[imgcontainer right] [img:teenbirthrates.gif] [source]The National Campaign[/source] The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a report recently on teen pregnancy in rural America. The chart above comes from the report. It shows that teen pregnancy rates are higher in nonmetropolitan counties. Noncore counties are the most rural counties. Micropolitan counties have cities between 10,000 and 50,000 people, but are not in metro regions. The full report can be found here. [/imgcontainer]

In the gun debate, USA Today reports, “it’s urban vs. rural.” 

Reporter Chuck Raasch says the “gun debate rages in two Americas.” Your opinion really depends on where you live. Raasch writes:

A compilation of December Gallup polls showed that rural Americans — roughly one-sixth of the population — are more than twice as likely to have a gun in the home than those living in large cities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are six times more likely to hunt. Rural residents are also most likely to say the best way to reduce gun violence is to better enforce current gun laws rather than pass new ones, an argument echoed by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups.

People living in cities simply see a different use of guns. “If you are in a city environment, where all you see are the anti-personnel uses of firearms, you think guns are anti-personnel,” said Steve Sanetti with the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “If you grow up in rural areas where guns are accepted, are part of life, used for recreation, sports, family gatherings … you see that there is nothing wrong” with owning one.

KFU’s Ivan Wyatt Dies — Former Kansas Farmers Union (KFU) President Ivan Wyatt passed away Monday at the age of 83. Wyatt served as KFU’s President from 1981-2000 and Vice President and Lobbyist from 1973-1981.

Wyatt first joined Kansas Farmers Union in the early 1960s. He was instrumental in establishing the charter for Chase County Farmers Union and served as the President for several years.

Recently retired KFU Executive Director Emil Mushrush remembers Wyatt as a person who “worked hard and strongly believed in family farms and traditional farmers. He really did walk the walk, and talk the talk.” 

“He worked on strong corporate farming laws, some of which are under attack in Topeka now, so that corporations couldn’t take over family farms,” Mushrush said.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 2 at 10 a.m. at Brown-Bennett-Alexander Funeral Home, 201 Cherry St, Cottonwood Falls, KS, 620-273-6311.

Fracking and Teen Pregnancy — Teen pregnancy rates remain lowest in very Democratic states, such as New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts and North Dakota.

North Dakota??!! That ain’t no blue state. Indeed not, but it has some of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the country. How come?

The Guttmacher Institute issued a new report on teen pregnancy rates. So, Guttmacher Institute, how does North Dakota keep teen pregnancy rates so low? 

“It’s not by having such great sex ed, contraception access, and abortion providers,” Guttmacher senior researcher Laura Lindberg told Slate. North Dakota has only one Planned Parenthood office and it mandates abstinence only education in its schools.

Slate contends its the state’s oil boom. Teen pregnancy rates go down in places with low economic inequality and where there is a high ratio of men to women. That would be North Dakota. Slate explains:

You might think there would be higher rates of teen pregnancy with more seed floating around, but research suggests that women are more likely to delay pregnancy when they perceive future opportunities to climb the social and economic ranks—to get an education, a job, and a committed partner who benefits from the same. By the numbers, the prospects for North Dakota’s women look good: North Dakota now has the third-highest ratio of men to women in the U.S. and the oil boom has pushed North Dakota’s overall unemployment rate down to 3.2 percent.

As Drilling Gets Closer, Cities React — All that oil and gas drilling was fine as long as it happened “out there” away from the cities. Now that drilling is coming closer to urban areas, however, cities are getting much more interested in regulating the industry, the AP reports

Walmart’s Woes and America’s — Walmart wondered “where are all the customers?” in February. Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard suggests Walmart’s problems are the country’s. 

Karlgaard writes that customers are being driven away by the expiration of the payroll-tax cut and higher food and gas prices. Oh, and he says that Walmart shoppers have a higher unemployment rate than the national average.

USPS Is Not Alone — The United Kingdom is selling the Royal Mail, the postal delivery system that goes back 500 years to King Henry VIII. New Zealand may go to just three days of delivery per week.

Many countries are seeing their postal systems run deficits, AP reports, as people shy away from the first class letter. Letter volumes worldwide dropped by nearly 4 percent in 2011, faster in developed countries. 

USPS Looking Up In January — First Class letter revenue was down 1% from a year ago in January, but packages, general mail and periodicals were all higher, Save The Post Office reports.

If you don’t include retirement incentives or the onerous prepayment of retirement benefits, the USPS made a profit of $261 million in January. 

‘One-Sided’ Ethanol Hearing — The ethanol industry accused a House subcommittee of holding a “one-sided” hearing on E15, the gasoline blend with a higher proportion of ethanol. 

The House science subcommittee on the environment collected testimony from those who oppose E15. “This hearing appears to be in-line with several other hearings you have held over the past two years regarding midlevel ethanol blends and specifically E15,” Tom Buis, chief executive of Growth Energy, said in a letter to the House subcommittee. “We are concerned that these hearings have only presented one side of the story, only highlighting witnesses who have been some of our most vocal critics, and have failed to include any representatives of the ethanol production industry and the 200 biorefineries across the country.”

West Virginia Coal Jobs — How many coal mining jobs has West Virginia lost?

Ken Ward Jr. delves into the conflicting data. And it is confusing. Ward explains that the governor’s office says the state has lost 5,000 mining jobs. But when you look at where this total comes from, Ward finds that mining and logging jobs are combined. 

Yes, the combined mining/logging category shows a 5,000 job loss in 2012. But how many of those job losses were in logging firms? Ward counts the losses. 

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