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Recent posts by Liz Daehnke

Staff spotlight: Center welcomes chief administrative officer

Newly hired as chief administrative officer for the Center for Rural Affairs, Linda Butkus is no stranger to rural life.

Though she grew up in the city, she’s spent many years taking hunting trips to Knox County, Nebraska, where her family owned a one-room schoolhouse. Her family also goes on camping trips in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and South Dakota. Linda says the rural lifestyle has always held a special place in her heart.

Chatterbox flies again: from skies in WWII to a soaring business venture

Every small town has that one place locals love to hang out; that business where everyone gathers. There’s something about the comfort of being in a home away from home that draws people in and keeps them coming back for more.

In Tekamah, Nebraska, that business is Chatterbox Brews.

“When you walk out onto our back patio, you feel like you’re walking into someone’s backyard – it feels like home,” said Cindy Chatt, one of the owners of the business.

Staff spotlight: Carlos helps bring communities together

After migrating from Mexico to the United States in 1994, Carlos Barcenas discovered that, though the landscape may change, rural living still encompasses the same ideals.

“Rural brings a sense of agriculture, families, connection, and opportunity no matter where you’re at,” said Barcenas. “Rural America is important to me, because, throughout U.S. history, it has played a significant role in all areas of the country, and is the backbone of what the country stands for today.”

Government program helps preserve communities; serves as example for other states

Driving down main streets in many Nebraska communities offers a similar view – old, brick buildings line the street, interspersed among newer, modern facades. Some are well maintained while others are falling into disrepair – which some local residents are rallying to save.  

Years ago, these structures housed the offices of doctors, lawyers, and dentists on the second floor; while the main floor was home to hardware stores, clothing shops, bakeries, drug stores, and more. Every square inch was dedicated to continuing a thriving town economy.

Staff spotlight: Preston appointed as interim Women's Business Center director

For nearly 20 years, Kim Preston has been part of the Center for Rural Affairs team. During that time, she has taken on different roles, and made each one her own.

In 1999, Preston started her career with the Center in the policy and research program. Fourteen years later, she was asked to become the administrative assistant for the small business program, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP). In five years, she has gained a broad knowledge of the loan making process, and has worked directly with technical assistance specialists providing services to clients.

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