- Associated Press - Saturday, January 18, 2014
USDA expanding poverty-reduction initiative

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Counties in Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana and West Virginia are joining a federal program designed to help persistently poor rural communities take advantage of government resources.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a conference call that the StrikeForce initiative has helped to support over 80,000 projects since it began in 2010. Those projects include home and business loans, natural resources conservation and food assistance.

Although the loans and assistance aren’t new, the initiative helps people take advantage of them in the communities where they are most needed. Vilsack said many Department of Agriculture programs are underutilized, so money that could be spent in rural communities ends up going back to Washington, D.C.

The StrikeForce initiative currently operates in 16 other states, where it has increased participation in USDA programs - dramatically in some cases.

According to the USDA, the use of food stamps at farmers markets more than doubled from $2 million to over $4 million in StrikeForce states between 2012 and 2013. The number of landowners applying for Natural Resources Conservation Service programs in StrikeForce areas increased by 82 percent over the same period.

Smaller increases were seen in direct farm loan applications, in building projects supported by the Housing and Community Facilities Program and in the number of children receiving free or reduced-price school breakfasts.

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Wildcats WR Robinson faces several charges

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky wide receiver Demarco Robinson has been charged with disorderly conduct, a noise disturbance and resisting arrest by Lexington police.

The arrest citation says police went to Robinson’s residence following a complaint about loud noise early Friday morning, that a physical confrontation ensued between an officer and Robinson’s roommate, Jerry Williams, and that Robinson tried to prevent police from arresting Williams.

The citation alleges that Robinson yelled at police and slammed a door in an officer’s face, then tried to flee after being arrested. The report also says he broke away and rushed other officers.

The junior missed the Wildcats’ final two games after coach Mark Stoops suspended him indefinitely late last season. The coach said then that Robinson could return if he met certain conditions.

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House fire in western Ky. kills 75-year-old woman

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