Briefs for April 17

USDA offers $20 million in grants

The United States Department of Agriculture has $20 million in grants available to rural communities to strengthen distance learning and telemedicine programs in rural America.

"The specialized health care and enhanced educational opportunities brought by modern technologies saves lives and promotes opportunities essential to the advancement of rural areas," said Thomas Dorr, agriculture under secretary for rural development. "(This money) will help to build strong and vibrant communities."

Telemedicine makes it possible for doctors to examine and direct the treatment of patients without being physically present.

The distance learning program finances equipment to expand educational resources to students and educational institutions in isolated rural areas.

Applications for the $20 million in grants must be received by June 12 and will compete nationally for funding. Viusit www.rurdev.usda.gov for additional information about the distance learning and telemedicine programs.

Businesspeople headed to "jail" Thursday

More than 100 Craig business owners, employees and associates are headed to jail. But this sentence is for a good cause.

The inmates will be locked up Thursday at the OP Bar & Grill and Grill as part of a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The event will raise money to send kids with neuromuscular diseases to camp in Empire.

Participants will turn themselves in at the O.P. between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The jailbirds will attempt to raise their "bail" in the form of donations from friends, family and co-workers.

Anyone interested in volunteering, nominating someone or participating can contact the MDA Western Slope office at (970) 241-2181.

Children's festival set for Saturday

The 2006 Celebrate Children Festival is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Mall.

The free festival is a carnival-type atmosphere with booths providing fun activities for children ages 2 to 8, and information for parents. The Moffat County Sheriff's Office will create child ID kits for participants.

Moffat County Early Childhood Coalition sponsors the event.

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