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A Northern Wisconsin Community Opens a Shelter for Victims of Domestic Abuse Thanks to USDA and Community Funding Support

The time had come for a community to see what it has built when the Household Abuse Victims Emergency Network (HAVEN, Inc.) recently celebrated the grand opening of their new Domestic Abuse Shelter and Office Facility in the northern Wisconsin community of Merrill.

The newly renovated building will provide improved confidentiality and security, more office space and better facilities for staff to meet with clients. The larger shelter includes six bedrooms with a total of 24 beds, more bathrooms, a large new kitchen designed for convenient use by multiple residents, better laundry facilities, and is handicapped accessible. There is also a large living and dining area for residents, a children’s play room and a teen room. The lower level includes a room which can be used for groups or meetings. Read more »

Touring Healthy Schools in Chicago

Christie Vilsack samples a healthy, made-to-order salad from Von Steuben High School’s revamped cafeteria line.

Christie Vilsack samples a healthy, made-to-order salad from Von Steuben High School’s revamped cafeteria line.

School nutrition folks in Chicago have been busy. Last May, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and locally-based Healthy Schools Campaign launched the city’s Go for the Gold campaign. The effort seeks to have 100 city schools qualify for USDA’s HealthierUS Challenge gold award. As part of that announcement, CPS revised its food menus and made other changes, as well. Read more »

Hemlock Hybrids Could Reverse Decline in Landscapers’ Favorite

USDA scientists Susan Bentz and Richard Olsen examine bagged branches of hybrid hemlocks inoculated with hemlock woolly adelgid as part of field tests of the hybrids’ tolerance to the Asian pest.

USDA scientists Susan Bentz and Richard Olsen examine bagged branches of hybrid hemlocks inoculated with hemlock woolly adelgid as part of field tests of the hybrids’ tolerance to the Asian pest.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

For nearly 60 years, a relentless Asian insect with a silly-sounding name–the hemlock woolly adelgid, or HWA–has chomped a deadly swath through 17 northeastern states, portions of Canada and the Appalachian Mountains, literally sucking the life out of native hemlock trees. Read more »

New, Convenient Nutrition Facts Panels Can Help Shed Those Holiday Pounds—and Stay Healthy All Year

Now that the holidays are over, many Americans have made New Year’s resolutions to shed pounds they may have packed on from party buffets. If you’re one such health-minded person, you’re already familiar with the nutrition facts panels found on most foods.

Just last week, FSIS published a new rule that will make nutrition facts panels mandatory on about 40 of the most popular cuts of raw meat and poultry. This means that you’ll be able to compare the calories and fat content for ground turkey versus ground beef, or for pork chops versus chicken breasts, right in the store. Read more »

USDA: A Look Back on 2010

As we begin a new year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on USDA’s accomplishments in 2010. Last year, millions of families, communities and businesses across the nation benefitted from USDA’s programs.  Even during these tough economic times, working with the rest of the Obama Administration, USDA has produced real results for Americans.

Since I came to USDA, we have taken steps to put Americans back to work while rebuilding a strong foundation for sustainable future economic growth – especially in our rural communities.  We provided over $1 billion in financing to help thousands of small and emerging rural businesses expand, grow and innovate, creating or saving nearly 200,000 jobs.  We supported the construction and renovation of 1,400 critical community facilities projects for millions of rural residents including 312 education facilities, 196 libraries, 179 health care facilities, and 563 fire, rescue, and public safety facilities.  The Recovery Act gave us a real boost in these efforts.  Described in our Working for Rural Communities Report, these investments continue to create jobs and stimulate economic activity in rural communities so that unemployment rates are dropping around rural America. Read more »

Fields Green, Utility Costs Drop at an Arizona Ranch Thanks to Support from USDA

Photovoltaic array at Harvey Allen’s Well Service in Elfrida, Arizona.

Photovoltaic array at Harvey Allen’s Well Service in Elfrida, Arizona.

Harvey Allen isn’t the kind of man who wastes time. His ranch and well service in the tiny community of Elfrida, Arizona, means early mornings, long days and little leisure. But it’s not unusual lately to find him spending time staring at the meter of his ranch’s new photovoltaic (PV) electric system. He just can’t seem to get enough of watching that gauge! Read more »