon Live | Posted on May 16, 2019

Oregon is the first state in the country to allow dentists to administer vaccines to patients. In a year marked with heated debate about the state’s involvement in boosting vaccination rates, the bill was quietly passed and signed into law with little fanfare. But it sets a new precedent for the role dentistry plays in the health care system.Two other states have laws that allow dentists to give flu shots to adults, but in Oregon, dentists will soon be able to give out any vaccine available at a primary care doctor’s office.

Rural Canada’s voice in cabinet says feds looking at funding community ISPs

CKOM | Posted on May 16, 2019

A new plan to help rural Canada thrive will focus on expanding internet and cellphone coverage, even funding communities that want to be their own service providers, the minister in charge of it says. Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan is expected to unveil the strategy next month.In an interview this week, Jordan said the top complaint she hears on cross-country travels is the lack of high-speed internet in rural areas, which hurts businesses and efforts to woo and keep residents.The House of Commons emphasized that concern on Thursday, when its members unanimously backed a motion from a Liberal MP calling for expanded digital infrastructure in rural areas for economic and public-safety reasons. The motion highlighted struggles local officials faced in responding to flooding in place with poor cellphone coverage.The Liberals are promising to connect every household in the country to high-speed internet by 2030, through a $6-billion spending plan. Jordan said the government wants to entice big telecommunications companies to invest in rural areas, where populations are smaller and more spread-out than in urban centres.

One of world's oldest trees discovered in NC swamp

Dayton Daily News | Posted on May 16, 2019

Researchers have discovered an ancient forest of bald cypress trees along a North Carolina river, documenting some trees older than than 2,000 years old.One of the bald cypress trees along the Black River was documented to be at least 2,624 years old.

Diabetes mortality gap widens for rural Americans

Daily Yonder | Posted on May 9, 2019

The rate of death from diabetes is decreasing in metropolitan America while the rate remains relatively unchanged in rural areas. Researchers aren’t sure of the cause.

Proposed Changes Would Increase the Cost and Decrease the Benefit of Listing Species as Endangered

Choices | Posted on May 9, 2019

Much of the debate concerning the ESA surrounds the role of economics, which plays an obvious role in determining the congressional budget allocations used to administer and implement the ESA. The ESA faces well-documented funding shortfalls (Miller et al., 2002; Stokstad, 2005), which may undermine the effectiveness of ESA recovery efforts (Ferraro, McIntosh, and Ospino, 2007) and have caused the number of species proposed for listing to outpace listing decisions, leading to backlogs (Stokstad, 2005). But most of the recent debate over the role of economics in the ESA has focused on prioritizing species for protection and defining recovery. When enacting the ESA in 1973, Congress noted that decisions concerning the listing of species as endangered or threatened must be based solely on “the best available scientific information” with a prohibition on economic criteria. This “science only” mandate for listing decisions presents two challenges for the ESA. First, it limits the ability to manage how nonscientific variables such as public opinion and the physical appearance of the species indirectly influence the probability of listing. Second, the “science only” mandate makes it harder to define clear criteria to guide listing decisions, which creates uncertainty and confusion for landowners and leaves considerable discretion in the hands of agency officials. Assessments of the likelihood of future impacts on a particular species or the habitat on which it relies must be made in the face of considerable uncertainties. To deal with this uncertainty, the statutory language that guides listing decisions adopts a precautionary principle approach (Prato, 2005). While this precautionary principle approach correctly acknowledges the need to act before uncertainty is completely resolved, it is difficult to define when precaution should be exercised.