BUSINESS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Requests For Heating Aid Up 20 Percent In Northern Georgia

As part of its Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up a few of the best local stories of the day.

An organization that provides financial assistance for rent and utility bills in Northern Georgia has had 20 percent more requests for heating aid this year, reports Perla Trevizo of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The area around Dalton, Ga., has an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent, higher than the national average of 10.2 percent. The Northwest Community Action Agency is planning to assist around 10,500 families, according to community services program director Deana Collins.

"I'm on Social Security, on a fixed income," said Ruth Crosswhite, 79, "but rent, food, taxes, utility bills (are) as high for me as for someone who works." Crosswhite applied for heating aid on Nov 2, the first day applications were accepted, because she fears the agency will run out of money.

*********

Jonathan Owens of North Carolina's Sanford Herald tells the story of Angela Allen, who joined the U.S. Marine Corps twice -- in the late 1980s and again after Sept. 11, 2001 -- but is now unemployed and can't get a job. Allen served as a police officer in Virginia for seven years, and after her most recent tour of duty went back to school to get a degree concentrating on criminology. She has had no luck finding a job since she started looking in May.

Allen's local Employment Security Commission has distributed three times its expected unemployment benefits to veterans, according to manager Edith Edmond. "If we are going to continue to have an all-volunteer military, we are going to have to give them something when they get out," said Edmond, who has paid special attention trying to help unemployed veterans.

*********

School libraries in Alabama are cutting back on expenses across the board, in an effort to continue to serve its students after the state government has eliminated funding for school libraries this year, reports Tiffany Ray of the Birmingham News. School librarians have been searching for outside grants and have cut corners purchasing new materials and upkeep for older ones.

"So many books in our library were held together with duct tape," said Jeanna Dennis, librarian at Jefferson County's Minor Community School. "I mean, literally, duct tape."

*********

NPR has a new video with Regina Holliday, who started painting a 50-foot long mural in Northwest Washington, D.C., to memorialize her dead husband and advocate for healthcare reform. Her husband, who was uninsured, was diagnosed with Stage IV kidney cancer in March, and died three months later.

"After our first hospitalization our doctor was basically going to send us home to die without any treatment. And that's when he said 'Go after them,'" she said, describing the scene in her moral. Holliday has been taking donations from her community to keep her project going.


HuffPost readers: Seen a compelling local story? Have a neighbor going to bizarre lengths to get through the recession? Tell us about it! Email jmhattem@gmail.com.