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NEMAHA CO. HERALD FRTDAY WEEKLY AUBURN, NE Circulation = 2628

08/07/2008

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Nebraska Microenterprise partnership k~und Now (NEB) ~icroenterprise~ u n d Microenterprise programming National Bank of Omaha, anin Nebraska is making changes nounced new board members: r the future. Over the course of John Jordison of Great Plains last month a name change has Communications, Inc., Lincoln, ce for the Nebraska Mi- Jennifer Wolf of Dawson Area croenterprise Partnership Fund. Development, Cozad, Matt McIt is now known as the Nebraska Nair, University of Nebraska Enterprise Fund (NEF). Foundation, Lincoln, and Winsley Rose Jaspersen, the Execu- Durand 111 of the Omaha Chamtive Director. said, "Changes ber of Commerce, Omaha. occurred to our organizational "The Nebraska EnterpriseFund, structure this last month and formerly the Nebraska Microen' the opportunity presented itself terprise Partnership Fund, has , while we were updating legal successfully advanced to its next documents to select a new name. stage in the growth process. The Our mission continues to be the change took place to gain greater provision of services to micro efficiencies of operation with and small businesses across the more internal controls as well state through ongoing support for micro programs." In addition to the name change, NEF hired a new staff person and pdded new board members. / Glennis McClure of Blue . Springs was named program manager for the Nebraska Enterprise Fund after serving the past two years as the comn~unity affairs advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City - Omaha Branch. Glennis has tensive prior experience wlth mall business development, g as co-director of the Ruterprise Assistance Project e REAP Women's Business

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is also recently served easurer of the Nebraska nterprlse Opportunity Network EON), a statewide association organizations and interested ividuals in microenterprise deopment in Nebraska. NEON ' merged its efforts with NEF, ch will now serves Nebraska a statewide microenterprise tem. It is the mission of the braska Enterprise Fund to ure that Nebraska micro and I all businesses have access to apital, training, and technical sistance. Nebraska Enterprise Fund eard Chair, Ed Kentch, First

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as open up additional sources of funding," commented Ed Kentch, NEF Board Chair. Kentch added, "1 believe the talent, vision and experience of this board shall further our mission of assisting small business enterprises frorr start up through growth. Our most recent legislative report showed that the Nebraska Enterprise Fund has impacted 18,915 small business enterprises since its start in 1994." Rose Jaspersen serves NRF aax the Executive Director and Janc Olson is the Program Assistant. The home office is in Oakland.


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THURSDAY WEEKLY ARTHUR,NE Circulation = 357

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~ & eNews & Media Center Newsletter: Harnessing the wind, powering the 21st century

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Renewable energy is the source of much controversy and . media coverage in rural America anp all of America today. Right diow, most of the controversy surrounds biofuels. But another form of renewable energy enjoys near-universal support in rural America - wind power. In fact, a recent University of Nebraska poll found 89 percent of rural Nebraska residents believe wind energy is an important part of our energy future. When it comes to wind energy, there are optimists and pessimists. Optimists tend to overlook some of the major obstacles to wind energy growth, while pessimists often dismiss wind out of hand, refusing to believe it will ever play a major role in generating electricity jn this country. As usual, both sides cite their facts and figures to make their arguments, and if you only listen to one side you can easily find plenty to fit your preconceived notions. Often lacking in wind energy discussions are a serious overview of what it will f&e to generate a significaq fraction of our electricity from wind - what the obstacles and opportunities are, what the benefits would be, how much would it actually cost, etc. Fortunately, the federal govemment, in [heir wisdom, has -published a report detailing a sc~narioin which 20 percent of our electricity is provided by wind in the year 2030. And they go to great lengths to explain what it will take b make that happen. The Department of Energy (DOE) full report - 20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply - is

