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There are few people who have done more to help rural Kentucky schools than Bob Sexton. Sexton led a school reform movement in the state that began with changes in state law that equalized funding across school districts. At the time (the late 1980s) some rural school districts couldn’t afford toilet paper.

Robert F. Sexton (above) died last week. He was 68 and had cancer. He was a hero in Kentucky and also a good guy. See this story to get some idea of what role one person can play in the life of a state. 

Cow whispering.

The Washington Post today reports on Curt Pate’s efforts to “teach ranchers traditional livestock handling methods used 100 years ago.” Pate teaches a “low-stress” method of handling livestock, mainly through eye contact. Think Cesar Milan on horseback. 

“Pate has a list of tips,” writes Matt Volz. “Make sure the cattle can see you. Don’t make loud noises. Don’t rush the animals. Use cattle prods and other equipment sparingly. And, yes, try to think like a cow.”

• Ted Stroll writes in the New York Times that the federal government has “become increasingly strict in its enforcement of the Wilderness Act.” However, he continues, “The result may be more pristine lands, but the agency’s zealous enforcement has also heightened safety risks and limited access to America’s wilderness areas.” 

Stroll contends the government is unnecessarily restricting people (and this bicycles and skis) from getting into wilderness areas. 

• A Bloomberg report contends that the Obama administration is redirecting money from traditional rural programs to land-conservation efforts and organic food production and its rural broadband initiatives. The report said Vilsack intended to cut $5 billion from farm programs. 

The Ag Department issued a release denying the Bloomberg story. 

The USDA statement said:  “In recent interviews with a Bloomberg reporter, at NO time did Secretary Vilsack call for $5 billion cuts to farm programs. In fact, he pointed out how USDA already saved $4 billion that was put toward deficit reduction by renegotiating our agreement with crop insurance companies.” h

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