Topeka Capital-Journal/AP

Sam Brownback is making some powerful enemies in his own state, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal. Four former Kansas governors have formed a political group to raise opposition to the policies of the current governor and his allies in the Kansas House and Senate. The effort is known as the Save Kansas Coalition. Former governors Bill Graves, Mike Hayden, Kathleen Sebelius and John Carlin have all sent out letters to potential donors to fund the effort.

A Capitol Fourth: July 4 at 7pm

Jun 24, 2016
Courtesy of Capital Concerts

A Capitol Fourth 2016

This July 4, America's national Independence Day celebration broadcasts live from the West Lawn of the United States Capitol. Hosted by Emmy Award-winning TV personality Tom Bergeron and NPR's Korva Coleman, the event features performances from some of America's best known celebrities and musical artists including:

4th of July Traditions

Jun 24, 2016

Add a bucket, crank, rock salt, ice, canister, milk, cream, vanilla, sugar, eggs, and arm strong power to take any summer celebration over the top. As a kid, I loved arriving at a gathering where men sat or knelt circled around a good size wooden or plastic bucket and each took a turn cranking a long metal handle. Oftentimes, a child perched atop the bucket to stabilize the turning device. I knew when I saw this, it didn’t mean the guys were just telling good stories. It meant we’d soon be eating homemade ice cream.

Luke Clayton

Join me this week and let's discuss catching and eating an often overlooked species of catfish, the bullhead.

There are three species of bullheads, the black, brown and yellow/, black being the most prevalent.

Topeka Capital-Journal

National rankings that show the well-being of children in all fifty states have been released, and Kansas has fallen four slots, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal. While last year the state was ranked 15th, this year Kansas fell to 19th. The slip in the rankings came amid diminished performance on health and education assessments. Kansas children also showed stagnation on economic and family measures.

John Leyba / The Denver Post

Back in April The Denver Post called Colorado’s Republican primary race for US Senate the “equivalent of an algebra problem with plenty of variables and no simple answer.” Things haven’t gotten any less complicated two months later, with the Post referring to the race

Alison V Smith / Texas Tribune

Some Lone Star lawmakers have more campaign cash on hand than the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president of the United States, reports The Texas Tribune. Last week Donald Trump revealed that his campaign had just $1.3 million on hand to fund their election efforts. Meanwhile his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton reportedly has $42 million in the bank.

Emily Albracht / Texas Tribune

Last year HPPR reported on The Texas Tribune’s five-part documentary series God and Governing.  The series provided a fascinating look at how the decisions of Texas lawmakers are dictated by their faith. Now the documentary has been given one of the country’s highest journalism awards. This week the Tribune was honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award for God and Governing.

Skubasteve834 / Wikimedia Commons

Independence Day patriots rejoice! Fireworks go on sale today in parts of the Texas Panhandle, reports the Amarillo Globe-News. Law enforcement agencies are, of course, warning folks to obey local fireworks ordinances. That means possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited within the city limits of Amarillo.

The Guardian

This week The Guardian posted an incredible timelapse video of a supercell storm developing in the skies over Kansas. Watch it here.

Health by Got Credit / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Accenture faces $750,000 fine for incorrect reporting of application backlog.

News of a mistake that dropped several thousand Kansans from state Medicaid backlog reports has advocates and Democratic lawmakers questioning the state’s oversight of the contractor blamed for the error.

J. Scott Applewhite / STF

Several gun-control measures failed in the US Senate this week. The proposals included a narrowly-tailored compromise that had previously been put forth by Texas U.S. Sen. John Cornyn last December. In the wake of the Orlando mass shooting, Senator Cornyn decided to try again, reports The Houston Chronicle

Andrew Spear / New York Times

  The New York Times this week reported on groups of Christians in the heartland who have a new mission in mind: fighting predatory lending. Their main target is what’s called a “payday” loan: a high-interest loan often taken in a moment of financial crisis. The movement has united conservative and Evangelical churches with liberal ones.

Houston Chronicle

Today British citizens will go to the polls to decide whether to leave the European Union. The vote, as reported in The Houston Chronicle, has some Texas secessionists in a tizzy. Members of the faction would like to see a similar measure on the ballot in the Lone Star State.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

If you’re in Colorado and looking to get back to nature this summer, head to your local library. Nearly 300 libraries across the state are now offering state parks passes for checkout, reports It’s all happening through a new program launched on Monday called “Check Out State Parks.”


