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Ninety Year Old Volunteers Make an Environmental Impact in North Dakota

Earth Team Volunteers  Lyla Schulz and Jean Herauf (L to R) prepare a conservation mailing to famers in the Dickinson, N.D., NRCS office.

Earth Team Volunteers Lyla Schulz and Jean Herauf (L to R) prepare a conservation mailing to famers in the Dickinson, N.D., NRCS office.

Two women have been helping make an environmental impact in Stark County, North Dakota for nearly two decades. Lyla Schulz, 91, and Jean Herauf, 90, have each volunteered over 1,000 hours doing routine office work to allow conservationists with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to spend more time working directly with farmers and ranchers. Read more »

During Homeownership Month, Nevada Celebration Brings Home Message of Community, Security, and Jobs

On a chilly, gray morning, under the shadow of the still challenging Nevada economy, more than 70 people gathered in the beautiful Nevada State Capitol building to share with each other why it remains so important to keep the dream of homeownership alive. In the majestic and historic Old Assembly Chambers, homeowners, realtors, and lenders active in USDA Rural Development Direct and Guaranteed Home loan programs participated in a two part event, as Nevada Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler put it: “recognition and revenue.”

Jeff Bishop, a homeowner from Washoe County, won the heart of the crowd with his simple eloquence. Jeff is a high school janitor, a musician, a family man. His wife Brooke and their two daughters, Emma and Rose, stood proudly by him, grinning, showing off their hand-drawn poster of their new home. Read more »

Recovery Act Funds Urban Forestry Success in Historic African American Neighborhood

Volunteers have planted 185 trees in the historic Berkley Square neighborhood in Las Vegas as part of a U.S. Forest Service Recovery Act-funded Nevada forest revitalization project. The Berkley Square Tree Planting Project was one of the largest volunteer supported activities ever held in Berkley Square which is part of Las Vegas’ Ward 5.

Berkley Square represented an important step in civil rights for African-Americans in Las Vegas. The Historic Berkley Square Neighborhood is the first subdivision to be built in Nevada by and for African-American residents of Las Vegas. It was designed in 1949 by Paul R. Williams, an internationally-known African-American architect who also designed the La Concha Motel, as well as movie-star homes and public buildings in Los Angeles. Read more »

Rural America: Building Upon a Record of Success

Cross posted from the White House blog:

This morning, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Rural Council, the first entity of its kind established to focus on policy initiatives for Rural Americans.  The President’s signature on this document represents a truly historic moment for the nation.  I am honored to serve as the Chair of the Council and work directly with my Cabinet colleagues from across the federal government to improve the economic conditions and quality of life for millions of Rural Americans.

President Obama has already established an impressive record in rural areas, which the Rural Council will build on.  The Administration’s record includes substantial investments in rural America to modernize our Nation’s infrastructure, provide broadband access to 10 million Americans, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, and provide affordable health care.  Nevertheless, the President believes that even more needs to be done in order to fully capitalize on the emerging opportunities in Rural America.  Despite recent advances, rural communities continue to struggle to maintain the population and businesses needed for sustained economic growth. Read more »

Undersecretary Says Renewable Energy Production Promotes America’s Security, Boosts Economy

As a farmer in eastern South Dakota, I witnessed one of the biggest growth periods in renewable energy in our country’s history.

I saw firsthand how the investments in biofuels benefited rural Americans by creating jobs and capturing wealth locally. Leaders in the community got together, made commitments to invest in renewable energy projects, and shared in the success of the projects once they matured. Read more »

What Will You Do To Help Feed Hungry Children This Summer?

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Monday was the first day of the first ever National Summer Food Service Program Week: “Food That’s in When School is Out”.  When the school year ends, many children and teens who rely on School Meals are at a higher risk of going hungry during the summer when school is not in session. This week, we are raising awareness about the Summer Food Service Program to make sure kids don’t go hungry this summer.  During the school year, more than 21 million children receive free and reduce-priced breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs.  And yet, when school lets out, only slightly more than 3 million receive a meal through a summer program.    It is imperative that we do better feeding our nation’s children. Read more »