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USDA Announces $1.7 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants Across Wisconsin PDF Print E-mail
Written by USDA   
Saturday, 28 November 2015 17:30

healthcare-familySTEVENS POINT, WI - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that USDA is investing $23.4 million in 75 projects across 31 states and the Western Pacific to expand distance learning and telemedicine opportunities in rural areas.

“Rural communities often lack access to specialized medical care or advanced educational opportunities necessary for stronger rural economies,” Vilsack said, noting that today is National Rural Health Day. “These grants will help increase access to health care and many other essential services.”

The grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine program. They may be used to purchase equipment to provide educational and telemedicine services to rural communities.

In Wisconsin, six educational and health organizations received a total of $1,719,686 as a part of the announcement.

The awards were announced on National Rural Health Day to highlight work underway in the private sector, academia and in state and federal rural health offices to address the unique health care needs of rural communities.

Receiving grant funds in Wisconsin include:

  • Bellin Memorial Hospital, Inc. – Green Bay, WI – $145,029 will be used to establish a telehealth network that connects Bellin Memorial Hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Bellin Health Oconto Hospital in Oconto, Wisconsin with four remote Bellin Health clinics in northeast Wisconsin and one Bellin Health clinic that serves the rural community of Daggett, Michigan.
  • Cooperative Educational Service Agency 10 – Chippewa, WI – $294,609 will help to replace video conferencing equipment in 10 Wisconsin schools and provide equipment in three Native Alaskan schools, providing a unique cultural exchange program between schools in Alaska and Wisconsin, the Access Creates Excellent Success (ACES) project.
  • Cooperative Educational Service Agency 11 – Turtle Lake, WI – $97,140 will be used to upgrade outdated distance learning video equipment in six rural high schools within the rural communities of Clayton, Frederic, Luck, Pepin, Plum City, and St. Croix Falls, Wis.
  • Shawano Medical Center, Inc. – Shawano, WI – $379,515 to provide telehealth services to 12 health care facilities and education centers.
  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – Shell Lake, WI – $485,524 will help to purchase video conferencing equipment for two hub sites and 21 hub/end-user sites including one Native American site, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College
  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – Shell Lake, WI –$317,869 will be used to upgrade distance learning video equipment in 15 rural high schools in southwestern Wisconsin

Funding of each award announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

Since 2009, USDA has provided more than $213 million in loans and grants for 634 distance learning and telemedicine projects in rural areas nationwide.

USDA Rural Development’s funding continues to have a dramatic impact on rural communities across Wisconsin.  Since 2010, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $3.5 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities in rural Wisconsin communities.

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As the lead federal agency for rural development needs, USDA Rural Development can help rural communities and regions grow and prosper by offering a variety of financial and technical assistance programs that encourage the development of strong community and economic development strategies.

During this past year, USDA Rural Development’s $571 million investment in Wisconsin helped create or retain nearly 1,380 jobs, aided 3,600 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 50 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.

Further information on USDA Rural Development is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting the web site at


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Kelly Edwards of USDA provided this story.

Celebrate Wisconsin's Recycling Tradition PDF Print E-mail
Written by Clean Wisconsin   
Saturday, 14 November 2015 09:55

trash-recycleGo beyond paper and plastic with these 10 recycling ideas for America Recycles Day this Sunday, Nov. 15 and every day.

MADISON - The next six weeks will be filled with traditions: Pumpkin pie and turkey. Caroling. Making cookies. Spending time with family and friends.

Add one more to the list: Recycling.

“Wisconsin has a strong recycling ethic,” says Amanda Wegner, communications director with Clean Wisconsin. “We enacted one of the first recycling laws in the nation in 1990, and a whopping 94% of households here recycle. Recycling is very much a tradition in Wisconsin.”

This Sunday, Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day, a national day to raise awareness about the benefits of recycling and buying recycled products. While we’re all familiar with how to recycle household items such as paper, cardboard, bottles and cans, many other household items have recycling solutions.

Faith Leaders Show Solidarity with Pope on Climate Change PDF Print E-mail
Written by Care of Creation, Kermit Hovey   
Thursday, 17 September 2015 15:39

globeLocal Madison Events will “Light the Way,” Appeal for Moral Awakening to Climate Justice.

MADISON - As Pope Francis makes historic speeches to Congress and the United Nations on September 24 and 25, Madison-area faith leaders and concerned community members will gather to amplify the Pope’s call to reverse course on climate change. The first “Light the Way: Faiths for Climate Justice,” event  begins at 6:00 p.m. in James Madison Park on Thursday, September 24. The second event convenes at 6:30 am  Friday, September 25 at Monona Terrace Convention Center and is followed at 8 am with a gathering at First United Methodist Church downtown to view the Pope’s United Nations address.

The interfaith gathering Thursday evening will include music and statements by leaders representing various faith traditions. The faith leaders will describe how the Pope’s message in his recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, resonates with their traditions and has universal meaning for all those concerned about the future of the planet. Following the statements, the faith leaders and attendees will walk by candlelight to the State Capitol for a closing prayer and call to action.

The morning events will start with a silent gathering for contemplation during sunrise, starting at 6:30 a.m. at the entrance to Monona Terrace at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Next people will convene at 8:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 203 Wisconsin Ave., for a video presentation, followed by a livestreaming of the Pope’s address to the U.N. at 9:00 a.m.

“The excitement surrounding Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. is not just about his presence in our country. People everywhere truly feel that Francis has taken concern for the future of our common home, Earth, from a political issue to a moral imperative,” said Trudi Jenny, a local Catholic and one of the event organizers. “Local faith leaders here want to echo that protecting creation is linked to care for the poor and that climate justice is the moral issue of our time.”

Pope Francis released the encyclical Laudato Si’ in June. Typically, encyclicals are letters on Roman Catholic doctrine sent by the Pope to other bishops. Laudato Si’ is part of Catholic social teaching; however, it is unique because the Pope’s letter is addressed to all of humanity. In the encyclical, Pope Francis calls on the “whole human family” to seek a future that is sustainable and just for all.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 September 2015 15:51
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