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Category: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)

With USDA Support, A Health Center in Alaska’s Susitna Valley Celebrates a Grand Opening

On a beautiful, bright Sunday in August, members of the Alaska  USDA-Rural Development team met with the leadership of the new Sunshine Community Health Center and other funders to celebrate the grand opening of the new healthcare facility in Willow.  They were joined by members of the surrounding communities which this new clinic will serve, including Willow, Houston and Skwentna, Alaska.

The old healthcare building of some 1,400 square feet had grown outdated in both accommodations for staff and residents needing medical services.  The work space to provide private exams and perform much needed medical procedures was too small and no longer met the required protocols.

“The new building is a 6,800 square foot facility that houses six new exam rooms, allowing the clinic to expand and supply necessary healthcare expertise and services to the residents of the surrounding service area.  It will provide many new jobs ranging from entry-level support personnel to professional and bring higher levels of medical services,” said Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund. Read more »

Recovery Act Creating Jobs in Kentucky

The renovated Fox Creek flood control dam in Kentucky.

The renovated Fox Creek flood control dam in Kentucky.

We’re seeing how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) creates jobs right here in Kentucky. The Fox Creek flood control dam in Kentucky, is a great example.

The Recovery Act was created by the Obama Administration to boost the nation’s economy, in part by developing and improving infrastructure like flood controls. (Floodplains and other wetlands are natural flood controls; dams are man-made flood controls.) Read more »

Alaska’s Mat-Su Valley Celebrates the Grand Opening of a new Native Primary Care Center

For most Americans, advanced health care facilities that can treat almost any kind of ailment are just a short drive away.  But picture you or a loved one in your rural community enduring a life-threatening illness or injury, and having to travel extended distances for medical attention.  Compounding the issue – treacherous travel conditions during the winter months when remote roads are hazardous and sometimes closed due to weather.

Now completed a new Native health center in Wasilla means Alaska Natives living along the Parks and Glenn Highways will no longer have to make long 100 mile, round-trip drives to Anchorage to receive routine medical care.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, through USDA Rural Development, provided $40 million in Direct Community Facilities Loan funding and $10 million in a Guaranteed Loan through Wells Fargo Bank.  Besides providing construction jobs, the facility will employ 200 staff including healthcare professionals.  Available services provided include primary medical care, dental, behavioral health, optometry, health education, wellness and traditional medicine. Read more »

Newly Constructed Bridges Improve Access and Create Jobs in Alabama’s National Forests

Roads and bridges are vital links that connect communities to their national forests. For residents living near the Bankhead and Talladega National Forests, their drive to the woods is now safer while also protecting natural resources thanks to recent construction projects for two forest bridges.

The Forest Service replaced the Pine Glen Bridge near Helflin, Ala., on the Talladega National Forest with funding support from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.  The Forest Service also supported the construction of the Brushy Creek Bridge near Double Springs, Ala., on the Bankhead National Forest. The projects employed local community workers who built the bridges which are now helping to improve habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms, reducing sediment deposits in the local streams and rivers, and improving access for visitors. Read more »

Rural Development’s Key Partnerships Promote Economic Development on the Pine Ridge Reservation

USDA Rural Development has a long history of collaboration with the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.  I’ve seen the power of these collaborations first-hand, both in my current role as Under Secretary for Rural Development, as well back in the 1990s when I had the opportunity to serve as Rural Development’s State Director in South Dakota.

I recently returned to the tribe’s Pine Ridge Reservation, accompanied by twelve Midwestern USDA Rural Development state directors.   We traveled across the reservation, seeing both cultural landmarks and projects that have been impacted by USDA. Read more »

Mount St. Helens Videos Receive National Awards

A Forest Service scientists searches for signs of aquatic life in a lake within the 1980 blast zone of Mount St. Helens. Photo from the video, “Mount St. Helens: A Living Laboratory.”

A Forest Service scientists searches for signs of aquatic life in a lake within the 1980 blast zone of Mount St. Helens. Photo from the video, “Mount St. Helens: A Living Laboratory.”

Two new Forest Service films have been honored with prestigious Silver Telly Awards for excellence in non-fiction filmmaking. Read more »