Rainbow in the Grand Canyon as seen from Near Mather Point on the South Rim, Grand Canyon N.P. NPS photo.
Few places in the U.S. are as secluded as Supai. Nestled in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon, it has the distinction of being the most remote community in the lower 48 states. The only way in or out is to walk, ride a mule, or take a helicopter. Read more »
I was honored to host a panel last week at the Department of Agriculture’s Ag Outlook Forum to showcase the impact of USDA broadband programs on so many in rural communities. Our February 25th Rural Development panel, “Building a Stronger Rural Infrastructure: Broadband,” portrayed the ripple effect these investments have.
We heard from Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, which has provided electric power to consumers since WWII. They got into the broadband business because they recognized a need. Like many with a sense of community and knowledge of how broadband affects economic development, they successfully applied for Recovery Act broadband funding from USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency. “This will ultimately change the landscape of New Mexico,” Luis told the audience. “This is an opportunity for us to partner with colleges, health care facilities and the community to expand businesses, hire more employees, build markets and improve healthcare. To think that a small co-op in New Mexico can turn a project into a model program nationwide is exciting.” Read more »
Recently, the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth hosted an event to commemorate the award of grants and loans to Air Advantage LLC through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Initiative Program and discussed the progress of the project to date. This is one of the largest single awards for USDA Rural Development in Michigan and it has tremendous potential to increase the economy in the Thumb region. Read more »
Maine has one of the highest per capita rates of cancer in the United States, and for many cancer patients living in rural areas of the state, a long drive into a bigger city to receive necessary medical treatment can be daunting. Snowy Maine winters, the high cost of gasoline, relying on family or friends to drive when a patient is not feeling well, and the sheer exhaustion that comes with traveling 140 miles round trip or longer can take its toll on a cancer patient. Now, thanks in part to a USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant, many patients will be able to receive the highest quality care and treatment without having to leave their own rural communities. Read more »
In rural America, especially in frontier regions of South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska the shortage of health care professionals tends to be pronounced. For example, 55 of South Dakota’s 66 counties, or 83 percent of all counties, are designated Primary Care Health Professional Shortage areas. There are even greater disparities in South Dakota rural areas regarding access to specialists. USDA Rural Development grants to Avera Regional Health System have been instrumental in developing and expanding telehealth services cost effectively to the smallest and most underserved hospitals and communities. Read more »
A small rural community half way between Kansas City and Springfield is the Village of Brownington, possibly the best kept secret of Henry County. Nestled comfortably along the Harry S. Truman Lake, the Village consists of 119 residents with 68 housing units covering a land area of only 0.15 sq. miles. Their numbers may be small, but their courage and determination to revive their community is remarkable.
To the delight of the residents, the Village was recently awarded a grant for access to broadband service and the construction of a Community Center. The broadband service is a result of a program administered by USDA Rural Development. The program known as “Community Connect” provides grants to eligible applicants to establish broadband service in rural communities that are not currently served. Read more »