Rural renaissance

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A Rural Renaissance may have taken seed in 2004 with the election of Brian Schweitzer and sprouted it's first shoots in 2006 with the election of three Congressmen representing rural areas who champion sustainability, organic farming, and other ideas both liberal and conservative which they don't see as being in conflict with each other.



Seeking Office


Greensburg, Kansas

Examples (spured by Bush's petro prices)

  • Scotch Plains, a small New Jersey, police are doing more cruising on bikes, while elsewhere across America, small towns are taking unusual measures to rein in rising costs.
  • a Connecticut town plans to put century-old dams back to work generating electricity. Canton, Connecticut, wants to harness power from two century-old local dams to cover rising costs.

"We are in the process of obtaining licenses to put them back online as operating facilities again," said Richard Barlow, the de facto mayor of the town of about 10,000 located about 13 miles west of Hartford.

Water from the dams, built in 1837, generated power for a local manufacturer until it went out of business in 1965.

Barlow estimates the dams can produce enough electricity to supply up to 800 homes that would be sold to the energy grid.

  • In New Hampshire, the small city of Franklin floated the idea of turning off nearly half of its 513 street lamps to stem rising costs and shave up to $24,000 off the annual budget.

The proposal was narrowly defeated in a vote this month but officials in the city of around 10,000 are still looking for new ways to save money.

"Our problem is every year that we have another round of increases in health care costs, in the retirement system, in electricity costs, fuel costs. We just can't keep up," said Franklin Fire Chief Scott Clarenbach, who backed the proposal. "We are going to end up cutting into services here."

  • In Bisbee, a former copper mining town of 6,000 in southeastern Arizona, city workers are being told not to idle their vehicles but switch them off when stopped to save fuel.

Another measure involves recycling engine oil from city vehicles and using it to heat municipal garages in winter.

"A lot of the gestures are small, but they will all add up over time," said Bisbee community development manager John Charley.


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