News

When it comes to the budget, Kansas tax collections have come up short of estimations ten times in the last year. Four of those occurrences were at least $20 million below expectations. Shawn Sullivan is the state's budget director. He says he doesn't know if there's something his department should be doing differently. But, he plans on talking with colleagues in other states to learn how their processes work in the coming months.

This is the eighth time this year a Kansas has contracted a disease that was never seen in the Western Hemisphere prior to 2013.

Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration on Thursday announced $63 million in changes to the state budget.

Much of that comes from increases in federal aid, cost-cutting measures and some services costing less than initially projected. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, outlined the plan in a Statehouse news conference.

Laughing Squid / Creative Commons

The expanding marijuana industry in Colorado may have hit a financial roadblock, reports The New York Times. Federal banking officials have rejected an application from The Fourth Corner Credit Union in Denver, which serves Colorado’s pot industry.

Creative Commons

Texans are being asked to curb their electric usage as demand has reached record-breaking levels, reports The Texas Tribune. The operator of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which covers most of the state, is asking Texas consumers to use less electricity wherever possible.

We’ve raised chickens most of our marriage, so that’s thirty years of learning to understand feathered, cackling females. I can confirm this species is messy, noisy, piggish, and sometimes mean –which explains the term henpecked. They’re also dense and run like gawky, miniature Tyrannosaurs. Despite their character flaws, I love my girls. However, one of them has confused me.

Luke Clayton

Howdy, Folks!

Here's my view this morning.  As I sit here, waiting for the feeder to bring the fish to this corner of my pond, my thoughts are running to how I got to this place in my life.  Why is my life about the outdoors?  The answer came to me relaxing on this dock.  Being outdoors gives me space to think.  There's a tranquility I can't find anywhere else.  Take a listen, you'll hear the crickets, the birds, the peacefulness of it all.  I'm encouraging you to spend a little time in the stillness of the country, away from people, traffic, and noise before summer's over.  You might discover something about yourself you never took time to find.

Until next time, enjoy the great outdoors.

Wikimedia Commons

Of regional interest, The Pampa News has published an interesting story about Peter Gray, for whom Gray County in West Texas is named. Gray was a lawyer in Houston in 1847, when he agreed to take the case of Emeline, a freed black woman who had been forced into slavery.

The Canyon News

This year the outdoor musical TEXAS, performed each summer in the Palo Duro Canyon near Canyon, Texas, celebrated its 50th anniversary. The musical held a reunion last week, which drew almost 500 alumni from the musical’s long and storied history.

Mike Hoff / Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Kansas officials have decided against participating in the Excellence in Mental Health Act, a federal initiative that could have generated millions of dollars for behavioral health programs throughout the state.

Nutsedge Nightmares

Jul 29, 2015
customwise-turftree.com

There's a new weed at my place that has been making an appearance the last couple of years and shows no sign of leaving.  It's a true bad boy of the garden, and it's called nutsedge, though some plant people commonly call it nutgrass.  But be warned, it's not a grass but a true sedge which can replicate itself by segments, roots, seeds, or nut-shaped underground tubers.  This week we'll try to get a handle on how to handle it, but be forewarned that it's a tough nut to crack! 

A Journey around Colorado's Ghost Towns

Jul 29, 2015
Diddley Squat / ghosttowns.com

Looking for something fun to do this summer? Why not grab a camera and go hunting for Colorado’s forgotten past? The website ghosttowns.com has a Colorado section, with helpful interactive maps, where you can learn about towns like Tuttle, in Kit Carson County, which was a US Post Office for the Pony Express, or Boggsville in Bent County, which was the final home of Kit Carson, or Chivington in Kiowa County, where the old dilapidated schoolhouse still stands out on the open plains.

dr_relling / Creative Commons

Three water managers in Colorado have stated that the state might have enough water to sustain it in the future, despite dwindling resources, climate change, and a growing population. However, these experts stressed that the state MUST be smart about its water and use it wisely, reports Colorado Public Radio. Colorado’s first state water plan, which is available now for viewing, will be finalized in December.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Here’s a quiz: the nation’s most inland seaport exists in what state? There are pretty good odds you didn’t guess Oklahoma, but in fact the Port of Catoosa handles two and a half million tons of wheat, fertilizer, steel, and manufacturing goods each year.

From outside of Tulsa, these resources head down the Verdigris River, to the Arkansas River, then east to the Mississippi and onward to Pittsburgh and Chicago. From there, these goods can move up through the great lakes to New York, Europe, or anywhere in the world.

Data Breach May Affect Thousands of Kansans

Jul 29, 2015
Jfcherry / Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Company that provides online patient portal says hackers gained access to electronic health records.

Thousands of Kansans soon will be receiving letters notifying them that their electronic health records may have been compromised.

