Across the Nation

Arizona: Students in the Vail School District, which covers 500 square miles in rural southern Arizona, face a long commute to school, with some students riding the bus for over two and a half hours each day. In response, the Vail School District installed Wi-Fi routers on some busses that jump from cell tower to cell tower during the ride. The students are able to connect to the internet the entire way, except when they travel through a high mountain pass on the route.

Wyoming: State oil and gas regulators will soon vote on new rules requiring energy companies to disclose the chemicals used in a process known as “fracking” that increases the output of oil and gas wells. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open up fissures and increase oil and gas flow. Many are concerned that the chemicals could pollute aquifers, but the oil and gas industry generally maintains that disclosing secret formulas could hurt their competitiveness.

Mississippi Delta: Poor rural towns in the Mississippi Delta are looking to Iran for a health care model that will reduce infant mortality and chronic disease rates. Prior to 1980, the Mississippi Delta and Iran shared the problems of scarce medical supplies, inaccessible health care and high infant mortality rates; then the situation in Iran improved. Since the 1980’s rural Iranians have been able to seek treatment at health houses, informal sites set up in small towns and staffed by trained community members who focus on preventative care. Communities in the Delta are exploring whether the recent federal health care law has funding provisions that can be used to establish health houses.

Contact Virginia Wolking, virginiaw@cfra.org or 402.687.2103 x 1017 for more information.