The Lake Holcombe High School in Holcombe, Wisconsin recently upgraded its science classroom as a result of a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative Grant. Holcombe is a small rural community in the northwest area of the state. The science classroom was outdated, making it difficult for the teachers to keep pace with new curriculum requirements and for students to conduct the necessary science experiments for that curriculum.
The newly redesigned science classroom is now compliant with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is similar to other high school science classrooms in the state. A tank was also installed, along with new plumbing, to provide treatment for the chemical waste generated from science-related class work. Now, the science curriculum can be expanded to offer experiences and experiments to the students that are equivalent with other science courses offered to their peers in the state. In addition, new flooring, counters tops, bench fuel valves, sinks, and cabinets were installed, bringing the classroom into the 21st century. The 2013-2014 school year will be the first full year that the students will have access to the improvements. Read more »
The front entrance of Anderson Public School in rural Gallatin County, Montana. USDA photo.
Back to school means a fun and exciting way to learn for students of Anderson Public School in rural Gallatin County, Montana. Using a Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant from USDA Rural Development, Anderson Public School and nine other rural schools in Montana installed the necessary equipment to connect their students to share and expand learning opportunities.
Through the web-based portable videoconferencing equipment, the students in this community southwest of Bozeman, Montana have already been able to move beyond the walls of their classroom. The 4th grade class made a virtual visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and as the 8th grade students rode the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, their classmates in the 7th grade were able to join from back in Montana thanks to the equipment. Enterprising students are already coming up with new curriculum to share with their peers, including a student-led class on using a green screen to make your own videos. Read more »
Veterans returning home from overseas tours-of-duty face many challenges as they readjust to civilian life, and one of the most daunting ones is finding employment. Last year, a new program — the Soldiers to Civilians (S2C) Project — was started in rural west Tennessee to give local veterans the training and skills they need to enter into the field of precision agriculture. Thanks to grant assistance from the Department of Agriculture (USDA), project leaders will now be able to expand the S2C program beyond west Tennessee to help even more veterans living in the rural delta areas of east Arkansas and west Mississippi.
The expansion was funded, in part, through USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, which promotes development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Lillian Salerno announced the award during a visit to the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a bioscience-oriented nonprofit organization that is a partner on the S2C project. Memphis Bioworks is one of more than 130 projects in 30 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico that are receiving RBEG funds. Read more »
Kentucky State Director for Rural Development, Thomas Fern, (grey suit) presents keys for new van to the Magoffin County Judge Executive and the Magoffin County Disabled American Veterans organization. USDA photo.
Parade formations, 21-gun salutes, solemn flag presentations are all an important part of the duties carried out by our nation’s veterans and their organizations as they help us remember the fallen and show support for our current members of America’s military forces. Each have engrained in their memory the wars or battles fought to keep our nation free and to ensure we live under a true and open democracy.
Recently, I presented members of the Disabled American Veterans in Magoffin County, Ky., a set of keys to a new transport van. Equipped with handicap accessible ramps, this van will ease the challenge of getting veterans to community events in their area. The van also will serve as a means of transportation for area veterans needing assistance with visits to doctor appointments and medical facilities. USDA Rural Development provided Magoffin County a grant for the purchase of this vehicle. Read more »
United States Senators Tom Carper (left) and Chris Coons (right) with children attending Primeros Pasos (First Steps). The children will move to a larger facility with funding assistance from USDA. USDA photo.
Last week, United States Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and USDA officials announced a federal grant award to Primeros Pasos, a non-profit organization dedicated to the establishment of a multi-cultural early child care education center for all children of families living and working in the Georgetown, Delaware area.
USDA recognizes that access to quality child care is a major component in helping the unemployed and underemployed make the transition to employment. This organization is improving the quality of life in rural America and is gifted with the two elements necessary for the success of this facility — sound management and community support. Read more »
Fresh, local Louisiana produce, like this will soon be available at the new farmers market in Harrisonburg, thanks to a Community Facilities Grant from USDA. Photo by Karen Lawson, USDA.
The Village of Harrisonburg, Louisiana, the 750-person seat of Catahoula Parish, will soon provide a centralized location for farmers to sell their fresh, healthy produce to its citizens and others in the surrounding area. The Village received funding through USDA’s Community Facility grant program in order to provide a location for a farmer’s market in their town.
This farmers market project will provide an essential public service to a persistently poverty-afflicted area with an unemployment rate of 54.9 percent and a median household income of under $22,000, which is below the poverty level. Catahoula Parish is a special emphasis parish as well as a 2008 presidentially declared disaster parish. Read more »