After our terrific meeting with city officials in Ranson and Charles Town, I had the opportunity to visit with local FFA students at Hampshire High School in Romney, WV. Rural America truly is a place where cutting edge innovation meets old-fashioned fun on the farm!
I’d been told the neighboring towns of Ranson and Charles Town, West Virginia, are vibrant communities where people want to live, work and raise a family. During a recent visit with local leaders and USDA’s community economic development partners in the area, I saw first-hand how regional approaches and partnerships are attracting public and private investment to the region that make this quality of life possible.
Along with WV Rural Development State Director Bobby Lewis, I recently convened a discussion with the mayors and city planners of the two towns to learn more about their successes and strategies. I learned that Charles Town and Ranson are thinking big, re-imagining their future, and developing a blueprint for their long-term economic viability. You see, by working together to develop comprehensive objectives and plans, the communities have been able to leverage grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop new businesses, transportation links, and affordable housing. And in 2011, USDA contributed an important piece, providing funding through a Community Facilities Direct Loan for a much needed ambulance shelter. Read more »
Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow speaks at the ground-breaking for the new USDA-supported Cassopolis Family Clinic. USDA photo.
Cassopolis, located in southwest Michigan, recently celebrated the ground-breaking for the new USDA Rural Development supported Cassopolis Family Clinic. Like many rural communities, Cassopolis has limited facilities for health care, particularly for low-income residents. The Cassopolis Family Clinic was founded more than 50 years ago to serve the surrounding community and the facility will bring that service into the future.
USDA Rural Development was represented at the event by Paw Paw Sub-Area Office Team Leader Lisa Epple, who was joined by local leaders and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. Read more »
Bonnie Chirstenson from University of Minnesota Extension (far right) shows students in Mrs. Jones’ sixth-grade class in Tracy Elementary how to make pumpkin pudding using a locally grown pumpkin.
On a fall morning in Mrs. Jones’ sixth-grade class in Tracy, Minn., students are learning how to make pumpkin pudding.
Instead of using a can opener to pry the lid off cans of pumpkin, a real pumpkin is being used. And not just any real pumpkin, a pumpkin that came straight from a local garden and into the classroom.
The classroom isn’t the only place in Tracy Elementary where local foods are becoming more prevalent. The lunchroom also features more foods grown by local producers and served in school lunches. Read more »
Tyler, Minn., is a long way from New York City, but the small-town of 1,143 people has something in common with the Big Apple: Both have recently had to deal with major weather events.
Obviously, the destruction and devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy is on a much wider scale than what Tyler experienced when a tornado leveled homes and businesses on July 1, 2011. But both disasters highlight the importance of emergency preparedness, whether you live in a high-rise in midtown Manhattan, or on a farm in Tyler.
Rural communities face unique challenges when dealing with emergency response and major weather events. It’s essential that small towns have the latest technology and equipment to keep residents safe during an emergency. Read more »
Fundamental project partners and community supporters participate in ceremonial groundbreaking.
Most people are unfamiliar with the town of Grass Valley, California- a small rural area located in the pocket of northern Nevada County with a population of 12,860 and 4.7 square miles of land. So, just what can someone find in this small town? A lot of community support and dedication. This commitment was apparent at the groundbreaking ceremony for Community Recovery Resources’ new Center for Hope facility, a residential drug treatment center. Read more »
Despite below-freezing temperatures and high-wind advisories, more than 50 residents of Hardinsburg and Breckinridge County, Kentucky, turned out recently to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new public library. The crowd included local high school students, city and county officials, library board trustees and members and local law enforcement. Read more »