Monday Roundup: Syrup Gets Fancy

Taking advantage of the shale • Black Lung making a comeback • The Rural Summit • Syrup: Now with more adjectives • Arts award winners announced

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Women Spurring BusinessBusinessweek reports that opportunities are expanding for women in rural western North Dakota, thanks in part to the recent shale boom.  Western North Dakota is shale-oil central, and as more companies arrive to profit off of the shale, more women have started complimentary service businesses to cash in themselves. The progress women workers have made is clear when one looks at their salaries, as they have shot up 22% since 2006, outdoing male gains in the same timeframe.

“There are great opportunities for women. Whatever skill you have, we need it in western North Dakota.” Says Kathy Neset, president of Neset Concealing Service.

Back in Black – A tragic mining disaster that rocked a small town in West Virginia in 2010 is in the news again, this time due to medical experts finding curious issues in the lungs of the deceased. Today a team of pathologists and lung disease experts are expected to show the results of a study regarding the lung tissue in many of the victims that died during the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. 

The researchers believe it is new evidence of a resurgence of Black Lung, a once common disease that afflicted many in the coal mines.

Especially alarming is the number of younger miners that were found to have black lung. “There were probably some intense exposures and excessive exposures over a short period of time. That raises some concerns.” Says lead researcher Robert Cohen.

Talking Rural – Senate democrats from many states around the nation gathered recently in hopes of sending a positive message of reassurance to rural Americans. The Rural Summit, an event sponsored by the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, lasted for half a day and worked to highlight many of the issues that affect the rural citizens of the United States. Of the topics discussed, the most prevalent seemed to be agriculture.

“It is important to have a conversation about what the Senate should be doing and to discuss the challenges rural America faces,” Said Sen. Mark Begich, who co-chaired and opened the summit.

A Sap for Fancy Syrup – If you’ve ever been pouring maple syrup over your morning stack of pancakes and thought, “I wish this could be made fancier,” your prayers have been answered. Maple syrup has now entered the illustrious ranks of gourmet food as part of a new campaign in Vermont, in an attempt make the sap based sweetener a part of the terrorir movement. Terrorir is the combination of factors, including soil, climate, and environment, that gives a food or drink its distinctive character, and is often applied to products like wine, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, and tea.

The idea, which originated in the book The Taste of a Place by Amy Trubek, encourages maple syrup producers to look at maple syrup the same way wine snobs regard wine. In this article by Slate.com, author Warren Cornwall and his son go maple syrup tasting to experience it for themselves.

Funding for the Arts – This morning ArtPlace America announced the winners of their 2013/2014 grants. According to the institutions website, $3.1 million dollars in grants were given to 9 projects designed to bring new life to rural communities across the country through art.

 

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