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News Day Round Up [June 6, 2017]

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When the Grass Needs Mowed...the Grass Needs Mowed


Interest soars for Alaska’s mariculture industry, especially for kelp

by Laine Welch

Southcentral and Westward, and seven plan to only grow kelp. Two farms at Klawok also are adding kelp to their current oyster growing operations.

It’s really exciting new young fishing industry people where seaweed might be a really good adjunct to help diversify their fishing portfolio. We hear fishermen talk about that a lot.

Julie Decker of Wrangell is co-chair of the 11 member Alaska Mariculture Task Force established by Governor Walker in 2016. She says Walker believes it is a viable, earth friendly means to diversify Alaska’s economy and provide a $1 billion industry within 30 years. [Source]

[Gardening in wet environments]

Posted by Maria Dudzak

Season’s first major wildfire burns near Tok

Alaska Public Media by Dan Bross

The North Robertson Fire has grown from just a few acres to eight hundred in less than a day. Alaska Division of Forestry spokesman Tim Mowry said the blaze started Thursday morning near a trail and is suspected to be human caused. Mowry said flames moved quickly through black spruce forest, a couple miles from the Alaska Highway, and the blaze was hit hard with air drops.

”Aggressive aerial assault right off the bat with a couple of air tankers and a couple water scoopers,” Mowry said. “They were able to get a retardant line around the whole fire.”

Mowry said that’s allowed smoke-jumpers, aided by six ground crews, to get in and start pinching the fire off, and checking structures in the area.

”Going out and trying to locate the structures and assess them — what needs our structure protection if it comes to that,” Mowry said.

Mowry noted that this year’s fire season in Alaska is ramping up weeks later than normal, and that state and federal firefighting agencies are fully geared up to respond. [Source]

Rural America is suffering:


At the corner where East North Street meets North Cherry Street in the small Ohio town of Kenton, the Immaculate Conception Church keeps a handwritten record of major ceremonies. Over the last decade, according to these sacramental registries, the church has held twice as many funerals as baptisms.

In tiny communities like Kenton, an unprecedented shift is under way. Federal and other data show that in 2013, in the majority of sparsely populated U.S. counties, more people died than were born — the first time that’s happened since the dawn of universal birth registration in the 1930s.

For more than a century, rural towns sustained themselves, and often thrived, through a mix of agriculture and light manufacturing. Until recently, programs funded by counties and townships, combined with the charitable efforts of churches and community groups, provided a viable social safety net in lean times.

Starting in the 1980s, the nation’s basket cases were its urban areas — where a toxic stew of crime, drugs and suburban flight conspired to make large cities the slowest-growing and most troubled places.

Today, however, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows that by many key measures of socioeconomic well-being, those charts have flipped. In terms of poverty, college attainment, teenage births, divorce, death rates from heart disease and cancer, reliance on federal disability insurance and male labor-force participation, rural counties now rank the worst among the four major U.S. population groupings (the others are big cities, suburbs and medium or small metro areas).

In fact, the total rural population — accounting for births, deaths and migration — has declined for five straight years…

Gutted neighborhoods and the loss of jobs and taxpayers contributed to a socioeconomic collapse. From the 1980s into the mid-1990s, the data show, America’s big cities had the highest concentration of divorced people and the highest rates of teenage births and deaths from cardiovascular disease and cancer. “The whole narrative was ‘the urban crisis,'” said Henry Cisneros, who was Bill Clinton’s secretary of housing and urban development. [Source]

Retail Wreck? Over 1,000 Stores Close in a Single Week

by MICHAEL CAPPETTA and STEPHANIE RUHLE

It’s been a tough week for the retail industry, with more than 1,000 stores closing their doors for good. Luxury retailer Michael Kors announced it would be closing over 100 locations, and electronics giant Radio Shack closed 1,000 locations across America.

The retail industry, which represents $5 trillion in economic impact, has changed significantly over the past several years. More than 100,000 retail workers have lost their jobs since October 2016.

Industry analysts have been sounding the “retail apocalypse" alarm for the past few months — but there are some who disagree.

On the positive side, the changing retail industry is creating opportunities for some. Outlet malls and travel-related businesses have seen an increase in sales.

“In good times, people want a bargain. In bad times, people need a bargain,” Steven Tanger, CEO of Tanger Outlets, told NBC News. [Source]


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