| President's Corner
It’s OFFICIAL!! MACDEP is now a tax exempt organization under the 501(c)6 designation of the IRS. We received our notice on February 17, 2011. This is excellent news as our organization had been paying quarterly taxes at the 15 percent taxable income level since July 2010. Special thanks to MACDEP Treasurer Sarah Hamlen and Local Government Center Program Coordinator Jen Blessum for their efforts!
Also, kudos to MACDEP members Barb Andreozzi and Wendy Wedum who have papers accepted at the 2011 NACDEP Conference in Charleston in March – great work!
Inequality Continues to Increase
As reported by Mother Jones, a huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent is $31,244.
Middle-Class Children May Be Affected By Budget Decisions
The Foundation for Child Development reports that America’s middle-class children have been steadily falling further behind their more privileged peers for the past quarter century – but the worst of the fallout has been held in check by essential policies and programs that could be unraveled, depending on key budget decisions, according to a new study released by the Foundation for Child Development. These findings arrive in advance of President Obama’s February 14 budget announcement -- and what is likely to be a charged debate in Congress that will determine the future of these programs against other priorities. The graph below illustrates changes in median family income from 1985 to 2008.
Broadband Availability Report Released
The Daily Yonder reports that the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released a new national map of broadband use and availability. It is the "first public, searchable nationwide map of broadband Internet availability," according to the NTIA and can be viewed here. The map below compares urban and rural broadband availability.
Where Are the World's Coffee Drinkers?
As reported by The Daily Good, a map of world's coffee-drinking habits locates the global epicenter far from tropical coffee plantations, in Scandinavia, where coffee consumption is well above the global average is 2.9 pounds (1.3 kilograms) per year. While you might think of coffee as merely a good caffeinated drink, the seeds of the Coffea plant represent the second most important legally traded commodity, following oil, in terms of dollar value, writes Mark Pendergast in Uncommon Grounds. Consequently, these beans mean a lot to some 25 million farmers in developing countries.
Email Usage Declines As Teens Turn to Social Networking
As reported by ClickZ.com, E-mail is out, social networking is in, and all the advertising in the world can't topple Google, according to the ComScore 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review. The report, which was released on Monday, provides a snapshot of usage trends across the digital space. Perhaps most noteworthy was the shift in e-mail usage, particularly among young people. Total Web-based e-mail use was down eight percent last year, led by a walloping 59 percent drop among 12 to 17 year olds. The second biggest drop was among 25 to 34 year olds (18 percent) and third biggest was among 45 to 54 year olds (12 percent). The only age category to increase its use of e-mail in 2010 was 55 to 64 year olds (up 22 percent), which the report attributed to continuing Internet adoption among that age group.
USDA Releases Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America
Rural Community Building reports that The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America, an online mapping tool created by USDA’s Economic Research Service, allows users to research 60 statistical conditions and trends at the county level in non-metro regions of the United States.
County Health Rankings Released
Countyhealthranking.org provides access to the 50 state reports, ranking each county within the 50 states according to its health outcomes and the multiple health factors that determine a county’s health. Each county receives a summary rank for its health outcomes and health factors and also for the four different types of health factors: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. Each county can also drill down to see specific county-level data (as well as state benchmarks) for the measures upon which the rankings are based.
| Upcoming Events
Community Leadership Workshop
March 22, Bozeman
This workshop explores the nature of human dynamics and opportunities to exercise leadership using our roles independent of positions of authority. This workshop is offered free-of-charge. To register, please send an email with your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Board Development Workshop
April 1-2, Bozeman
The workshop will focus on the roles and responsibilities of nonprofit board members and how to energize boards. The cost is $30/members, $35/non-members. For more information or to register, please call Hopa Mountain at (406) 586-2455.
2011 Focus on Rural Entrepreneurial Development
May 5-7, Fairfield, Iowa
The 2011 Focus on Rural Entrepreneurial Development has partnered with organizations like the Community Vitality Center, the Farm Bureau, the National Economic Gardening Gathering and the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs to capture some of the best practice and case studies from innovative communities across the country.
RiteAid Foundation Health and Wellness Grants
Funding is available to programs that focus on health and wellness in the communities in which Rite Aid operates.
Braitmayer Foundation Education Grants
Deadline: March 15, 2011
The Foundation is interested in proposals utilizing innovative practices in K-12 education throughout the United States. Of particular interest are curricular and school reform initiatives and preparation of and professional development opportunities for teachers, particularly those which encourage people of high ability and diverse background to enter and remain in K-12 teaching.
