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Rural News

People are getting scammed with fake puppies. How to spot one.

Detroit Free Press | Posted on April 24, 2019

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office has received nearly 20 complaints of alleged puppy scams since 2017, including two reported so far in 2019. The money lost can be significant. Consumers reported losing as much as $1,200 to scammers who were reportedly selling pets online, according to a 2018 report by the Better Business Bureau. In one case, a victim lost $5,000. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, at the Michigan Humane Society in Detroit on Thursday, said many consumers do not realize they may be doing business online with “puppy con artists.”

Thousands of acres in Kentucky and Tennessee will be protected as wildlife habitat

Courier Journal | Posted on April 24, 2019

The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit aimed at conserving land and water, is acquiring 100,000 acres of forest split between southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee. It will be one of the largest land conservation and ecological restoration projects for the organization in the Central Appalachians, according to a news release.It will double the amount of Kentucky acreage the organization has protected, either through acquisition or conservancy easements that prevent certain development of the land.

Rural America's future isn't written

The Hill | Posted on April 24, 2019

A recent New York Times opinion piece suggested that no one knows how stop the undermining of rural America from economic forces. While these forces have driven a growing divide between urban and rural communities, we can’t allow the past or the scale of the challenge deter from incremental progress or big ideas.It is time to have a serious and thoughtful discussion about the issues that are affecting small towns across this country. In an era of fragmentation, isolation and divisiveness, it is easy to discount rural communities and the people who live in them. First, we must first understand two things: Rural America is not monolithic. Historically, people and talent have flowed between rural and urban regions.To get away from the disruptive and unproductive rhetoric about rural America, we must change our mindset, and consider that this conversation is not a case of urban vs rural.

U.S. hit with two billion-dollar disasters so far in 2019

Farm and Dairy | Posted on April 24, 2019

The so-called bomb cyclone that brought heavy snow, blizzard conditions and major flooding to the Midwest in March landed with a resounding meteorological “ka-boom!” and became one of two billion-dollar weather and climate disasters this year. The other was a severe storm that struck the Northeast, Southeast and Ohio Valley in late February. And it’s only April.

The Poverty-Reducing Effect of Five Key Government Programs in Rural and Urban America

Carsey School of Public Policy | Posted on April 24, 2019

Federal programs are critical for helping those with low incomes make ends meet. But not all such programs are equally effective at reducing poverty, nor do they benefit all of those in poverty uniformly. In this brief, we explore the extent to which rural and urban residents access five social programs—Social Security, disability benefits, federal and state cash assistance, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)— and the effect of these programs individually and collectively in bringing family incomes closer to the poverty threshold.After accounting for all resources and necessary expenditures (see Box 1), 12.9 percent of rural and 14.3 percent of urban residents are poor. Although their incomes remain below the SPM poverty threshold, more than seven in ten people living in poverty report income from at least one of the five types of programs examined here (Figure 1). The reach of each program varies by place type; for instance, poor rural residents are more likely to receive SNAP than their urban counterparts, who are more likely to receive the EITC.

Fire-starting ranchers get a new blessing from BLM

High Country News | Posted on April 18, 2019

Last year, President Donald Trump pardoned the ranchers, ending the jail time they were still serving for lighting wildland fires that endangered federal firefighters. Then, in January, then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reissued their grazing permit, and the Hammonds returned to ranching. On April 9, the BLM released a new environmental assessment for grazing on the Hammond Allotment, one of the largest of several the family uses in the high desert of eastern Oregon, where rolling hills are broken by rocky outcroppings. The BLM says cattle have not grazed the land for five years because the ranchers’ permits weren’t renewed in 2014.After years without grazing the allotment has become a wildfire risk, and locals have sent letters to the BLM, voicing concern. The agency’s plan would authorize the Hammonds to graze cattle to help reduce that risk. In many ways, it comes as the anticlimax to decades of disputes between the Hammonds and federal land managers. Facilitated by Trump’s pardon last year, it represents a return to business as usual in an area where ranching interests have significant sway over land-management policies.

Petting zoos a breeding ground for drug-resistant superbugs, study finds

Independent | Posted on April 18, 2019

Petting zoos could be a breeding ground for drug-resistant superbugs after a study found more than one in 10 animals carrying at least one strain of bacteria capable of withstanding multiple important antibiotics. Israeli researchers collected samples from 228 animals across eight randomly chosen petting zoos, and concluded they were “reservoirs” for microbes that could easily spread from children to vulnerable relatives.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs bill banning local 'right-to-work' zones

Chicago Tribune | Posted on April 18, 2019

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed into law a bill that bars local governments from establishing so-called right-to-work zones, another rebuke to his Republican predecessor, who blocked similar legislation as he battled with Democratic lawmakers over his pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

Southern States Slowly Embracing Harm Reduction to Curb Opioid Epidemic

Pew Trust | Posted on April 18, 2019

As a top agent with North Carolina’s Bureau of Investigation, Donnie Varnell had tried everything to stop people from fatally overdosing on opioids, from arresting more low-level drug users to talking with doctors. Nothing worked. In 2014, he heard a former SWAT commander speak to law enforcement officers about carrying the opioid antidote naloxone.“I’ve arrested more people than you can put on a cruise ship,” Varnell said, recalling the speech. “But the message — and the messenger — resonated with me. He spoke cop. But he also had ideas, programs and studies. I could see naloxone wasn’t dangerous.”Soon Varnell was traveling the state, working with drug policy activists to convince other officers to carry the overdose-reversal drug. He also embraced syringe exchanges, using data — nearly 1 in 3 officers get stuck with a syringe during the course of their career — to persuade fellow officers to support exchanges.And he even educated police chiefs concerned about the costs and liability of naloxone and needles.

Rural America Growing Again Due to Migration Gains

Carsey School of Public Policy | Posted on April 18, 2019

For the first six years of this decade, rural America experienced overall population loss for the first time in history. New Census Bureau estimates suggest that last year overall growth accelerated in nonmetropolitan America where 46.1 million people reside. The population gain was small, just 37,000 (.1 percent), but it contrasts with a loss of 32,000 just two years ago and to a modest population gain last year. Population growth was fueled by renewed net migration coupled with a surplus of births over deaths, though this natural increase is dwindling. The population grew in rural counties near metropolitan areas which have historically grown faster than more remote rural counties because of the advantages of metropolitan proximity. The Great Recession reversed this long-term trend and for several years adjacent counties lost more population than remote rural counties. Between July of 2017 and July of 2018, adjacent rural counties gained 46,000 residents because a domestic migration gain supplemented immigration and natural increase. In contrast, rural counties that were not near metropolitan areas continued to lose population due to sustained domestic migration loss. Growth rates vary widely across nonmetropolitan America. The fastest growing counties have recreational and scenic amenities that attract migrants including retirees from elsewhere in the U.S. Migration slowed to these counties during the Great Recession, but is has significantly increased in the last two years. In contrast, rural farm counties continued to experience domestic outmigration and population loss.