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rural communities

The Wood Pellet Industry: A Dual Threat To Poor, Rural Communities

Wood pellets are a form of biomass that is versatile, concentrated and easily transportable. But making wood pellets is dirty and energy-intensive. After tree wood is dried and ground into sawdust, it is heated and pressed through molds to form small, cylindrical chunks of dense wood fiber. This form of biomass offers a least two advantages for energy producers. First, converting coal-fired power plants to burn wood pellets is relatively easy. Second, with much of the moisture removed, pellets are more economical to transport than raw wood. This is a significant benefit, since virtually all the industrial pellets made in the US are shipped overseas.

From Shrinking To Resilience – Lessons From The Latvian Rural Parliament

The Latvian Rural Communities Parliament (LRCP) is held biennially with the aim of collaboratively discovering effective solutions and exploring new opportunities for rural development. Its primary focus is to foster cooperation among diverse stakeholders and identify challenges and priorities at the local, regional, national, and European levels. The Community Parliament operates on the principle of equal dialogue, bringing together approximately 300 individuals representing local and regional authorities, businesses, policymakers, academics, rural development experts, and enthusiasts.

Rural Healthcare Disparities Are Greatest In United States

There are more healthcare disparities between rural and urban residents of the United States than between rural and urban residents of 10 other developed countries, according to a new study published July 7 in JAMA Network Open. Using data collected by the Commonwealth Fund for its 2020 survey of 11 advanced nations, the researchers analyzed the information for differences between the rural and urban participants in each country, looking at 10 indicators in three domains: health status and socioeconomic risk factors, affordability of care, and access to care. According to the paper, "The US had statistically significant geographic health disparities in 5 of the 10 indicators, the most of any country, followed by Switzerland (4), the UK and Australia (3 each), and France and Germany (2 each).

Attacks On Rural Letter Carriers; Devastating Restructuring Of USPS

More than 90,000 rural letter carriers for the United States Postal Service (USPS) are battling changes to their compensation which have led to massive pay cuts and longer workweeks. The replacement of the pre-existing method of calculating rural carriers’ hours and wages has resulted in wage cuts as high as $20,000 a year in some cases. Rural carriers’ attempts to challenge and prove any discrepancies between their actual work and what is calculated by the new system have been derailed by the USPS’s refusal to disclose the year-long electronic collection of data used by the system which they alone control.

Five Facts About Producer Organizations And Rural Development

Producer organizations (POs) receive substantial attention and policy support, given their potential to contribute to pro-poor rural development. Here, we first synthesize decades of empirical research in the form of five stylized facts—common and largely unchallenged conclusions—about POs. Then, we explore these stylized facts using several secondary and primary data sets. We confirm some stylized facts, challenge others, and highlight which ones lack empirical evidence to derive policy implications and directions for future research. We highlight largely overlooked low and regionally biased participation rates and suggest that future research should pay more attention to the diverse forms and characteristics of POs.

Increased Wellness And Economic Return Of Universal Broadband

The Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI) in partnership with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance Community Broadband Networks initiative present Increased Wellness and Economic Return of Universal Broadband Infrastructure: A Telehealth Case Study of Ten Southern Rural Counties. As the title suggests, the report has particular relevance for Black women living in rural broadband deserts, detailing how universal, affordable, broadband infrastructure would return $43 million per year using telehealth across 10 counties in the Black Belt of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. In addition to demonstrating how robust broadband infrastructure could pay for itself in short order, the report highlights how investments in broadband would open up untold access to healthcare, educational opportunities, economic development, community engagement, and other benefits along the way.

Rural County Jails Are Now The Main Driver Of Mass Incarceration

All across the United States, city and state governments have increasingly turned to fines and fees to make up for budget shortfalls. This has required a corresponding explosion in police department budgets, creating a perverse cycle where local governments must consistently expand policing in order to continue to pay for policing. Rural America has not escaped this trend, and a new Vera Institute report has found that small and rural counties are now the main drivers of growth in the prison industrial complex. According Vera’s research, the boom in county jails appears to be driven by an increased amount of people who are either held pretrial or warehoused for federal, state, or other municipal authorities.

India: Despite Funding, Why Is Adequate, Clean Water Elusive?

Scorching heat has again been accompanied this year by reports of acute drinking water shortages in many villages. The situation was supposed to be different this time because of an unprecedentedly high increase in the budget for drinking water supply in villages announced about 15 months back, but clearly the actual improvement has fallen far short of the high expectations raised at that time. The budget estimate in the 2021-22 budget for Jal Jivan Mission, the main program for rural drinking water supply, was increased to an unprecedented extent to Rs. 50,011 crore, while in 2022-23 budget this was again creased to Rs. 60,000 crore. However, only 26% of the previous year’s allocated amount was utilized till January 2022, as pointed out by the Standing Committee on Water Resources (2021-22), 14th Report, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
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