small towns

San Antonio Express News

In a recent editorial in the San Antonio Express-News, two prominent Texas economists suggested ways to revitalize the rural economy in Texas.

Many people in Texas yearn for small-town life, write Thomas Tunstall and Gil Gonzalez, but their rural work options are limited. An investment in rural infrastructure, including broadband, would help this problem.

Nick Oxford / The New York Times

Last week HPPR reported on a newspaper in northwestern Oklahoma that endorsed Hillary Clinton during the general election and received a harsh backlash.

After its recommendation—the first such endorsement by the paper in over a century—the paper lost two percent of its subscribers, and the paper’s editor was threatened with physical assault while out to dinner with his wife.

Royal Broil / Creative Commons

A new report from the Census Bureau is shining a light on America’s rural-urban divide, the focus of much discussion and attention since the election of Donald Trump.

As US News and World Report notes, the new study offers a numbers-driven, county-level glimpse into the disparity between city and countryside.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Things are looking up in the heartland.

A new USDA study reports that some of the employment and population declines that have plagued rural America in past year have recently turned a corner.

RoadArch.com

Kansas! Magazine has released its list of the five best small towns in Kansas, and a couple of western Kansas towns made the cut, including Atwood in far northwestern Kansas. The town, with a population of just over 1,000, features attractions like the Jayhawk Theatre, Hayden Nature Trail and the Rawlins County Museum and Historical Society.

Nearby Norton, Kansas, was also on the list. With a population of almost 3,000, Norton claims the Prairie Dog State Park, They Also Ran Gallery, and the Norton Motor Cross Track.

Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

HPPR recently reported on a story about how, according to Census Bureau statistics, rural America is stagnating while cities are booming. But this weekend The New York Times took issue with this narrative and insisted that, in fact, income in rural America is growing, too.

The debate is about two lines in the recent Census Bureau report. According to the study, while incomes in metropolitan areas grew six percent, those in rural areas fell by two percent.

Bill Wade / Post-Gazette

Erin McLelland came to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia last week with a message for her party: Pay more attention to rural voters.

The nominee for congress in Pennsylvania says Democrats need to do a better job understanding the concerns of small-town America. McLelland believes the disconnect is hurting the party, reports The Gloucester Times.

Peter Thody / roadtripamerica.com

Most travelers passing through Groom, Texas, are distracted by the almost-200-foot-high cross that towers over the little town. But the lucky few who happen to glance north of the interstate are met with a surprise. In Groom you’ll find what Slate’s Atlas Obscura blog calls “The Leaning Tower of Texas.”

This small town just east of Amarillo on old Route 66 contains a water tower that looks to be the victim of an earthquake. The structure leans at a crazy angle, two of its legs dangling off the ground.

artbandito / Creative Commons

Economies are continuing to weaken among ten Western and High Plains states with large rural populations, reports The Columbia Missourian. The info comes from a monthly survey of bankers. Those surveyed hailed from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Terry Jeanson / Texas Escapes

Immigration in Texas doesn’t seem to be slowing, notes The LA Times. Almost 45,000 immigrants have crossed the border since October, most from Central America. The small Texas town of Alice has found itself reeling after the oil bust, and the influx of immigrants hasn’t helped the town’s fortunes. But now a British correctional company has offered itself up as an “unexpected savior.”

Getty Images

Trivia wiz and 74-time Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings recently reported on strange phenomena on a Kansas farm for Condé Nast Traveler. The 360-acre farm of Joyce Taylor, just north of Potwin, is a quiet place off the beaten path. But a few years ago Taylor, 82, began receiving strange phone calls and visitors.

Rural Blog

In a world where we often feel like international events and information overload might overtake our lives, the small town paper remains a trusted source for news on the people and events in our local lives. While we hear a lot of doom and gloom about major newspapers in big cities going out of business, many rural newspapers have managed to stay afloat.

Rural Blog

Iit’s no secret that many rural communities on the High Plains are losing population. But, as The Rural Blog reported this week, part of the problem may be one of marketing. Rural towns often don’t have websites, and the sites that do exist are usually poorly maintained. Sometimes there’s simply not enough information available for people who might want to move to a given town.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

STAFFORD – They aren’t painting the town red. Not yet.

But a group of dreamers are envisioning their Main Street’s empty storefronts as something more than storage space for someone’s clutter.

tau0.wordpress.com

As the oil recession continues, some are beginning to wonder if this setback could turn into a full-fledged oil bust like the one that deeply wounded many Texas small-town economies. Communities across the western part of the Lone Star State are seeing businesses shutter as jobs are cut and production is slashed. As the Texas Observer reports, towns in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford and Barnett shale regions are seeing unemployment rates rise.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

Huddled out on the Kansas plains, 25 miles west of Dodge City, you’ll find a town named for an ancient ruler of the Aztec empire. In fact, the main street in Montezuma is even called “Aztec.” The Hutchinson News recently profiled the town, which is a wonderful example of how rural communities can not only survive in today’s heartland—they can thrive. The town is a treasure trove of unexpected places and quirky characters.

Lindsey Bauman / Hutchinson News

You’ve got to make an effort to get to Pretty Prairie, Kansas. It’s not located on a major highway or interstate. But the trip is worth the effort, notes The Hutchinson News.

kansas.com

Some people like cities. They like the anonymity of blending into a crowd. They like choosing where to shop, dine, and have fun. Being unknown to a server is a relief rather than a blessing. For these folks, the intimacy of living in a small town where everyone knows your name and your business is too personal. On the other hand, there are people like me who love going into a local eatery where the wait staff knows my name and what I’m going to order. These establishments are the heartbeat of tiny towns.