Small Towns News

New Program for an Old Problem

For many rural folks, colder weather means higher energy costs. It’s the time of year when energy efficiency and conservation can make the biggest difference. As you search for ways to save money while keeping the house warm, consider taking a long look at your local utility.
 
That’s because Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the first loans under a new Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program. These loans can be used by rural electric cooperatives across the country to invest in techniques and technologies that can reduce energy use.
 

Rural America: It’s Complicated, Really Complicated

There are two closely held, and widely believed, narratives about rural America. The narrative in the national media is a fatalist one. Rural places are dying. The people are leaving.

This narrative has roots in the farm crisis. It lives on strong at the Brookings Institute and on the pages of The New York Times. It is fueled by demographic trends that show decades of population decline across many areas of the nation.

Outdoor Living Rooms Invite Community Input

A strange thing appeared recently on main street in our town of 800: a complete living room. An old padded leather rocking chair and floor lamp filled one corner. A green jacquard couch and a Norfolk Island pine welcomed passersby in another.

The coffee table, with a plate of homemade cookies, bore signs of a life without coasters. A garden magazine promised “25 Backyard Escapes!” The yellow Hoover stood sentry next to the television. Cups of hot coffee and cider greeted guests.

Remembering Community Life in Rural Mass

When people sign up for our newsletter, they often share their story. Here's a great essay from Andrea Morgan, who gave us permission to share it with you.

I grew up in rural Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Everyone knew their neighbors at their end of the town. We had a big yard where my mother enjoyed a big garden, and my cousin who lived upstairs played basketball every day with a group of friends on our huge driveway.

What's Your Story on Rural Broadband?

I'm headed to Washington D.C. next week to talk about net neutrality and rural broadband, and I want to bring your stories with me. Many of us in rural areas are stuck with internet service that is either painfully slow or spotty at the best of times.

Reliable, high-speed internet service provides a lot of benefits. It can be used to connect a budding small business to customers, improve education or health care services, allow people to connect with their legislators, apply for federal grants, or even connect with friends and family.

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