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      Distance Between Rural Towns Can Be Blessing And Curse

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      For some rural living may seem a bit isolating, but a village in southwest Nebraska says it is doing its best to handle the challenges that come from its distance from larger communities.

      The village of Hayes Center may be the county seat and have basic businesses in town, but much of the highway traffic drives past without stopping.

      The school census is steady at 110 students, and the nearest hospital is at least 50 miles away in either North Platte or McCook. And while many residents are proud of their community, they understand that it comes with pitfalls.

      "We're working more toward how to bring more people into the community, but when you're isolated like we are, it's a tough thing," said school superintendent Ron Howard. "I think every bit as important as bringing people in is making sure we keep the people that are here."

      Officials add that while the village may not be considered a destination to some, the area does draw in people -- especially during hunting season and special events.

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