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rural economies

Decatur County General's Facebook page

Governor Bill Haslam is funding a $1 million project to help rural hospitals on the brink of closure. But advocates say that doesn't mean all of those hospitals can or should be saved.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Tennessee's economic development officials want to help rescue rural hospitals. They propose dispatching restructuring specialists to a dozen or more hospitals that are teetering on the edge.

courtesy Decatur General Hospital / via Facebook

A newly formed company is set to take over a struggling public hospital in Decatur County. The county commission votes Monday night on whether to accept buyout terms.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Rural hospitals in Tennessee have been some of the most stressed in the country. Eight communities are getting used to life after losing their only hospital, and more facilities are teetering. So health officials are exploring the options and pointing to the town of Hohenwald, which has made do without a hospital for two decades.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

In an address that took on the feel of one of his campaign rallies, President Donald Trump touted his record in his first year in office and told farmers gathered in Nashville that they're "lucky" he was willing to run for the White House and keep out Democrats.

courtesy Decatur County General Hospital / via Facebook

Tennessee's reluctance to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is still being blamed for the high number of hospital closures in the state — the most in the U.S. outside of Texas. And this week brings one more. The Decatur County Commission decided to close its only hospital this week, citing the increased taxpayer subsidies.

Joel Kramer / via Flickr

Unemployment in Tennessee stands at record lows, but some advocates for the poor nonetheless worry about how plans to reinstate the work requirement for food stamps will play out.

Their fear is that, in many parts of Tennessee, the jobs just won't be there.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Out in the woods of Perry County, Jim Bruner flips the switch on a stainless-steel pump.

Up flows mineral water, about 52 degrees Fahrenheit, drawn from a mile below.

"So it's natural," he says. "Natural artesian water, with natural alkalinity. It has a pH of about 8.3. The mineral content is in trace amounts. And that makes it a very unique water."

Bruner pumps, treats and bottles it here, in a humble metal shed tucked away amid the loblolly pines of an old tree farm.