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the transmission of power from scenario will aaa J U ~ ~ l per ~ t 1s windy areas to the cities/suburbs month to the electricity bill of Q where most electricity is used. each U.S. household. 50 cents. j Major new power transmission Apittance when compared to the ; lines will be needed to deliver benefits wind power can pro- ! the electricity. Investment in the ,,ide. power grid has fallen dramaticalT~ top it all off, the DOE ly since the 1990s (often due to report assumes a 39 percent the deregulation schemes that increase in electrical demand by led to Enron). Major investments 2030. ~h~ goal of receiving 20 are needed simply to maintain percent of our electricity from the power grid we have today. wind power is not based on [he Yet those needs point an electrical demand of today, not at opportunity. If the U.S. needs to all. said before, any seriously upgrade its electrical serious to encourage renewpower grid anyway, why don't able energy must start with con1 we do it in a way that supports servation - a topic not even covwind energy? ered in this particular DOE Upgrading existing power report. lines and building new ones is an When you start figuring conexpensive project, and once servation in, you begin to wonthey're built you can't move der why the goal is a measly 20 them. s o we have a choice - percent. with a real plan for either we build multi-billion dol- conservation, it's not hard to , lar power lines to existing and imagine that 20 percent goal newly constructed fossil fuel should actually be 30, 40, or power plants, or we build them even 50 percent. to take advantage of wind As usual, the danger is our i power. If the U.S. chooses to go short-sighted political system, with the fossil fuel direction, it is and greedy corporations will highly unlikely those power fight to preserve the status quo - r lines will ever carry electricity one that benefits their bottom ' lines and campaign chests while generated from wind power. Moreover, wind power does leaving the rest of US to bear the ' vary t_o some degree, though not - costs of their inaction. The 20 to the extent skeptics claim, and percent wind scenario is easily the report notes that the variabil- within our reach. It is simply a businesses, is easily manageable at the matter of ~oliticians~ local level. That overall vari- and citizens joining together to ability will require that the grid make serious efforts to secure a be much more "balanced" if we more sustainable energy future want to take advantage of wind for our country. Contact: Dan Owens, dano@ power. In short, the grid will have to be managed at the cfra.org or 402.687.2103 x 1017 national level, instead of man- for more information. From aged as a series of semi- Home News & Media Center- Newsletter August 2008. autonomous states and regions. *** These obstacles, while serious, . - - ._ - can be overcome. And to trans- ; late this into real world numbers, ) the DOE report estimates that achieving the 20 percent wind r

available online at http://www billion in capital costs to build .20percentwind.org/. Topping the wind turbines and transmisout at 226 Pages. it isn't for the sion network to create a 20 perfaint of heart or those with busy cent wind reality. But that $197 lives. Fortunately, a summary is billion is largely offset by $155 also available on their website. billion in savings from decreased Today, wind energy provides fuel expenditures, and we all about .8 percent of our nation's know how quick those prices are electricity. Given that we have increasing. It's not hard to imagenough wind energy potential to ine that decreased fuel expendipower the entire country, this is a tures could offset the entire cost somewhat pitiful number. But of the increase in wind energy we obviously have a long history generation. of relying on fossil fuels. This basic costhenefit analyThe DOE report makes clear sis does not take into account the that significant expenditures will reduction in greenhouse gases be required to vastly increase and other pollutants associated wind power electricity genera- with a decrease in fossil fuel protion in the United States. How- duction - the classic market ever, the report also makes clear externalities that have allowed that generating 20 Percent of our fossil fuels to be priced artificialelectricity from wind is entirely ly low for so long. Nor does the possible. The challenge to meet- study examine whether wind ing that goal is not primarily energy actually creates more economic or technical in nature, jobs and economic benefits for but rather a matter of political the communities in which it is will. located than fossil fuel Power As of 2006, the United States plants. produced about 12 gigawatts But there are serious obsta(GW) of electricity from wind cles (today that number has increased reaching atake 20 political percent to about 18 GW). TO generate -goal, and them. Perlo enough electricity to provide 20 haps first and foremost, coal .percent. of Our from power remains cheaper than w ~ n dpower in 2030 will require a littlemore than 300 G~ - a wind power if environmental concerns are not taken into jncrease? to be sure. However, this number pales account. A serious program to to the estimated reduce carbon dioxide emissions in much to make wind total potential wind energy elecpower economical~y competitricity generation in the U.S. - tive, if not the !ow-cost option. 8,000 GW, which is far more Without such a program (or than the total electrical demand other initiatives to encourage forecasted for 2030. And that wind power) wind power will 8,000 G w number is only for remain econom~callydisadvanpotential wind generation that is in areas without strong currently viewed as "economistate support for wind power and cally feasible" to capture, a calrenewable energy. culation that can always change. Can it be done? Can we actualOutside of the political arena, ly reach 300 GW? Absolutely. the primary obstacles to a 20 It will cost approximately $197 percent wind scenario involve

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UNIVERSAL I Information Sewlces. Inc I

WORLD-HERALD MORNING DAILY OU4HA, NE Circulation = 192075

09/02/2008

Let's act to retract 1 the fingers of poverty

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BY ANNEMARIE BAILEY FOWLER The writer, of Omahu, is research and Opportunity@Work coordinutor of Voicesfor Children in Nebraska.

