Water quality a problem for rural areas, too

Capital News Service
LANSING — The state of water quality in Flint has been of high interest around Michigan and throughout the nation, but rural areas around the state are also struggling to provide safe drinking water. According to Michigan’s chapter of the Sierra Club, rural areas have been underinvesting in their water treatment needs at a higher rate than cities are. Mike Berkowitz, the legislative and political director for the Sierra Club, said ensuring that people in Michigan have safe drinking water and treatment facilities that operate the right way should be a top priority. “I think the fundamental solution, first of all, is fixing our state budget and making it more sustainable,” Berkowitz said. “We need to be making sure that we’re able to replace lead pipelines and other deleterious infrastructure in local communities throughout the state.

Economic outlook for state depends on where you are

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan’s economy is on the rise, according to a recent survey. In many areas of the state more people are reporting they are in excellent or good economic shape. The exceptions are the Upper Peninsula, rural areas and Detroit. The latest State of the State survey out of Michigan State University indicates that many Michigan residents are doing better financially than they were a year ago. And they expect to be doing better still this time next year.

Michigan farmers seek better Internet access

Capital News Service
LANSING – For farmers, tablets are becoming as common as tractors… and that means higher demand for broadband Internet access. Farmers are increasingly turning to technology to help track weather, map the spreading of fertilizers and seeds, and follow prices for input and services. But Internet access in rural areas lags behind urban areas. Around one-third of rural households and farms nationwide lack broadband Internet, according to the most recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

State efforts seeks to improve women’s health in rural communities

Capital News Service
LANSING – New goals set by the Michigan Department of Community Health could improve women’s health in the rural areas of Michigan. In the Mid-Michigan region, obstetric services are widely available, said John Shaski, government relations officer for Sparrow Health System. But outside of urban areas, obstetric services may be getting harder to find. “If you’re in one of those underserved areas and you’re going to have a baby, you’re likely going to have to travel to seek obstetric services that are non-emergent,” Shaski said. Michigan’s North Central region contains 21 counties, said Kathy Garthe, vice president for regional system development for Munson Health Care.