Slideshow: Kansas's Dwindling Water Resources

Jul 28, 2015
Travis Heying / Wichita Eagle

For decades, Kansas farmers have relied on an ancient underground reservoir to provide water for their crops. But now the aquifer is drying up, reports The Wichita Eagle. Most farmers in Kansas are already feeling the effects of the depleted Ogallala aquifer. For some farmers, the energy bills for pumping water are costing more than the leases paid on the land itself. Water from the aquifer has gone down as much as 200 feet in some areas, doubling what it costs to pump it.

Texas Debates Plan to Battle Future Droughts

Jul 28, 2015
Cynthia Mendoza / Flickr Creative Commons

The current drought in Texas began in 2010. Though the situation has improved somewhat, the drought is still with us—and so are the conditions that caused it, reports StateImpact, a reporting project of local public media and NPR.

Dole Leads Effort to Build Ike Memorial

Jul 28, 2015
Public Domain

Efforts to build a national Dwight Eisenhower memorial have stalled, and Senator Bob Dole is spearheading the effort to get them back on track, the Washington Post reports. The former Republican presidential candidate served under Ike in World War II, and he has called Eisenhower “one of the great Americans.” Both Dole and Ike hail from Kansas.

Rhonda Dittfurth

The Three Redneck Tenors are back in the Texas Panhandle singing their hearts out and tickling funny bones.  Group members, Matthew Lord, Blake Davidson, and Jonathon Fruge followed different paths to return to the area.  

KUHF

The United States is producing so much oil these days that there aren’t enough pipelines to get it to refineries along the Gulf Coast. The solution: railroads. And many community activists are concerned that not enough is being done to prepare for crude fires and train derailments in residential communities, says StateImpact, a reporting project of NPR stations.

Bryan Thompson / KHI News Service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A new partnership in southwest Kansas aims to build mental health services and help strengthen a couple of rural hospitals at the same time.

The nonprofit United Methodist Health Ministry Fund is leading an effort to make the health system work better for people in rural Kansas. The fund’s president, Kim Moore, said the current structure based on small, low-volume hospitals isn’t likely to survive long-term.

‘Something More Than Free’ is Jason Isbell’s hugely anticipated follow up to 2013’s ‘Southeastern’.  The new record reflects some of the many life changes Isbell has experienced in the last 3 years- marriage, sobriety and impending parenthood.  The songs and arrangements are more mature and muted than some of his previous incendiary performances.  We will listen to ‘Something More Than Free’ this week on High Plains Morning.  

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

The State of Kansas would like to dismiss a federal lawsuit taken up by the ACLU last year, in which several gay couples have sued for equal treatment under the law, alleging discrimination from religious organizations in the state. 

Scott Davidson / Flickr Creative Commons

The Texas radio news magazine Texas Standard has published a list of “10 Things about The Sandra Bland Traffic Stop That Every Texan Should Know."

Bland was arrested on July 10, and charged with assaulting a public servant. She was later found dead in her cell. Investigations were launched by the FBI and the Texas Rangers.

Iconic "Tex Randall" Statue in Canyon to be Restored

Jul 26, 2015
Jonathan Baker

“Tex Randall,” the iconic 47-foot cowboy in Canyon, will be repaired soon, reports the Amarillo Globe-News. The Canyon Main Street program has raised $350,000 to complete the restoration, which will begin this fall.

Luke Clayton

 Well, hello folks.  Boy, I tell you what, my work is so hard.  I have to spend time outdoors with friendly people, who've come to be my friends.  To top it off, they want to share what they've learned!  One of those is fishing guide, Seth Vanover.  This guy knows how to catch fish, and today, he's reminding me of what it takes to bring in the big ones.  The tips he gives can be applied anywhere to help you catch those summer cats.

12 Facts You Might Not Know About "Lonesome Dove"

Jul 23, 2015
Bill Wittliff / Wittliff Collections, Texas State University

Did you know that Lonesome Dove was originally supposed to star Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne? Or that the novel’s movie rights were purchased by Motown?

KUT’s Texas news program Texas Standard has posted a fascinating list of “12 Things You Might Not Know About ‘Lonesome Dove’.” Give it a look to find out what former action star was originally supposed to play the role of Blue Duck.

Creative Commons

Family farmer and agriculture advocate Katie Sawyer recently came across an article in Time magazine that questioned the safety of eating pork. While Sawyer admitted that the article’s author got it “half right,” she took to Kansas AgLand to set the record straight.

Matt Brooks / NET News

From Harvest Public Media:

Farmers count on chemical herbicides to keep their fields weed-free. But an international panel of scientists who studied two of the most heavily used farm chemicals to determine whether they could cause cancer, said exposure to weed-killing chemicals could come at a cost. 

commons.wikimedia.org

 A visit to San Francisco brought me to the historic estate and nationally recognized garden called Filoli, slightly south of the Bay Area.  The day-long visit included tours of the 46 room country house and the magnificent gardens, orchards, fountains, and pools that surround the structure.  Built by a wealthy family that survived the Earthquake of 1906, Filoli became a showplace during America's Gilded Age.  Fortunately the entire estate was deeded to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975, and is host to visitors from around the world.

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