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In Nebraska, we take pride in our communities and value our connection to our neighbors. But poverty numbers released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau remind us that not everyone in our state is able to participate fully in all Nebraska has to offer. They illustrate growing cracks in the well-being of families and communitiesacross the state. In Nebraska, poverty rose to 11.2 percent in 2007, up from 10.3 percent in 2001, according to census data just released. As troubling as these numbers are, they reflect a period of relative prosperity before the current economic downturn and increases in unemployment. Put simply: The new poverty data, collected in 2007, do not include thc current slowdown and its inrpact on fanlilies across Nebraska whose jobs increasingly don't pay enough to meet basic needs and who struggle every day to put enough food on the table, heat and cool their homes and pay for housing and health care. Rural families face increased difficulties due to geographic isolation, transportation and access to jobs, goods and services. These data provide new motivation for our nation and our state to build better solutions to economic insecurity. Out of concern for our neighbors and worry about our state economic health as a whole, there are practical, long-term approaches we can take to help people who are suffering and spur economic growth at the same time. In fact, economists say that the surest way to help the economy is to help those most in need. "If you're somebody who livcs paycheck to paycheck, you'remore likely to spend that extra dollar," said Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke. Having that extra dollar to make ends meet is a pragmatic way to help families and our economy. But the story doesn't end there. The provision of incentives and opportunities to save and take part in asset accumulation programs can lead individuals out of poverty and into long-term financial security. When Congress returns, it should heed Bernanke's words and seize the opportunity to expand the Child Tax Credit. Doing so would benefit 13 million children nationwide, extend the credit to reach many low-income working families who currently do not qualify and increase the benefit to other families who qualify for 7

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only aportion of the credit. In Nebraska, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 14,935 children would be newly eligible for the tax credit and 51,735 would be eligible for a larger tax credit, providing some relief to fellow Nebraskans who work hard but continue to struggle financially. Nebraska policy-makers can contribute to the well-being of familics and communities by addressing gaps that exist in the current safety net. As it stands, asset liniits prevent families from creating a foundation for financial stability outside of public assistance and can impede asset development as amearls out of poverty. Changing asset limits in public benefit programs, coupled with a statewide savings program such as Individual Developnlent Accounts, a r e components of apragmatic,long-t&m solution weare looking for. Such accounts are matched savings accounts and operate similarly to matched 401(k) retirement accounts. Acquired savings are used to purchase assets, start or expand businesses and participate in postsecondary education or job training - all of which increase one's earning potential. To date, 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have passed legislation on Individual Development Accounts. Nebraska has not. Nebraskans know that Band. Aids do not work. Pragmatic, forward-thinking solutions do exist. The implementation and shared benefits of such solutions are dependent on the will and determination of Nebraska's communities, including the public sector, nonprofits and businesses. All of tis shoald join in working with our leaders to do something about poverty. Actions by Congress and the Nebraska Legislature to provide child tax credits for families and create opportunities for savings can be a lifeline to thousands of low-income families throughout Nebraska. Editor's note: This essay was co-signed by Jon Bailey, rural research and analysisprogram director of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Neb.; Becky Gould, executive director of the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, and Mary Beth Rathe, director of Community Action of Nebraska, both in Lincoln; and Jan Fitts, executive director of Panhandle Comn~unity Services in Gering,Neb.

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REPUBLICAN THURSDAY WEEKLY WAKEFIELD, NE circulation = 1129

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1"Program Will Benefit Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses -

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The new farm bill includes the Rural Entrepreneur and Microenter-, prise Development Program, won by Senator Ben Nelson, to help rural *entrepreneurs and small businesses get started and stay in business. This innovative program will receive at least $15 million over the next The program will provide rural entrepreneurs with the skills and technical and financial assistance to start and operate rural small businesses. Entrepreneurship and asset-building are rural development strategies that have the potential to repopulate rural areas, create genuine opportunity for rural people, and address the continuing and growing economic disparity between rural and urban areas of the nation. Initiatives such as the Rural Entrepreneur and Microenterprise Development Progran~recognize the importance of entrepreneurship as a rural development strategy and provide the, oppoitunity for ri~ra?people and rural communities to leverage the spirit, creativity, and opportunities entrepreneurship creates. The Center for Rural Affairs released an analysis last year that found that fully funded, the program would create 2,300 to 4,600 jobs in rural areas and over $8 million in new wealth in its first year. Senator Nelson deserves to be commended for his crucial role in creating this program. The Rural Entrepreneur and Microenterprise Development Program will help provide rural people the opportunities they deserve. Elisha Greeley Smith, elishas@cfra.org, Center for.Rural Affairs,

