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Rural Electric Co-ops Can Renew Community Spirit

I tore a page out of my rural electric co-op newsletter last fall. It is pinned it to my wall. I read it every day. It says, “Electric co-ops were constructed with lines, poles, and the foolhardy notion that we all prosper by helping each other.”

It’s so true. The co-operative spirit that brought electric service to rural America represents the community-driven values of small towns – values the Center works to uphold today.

Byway of Art Project a Finalist!

A handful of neighboring communities and the Center for Rural Affairs are finalists for an ArtPlace grant: a nationwide competition to fund various avant-garde ‘public art’ projects.

Accessible and built from community involvement and collaboration, public art often speaks to a community’s sense of ‘place.’ Communities gain social, cultural, and economic value. Public spaces are invigorated, and communities gain uniqueness.

Clearing the Regulatory Waters

After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

Communities Strengthened through Business to Business Connections

New immigrants have started new businesses throughout the country. However, in small towns with growing new immigrant populations, we found that few long-time residents patronize these new businesses. And few new immigrants patronize long-time residents’ businesses. It seems like a missed opportunity.

Language barriers or the fear of not being welcome are often causes. How can you break through that barrier? We asked that question in two small towns recently. Part of the answer seems to be in developing inclusive “Business to Business” tours.

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