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Tag: Huck Boyd

Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Shelly Hoyt – Hoxie Basketball

USA Today has named the best high school girl’s basketball program in the nation. Would you believe, that honor belongs to a small school in rural Kansas? Today we’ll learn about this remarkable coach and community and the basketball program she directs.

Shelly Hoyt is girl’s basketball coach in Hoxie, Kansas. Shelly comes from Nebraska originally. Her husband Scott is from Brewster. They studied education and became teachers, first in Missouri and then in Kansas. In 2001, they moved to Hoxie where Scott became principal at the elementary school and later superintendent. Shelly is a special education teacher and basketball coach.

hoxieteamstatechampsShelly played college basketball herself. As a coach, she has had a long and successful run. When she came to Hoxie, that school had only won one state basketball championship in its history.

“We’ve had good athletes here but not necessarily skilled in basketball,” Shelly said. As coach, she insisted on a higher level of commitment.

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Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Cole Herder – Humboldt

“Here’s your mail.” It is always good to check the mailbox and receive personal mail. Today we’ll learn about a remarkable rural town that has people working together to improve the community. They are also working to attract and retain youth in their community, using the mail – and an actual mailbox – as a reminder.

Cole Herder is city administrator in his hometown of Humboldt, Kansas. Cole grew up here and went to Wichita State where he studied electrical engineering technology. After a 29-year career in manufacturing, he gave local government a try and became city administrator.

humboldtparkentranceCole had already been involved in the civic affairs of his community as a volunteer. He was concerned about the future of the community in the early 2000s, as economic and government problems challenged the region.

In 2007, the community of Humboldt signed up for a program called Public Square Communities. As we have previously profiled, this program is intended to bring elements of the community together for progress. When the program came to Humboldt, a public meeting was held.

Cole Herder spotted a notice in the paper about Public Square having a public meeting about the future of the community. He was curious, but also tired of hearing negative comments from people at the time. He still remembers that night.

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Kansas Profile: Now, That’s Rural – Huck Boyd – Phillipsburg

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

Today marks a first. Today we begin a weekly blogpost which describes examples of innovative Kansans from every corner of our state. One such special leader was Huck Boyd.

Who the heck was Huck? In short, he was a newspaperman who loved rural Kansas. McDill “Huck” Boyd came from the northwest Kansas town of Phillipsburg. After college at K-State, Huck came back into the family newspaper business where he became editor and publisher of the Phillips County Review. With support from his family, he became deeply involved in his community, working on issues of economic development, rural health care, and more.

Huck BoydHuck got involved. He became county chairman of his political party, and worked his way up the ranks to become national committeeman for Kansas. Senators and Presidents would call on him for advice. He was nationally influential yet he lived in a rural setting. After all, Phillipsburg is a community of 2,602 people. Now, that’s rural.

In the1980s when the Rock Island Railroad took bankruptcy, it proposed to abandon 465 miles of rail line across the heartland — including Huck’s hometown. Loss of the rail line would have been devastating to the region.

I was working in Washington, D.C. at that time, as a rookie staff member for Senator Nancy Kassebaum. She introduced me to a man who was visiting from Kansas: Huck Boyd. He was in Washington leading the fight to maintain rail service for his region. The “experts” in Washington DC said it couldn’t be done, but Huck set out to find a way. He came up with an idea to create what was called a port authority to buy the line and continue rail service. Again, the lawyers stopped the idea in its, um, tracks. “No,” they said, “such ownership is unconstitutional in Kansas.” For most people, that would have ended the fight right there, but Huck was a man who would not give up. His answer to the lawyers was simple: “Well then, let’s change the Kansas Constitution.” As unlikely as that sounds, Huck led a bipartisan coalition which proposed amending the Constitution to make this change possible. It was overwhelmingly approved by the voters of Kansas. Continue reading “Kansas Profile: Now, That’s Rural – Huck Boyd – Phillipsburg”