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COURIER-TIMES THURSDAY WEEKLY SUTHERLAND, NE

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Ogallala Hosting REAP Office Hours August 19

Lyons, Nebraska - On Tuesday, August 19, Nancy Flock, Nebraska Hispanic Business Specialist with t h e Center for Rural Affairs' Rural Enterprise Assistance Project will hold office hours in Ogallala. Hours will be 10 a.m. untll 2:00 p.m. MT at the Keith County Chamber of Commerce, 204 East "A" Street, Ogallala. The Chamber will handle the appointments; (308) 284-3126. Flock provides REAP services in Chase, Dundy, Keith, Lincoln, Logan, McPherson, and Perkins Counties. The Center for Rural Affairs' Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) and its services are available to rural communities across Nebraska. REAP offers technical assistance, educational and networking opportunities, and a loan program for small selfemployed businesses. REAP is designed to assist all types of small businesses, including businesses with 5 or fewer employees, self-employed full-time, part-time, home-based, farm-based, start-up, and store-front businesses. REAP has six regionally based Business Specialists across Nebraska. They can get involved in assisting entrepreneurs at various stages of their business progress. Since 2001, REAP has operated a Women's Business Center (WBC) project funded by the Small Business Administration, which is the first and only WBC h Nebraska. In addition, REAP has begun work with a Mispanic Business Center project to reach out to rural Hispanic businesses. REAP continues to innovate new initiatives so it can provide efficient and core business development services across Nebraska. REAP is piloting a new online lending system and REAP Rapid Loan for $5,000 or less, with b a n application capability using the ternet. The REAP Online Lending System is located at ttp://www.cfra.org/reap/rapidloan-entry. htm

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Information Services, Inc

'BURTCO. PLAINDEALER WEDNESDAY WEEKLY TEKAMAH, NE Circulation = 1588

On The Grow

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by Patty ~ l u g g e !

] Economic development in Burt County or to be carefill if you don't ~ i ' r rgoing hecnlnse you might

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-Yogi Berm, hasrhall catcher If you were planning a road trip to California, you would most certainly need a map. You would take some time do plan what route you would be taking and where you would stop each night. While on the trip, you may encounter road blocks that would cause you to change your plans. You may even decide to take a side trip. The same can be said about a business plan. If you have considered starting a business or want to expand a current business, we have a great opportunity for you. We are looking for participants for the REAP program. REAP stands for Rural Enterprise Assistance Project. It is a business plan basic training, with hands-on exploratory sessions designed for small business owners. REAP is designed as a five-night program, beginning Monday, Sept. 8, and running the next five Mondays from 7 to 10 p.m. The Center for Rural Affairs designed the program and it is presented in cooperation with the Burt County Economic Development Corporation. It is open to anyone in Burt County along with the community of Bancroft. Developing a b~~siness plan is an essential part of starting a business. It gives lenders and financial backers a full picture of the business. The plan helps anticipate capital and equipment requirements. It can help you measure progress and anticipate problem areas. In the REAP course, the topics covered will include marketing, customer relations, financial managenient, advertising/promotion and goal setting. Each : participant will develop their own specific business plan over the course of the program. Even after the program is completed, the participants are ,E encouraged to continue to meet on a monthly basis as part of a business roundtable. This can be a time to help each other solve proble~nsassociated with their business. Networking with other h:.!!,ir~essowners is one of the most valuable parts of the REAL' program. Not sc. sure that starting your own business is for you or that your idea has merit? What a great way to test the waters. Even if you are presently a small business owner, this course can be a great continuing education program. Things are changing at an ever increasing pace. The internet changed the way that we all do business. Are you keeping up with the " changes? Class size is limited. so if you are interested in more inforniation or would like to register, please contact me at 374-2953. There is a $79 registration fee to cover course materials. Based o n income eligibility. scholarships are avail-

