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Rural News

Destruction from sea level rise in California could exceed worst wildfires and earthquakes, new research shows

Los Angeles Times | Posted on March 14, 2019

In the most extensive study to date on sea level rise in California, researchers say damage by the end of the century could be far more devastating than the worst earthquakes and wildfires in state history.A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists concluded that even a modest amount of sea level rise — often dismissed as a creeping, slow-moving disaster — could overwhelm communities when a storm hits at the same time.The study combines sea level rise and storms for the first time, as well as wave action, cliff erosion, beach loss and other coastal threats across California. These factors have been studied extensively but rarely together in the same model.

Review of noise impacts on marine mammals yields new policy recommendations

Science Daily | Posted on March 14, 2019

Marine mammals are particularly sensitive to noise pollution because they rely on sound for so many essential functions, including communication, navigation, finding food, and avoiding predators. An expert panel has now published a comprehensive assessment of the available science on how noise exposure affects hearing in marine mammals, providing scientific recommendations for noise exposure criteria that could have far-reaching regulatory implications.

Mental Health Trails Metal Detectors in School Safety Dollars

Pew Trust | Posted on March 14, 2019

After a gunman shot and killed 10 people at Santa Fe High School last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to make the state’s public schools safe for students and teachers. “We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families,” he said at a news conference following the May 18 shooting. “It’s time in Texas that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again in the history of the state of Texas.” In August, Abbott issued a school safety action plan. And in his State of the State address in January he declared the issue an emergency item for the state’s biennial legislative session.ut Abbott, a Republican, also made it clear that in gun-loving Texas, school safety measures won’t include taking guns away from people considered a danger to themselves or others, known as “red flag” laws.Instead, the debate is over how much state money to invest in metal detectors, alarm systems and surveillance cameras versus school counselors and mental health assessments.

Canada says improving internet and cellphone service in rural areas is a priority

CKRM | Posted on March 14, 2019

The federal government says improving internet and cellphone service in rural areas is a priority. The Minister of Rural Economic Development, Bernadette Jordan spoke Tuesday at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities convention in Saskatoon. “It’s a huge issue, it’s an expense if one. there’s no question. But we recognize that internet now is like highways as well because you have to have it in order to grow.”Jordan says the government is in the process of developing a preliminary plan, which should be ready by June. “We will make sure that we continue to work with our partners to see the best way forward, to make sure that we do provide a business case to be able to put in the backbone that we need in order to do that.”“We know that in rural areas it’s really hard to grow a business, to upscale, to export, to expand if you don’t have that critical piece of infrastructure that is internet and also cell phone coverage,” she adds.

Representative Wills:He wants to keep fighting for Iowa’s smallest towns

Northwest Iowa | Posted on March 14, 2019

I believe we are facing a critical juncture in our state. Are we going to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the shrinking populations of rural Iowa or are we going to finally put forth serious efforts toward tackling the issue head on? I have been working on a piece of legislation that identifies communities in rural Iowa that don’t need a handout but instead need to be treated fairly. Rural Iowa should have an opportunity to compete for the same or similar benefits that seem to always land in our largest cities and counties.House File 468 is a bill that requires half the state’s economic development tax credits to be used in rural Iowa. It targets communities meeting the following criteria: population under 15,000, proximity to a four-lane highway or interstate road systems, contain a community college within it to train a workforce.These communities too often can’t compete with the big cities when it comes to applying for incentives or wooing business and industry. Some of that is due to economic development strategies that don’t focus on our areas of state. I envision a system where our state has regional hubs of economic development that serve as economic generators for the towns, communities and counties surrounding them.

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.