Small-Town Consumers Had Little Choice in the Arrival – or Departure – of J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney was the Walmart of its day, disrupting local merchants by offering lower prices through national purchasing power. Now, a similar business model threatens Penney’s stores in small-town markets. Is it really a surprise that Sam Walton got his start at the company founded by James Cash Penney?... READ MORE

Rural Upbringing Increases Odds that Young People Will Marry

The same “neighborhood effects” that appear to increase the future earnings of poor, rural children also result in higher marriage rates.... READ MORE

A Brighter Future Depends on Dealing with Painful Racial Past

More than a half-century ago, 12-year-old Ray Johnson tested the limits of the newly enacted Civil Rights Act in his hometown of Athens, Tennessee. He didn’t get too far.... READ MORE

Close a Rural School, Hurt a Rural Community

Thirty-five states have laws that encourage smaller rural schools to close and consolidate. The advantages of consolidation are questionable, but there’s no doubt about the harm. Shuttering schools hurts the well being of small communities.... READ MORE

Glen Campbell Rubbed the Rural Grit of Arkansas into Pop Sheen of Los Angeles

Versatile and polished, Glen Campbell made his name by crossing the line between pop and country at a time when American tastes were changing. He played for commercial icons like the Beach Boys and the Monkeys but reveled in sharing the stage with country icons, as well. Campbell merged "two versions" of America into his songs, says Adam Behr.... READ MORE

Butterflies Are Free to Find Better Weather; Farmers Have to Stay Put

Swarms of Pink Lady butterflies have descended in dramatic fashion upon the Midwest. Unlike mosquitoes or grasshoppers, they pose no problem for humans or crops. But the forces behind their odd migration might.... READ MORE

Entrepreneurial News: Veteran Journalist Fills a Niche with Indian-Country Coverage

The forces that have decimated traditional daily newspapers in many markets have also created opportunities for entrepreneurial journalists to find a new way to work. We ask Mark Trahant of Trahant Reports how he has managed to cover Native American affairs as an independent journalist after his traditional news-industry job disappeared.... READ MORE

Looking for Needful Things

What happens when a couple of east coastal millennials walk into a West Virginia diner (that doubles as an antique store)? The bending of expectations.... READ MORE

Immigration Proposal Does Nothing to Address Ag-Worker Shortage

While the Trump administration is getting behind a bill to limit immigration to highly skilled workers, farmers and worker groups alike say what the nation needs is a more reliable supply of agricultural workers. A path to citizenship is key, say worker advocates.... READ MORE

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