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The way things flow, as budgets are cut, the last in line will deal with the shortages. The Texas Tribune’s Brandi Grissom tells how that is going to work for sheriffs dealing with mentally ill prisoners.

Used to be that county sheriffs could take the mentally ill to state hospitals in Texas. As the state cuts the beds in mental health facilities, sheriffs have fewer options. Grissom tells of one sheriff who has had to send two deputies to take a prisoner 700 miles (one way) to a state facility with an open bed. 

“(S)heriffs across Texas are increasingly frustrated and worried about the ever-decreasing amount of bed space available at state mental hospitals,” Grissom writes. “Too often, when mentally ill offenders come to their jails, sheriffs who are required to provide appropriate care for their inmates say they are forced to either drive hundreds of miles, wait for days in hospital emergency rooms guarding patients or try to make do in their local jails until a mental health bed becomes available.”

• In a world of onling poker and shoot-em-up video games, horse racing is losing patrons.

The Washington Post today reports that the Maryland Racing Commission recently rejected plans by the owner of the Laurel and Pimlico tracks to reduce the number of racing days. The tracks lost $7 million last year. The fear is that Laurel will close altogether. 

• More grizzly bears have been killed in the states bordering Yellowstone park than any year since 1975, as the number of contacts between human and bear have increased, reports the Post. Two years ago, 52 grizzlies were killed by humans. By October of this year, the grizzly total was already at 48.

Changes in climate have changed the food source for bears, so the grizzlies are looking for food before they hibernate. Bears are targeting livestock and, face it, humans look a lot like food to bears.

 “A grizzly is a top-level carnivore; at times he will act like one,” said Chuck Neal, author of “Grizzlies in the Mist,” who lost a botanist friend to a grizzly attack this year. “People are a readily available source of high-quality protein. We eat too much and exercise too little. We’re like a hot dog on two legs.”

Maulings are up in the Rockies…and so are bear killings.

• Carl Pope, chairman of the Sierra Club, writes that “Rural America is being left behind” when it comes to broadband. 

Jeff Biggers reminds us of the good work done by rural radio, in this case, by WMMT in Whitesburg, Kentucky. 

WMMT not only plays an incredible array of music, but it also does good work trying to bring coal miners and environmentalists together. At WMMT, coal diggers and tree huggers have their music in common. 

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