Problem Solving Must-Reads: A City’s Post-Coal Rise

Plus: Teen Science Cafes and No More Lead Pipes in Lansing

Problem Solving Must-Reads: A City’s Post-Coal Rise

Plus: Teen Science Cafes and No More Lead Pipes in Lansing

The town of Raton, New Mexico is finally starting to see some economic growth. Recently, two restaurants, an aviation training school, a yoga studio and a technical trades education center have opened in the area. This may not seem like much, but if you consider Raton’s past, it’s a big deal. The town used to be bustling, once was surrounded by eight coal mines that employed more than 2,000 men. But they all disappeared in the late 1990s as many of the steel mills that relied on the coal moved overseas to China. This had a crippling effect on the community, but the town’s officials and leaders have created a new approach and economic strategy to boost the town’s economy.

Raton’s new economy has gone away from coal mining and changed to a mix of small manufacturing businesses, health care services and hospitality for tourists to come through. The town is capitalizing on its cheap commercial real estate and position in a major transportation corridor to attract new business ventures in the area. The town’s goal is to bring in small manufacturers to prevent what happened in the 1990s. They want to make sure that by having small manufacturers that employ 20 to 30 people, instead of two big companies making the town dependent on them again for jobs, they can diversify the economy.

Read the full story here (via The Santa Fe New Mexican)

Here’s what else we’re reading:

Lansing Removes Last Lead Pipe

Photo: Next City

Lansing, Michigan has removed its last lead pipe. The city launched its mission to remove all lead pipes in 2004, over 10 years before the toxic water crisis in Flint. The city has changed over 10,000 lead pipes to copper ones for $44.5 million, all paid for by a water rate increase. Lansing is the second city to remove all lead service lines, after Madison, Wisconsin. Flint will follow suit, after its recent crisis, and change all service lines to copper ones as well. The practice became cheaper for Lansing over time: At first, it cost $9,000 to remove one line, but after getting the hang of the practice, it took only about four hours and cost only $3,600. (via Next City)

Students Engage With Scientists at 'Teen Science Cafes'

Photo: Flickr

Teens across 27 states are meeting professional scientists in “teen science cafes” to discuss newsworthy topics in the science world to get them excited about the future of science. The settings of these cafes are always informal and outside of school, designed to be casual and fun for the teens, packed with snacks and hands-on activities. The teens have proven to be more attentive at these cafes, increasing engagement and enthusiasm toward the subject of science. (via Education Week)

Header photo from Flickr

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