Square dance calling — the spoken instructions said over the music — makes participation easy. But there are other aspects — like the prevalence of gendered language such as “ladies and gents” — that can make square dancing an unwelcoming or confusing space. One group of friends in the Appalachian square dance scene are taking action to make the tradition more welcoming for all participants.Continue Reading Take Me to More News
Twenty-five communities in West Virginia will receive money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program to lower energy costs, improve basic infrastructure and strengthen resilience.
USDA Rural Development State Director Ryan Thorn said the program is investing more than $8.7 million in the state.
“Whether it’s helping a rural small business cut utility costs or helping a rural community provide clean and reliable drinking water, modern infrastructure creates good-paying jobs and supports opportunities for rural West Virginians to build brighter futures,” Thorn said. “Helping our rural communities and small businesses grow and prosper is what we’re all about at Rural Development, and the investments announced today are a testament to that commitment.”
The investments announced Thursday are made available through the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, and the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program.
In total, Rural Development is investing $8,753,907 in 25 projects across West Virginia. A few examples include:
- River Riders, an adventure resort in Jefferson County, will use a $201,658 REAP grant to purchase and install an 84 kilowatt (kW) solar array. The project annually is expected to save the business $3,587 per year and will replace 97,022 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, enough electricity to power eight homes.
- In Mingo County, the City of Williamson will use a $4.9 million low-interest loan through the Water and Waste Disposal Program to upgrade its water treatment, storage, and distribution systems. This project will benefit approximately 3,191 rural West Virginians.
- The Southern Appalachian Labor School, in Fayette County, will use a $24,720 Community Facilities Grant to repair the roofs for two of its community center facilities. The organization owns and operates two 911/Red Cross Emergency Shelters located at the historic Oak Hill School and Beards Fork School.
Funding for these programs is made possible, in part, by the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.