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USDA, HUD and Pennsylvania Housing Agency Agree to Streamline Rental Financing

(L to R) Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD Regional Administrator; Tammye Trevino, USDA Housing and Community Facilities Administrator; Thomas P. Williams, USDA Rural Development State Director; Brian A. Hudson Sr., PHFA Executive Director and CEO

(L to R) Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD Regional Administrator; Tammye Trevino, USDA Housing and Community Facilities Administrator; Thomas P. Williams, USDA Rural Development State Director; Brian A. Hudson Sr., PHFA Executive Director and CEO

In a step forward in the Obama Administration’s desire to streamline government policies and build stronger inter-agency partnerships, USDA Rural Development, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) jointly announced the launch of a pilot program that will reduce regulatory burdens on affordable housing developers and owners. The program will help state and federal agencies better serve low-income families who rent their homes by reducing regulations across several layers of government. Read more »

Georgia School Kids Plant Trees While Meeting Olympians

Around 1,500 Jasper and Putnam County elementary students in Georgia got their hands dirty planting trees while meeting Olympic athletes at the Kids4Trees program sponsored by the Forest Service. The event was the first of 35 planned across the nation for 2012.

Bryan Jacobs, an inspiring two-time Olympic weightlifter, was among three Olympians who visited with students. After learning what it takes to help both trees and young spirits thrive, the students planted trees at their schools and potted their own small trees to take home. Read more »

Create a New Market for Cotton? No Sweat.

Professional track star Monica Hargrove sporting Charged Cotton™ gear.  This line of clothing was developed through the partnership between Under Armour and Cotton Incorporated. Photo Courtesy of Cotton Incorporated.Professional track star Monica Hargrove sporting Charged Cotton™ gear.  This line of clothing was developed through the partnership between Under Armour and Cotton Incorporated. Photo Courtesy of Cotton Incorporated.

Professional track star Monica Hargrove sporting Charged Cotton™ gear. This line of clothing was developed through the collaboration between Under Armour and Cotton Incorporated. Photo courtesy of Under Armour advertising campaign.

As more and more Americans are working to become fit and healthy, one of the top athletic clothing companies – Under Armour – has been building a team to help improve its use of natural fibers.  Relying on cutting edge research to provide products that wick away moisture, Under Armour products traditionally were not made of the classic sporting apparel material – cotton.  However, since early 2011, one of the company’s most popular items has been Charged Cotton™, a line of clothing that uses cotton — the fabric of our lives. Read more »

Rural New Mexico Businesses Saving Energy and Going Green!

This eighteen solar panel array is generating more than enough electricity to offset the cost of energy it takes to run the Los Ebanistas, Inc. contracting firm’s woodshop and offices in Dixon, NM on an everyday basis.  The extra energy that is generated is then routed back into the electric grid allowing Los Ebanistas to make a profit on the additional energy.

This eighteen solar panel array is generating more than enough electricity to offset the cost of energy it takes to run the Los Ebanistas, Inc. contracting firm’s woodshop and offices in Dixon, NM on an everyday basis. The extra energy that is generated is then routed back into the electric grid allowing Los Ebanistas to make a profit on the additional energy.

It’s 8:20 AM and Jo Ann Shelby, the manager of Compass Components, in Deming, New Mexico is beginning her day by going over her latest work production and business expense reports.  She finds the cost of electricity to light the 90,000 square foot assembly plant is down 50 percent. Read more »

One Pumpkin Seed Was Start to Educating a Community

It all started with a little red wagon and six pumpkins.

Growing up on his family’s farm in Suamico, Wis., Brian Gronski’s family had a large garden and five acres of pick your own raspberries. One year, Gronski’s father provided his sons with a small spot to grow their own vegetables, which resulted in six pumpkins. The boys decided to load their bounty into a little red wagon and haul it down to the end of the driveway. Selling just two of those pumpkins inspired the boys to only grow pumpkins the following year. That resulted in a much larger wagon load of pumpkins and the successful sale of most of them.

With that small start, the Gronski family moved from growing raspberries to growing pumpkins and becoming The Pumpkin Place on Briter’s Farm. Read more »

Future Forest Service Leaders Learn About Agency History

Elers Koch was a U.S. Forest Service forest ranger. He often patrolled the Lolo National Forest in New Mexico while armed with a weapon. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Elers Koch was a U.S. Forest Service forest ranger. He often patrolled the Lolo National Forest in Montana while armed with a weapon. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Imagine men mounted on horses, armed with rifles and sidearms, patrolling millions of acres of public land. These men were typical U.S. Forest Service rangers over a century ago. This is how the Forest Service first approached forest management.

Forest Service historian Dr. Lincoln Bramwell recently shared the history of the Forest Service to the agency’s Class of 2011 Presidential Management Fellows, a federal government leadership development program. Read more »