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Rural Life

No One Knows Why Rural East Texas Faces High Suicide Rates. And Resources To Help Are Scarce.

May 29, 2019
Christopher Collins / Texas Observer via The Texas Tribune

 

From Texas Standard:

Travis Krause grew up on the South Texas plains of Medina County, on land his family has been tending to since 1846. Krause always knew he wanted to carry on the tradition, but when he left the family ranch to study wildlife and fisheries sciences at Texas A&M University, his father encouraged him not to come back. For years, Krause’s dad wasn’t able to make a living from his cow and calf operation, and he didn’t want the same hardships for his son.

1.8 million Texans lack broadband Internet access, and most of them live in rural Texas. Hundreds of millions of federal dollars could become available, but the government may not have an accurate picture of who has access and who doesn't. This is part two of a multi-part series focusing on Connecting Rural Texas. 

1.8 million Texans lack broadband Internet access, and most of them live in rural Texas. Studies from the U.S. chamber and others have shown the massive impact connecting Texas could have. This is part one of a multi-part series focusing on Connecting Rural Texas.

The city slicker and the country cousin: Who is fatter?

With stereotypes firmly in place, the scientific community has been assuming that the three-decades-long rise in obesity levels around the world has been the result of more people moving to cities and adopting the sedentary, gluttonous lifestyle of urban dwellers.

But they've been wrong.

Eugene Keahey died by suicide in connection with a suspicious house fire that killed his wife and two daughters. Their deaths have been ruled homicides.
Courtney Collins / KERA news

The people who live in the unincorporated Dallas County community of Sandbranch don't have running water. Pastor Eugene Keahey was working to change that, until a suspicious house fire in February. 

Last week, Keahey's death was ruled a "suicide by gunshot" — his wife and two daughters were declared victims of homicide. Now, a fellow pastor is struggling to reconcile Keahey's legacy.

From Texas Standard:

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture produces a count of all the country's farms, ranches, crops, livestock and anything else related to agriculture. It recently released data from its 2017 census and here are three things worth nothing:

Eric Lewis' plans of expanding his community hospital's reach have been derailed.

As CEO of Olympic Medical Center, he oversees efforts to provide care to roughly 75,000 people in Clallam County, in the isolated, rural northwestern corner of Washington state.

Last year, Lewis planned to build a primary care clinic in Sequim, a town about 17 miles from the medical center's main campus of a hospital and clinics in Port Angeles.

More Texans than the population of San Antonio lack broadband internet access, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Fifteen million Texans don't use broadband speeds, according to a new Microsoft study. Two bills aimed at closing the digital divide in rural communities could be voted on as early as this week.

From Texas Standard:

You may have noticed a lot more dollar stores than you did just a few years ago. Since 2011, numbers of the discount stores have increased nationwide to about 30,000, up from about 20,000. Now, a new report says there are more dollar stores than Walmarts and McDonalds combined.

In Texas, Rural Teachers Face A Big Pay Gap

Jan 29, 2019

From Texas Standard:

Texas ranks 28th in teacher salaries, according to the most recent data. Teachers here make about $7,000 less than the national average. But that could change, with some legislators and state leaders talking about an across-the-board raise.

Sounds great, right? Well, maybe not for rural teachers, who can lag significantly behind their urban and suburban counterparts, compensation-wise.

Students in several rural school districts in Northeast Texas are getting access to college-level courses through a program called Pride Prep.
Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

About 10 percent of students enrolled in college courses in Texas are still in high school. They're taking dual credit classes – that's where they get high school and college credit. These dual credit classes are growing in popularity, but in rural areas, access to college can be a struggle.

Courtesy of the University of North Texas

There’s an ongoing shortage of doctors in Texas overall, especially in rural areas. UNT’s College of Science has created a fast track program to help fill the void.

The Texas Tribune

Texans in the rural counties that make up the vast majority of the state’s geography are overwhelmingly happy with their quality of life, about their public schools and the quality of the natural environment around them, according to the 2018 Future of Rural Texas Poll released this week in connection with The Future of Rural Texas: A Texas Tribune Symposium held in College Station.

