Roundup: Natural Gas Flares Up

Gas flaring wastes millions in North Dakota • Better banking through technology • Kentucky's 5th District perceived as terrible • NPR's rural blind spot

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Energy producers in the Bakken shale formation of North
Dakota are wasting about a third of the natural gas they extract from the ground each day, according
to Bloomberg Businessweek
. That’s up 100 percent from 2012.

Producers “flare” or burn off the gas — amounting to a loss of $1.4 million worth of gas each day.

Flaring is a
symptom of a lack of infrastructure, the story says. Most of the flared gas comes from wells
without pipelines, the rest from wells with pipelines too small to handle the
volume.

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USA Today reports on a
new type of ATM
being rolled out in small towns. It’s a money machine with a screen that allows users to interact with a live
teller, who can be located miles away. Manufacturer NCR Corp. sees them as a way to save money for rural banks by decreasing
the need for behind-the-counter tellers.

“The ATM on steroids and the ramping up of remote services is really important,” said Jim Chessen, chief economist at the American Bankers Association. “The main thing about the video tellers is that you still have a face-to-face connection without the expense of having someone that’s just serving a single branch. It’s a more efficient way to handle walk-in traffic in areas where it’s less intense.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The tellers in our bank in Norris, Tennessee, share news, weather and even give our dog a treat when we go through the drive-through. They live in the area and raise families here. NCR and the Bankers Association didn’t comment on this aspect of their machine. But we know our dog, for one, would hate it.

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Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District ranks last in the
nation for residents’ perception of well-being, the Lexington Herald-Leader
reports
. The district is also one of the nation’s most rural, as measured by
the percentage of population that lives in a rural area.

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National media portrayals of the people of the Southern U.S.
mountains have a glaring omission, says writer Sarah Baird:

People of color.

Baird’s essay
on racial diversity
in Appalachia is part of the NPR series “Code Switch:
Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity.”

“The region’s population growth is increasingly fueled by
minorities, who have composed almost half of Appalachia’s new residents (42
percent) over the past three decades and helped fuel awareness about the
heterogeneous reality of mountain towns,” Baird writes.

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NPR has a little blind spot when it comes to eliciting
comments from listeners about their favorite neighborhoods. A story
on yesterday’s “Morning Edition” has listener comments about their favorite blocks
– as in city blocks. What about those of us whose favorite neighborhood doesn’t
meet the definition of block? Communities come in
all sizes – and shapes.

 

 

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