White House Rural Council Blog

  • Recovery In Action: AR, CA, FL, HI, KY, LA, MI, NC, OR, WA, PA, VA

    We’ll start with another inspirational moment, call it the "spirit of the Recovery Act" – Mrs. Obama at YouthBuild AmeriCorps Green Homebuilding Service Day, speaking to young people working hard to help alleviate poverty and build a green future. From the transcript of her remarks on the National Mall in DC, where the enthusiasm on all sides jumps off the page:

    The work you've done here is quite impressive, and the evolution of your work to include green building, something that we're talking more and more about as a nation, energy-saving practices, and environmental awareness, it demonstrates how YouthBuild has endured as a leading non-profit organization, keeping up with the times, making sure that the training and education that you get is current.

    However, for me, it's your core principle that I am so impressed with, of providing opportunities for amazing young people -- amazing young people -- (applause) -- giving folks a second, and third, and fourth chance, particularly low-income youth.  Sometimes we overlook them, we think that they can't be, they can't do.  And it's places like YouthBuild that help you to find yourselves and to be reborn in so many ways, and to help rebuild communities all across this country, but to also complete high school and to graduate, and to do some really special things.  (Applause.)

    And now for a trip around the country.

    Arkansan [Arkansas News, 3/16/09]:

    Stimulus funds to aid state adoptions, foster care… The federal agency said increasing the federal matching rate for federal foster care and adoption assistance programs is intended to provide fiscal relief to states and help allow them to maintain core operations and undertake projects that will put Americans to work during the worst economic crisis in decades.

    California [KSBW-TV, 3/16/09]:

    The state of California will use federal economic stimulus money to put at-risk young adults into green jobs, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Monday. After meeting with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger announced the launch of California Green Corps. "Green jobs are exactly what our economy and environment need right now -- and the California Green Corps targets that need while helping at-risk young adults realize a brighter future," Schwarzenegger said.

    Florida [Tampa Bay Business Journal, 3/16/09]:

    Stimulus boosts Bay area electronic health records plan… Funding included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for electronic health records is expected to lead to 132 new jobs in the Tampa Bay area. The new jobs will be for people who would work alongside physicians as trainers and support staff. They will help doctors convert from writing paper prescriptions to using electronic prescribing, according to a release from PaperFree Tampa Bay, a new public/private partnership. The effort is a first step toward implementing connected electronic health records to improve patient safety and cut costs, the release said.

    Hawaii [Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/17/09]:

    State officials are hoping that a big new portion of the federal stimulus package will generate more than 3,000 jobs in local construction for transportation projects. Gov. Linda Lingle announced yesterday that the state was applying for $248.2 million in federal stimulus money… Brennon Morioka, state transportation director, said "we tried to be diverse" when asked how they selected projects for the stimulus money. "We tried to look at jobs for all the trades," Morioka said.

    Kentucky [Louisville Courier-Journal, 3/17/09]:

    Louisville's second federal stimulus boost in two weeks will give the city nearly $15 million to create hiking and biking trails, resurface 70 miles of streets, and build and repair sidewalks throughout the county. Mayor Jerry Abramson said yesterday that the projects will create 1,300 jobs… Smaller cities -- Jeffersontown, Middletown, Pewee Valley and St. Matthews -- will receive a total of more than $3 million from the stimulus program. Last week, the Transit Authority of River City announced that it will get $17.7 million in stimulus money to buy 10 hybrid buses and build an environmentally friendly maintenance annex… "Will it help a lot? Oh, heavens yes," [Public Works Director Ted] Pullen said. "This is three years' worth of normal funding, so it's a good shot."

    Louisiana [Times Picayune, 3/16/09]:

    Louisiana is expected to get $122.3 million in federal economic recovery money to improve the energy efficiency of the homes, government buildings and public transportation over the next three years and to jump start renewable energy projects for electricity generation.  The funds should create scores of new jobs for tradesmen willing to learn green building practices. It will also help moderate-income households around the state improve the energy-efficiency of their homes and lower their utility bills… "What's the word? Unprecedented," said Charlette Minor, program administrator for the energy, home and neighborhood stabilization program at the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, which will administer $50.6 million of the money. "For us as an agency to be able to reach so many families who need that assistance to get their energy costs reduced is incredible." 

    Michigan [Detroit Free Press, 3/17/09]:

    Stimulus to Create Up To 23,000 Construction Jobs in Mich… Under the spending plan, Michigan is expected to receive about $850 million for projects designed to fix or improve its roads, highways and bridges. The timing couldn't be better. Thanks to the severe downturn in the state's construction industry, there are more than enough workers to fill the 20,000 to 23,000 jobs expected to be created.

    North Carolina [Salisbury Post, 3/17/09]:

    The Salisbury Housing Authority will use most of $1.2 million in federal stimulus money to bring central air-conditioning and new heating to three of its public housing developments.  "It really is a godsend," Layton Woodcock, executive director of the housing authority, said of money coming from the recently passed American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. "We didn't know how long it would take for all of our apartments to get central air."  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is distributing stimulus money to local housing authorities based on a complicated formula tied to capital funding, Woodcock said.

    Oregon & Washington [OPB, 3/16/09]:

    Millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds are now available in Oregon and Washington for public lands projects.  The money is expected to create hundreds of jobs.  The U.S. Forest Service will start awarding $10 million in contracts this week for hazardous fuel reduction projects in Oregon. That work will go to private companies already under contract with the Forest Service and is expected to employ about a hundred workers. "It’s the kind of work we’ve been doing for many years.  Reducing fuel in the fire prone areas, thinning trees out," says Tom Knappenberger, a spokesman for the Forest Service.  "In some cases, it’s mechanical.  In other cases, it’s prescribed burns.  All the normal tools we use to reduce the fuels in places that are likely to burn and would cause threats to resources."

    Pennsylvania [WTAE-TV, 3/16/09]:

    Highway and bridge projects financed by $1 billion in federal stimulus money are expected to create thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, according to Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler. A list of about 240 projects was released at a news conference in Harrisburg on Monday afternoon and posted on www.recovery.pa.gov, the state's Web site for stimulus projects… Biehler estimated that the road projects will directly and indirectly create 30,000 jobs.

    Virginia [Lynchberg News & Advance, 3/17/09]:

    Gladys Elementary to stay open, in large part to stimulus money… Campbell County Schools officials said they will not close Gladys Elementary School and likely will not lay off personnel, due in large part to the federal stimulus plan. "The budget you have tonight does not have any closings in it," said Robert Johnson, assistant superintendent for administration. At a school board meeting last month officials discussed a handful of possible cuts to make up for a budget shortfall, one of which was the closure of the 208-student Gladys school.