Friday, May 13, 2022

Quick hits: Some rural right-wingers converting to Russian Orthodoxy; Silas House remembers Naomi Judd

Here's a roundup of stories with rural resonance; if you do or see similar work that should be shared on The Rural Blog, email us at

In a recently aired segment, right-wing cable network One America News Network admits there was no widespread voter fraud by Georgia election workers in the 2020 presidential election. The segment appears to be part of the recent settlement of a defamation lawsuit two election workers brought against the network. Read more here.

A new generation of female country music singers is bringing new listeners to the genre and gathering critical acclaim, but old-guard industry insiders and fans are pushing back against them and questioning whether they're "country" enough. A new book from journalist Marissa Moss contrasts the phenomenon against a well-researched history of country music. Read more here.

One Michigan farm is a cautionary tale of the dangers of PFAs (often called "forever chemicals") and the sewage sludge fertilizer that brings them to farms. Read more here.

"She had the most beautiful handwriting, and she often dotted her i’s with hearts. Naomi loved dogs, and bodies of water, and Mary Oliver poems," writes Kentucky author Silas House in a moving and intimate tribute to his friend, the late Naomi Judd. Read more here.

An abandoned mine reclamation project is making some headway in Appalachia, but many long-term challenges remain. Read more here.

Some right-wing Americans—including in rural West Virginia—are converting to Russian Orthodoxy, drawn to its conservative stances on social issues. A scholar who researched the phenomenon (and wrote a book about it) noted that converts tend to admire Russian president Vladimir Putin, and show sympathy toward white nationalism and authoritarian government. Read more here.

Republican primary candidates are increasingly trying to dodge journalists, even barring them from free and public campaign events. Read more here.

The Rural Health Information Hub has updated toolkits and information guides on rural suicide prevention and rural oral health.

If you want a slice of rural life in the Upper Midwest, visit a Cenex station, writes a columnist and musician. Read more here.

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