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Recent posts by Guest Writer

Growth in solar capacity projected to fuel rural economies

The growth of the solar industry has brought a wave of new projects to Nebraska, including a community solar farm in Scottsbluff that's expected to save the city more than $2 million in energy costs over 25 years.

With more projects on the horizon, Lu Nelsen, policy program associate for the advocacy group Center for Rural Affairs, says solar is poised to boost rural economies.

Iowa bill to boost state sales tax would help with conservation

DES MOINES, IOWA— Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is trying to build support for a 1-cent sales-tax increase that would help fund conservation programs. It's a tough sell in the Legislature, but some groups are throwing their support behind the plan.

A portion of the tax hike would fulfill a 2010 constitutional amendment to the Iowa Water and Land Legacy trust fund. No money has been added to the fund since it was created, leaving rural areas to struggle with the effects of climate change.

Nebraska Lawmakers Consider Speeding Up Rural Broadband Access

Nebraska lawmakers are scheduled to hear a bill next week designed to ramp up access to broadband internet in parts of the state still stuck at dial-up speeds.

Johnathan Hladik, policy director with the Center for Rural Affairs, said broadband is an economic-development tool for small businesses in rural communities - one of the state's key job creators. And it's becoming increasingly important for farmers.

Survey: Rural Iowans Want Candidates to Address Climate Change

DES MOINES, Iowa -- As presidential hopefuls make their final pitches to Iowans before the upcoming caucuses, rural residents say they want to hear more about climate change.

Some political observers might think climate change is an issue more important to voters in coastal areas. But according to the Center for Rural Affairs, 91% of respondents to a recent survey said they were either "very" or "extremely" concerned about climate change affecting their lives.

Increased access to clean drinking water could improve student health

Children spend a significant portion of their days in school for most of the calendar year, and public health advocates are concerned that too many are not drinking enough water, which can lead to a host of negative issues.

Jordan Rasmussen, policy manager for the Center for Rural Affairs, says insufficient water intake poses long-term health risks, and because dehydrated brains are not as sharp, children find it harder to stay focused in class.

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