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Posts tagged: Arizona

Packed House in Tucson, Arizona for Energy Round Table Listening Session with Rural Utilities Administrator

Sorry Mr. Wolfe. As it turns out, you actually CAN go home again…and John Padalino recently did.

Padalino is the Administrator for the USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a branch of USDA Rural Development. Born in south Tucson, Padalino grew up along the border where his father was a customs agent. Recently he was back in Tucson to facilitate a Rural Development Energy Round Table.

The round table was filled to capacity with participants that represented small businesses, solar companies, utilities, community action groups, tribes, contractors, and local governments. Read more »

USDA Explores How Federal Infrastructure Can Support Rural Cultural Strategies

Ajo, Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Retreat Center recently received an ArtPlace grant to promote small town vitality. The town’s annual International Day of Peace parade brings together people from the Tohono O’odahm Nation and Sonoyta, Mexico.  Pictured here Eric Alegria (board chair of the Center), Lorraine Marquez Eiler of the Hla C-ed O’odham district on the Tohono O’odham Nation legislative Council, and (behind) Brian Mackenzie, the principal of the Ajo school. Photo courtesy of Tracy Taft.

Ajo, Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Retreat Center recently received an ArtPlace grant to promote small town vitality. The town’s annual International Day of Peace parade brings together people from the Tohono O’odahm Nation and Sonoyta, Mexico. Pictured here Eric Alegria (board chair of the Center), Lorraine Marquez Eiler of the Hla C-ed O’odham district on the Tohono O’odham Nation legislative Council, and (behind) Brian Mackenzie, the principal of the Ajo school. Photo courtesy of Tracy Taft.

As rural communities search for new and viable economic approaches, it is becoming clear that one core component of many successful rural communities is the presence of vibrant arts and cultural opportunities. Last month I had the opportunity to speak about rural arts initiatives and how USDA Rural Development is engaged with local communities and private foundations to provide awareness of our infrastructure programs and how they can assist in supporting local cultural strategies.

At the Americans for the Arts annual meeting I had the honor of representing USDA on two panels where our Rural Development programs were part of the mix.  The sessions included discussion of ArtPlace, a consortium of national and regional foundations, and their efforts to support rural communities. Projects in Lanesboro, Minnesota and Ajo, Arizona are recent ArtPlace grantees, and we had the opportunity to explore ways in which USDA’s infrastructure programs might be able to leverage this new boost of philanthropic support as these communities work to demonstrate how cultural development is an essential ingredient for rural communities in the next generation. Read more »

A USDA Grant Gets the Home Lights Burning for an Elderly Navajo Nation Couple

Freddie Hatathlie, Roger Clark (left), Betty & Kee Acothley hold their 2013 Homeownership Month commendation presented by State Director Alan Stephens (right). USDA photos.

Freddie Hatathlie, Roger Clark (left), Betty & Kee Acothley hold their 2013 Homeownership Month commendation presented by State Director Alan Stephens (right). USDA photos.

Betty and Kee Acothley live miles off the beaten track in the former Bennett Freeze area on the Navajo Nation.

Kee once tended thousands of head of sheep at the remote sheep camp he and his wife Betty call home. Now, at 80, he keeps only around 70 head. He and Betty, 79, follow the sheep on foot every day, returning to their modest home before dusk. Read more »

The Lone Ranger Stars Depp, Hammer … and the Santa Fe National Forest

The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer and Helen Bonham Carter opens nationwide in theaters on July 3. The movie shot for 10 days on the Santa Fe National Forest for a fight scene on a train speeding through a tunnel. (Copyrighted photo courtesy Walt Disney Pictures)

The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer and Helen Bonham Carter opens nationwide in theaters on July 3. The movie shot for 10 days on the Santa Fe National Forest for a fight scene on a train speeding through a tunnel. (Copyrighted photo courtesy Walt Disney Pictures)

Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, stars of Disney’s The Lone Ranger debuting July 3, join a long list of formidable Hollywood greats, including Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Elizabeth Taylor and John Wayne, who have acted on the nation’s outdoor soundstage – a national forest.

Last year during 10 days of filming on the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico, the Gilman Tunnels served as the backdrop for a scene in The Lone Ranger where a train passes through the tunnels. Read more »

NRCS Helps with Reforestation Efforts on a Scarred Tribal Landscape

Daniel Kessay, with the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s forestry department, and Jan Pertruzzi, with NRCS in Whiteriver, Ariz., review plans for ponderosa pine tree plantings. Photo by Beverly Moseley, NRCS.

Daniel Kessay, with the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s forestry department, and Jan Pertruzzi, with NRCS in Whiteriver, Ariz., review plans for ponderosa pine tree plantings. Photo by Beverly Moseley, NRCS.

From the top of Limestone Ridge, 6,000 feet up, the scars of a massive wildfire on Arizona’s White Mountain Apache Reservation in east central Arizona are still visible. As far as the eye can see are bare mountain ranges where century-old ponderosa pines once stood.

A decade ago, the Rodeo-Chediski fire burned more than 270,000 acres and an estimated 80 million trees, leaving behind few pine trees to help seed the beginnings of a new forest. Read more »

Laotian Farmer Becomes National Voice for N.C. Hmong Community

Maykia Yang (right), is trying to educate Hmong farmers in North Carolina about Farm Service Agency programs. Pictured with Maykia is her husband Jim (left) and son Marcus.

Maykia Yang (right), is trying to educate Hmong farmers in North Carolina about Farm Service Agency programs. Pictured with Maykia is her husband Jim (left) and son Marcus.

It’s not a pleasant memory for Maykia Yang. Fleeing on foot from her native home of Laos at age eight and following her family to Thailand where she spent two years in a refugee camp.

“My father was a soldier and worked for the CIA during the [Vietnam] war. After the CIA pulled out, the Vietnamese took over Laos and we fled on foot for about a month,” said Yang, who now owns a chicken farm in North Carolina. Read more »