Review: ‘Stray Dog’

Ronnie “Stray Dog” Hall is a Vietnam veteran who rides motorcycles and runs an RV park in rural southern Missouri. He’s easy on his tenants and understands when they can’t make payments. His granddaughter is having a child; she works two minimum-wage jobs and can barely make ends meet. This bewilders Stray Dog. He fought in Vietnam to make his country better, and his granddaughter, has it worse than he did when he was picking cotton in the 1950s. These... READ MORE

People on the Land: Small-Town Car Craze

Monmouth, Illinois, has a long Main Street and 9,444 residents, give or take a few. Once a year, Main Street is closed, turning into an island of maybe 1,500 antique and classic cars and trucks, including scads of hotrods surrounded by shifting sea of 15,000 people, give or take a few thousand. It’s summer, time for the Maple City Machines Cruise Night. The event, which goes back 20 years or so, happened on July 31. The same weekend, there was... READ MORE

Writing Rural: Ron Rash

Ron Rash is a teacher, poet, short story writer and novelist whose family has lived in North Carolina since the 1700’s.  Most of his work is set in this part of Appalachia. While his work is distinctly Appalachian, he’s quick to point out that he and his fellow regional authors aren’t “just” Southern or Appalachian writers. Rash’s impressive body of work transcends region. His writing has been published in more than 100 magazines and journals and translated into 17 languages,... READ MORE

Speak Your Piece: Take Lifeline Online

EDITOR’S NOTE: At its June 18, 2015, meeting, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on revisions to the Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone service for low-income Americans. The measures would reduce fraud and waste, according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and would allow participants to use their $9.25-per-month subsidy to help pay for broadband instead of a telephone. Below, is a perspective from a Lifeline participant from West Virginia. A second article, from economist Brian Whitacre, examines the potential... READ MORE

The Rural War

Austin,Tex. — Which American communities pay the highest price for the war in Iraq? A look at the demographics of soldiers killed reveals that Iraq is not the war of any one race or region. Rather, it is rural America’s war. Altogether, a nearly equal percentage of Americans aged 18 to 54 live in counties with a million or more inhabitants as live in counties of 100,000 or fewer. And yet, of the soldiers who have died in Iraq, 342... READ MORE

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