Small Towns News

Accurate data essential to improving broadband access in rural areas

The Pew Research Center finds that only 63 percent of rural Americans have a broadband internet connection at home, and 24 percent of rural adults consider access to high speed internet a major problem in their community. 

Recent policy developments are designed to address this. But, will they be enough?

Diller-Odell Public Schools navigates challenge of unbalanced state funding

Like most rural schools in Nebraska, Diller-Odell Public Schools faces an imbalanced funding stream caused by a complex property tax and school funding system.

While no school is the same, Diller-Odell, located on the Jefferson-Gage County line along the Kansas border, shows the tumultuous times rural schools and the agriculture economy have faced in recent years. With little state funding, the district is reliant on local property taxes and, because of a recent spike in land valuations, most of the burden is on area farmers.

Addressing obesity through school water access

We all know water is essential for life, but the sufficient consumption of water also has long-term health benefits. Increased water consumption has been found to reduce levels of dental decay, positively impact cognition, improve overall eating and physical activity habits, and reduce the risks for obesity.

In Nebraska, where the rate of obesity for high school students and adults both fall in the top quarter of all states, an increase in the consumption of water could help not only waistlines, but the state’s bottom line when it comes to health care costs.

Top 5 of 2019: Leadership training offers tools to overcome health challenges in Native communities

The year in review countdown continues with a blog featuring one of our own staff members and the steps she is taking to be an even better leader in her community. Coming in at number four is a blog on Lizzie Swalley's efforts to connect with Tribal programs within her community of Santee to work on food access, food sovereignty, and traditional food efforts. The piece is written by Liz Daehnke, communications consultant, and was posted in January.

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