Stories of Struggle and Creativity as Sequestration Cuts Hit Home

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Facing the task of cutting 142 children from the Head Start program in Colorado Springs this fall, the teachers and administrators came up with a creative response: Have the children decorate empty chairs, then sell them for $500 apiece to stave off the worst of the across-the-board federal cuts heading their way. So far, in a month, their “Fill a Seat” fund-raiser has filled just two slots in the program.

But in neighboring Wyoming, the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks were able to tap the deep pockets and political influence of affluent donors and the support of neighboring communities to maintain full park operations through the peak tourist season this summer.

The $85 billion in federal budget cuts known as sequestration are beginning to be felt far from the nation’s capital, like at a Head Start program in Pejepscot, Me., that is being closed and a cancer center in Birmingham, Ala., that is looking at layoffs. Kidney patients are losing their free transportation to dialysis centers in Stark County, Ohio, and flood gauges are being shut down on the Red River in North Dakota.

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