Kansas City Star

Last week was a rough week for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. First, the governor was forced to slash another $97 million from the budget. Those cuts came on top of an additional $185 million diverted from highway funds. Brownback also had to delay a $100 million payment into Kanas public employees’ pension plans.

The Nation

The Oklahoma grand jury tasked with looking into the state's troubled executions released its report last week, and the contents were troubling. The study found that jail staff did not verify which drugs they were using for lethal injections before giving them to death row inmates. And after the wrong drugs were administered, staff remained in the dark about their mistake.

Ariana Brocious / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Every spring farmers and ranchers intentionally burn their fields to jumpstart the natural process of renewal. But those fires can be dangerous. That’s why researchers in Nebraska are designing a new drone to start fires, which may help protect people and the environment.

Colorado’s jobless rate ticked up slightly last month. The number now sits at 3.1 percent. That’s still almost two and a half percentage points below the national average of 5.5 percent. The slight upward movement marks the first time the unemployment rate has increased in five years, reports Colorado Public Radio.

Bureau of Reclamation/NY Times

As the water crisis in the West grows more dire, many officials are realizing that the 20th century’s solutions are not sufficient for a 21st century problem. Many of the West’s big dams, reports The New York Times, are much less effective than once hoped. The massive structures have disrupted fisheries and left taxpayers saddled with debt. And—perhaps the worst part--these dams lose hundreds of billions of gallons of water each year to evaporation and leakage.

David Bowser / Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune recently took a look at how the oil bust is affecting the town of Perryton, in the far northern Texas Panhandle near the Oklahoma border. This isn’t the first oil nosedive the residents have seen. For many the downturn brings to mind the precarious 1980s. Back then, in 1987, the whole town threw an “oil-bust bash” to lift their spirits.

Public Domain

A program in Colorado that helps teach low-income parents about proper diet and nutrition appears to be working, reports Colorado Public Radio. New research shows that the state’s childhood obesity rates are down for families taking part in the program. The federally-funded nutrition initiative is known as WIC, which stands for Women, Infants and Children.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Health advocates cheered this week when Oklahoma officials announced they were considering expanding Medicaid in that state. Oklahoma has been missing out on millions of federal health care dollars with its decision to not participate in the Affordable Care Act. But with ballooning budget problems and rising health care costs in the state, opting out no longer seems viable. And that means Texas could be next, reports member station KUT.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has a portentous new book out that tackles some of the biggest issues in America. Included a proposal for a convention of the states to change the U.S. Constitution. So, The Texas Tribune wondered, what’s the Texas exec up to? Abbott claims he’s not using the book as a springboard to position himself for higher office.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week Reuters found that Oklahoma state officials tried to protect oil companies from blame after earthquakes shook the state. Now StateImpact Oklahoma reveals via Reuters that the state’s fracking boom created new oil millionaires.

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Improved reception for Dodge City

Listeners in Dodge City can now hear a stronger High Plains Public Radio signal by tuning to 91.9 FM. This new service is possible through a cooperative arrangement with the Dodge City Community College to use its station, KONQ-FM 91.9, to rebroadcasts HPPR's programming on weekdays from midnight to 9 am and all day Saturday. During others hours KONQ continues to broadcast its regular student and Spanish language programming. HPPR greatly appreciates the assistance of the Dodge City Community...
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