Today, Skip talks with Anthony Zukoff, and gets his list of favorite plants to put in your pollinator garden.  They are: blazing star, bee balm, golden rod, and milk weeds.

You can ask Anthony questions by searching for "Friends of Sand Sage Bison Range" on Facebook or by emailing him at:

Aviper2k7 / Wikimedia Commons

The Kansas Legislature is considering removing the state Supreme Court’s ability to review and approve the state’s school finance laws. And one professor with the University of Kansas School of Law isn’t happy. This week Mike Hoeflich wrote a strongly worded editorial in the Garden City Telegram, calling the Legislature’s proposal the first steps toward tyranny.

fstop/Getty Images

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Doctors-in-training learn a lot about the workings of the human body during medical school and residency. But many are taught next to nothing about the workings of the health care system. One university in Washington, D.C., is trying to change that.

David Koehn / NET Nebraska

If you think sex trafficking only happens along the border or in major cities, think again. A recent report by NET Nebraska shows that sex trafficking is thriving in rural America. It’s believed that hundreds of people are sold for sex in Nebraska each year. And many of those cases occur in small towns.


The unemployment rate in Oklahoma rose by two-tenths of a percentage point last month, reports KOTV. That brings the level up to 4.7 percent, making it even with the national unemployment rate.

From April to May Oklahoma’s labor force declined by well over 7,000 workers. Meanwhile the number of jobless rose by nearly 10,000.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Last month Texas Republicans released their party platform, written at the state GOP convention in Dallas. Now it’s the Lone Star State’s Democrats’ turn to reveal their party’s platform. Here are some highlights, courtesy of The Texas Tribune.

Cyrus McCrimmon / Denver Post

The most organized and widespread effort yet to battle marijuana in Colorado is underway, reports The Denver Post. The state Supreme Court last week cleared the way for a ballot measure that would set new potency and packaging limits on recreational marijuana. If passed, pot packaging would have to include warnings that the product carries a risk of “permanent loss of brain abilities.” Under the measure, pot potency would also be tightly controlled.

Public Domain

Over the past year construction employment in Kansas fell by over 3,400 jobs, reports The Hutchinson News. As a result, the Sunflower State has fallen to 49th in the nation in construction jobs. Meanwhile, the four states that border Kansas have all seen growth, adding a combined 20,000 construction jobs to their own economies.

Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman

There’s a debate raging in Oklahoma ag circles about something known simply as “Question 777,” reports State Question 777 is a constitutional amendment that would prevent Oklahoma lawmakers from regulating agriculture in many cases. Legislators would only be able to act if the Oklahoma had a “compelling state interest” to change the laws. Voters will go to the polls in November to decide this “right to farm” question.

AP photo

With the advent of Donald Trump’s candidacy, Democrats grew excited that swing states might become solid blue wins for their party. But now, as Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric continues to cause consternation among elites in both parties, solidly red states like Texas may even be up for grabs. As reports, one pollster at the University of Texas thinks a Clinton win in the Lone Star State is a definite possibility.

AP photo

Amid the refugee crisis last year Texas filed a lawsuit seeking to block Syrians from settling in the Lone Star State. But now a federal judge in Dallas has denied that claim. US District Judge David Godbey ruled that Texas officials failed to make “a plausible claim for relief” from refugee settlement, reports The Austin American-Statesman.

Michael Stravato / Texas Tribune

Alexa Ura of The Texas Tribune recently visited Benjamin Elder’s home and found him to be an average ten-year-old kid. His favorite food is mac and cheese and he loves to play outside. He’s a big fan of American Ninja Warrior and Minecraft. His room is filled with Pokemon figures and stuffed animals. Most people don’t realize he’s transgender, and that’s sort of the point, says his mom.

Amy Bickel / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

CASTLETON – For Sam Grilliot, it’s harvest time, and that means the old Oliver is lumbering through the wheat field.

More often, you find similar antique combines abandoned in a hedgerow. But for Grilliot, the 50-year-old machine is one of the tools he depends on each year.

Jim McClean / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Patient advocacy groups in Kansas remain concerned about a Medicaid drug policy scheduled to take effect July 1.

Known as “fail first” or “step therapy,” the policy requires providers participating in KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, to start patients on less expensive drugs before moving them to more expensive alternatives if medically necessary.

Rural Blog

In a world where we often feel like international events and information overload might overtake our lives, the small town paper remains a trusted source for news on the people and events in our local lives. While we hear a lot of doom and gloom about major newspapers in big cities going out of business, many rural newspapers have managed to stay afloat.