Roundup: Housing for Seniors

Rural housing for seniors • Schools asked to do more with way less • Daily Yonder wins an award (score!) • A grant for fast data in Alaska • Touring Oklahoma's panhandle

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A grassroot seniors group has joined forces with developers to sponsor a series of studies on the viability of creating senior housing in a seven-town area near Billings, Montana. Right now, the shortage of rural housing for seniors forces many people to leave their towns and move to Billings. “I just want to stay here. So why would I move to Billings?” asked one rural senior citizen.

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A rural school task for is asking lawmakers in Wisconsin for more funding for schools in small communities. These schools are disproportionally struggling with budget shortfalls, understaffing, transportation costs, among other problems. Already working on shoestring budgets, the schools have stripped out all unnecessary elements, and then some, officials said. Direct votes from the electorate, including urban areas, are required for districts to continue exceeding statewide budgets, and the previous two votes, in 2005 and 2008, failed. “Eighty percent of school districts are not rural, so there’s your de-equalizer right there,” said Jerry Fiene, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance.

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The National Farmers Union honored the Daily Yonder this weekend by presenting Editor Tim Marema with the Milton D. Hakel Award for Excellence in Agricultural Communications. “NFU appreciates the work of the media to ensure the public receives the most accurate, unbiased information about issues our industry is facing,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Marema and his staff at Daily Yonder are dedicated to bringing both sides of the story to their readers. We are proud to present this honor on behalf of all of our members.” The award was given during the organization’s annual convention in Santa Fe. 

Daily Yonder columnist Richard Oswald presented the award on behalf of the Farmers Union.

Marema thanked Daily Yonder Co-Editors Julie Ardery and Bill Bishop for their critical role in creating and building the publication. 

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A $41 million grant from the FCC will be used to deliver 3G and 4G to 48 rural communities in Alaska. “It’s one of the things that happened at the FCC level you would not expect to happen we’re just happy to take advantage of it and bring better technology out in your direction,” said David Morris, vice president of the telecommunications company that secured the grant.

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Oklahoma panhandle is a “no man’s land,” and has been since its inception. Reporter Kristi Eaton takes us on a paper-map-based road trip around the history rich area that was once home to outlaws and land squatters.

 

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