For most Americans, advanced health care facilities that can treat almost any kind of ailment are just a short drive away. But picture you or a loved one in your rural community enduring a life-threatening illness or injury, and having to travel extended distances for medical attention. Compounding the issue – treacherous travel conditions during the winter months when remote roads are hazardous and sometimes closed due to weather.
Now completed a new Native health center in Wasilla means Alaska Natives living along the Parks and Glenn Highways will no longer have to make long 100 mile, round-trip drives to Anchorage to receive routine medical care.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, through USDA Rural Development, provided $40 million in Direct Community Facilities Loan funding and $10 million in a Guaranteed Loan through Wells Fargo Bank. Besides providing construction jobs, the facility will employ 200 staff including healthcare professionals. Available services provided include primary medical care, dental, behavioral health, optometry, health education, wellness and traditional medicine. Read more »
Roads and bridges are vital links that connect communities to their national forests. For residents living near the Bankhead and Talladega National Forests, their drive to the woods is now safer while also protecting natural resources thanks to recent construction projects for two forest bridges.
The Forest Service replaced the Pine Glen Bridge near Helflin, Ala., on the Talladega National Forest with funding support from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The Forest Service also supported the construction of the Brushy Creek Bridge near Double Springs, Ala., on the Bankhead National Forest. The projects employed local community workers who built the bridges which are now helping to improve habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms, reducing sediment deposits in the local streams and rivers, and improving access for visitors. Read more »
USDA Rural Development has a long history of collaboration with the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. I’ve seen the power of these collaborations first-hand, both in my current role as Under Secretary for Rural Development, as well back in the 1990s when I had the opportunity to serve as Rural Development’s State Director in South Dakota.
I recently returned to the tribe’s Pine Ridge Reservation, accompanied by twelve Midwestern USDA Rural Development state directors. We traveled across the reservation, seeing both cultural landmarks and projects that have been impacted by USDA. Read more »
Last week, USDA Rural Development in Michigan got an early start on Homeownership Month by promoting a pilot refinancing program, announced in February by Secretary Tom Vilsack, to help residents with current USDA home loans reduce their payments.
Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien and USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan James Turner made the announcement at the Portage office of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage, a leading partner with USDA’s Guaranteed Home Loan program. Read more »
Water quality is monitored by volunteers with the Monday Creek Restoration Project. MCRP photo.
For nearly a century, the aquatic life that once thrived in the Monday Creek Watershed has been virtually dead. The goal of this Recovery Act project, known as “Devastation to Destination,” is to construct a healthy functioning riparian corridor, restore water quality, and create an integrated land management strategy resulting in species diversity among existing aquatic and wildlife habitats. It is located in Perry County between the towns of New Straitsville and Shawnee, Ohio. Read more »
Over the coming weeks, the landscape in Oklahoma will change dramatically as state-of-the-art combines comb meticulously through fields of golden wheat, allowing Oklahoma farmers to deliver an estimated 150 million bushels to their local grain elevators. The varieties harvested were exhaustively developed to maximize yield and minimize susceptibility to pests, while improving milling and baking qualities.
Such innovation allows today’s farmer to feed over 150 people, each farmer producing five times as much as our grandparents, and doing it with less land, water, energy, and fewer emissions. Agriculture has advanced significantly over the 150-year history of the department charged with its support. Read more »