Roundup: NYC Horses, End of the Line?

New mayor pushes to make good on his campaign promise to get rid of horse-drawn carriages in Central Park. Tony Rice, the re-inventor of bluegrass, still alive and picking. The Kansas Senate looks at a bill to support local food production.

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A star-studded, high-profile campaign to rid Manhattan of horse-drawn carriages appears to be galloping toward victory. The City Council is working on an ordinance to ban carriage horses, which have hauled tourists in and around Central Park since 1858.

Council members cite humanitarian concerns as the reason for the ban.

But carriage owners and drivers say they save horses that might otherwise end up at the slaughterhouse. They further claim that the anti-horse faction is backed by real-estate developers who want to get their hands on the land now occupied by horse stables.

New Mayor Bill de Blasio pledge to ban the horses during his campaign. He’s supported by a host of celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Pamela Anderson, Liv Tyler, Russell Simmons, Patti Smyth, John McEnroe, Miss USA Olivia Culpo, Joan Jett and others.

One of the lone luminaries speaking up for 300 carriage drivers who might lose their employment is Liam Neeson. He calls the drivers “the boys.”

 “I’m not someone who’s political,” Neeson said to the New York Post. “I just noticed all these celebrities on the other side — and no one speaking up for the boys.”

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Guitarist Tony Rice redefined bluegrass with picking that place jazz-inspired licks atop the strong scaffolding of traditional fiddle tunes. The 61-year-old musician lost his golden baritone voice two decades ago, and arthritis pains his arm and hands. But the legend still draws a crowd, even when he doesn’t show. Sandra Beasley reports in New York Times Magazine.

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Globalization is exacerbating the divide between the rural and urban economies in India, reports IndianTelevision.com in an article about the Rural Marketing Forum:

Liberalisation has upped the purchasing power and standard of living of the middle class but it has also deepened the urban-rural divide, what with marketers focusing more on major towns and metros as compared to rural areas in the country.

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Chinese entrepreneurs are using ecommerce to sell Inner Mongolian cashmere to “fashion-conscious Internet shoppers across China,” reports the Financial Times.

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The border of Idaho and Oregon may offer a glimpse of how raising the minimum wage can affect workers, migration and the economy, the New York Times reports:

In the nation’s debate about the minimum wage, which President Obama has proposed increasing at the federal level to $10.10 from $7.25, this rolling borderland of onion farms and strip malls provides a test tube of sorts for observing how the minimum wage works in daily life, and how differences in the rate can affect a local economy in sometimes unexpected ways.

Oregon’s minimum wage is $1.85 higher per hour than Idaho’s. The difference means some workers become “minimum-wage migrants,” commuting to Oregon for higher wages.

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A bill in the Kansas Senate would help smaller farms and food producers expand business, advocates say.

The bill, scheduled for a committee hearing Wednesday, would establish a task force to “explore options for helping the production of locally grown food.” 

 

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