Thursday Roundup: What’s in a Name?

Funding for the arts in Minnesota • Debating team names • Personal skills filling a small town need • Fixing rural income inequality • Being rural and autistic

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No Walk in the Park – Rural senators are claiming a narrow victory in Minnesota today after passing a bill that dealt in part with funding for outdoors and arts projects throughout the state. After Sen. Chris Eaton proposed an amendment to the bill that would redirect money from rural Minnesota parks to urban parks, a verbal battle between rural and urban senators erupted. While Eaton maintained the bill was unbalanced and unfair, Sen. Paul Newman claimed Eaton’s amendment put rural Minnesota “under assault.”  In the end, the amendment failed 33-31, and the overall bill succeeded easily, passing 55-10.

“This is one of the most controversial issues that crosses party lines,” said Sen. David Tomassoni.

Pigskin debates the ‘Skins – A hotly contested debate continues rage in Washington D.C. today, not on the Senate floor, but more so in the sports bars and man caves of the city. The subject? The city’s football team, the Washington Redskins.

After team owner Dan Snyder publically stated last week that his team will “never” change its name, a firestorm of controversy was launched, as many claim the name is offensive and racist. Defenders of Snyder and the current name argue that the team is named the Redskins out of respect for the strength and pride of the Native Americans, and that there is too much tradition attached to the name to change it now.

In this piece, Profootballtalk.com writer Mike Florio takes issue with an organization that only chose to cover one side of the story. After Paul Woody of the Richmond Times-Dispatch published a piece siting only interviewed Native Americans that approved of the name, Florio was there with input. “Woody’s decision to harvest comments only from Native Americans who are fans of the team and/or who believe Native Americans have far bigger fish to fry doesn’t represent the full range of views on the topic” said Florio, who called the piece misleading.

A Helping HandAn encouraging story out of Oregon today as a rural citizen saw a need in his community and stepped in to help. Medical student Ali Chisti planned on becoming a neurosurgeon before seeing his friend and co-worker break his wrist. The man, who worked with Chisti on the rural Oregon south coast, was unable to pay the medical bills worth $12,000, and was forced to declare bankruptcy. His friend could’ve sought treatment at the local Clinic instead, but he was not able to contact them. Ali said the experience opened his eyes. “That’s when I saw that resources were different in rural versus urban areas,” Chisti said.

After volunteering his time to help the local Waterfall Community Clinic, even helping establish the clinics presence on the web, Chisti decided he would pursue a career as a population health specialist, aiding rural regions. He encourages others to do the same. “Get them out there and involved and they will realize how special it is,”

Money Talks – The Big Slice published a piece yesterday that takes a sociological look at a topic many in the rural community know all too well: income inequality. The piece takes aim at establishing why income inequality is more rampant in rural areas than in urban settings, citing statistics on issues of ranging from the disappearing manufacturing sector to the availability of broadband internet in rural areas.

The author, who is not cited, does offer some solution to these problems, starting with how we talk about rural communities. The piece advocates doing away with terms like “welfare queen” and “food stamp president”, and argues that changing the language about rural America is the first step towards helping it. Read the piece for yourself, and see if you agree.

Reaching Out – Lastly, an article that looks at a different kind of struggle for members in the rural community, that of autistic adults.  For many families living in rural communities, it can be challenging when a family member with autism is ready to embark out into the real world. “Quality services can be harder to come by, job opportunities can be limited, and residential options outside of the family home can be virtually non-existent.” Says the article’s author Caroline McGraw, whose brother is currently living with autism.

In part one of her two part piece, McGraw focuses on the issues of school systems and employment, offering advice and stories from others who are going through similar situations.

 

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