Construction Begins on the Minnesota-Iowa Line

About a year ago, I wrote about the Minnesota-Iowa transmission line. It's one of several projects in the Midwest to improve the electric grid and provide new inroads for renewable energy.

Known as Multi-Value Projects (MVPs), these new lines are designed to improve reliability and efficiency. They will allow new renewable energy to connect to the transmission system with greater ease. 

Women-Owned Businesses Flourish

Women-owned businesses are gaining economic impact and clout. That’s the message Kim Preston (REAP administrative assistant) and I heard at the Women’s Business Center National Conference in El Paso, Texas.

The National Women’s Business Council released an analysis of preliminary U.S. Census data from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners. The snapshot of women entrepreneurs shows definite growth since 2007. Among the highlights:

Good News for Kids, Farmers, & Small Towns

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) along with Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) have taken the lead in introducing the Farm to School Act of 2015, a bill that will expand the highly successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill increases children’s access to fresh foods in schools, supports family farmers, and helps to build strong local food economies. With support from more members of Congress hopefully this will become part of the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization later this year.

Early Childhood Education on the Rural Great Plains

Investments in early education from birth to 5 years old, particularly for disadvantaged children, have numerous economic and social benefits. They reduce economic inequality.

Research by James J. Heckman, professor at the University of Chicago and 2000 Nobel Prize awardee in economics, found investments in early childhood education result in 7 benefits.