August 13, 2009 12:02 PM

Obama officials find another world on visit to rural Alaska

Obama administration officials have been on a whistle-stop tour of rural America since July 1. But they've seen nothing quite like village Alaska, where many towns have pockets of homes without running water or flush toilets, and families commute on snowmachines and four-wheelers instead of SUVs. Wednesday, the Cabinet members were in Bethel, Alaska's largest rural hub, where one-third of adults aren't in the workforce, the suicide rate is five times the national average and nearly all police calls involve alcohol — even though the sale of liquor is banned inside the city limits. And Blackberries don't work.

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