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The Register-Mail, a newspaper in Galesburg, Illinois, is doing a 12-part series focusing on small towns — less than 1,000 population — in west-central Illinois. The purpose is to look at each featured town’s trajectory, from its history to its future. Further, the series looks at what makes each town valuable and unique. In this episode, we speak to an editor and reporter from The Register-Mail to discuss why they took this project on and what they’ve learned so far.
Later on, we head to Montana to talk about the cooperative model, which can help rural businesses stay alive. Often when rural business owners retire or pass away, there is no family member around to take the business over. Cooperatives are not owned by a single person but a group of members. In Montana, the model has successfully brought a grocery store back to a town of 200.
Anne Pentilla, a business reporter for The Montana Standard, joins us to talk about a recent story she did on how co-ops can save rural communities.