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UNIVERSAL

Information Services, Inc

CRITERION THURSDAY DODGE, NE

WEEKLY

Circulation = 1120

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kl'ro&alWill Benefit Entrepreneurs -

and Small Businesses

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slirrs(a)cfrri.org, n f r rfor Rrrrrrl Affuirs The new farm bill includes the Rural Entrepreneur and Microenterprisc l>evelopnient Program, won by Senator Ben Nelson. to help rural entrepreneurs and small businesses get started and stay in business. This innovative program will receive at least $15 million over the next fhur years. The program will provide rural entrepreneurs with the skills and techriical and financial assistance to start and operate rural small businesses. Entrepreneurship and asset-building are rural developrncnt strategies that have the potenrial to repopulate rural areas, create genuine opportunity for rural people, and address the continuing and growing economic disparity between rural and urban areas of the nation. Initiatives such as the Rural Entrepreneur and Microenterprise Devel-

opment P ~ o g r a m recogniz'e the imponanre of entrepreneurship as a rural develop~nerlt strategy and provide the opportunity for rural people and rural colnmunities to leverage the spirit, creativity,, and opportunities entrepreneurship creates. The Center for Rural Affairs released an analysis last year that y the profound that f ~ ~ l lfunded, gram would create 2,300 to 4,600 jobs in rural areas and over $8 million in new wealth in its first year. Senator Nelson deserves to be commended for his crucial role in creating this program. The Rural Entrepreneur and Microenterprise Development Program will help provide rural people the opportunities they deserve. View report: http:/Iwww.cfra.org/filesl M i c r o e n t e r prise-in-2007-Farm Rill.pdf

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UN~VERSAC~ Information Services Inr ' .(402) 342-31 78

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TELEGRAPH MORNING DAILY NORTH PLATTE, NE

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08/21/2008

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CFE offers business wach training Aug. 25 The Centel for Enterprise is offering a "Business Coach Training" session at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25, at North Platte Community College's south campus for those who would like to help entrepreneurs succeed. It will also be broadcast via satellite to locations in McCook, Ogallala and Mullen. Don Macke of The Center for Rural Entrepreneursliip will be the presenter for the

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'event, which is free and open $ to the public. For inforlnation, contact Melissa Garcia at 535-3682. I

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Friday, August 22, 2008 GRAND MARAIS, MN 5.500 (137) ~ e w s & & (W) A7 Center For Rural Affairs

The Cream of the Rural Development Crop Elisha Greeley Smith . ,ed in other states?, ellshasBcfra.org,Center tor REAP'S work centers Rural Affairs around four components: technical assistance, lendSelf-employnlent and small ing, training, and networkbusinesses are key to eco- ing. Just last year REAP nonlic vitality in rural Amer- assisted 1,226 individuals, ica. But many rural entrepre- including 379 Latino entreneurs who have an idea for a preneurs, with one or more busir~ess don't have the of these business developresources or tools to get ment services. This past year started or develop a busi- 214 business plans have been completed and 353 jobs creness plan. Is your comnlunity or state ated -jobs and businesses committing resources to that generate income, new rural entrepreneurial devel- jobs and economic opportuopment? Is your state back- nity for the entire comrnunii ~ ~theg heaviest hitter in tY. rural economic develop- REAP was also responsible ment, namely microenter- for making 72 loans last year, prise? Would you like them including 47 REAP Direct to? Loans totaling $474,691. And 25 of those loans helped The U Afhirs has one of the most leverage over $1,127,250 elite rural developn~entpro- from other lending sources, grams in the nation, the thanks to the assistance of Rural Enterprise Assistance REAP. Project (REAP). REAP is one If you are interested in of the largest rural entrepre- bringing rural entrepreneurneurial developn~ent pro- ial development to your comgrams in the nation. Current- munity visit: http://www.cfra. ly REAP services are only org/policy/rnicro or contact available in Nebraska, but the Center for Rural Affairs why shoultln't it be duplicat- for more information. ,


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Sunday, August 24.2008 FARGO. ND 59,307 (1 19) Newspaper (S) A21 Center For Rural Affairs

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ND county gets younger Young adults relocating because of strong economy By James MacPherson Associated Press Writer

