The Dave Matthews Band, seen here playing in Cincinnati, is giving $100,000 to the community of West, Texas, to help rebuild after a fertilizer fire exploded there last month.

[imgcontainer] [img:Dave_Matthews_Band.jpg] [source]Photo by Mark Byron[/source] The Dave Matthews Band, seen here playing in Cincinnati, is giving $100,000 to the community of West, Texas, to help rebuild after a fertilizer fire exploded there last month. [/imgcontainer]

Exploding hog manure has scientists perplexed.

Over the last five years 30 or 40 “manure foam” fires and blasts have ben reported, according to University of Minnesota researchers. The explosions have occurred in large hog manure piles. Foam builds up on the top of the waste – lots of foam. It contains methane gas, which explodes.

One blast leveled a barn and killed 1,500 pigs, according to Mother Jones.

The explosions seem to have started since the advent of large-scale factory farms. Researchers are perplexed by the phenomenon and think it might be related to the animals’ diet.

Gender and Economics – A United Nations program aims to improve economic conditions for women in developing nations.

Women are critical for the economic development of rural area, said the Oda Gasinzigwa, Minister for Gender and Family Promotion in Rwanda, one of the nations participating in the program.

“Eighty per cent of women in Rwanda are rural-based, so we have to ensure that they have access to the new farming technology, access to markets, and information to uplift their standards,” Gasinzigwa said.

Band Aid – The Dave Mathews Band is giving $100,000 to the West, Texas, Relief Fund through its charitable wing, Bama Works. The Dave Mathews Band plays in Houston and Dallas this week.

On Wednesday Rick Cohen reported in the Daily Yonder on the disparity in charitable giving to West, Texas, and Boston relief efforts.

Keep Them Coming Back for More – Colleges in the Appalachian region of Kentucky are grappling with a challenge that is both hopeful and discouraging. The good news? First-generation students are flocking to these institutions to get an education their family members did not attain. The bad news? Too many of them are not staying past the first year. The retention rate for many of the schools in the area is hovering around 50 percent, a number that is far too low, according to future University of Pikeville President James Hurley. 

“If you think the institutions in Appalachia – Union, Cumberland, Alice Lloyd, UPike – a lot of our institutions are dealing with a higher number of first-generation students. Here, it’s 50 percent,” says Hurley. “Every single kid that we can retain is important, it’s vitally important to our economy here in central Appalachia.”

How Does Victory Taste? – Lastly, if you so happen to be driving through rural Ohio in the near future and find yourself parched, you might want to consider stopping by the Tubber Plains-Chester district. Tubber Plains-Chester took home the grand prize of “best tasting water in rural Ohio” at the Ohio Rural Water Association’s 2013 Annual Management Conference & Exposition held last week, an award that is not new to them. Tubber Plains-Chester has already been to the mountain top before, winning Ohio’s competition in 2000, and placing second in the nation.

However, these contenders say they will not settle for silver this time around. “We will be looking to win number one in the nation this year,” said Donald C. Poole, General Manager of the district. Tubber Plains-Chester will go for the gold this upcoming February in Washington D.C.

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