AmeriCorps State Formula Grants
Deadline: April 27, 2011
State Formula Grants are intended to maximize the power of national service and volunteering through establishing AmeriCorps programs to improve lives by addressing unmet needs in communities across Montana.
|Community Development "In the News"
Oil Prices Rise, Stocks Fall
Energy stocks rose almost 2 percent in the broader market, but other sectors vulnerable to turbulence in oil prices, like airlines, declined as crude traded around $100 a barrel. New York Times; Feb. 23.
Report Warns of Water Shortages in Southwest
A new report by Massachusetts economists finds New Mexico and the rest of the Southwest will be short a lot of water in the next century if current consumption and growth continue, even if the amount of moisture stays the same. Santa Fe New Mexican; Feb. 18.
Federal Government Adopts Colorado Conservation Program
President Barack Obama appropriated Colorado's main land-preservation program Wednesday, unveiling America's Great Outdoors — an initiative aimed at helping a couch-and-computer-bound nation reconnect with nature. Denver Post; Feb. 17.
Study Links Greenhouse Gases to Increased Precipitation
An increase in heavy precipitation that has afflicted many countries is at least partly a consequence of human influence on the atmosphere, climate scientists reported in a new study. New York Times; Feb. 16.
The Importance of Public Squares
As the revolution in Egypt has unfolded, much attention has been paid to the significance of Facebook and Twitter as organizing platforms for the revolutionaries. Of equal, if not greater, importance has been the platform (a word that once referred to something exclusively physical) provided by Tahrir Square in central Cairo, the geographic epicenter of the revolt. Urban Omnibus; Feb. 16.
USDA Announces New National Forest Management Plan
The Obama administration unveiled a proposal Thursday to give directors of national forests more discretion over managing endangered wildlife, reversing decades-old rules that left the sensitive decisions to officials in Washington. Washington Post; Feb. 11.
President Seeks to Expand High-Speed Wireless Internet to All Americans
Emphasizing a goal he set out in his State of the Union address, President Obama promoted a plan Thursday for 98 percent of Americans to have high-speed wireless Internet access within five years. Christian Science Monitor; Feb. 10.
New Federal Budget Lacks Oil Subsidies
When he releases his new budget in two weeks, President Obama will propose doing away with roughly $4 billion a year in subsidies and tax breaks for oil companies, in his third effort to eliminate federal support for an industry that remains hugely profitable. New York Times; Jan. 31.
Montana GOP Leaders Seek to Overturn Endangered Species Act, Gay Rights
National scrutiny is again focused on Montana, this time because of proposals before the Legislature. Those include a collection of bills to nullify federal legislation, including the Endangered Species Act, as well as a "birther" bill to require state-mandated proof of citizenship for presidential candidates; bills to smack down locally approved ordinances on marijuana and protections for gay people; and a bill that would have made county sheriffs the supreme authority. Missoulian; Feb. 27.
Rural Water Summit Held in Great Falls
More than 1,000 water and wastewater operators, city officials, water board members and engineers attended the 32nd annual Montana Rural Water Systems Conference in Great Falls on Thursday. Another 100 vendors touted their products during the event. Great Falls Tribune; Feb. 25.
U of M Displays Mobile Biomass Gassifier and Generator
The University of Montana recently displayed BioMax, a mobile biomass gasifier and electricity generator, a small version of what UM is proposing to construct on campus to generate heat, and to a much lesser extent electricity, for its buildings. Missoulian; Feb. 23.
Seeley Lake Looks To Nordic Skiing to Replace Timber Dollars
Seeley Lake's Nordic Challenge Steering Committee formed this year and hired renowned trail developer Morton Trails to do a feasibility study of transforming Seeley into a destination for Nordic skiers. The company was founded by former Olympic skier John Morton, who's had a hand in creating some of the most popular cross-country ski destinations in the U.S. Morton is now working with Missoula's CTA Architects and Engineers to complete the study. Missoulian; Feb. 21.
Blackfeet Tribal Members Develop Innovative Livestock Feed
In a time of widespread financial hardship and soaring unemployment, two men on the Blackfeet Nation reservation have developed a growing business that goes against the grain. Ron Doore and Jerry Boggs, partners in Sun Roads Farmory, have developed a hydroponic technology that grows livestock feed in six days, year-round, regardless of weather. Indian Country Today Media Network; Feb. 15.
Lumber Mill Sends Metric Orders to China
A St. Regis Lumber mill is sending metric concrete forms made from beetle-killed lumber to China. Most mills in western Montana lack the adjustable machinery to cut wood to Asian specifications. Missoulian; Feb. 4.
Montana Power Plant 'Worst in the West'
Environment America released a report ranking power plants according to the amount of mercury they’re putting into the air and soil. The group, using EPA data, ranked a Montana power company the 11th-biggest coal-fired polluter of mercury in the nation and the worst among those in Western states. New West; Jan. 31.