BISMARCK - The lone grocery store in the south-central North Dakota town of Zeeland has been selling disposable diapers. Just for adults. though. "We stock Depends, but we don't have any for babies," said Kyle Anderson, a store clerk in the McIntosh County town of about 140 people south of Bismarck. The Census Bureau said McIntosh County had the oldest population in North Dakota in 2000. Not much need for baby diapers. "They'll have to get some, now," said Rebecca Meidinger, who gave birth to her first child, a boy, in Bismarck on Aug. 11. Meidinger's parents, Duane and Karen Tillotson, along with siblings and aunts, uncles, cousins and their children - mostly dairy farmers moved to McIntoSh County from upstate New York, boosting the county population by about two dozen since 2000. Six children have been born since that time, "and one's on the way," Meidinger said. "We're doing our part," said Meidinger, a math teacher married to Neil Meidinger, who grew up in McIntosh County Older counties are trying their best to lure young people. Some rural communities in North Dakota and other states have offered such perks as free land to try to attract young families. "There are a number of things that are being done to plug that leak," said Kim Preston, a spokeswoman for the rural advocacy group Center

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for based in L y o n w r e are young people who want to live in rural communities but are just looking for that right motivator or job. We too often get caught up in retention, while ignoring attraction." Surveys of rural counties in Plains states show disproportionate populations of people older than 50 and younger than 18,Preston said. Many say a lack of job opportunities chases young people away, but Preston said wanderlust also is a factor. "There is not much you can do about it, short of tying them up," she said. Census figures show only 99 of the McIntosh County's 2,752 residents are younger than age 5. The Meidingers' son. Jacob, makes it an even 100. The county, with a median age of 54.1,is now the secondoldest county in the state, behind Sheridan Cuunty, at 54.5, census figures show. Only Hawaii's Kalawao County, with a median age of 57.1, has an older population than Sheridan and McIntosh counties, said Richard Rathge. the state Data Center director and North Dakota demographer. The Tillotsons found North Dakota on their own. They drove through the state on vacation in the late 1990s. Duane said he was impressed with the land and

the elbow room. "The air is easy to breathe," Duane said. "You can drive for 30 miles and maybe meet one or two cars. " "'And they wave at us," Karen said. "The people are the reason we're here." North Dakota's proportion of a w gmups between 18 and 29 has increased by about 14 percent since 2000, largely in the urban areas, Rathge said. "That's great news because they're the ones who have kids," Rathge said. "This is what we've been waiting to hear, because those numbers have been going down for quite some time." Young adults are relocating to the state or staying because of a strong economy, spurred largely by a boom in the state's oil patch, Rathge said. North Dakota has more than 15,000unfilled jobs, state Commerce Commissioner Shane GoettIe said. But relatively few of those jobs, outside the oil industry, are in rural counties, which have struggled with an outmigration of youth for years. "Our county is mainly a farming community," said Gina Ketterling, the McIntosh County auditor. "There aren't any large cities in our county, so unless they want to be a farmer, there aren't any jobs here." Duane Tillotson said North Dakota offered plenty of incentives to move his dairy operation from McLean, N.Y. "Feed was cheap and ahere was plenty of land," Tilltotson said. Taxes are far lower in North Dakota than New York, and zoning laws are less onerous. he said.

"I couldn't even put a door on my house in New York without getting a permit," he said. The TilIotsons said North Dakota is a great place to raise a family. At 65 and nearing retirement, Duane said he is selling off his dairy herd, and family members are finding both farm-related and other jobs in the county. No one longs to move back East, he said. "Everybody who has come out here loves it," Duane Tillotson said. Census figures show North Dakota's median age rose in 2007 to 37 years, up &om 56.2 years in 2000. Nationwide, the median age is 36.6, up from 35.3 in 2000, Rathge wid.

Rebecca and

Neil Meldinger hold their new baby, Jacob, in

Bismarck. Rebecca Meidinger's parents, along with sibiings and other relatives- who are mostly d a i i farmers moved to Mclntosh County from New York.

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"An interesting contradiction is that in 2000, we ranked 15th oldest in the nation but we now are at 30th." Rathge said. North Dakota's small population makes its ranking volatile, he said. Of North Dakota's 639,715 residents, 17,450 are age 85 and older, Rathge said. North Dakota is tied with Florida as having the country's highest proportion of residents in that age group, at 2.7 percent, he said. "Obviously, we're getting older, or let's say more mature." Rathge said. "In 19 of our counties, the median age is growing at a pace of a half-year in age a year." The distinction of having the oldest county in North

Dakota and the second grayest in the nation is not eood news in Sheridan County, in central North Dakota. "Oh no!" said Shirley Murray, the county auditor. "The majority of people are 50 and over, for sure," Murray said. Census figures show Sheridan County has about 1,320 residents, but only 22 residents in the county are younger than age 5. But residents are hopeful. "We've had a couple of the younger generation move back and they're having babies, so maybe we can change this around." Murray said. "It's just going to take time."

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