Rural Texans With HIV Or AIDS Face Stigma, And Limited Care Options

Aug 23, 2018

From Texas Standard:

Texas has the fourth highest rate of HIV and AIDS in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A majority of the 86,000 Texans with these conditions live in urban areas, where there’s better access to medical care and a greater chance of avoiding the stigma that can come with a positive diagnosis. But for Texans with HIV or AIDS who live in smaller towns, finding medical care – and human compassion – can be much more difficult.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Rural libraries in Texas face many challenges — they don’t have a lot of resources, but the people they serve have a lot of needs.

A new effort from Texas Woman’s University in Denton and the Texas Library Association is focused on helping them.

Public domain

Texas has almost a dozen medical schools, but it also has a rural healthcare worker shortage. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is set to vote Thursday on whether to approve another medical school.

From Texas Standard.

Texas has been more urban than rural since the 1950s, and though the state’s wide open space has a lot to do with its mystique, rural Texas is often overlooked when it comes to resources.

In a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece for the Texas Observer, Christopher Collins writes about the seven most pressing issues facing rural Texas.

From Texas Standard:

A coalition of rural Texas hospitals says small-town hospitals in the state are facing a "closure crisis" after those in Crockett and Trinity ceased operations over the summer.

The group says the recent closures bring the total number of closed rural hospitals in the past four years to nearly 20. And if the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress don't act, more rural communities will be left without immediate access to quality health- and emergency care.

 

Courtesy of Community ISD

A group of superintendents across Texas recently released a report on the state of rural schools. The report identifies challenges specific to these schools, like teacher recruitment and isolation, and offers best practices to meet them.

Unlikely Allies: Some Homeschoolers Fighting To Kill School Choice Bill

Feb 27, 2017
Trace Thomas for The Texas Tribune

Nicki Truesdell is a product of homeschooling and would never enroll her four younger children in a public or private school. Corrine French has spent the last five years serving on the board of a rural public school district in North Texas.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

So far this year, 14 high school football players have died across the country -- seven after an injury on the field, another seven from indirect causes such as heat stroke and heart problems. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A proposed cemetery has sparked a debate in small-town Texas. The Islamic Association of Collin County wants to build a 34-acre cemetery in Farmersville, about an hour north of Dallas. That’s led to some pretty heated rhetoric from a number of locals who are trying to stop it. Although the mayor of the predominantly white community has said the cemetery is allowed to be built, some people are pushing for a no vote.

Shutterstock

Consulting a doctor by phone, text or video is becoming popular. And in Texas, the debate over safety and access to health care is heating up. 

Laerdal Medical

Maybe you’ve seen a baby doll that cries or hiccups, but how about one with a pulse? At UT Arlington’s College of Nursing, teachers put students through the paces of emergency scenarios remotely, using computer-programmed baby manikins.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A shortage of medical specialists, combined with a glut of newly insured patients has put some rural Texas hospitals in a bind.

Comanche County Medical Center

Rural hospitals provide emergency and routine care for millions of people in Texas. But over the past few decades, their doors have been closing. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to help financially-strained rural hospitals stay open – but it doesn’t look like there will be much relief for those in Texas.

Comanche County Medical Center

Rural hospitals provide emergency and routine care for millions of people in Texas. But over the past few decades, their doors have been closing. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to help financially-strained rural hospitals stay open – but it doesn’t look like there will be much relief for those in Texas.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In rural Texas, finding a family practice doctor is no easy feat. There are dozens of counties without doctors, and the need for health care is only going to increase as more people buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act. So how do we convince recent medical school graduates to strap on their boots and take root in rural clinics? Give them a taste. Turns out, they often end up sticking around.

Healthcare.gov

In Texas there are about a dozen different insurance companies participating in the marketplace, selling roughly 100 plans across the state. As the Texas Medical Association points out though, some areas of the state, especially rural areas, have fewer insurance options than others.