Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Legal lines from the rural Rockies

I have found reading local and regional newspapers in Idaho and Montana quite interesting in the last few weeks while traveling in the northern Rocky Mountains. Among differences from reading these papers and reading the NYT and the Sacramento Bee, I see a lot more coverage in these local and regional papers of environmental issues (including stories about state-federal agreements on hunting wolves related to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana). In addition, sports sections tend to be dominated by rodeo coverage. Here's a sampling of headlines:
  • "More Than Just Mail"; With the announcement that 3,700 post offices could close, rural Montana braces for change. The dateline for the Flathead Beacon story is Olney, Montana, which is not even a Census Designated Place or the subject of a wikipedia entry. According to the story, it is in Flathead County and has a population of 191. Of course, stories about likely post office closures have been in national as well as regional news in the past few weeks, and the closures are expected to have a disparate impact on rural areas. Read more here and here.

  • "The big break: Arrival of site forever altered county's cultural, economic landscape." This report in the Sunday Post Register (Idaho Falls) on August 7, 2011, is about the selection of Bonneville Coumty 60 years ago to be the site of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's activity in Idaho.

  • "Officials agree to clinic funding." This story in the August 5, 2011 issue of The Missoulian, reports that the Ravalli County Commissioners voted 3-2 to accept federal funding of about $40,000 that will keep open the doors of the county's family planning Clinic. But, the story reports, "the vote came with a caveat: The clinic must find alternative funding sources within the next year." The clinic provides "birth control, emergency contraceptives, pregnancy and pap tests, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, nutrition education and counseling on a sliding scale." It serves more than 460 patients, 80% of whom are adults. Among those clients, 78% are at or below the poverty level. More than 100 residents attended the meeting where the funding was debated, though the story does not indicate whether those in attendance mostly supported accepting the funding or not.

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