Monday Roundup: Top Town on the Water

Rural Drug Epidemic • Rural Fliers Pledge Allegiant • Equipment Sales Tax

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Rural Drug Epidemic – Authorities are worried that a heroin epidemic may be taking hold of rural Massachusetts. In Franklin County, the Northwest District Attorney’s Office launched a regional narcotics task force. In its first two months, police made 15 arrests. The Boston Globe’s Karen D. Brown wrote a piece on the epidemic, focusing on the story of one former addict named Lance Rice, who began stealing from local businesses in Turner Falls when his addiction became too servere.

Rural Fliers Pledge Allegiant – Over the last decade, most airlines have struggled to make ends meet, yet tiny Allegiant Air has been profitable for each and every year. How is that possible? They serve small-town citizens who don’t want to drive to busier airports in other cities.

Only 17 of Allegiant’s 203 routes are flown non-stop by another airline, meaning they have very little competition. While detractors complain about the airlines numerous fees, lack of luxuries and their aggressive pitches to passengers when on board, for many families it’s their only choice.

 “They could be the worst airline in the world and we’d fly them because we want to go to Vegas,” says Tom Mayo of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who recently flew there with his family. “It’s our only option.”

Equipment Sales Tax – Broadband supporters say recent changes to Minnesota’s sales tax laws may slow the adoption of high-speed internet in rural areas. Starting Monday, when cable, telephone and cellular companies buy routers, switches, amplifiers and digital processors, they must add sales tax. “Unfortunately for a lot of Minnesotans who don’t have good broadband or cellular access at this point, this is a step backward,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president of the Minnesota High Tech Association and chairwoman of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband.

However, Madeline Koch, a spokeswoman for the Department of Employment and Economic Development, says the tax will not stop the state from reaching its goal of statewide broadband by 2015. “Ultimately, whether or not the tax is involved, we have to get it done,” she said.

 

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