News

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In the State of Texas, the death rate for new mothers is now higher than any other place in the developed world.

Sanofi Pasteur / KUT

Texas has seen 221 cases of mumps this year. That’s more cases than at any time in the past 20 years, reports KUT.

To conclude our three-part series on how gardeners new to our region can overcome reduced water access, today's installment of Growing on the High Plains goes underground -- literally. 

In addition to thoughtful xeriscaping and maximizing moisture with mulch, those committed to making water conservation a top priority can consider planning and installing a drip system.  With the flip of a switch, you can ensure that every drop goes  where it's needed -- saving time and energy.

Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune

Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Richards had high hopes for his plan to bring on what he called the “feral hog apocalypse.”

okcfox.com

Over half a million uninsured motorists drive on Oklahoma’s roads every day.

Now, reports KOKH, a new program aims to lower that number. The state’s District Attorney Council has proposed a system that would allow law enforcement to scan license plates and determine if the driver is insured.

But, for the plan to work, Oklahoma’s motor vehicle insurance database will need to be upgraded.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

This week the Texas House Public Education Committee heard testimony on a bill that would decrease the number of standardized tests faced by students in the Lone Star State.

At first blush, the idea seems like it might carry broad support among Texas educators. But, as The Texas Tribune reports, teacher opinions on the idea actually constitute a mixed bag.

National Park Service

Southeast Colorado’s Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site was dedicated April 28th, 2007 with the goal of educating the public about the 1864 massacre of over 230 men, women and children of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes by units of the United States Army.

The site is hosting the following events over the next three days in commemoration of its 10th anniversary:

Across much of the western part of the state, conversations are happening about what to do about the future of water.

It’s an overdue conversation in an area that relies heavily on the declining reserves of the Ogallala Aquifer for its economic prosperity. In some areas, the decline of the aquifer has been dramatic – with the water level dropping more than 70 to 80 feet in some parts of Kearny and Finney Counties.

Billy Calzada / Austin American-Statesman

Beto O’Rourke, a challenger to Ted Cruz’s seat in the U.S. Senate, will make an appearance in Amarillo this Saturday, April 29th.

news9.com

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has announced that she plans to create a task force to deal with the immense backlog of rape kits in the state.

As News 9 reports, the Oklahoma Task Force on Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence will investigate all of the sexual assault forensic evidence kits in Oklahoma, to determine how many have yet to be tested.

Proposed hemp bill gaining support in western Kansas

Apr 25, 2017
Creative Commons

A bill that would allow Kansas farmers to grow hemp and Kansas State University researchers to explore its varieties and identify its industrial uses is gaining support in western Kansas.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Representatives Russ Jennings of Lakin and John Wheeler of Garden City  both voted for House Bill 2182, as amended. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife

In The Texas Panhandle, the pronghorn antelope population has remained strong over the past three decades. At the same time, western Texas has seen a dramatic decrease in its pronghorn population, so wildlife and research groups are working to balance things out.   

As The Texas Observer reports, the pronghorn antelope is the fastest land mammal in North America.

Put America first by lifting the Cuban embargo

Apr 25, 2017
U.S. SEN. JERRY MORAN, R-KANSAS

Approximately 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside America’s borders. Markets in the United States will continue to evolve to meet domestic consumer demand, but the vast majority of the future growth in food and agriculture markets will be made through exports. And the best way to boost prices for American producers now and in the future is to export more of our agriculture products to these foreign markets.

Perdue approved as secretary of agriculture

Apr 25, 2017
Courtesy / U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Public Domain

The U.S. Senate April 24 voted to confirm the nomination of Gov. Sonny Perdue, R-GA, by a vote of 87-11, as secretary of agriculture. Perdue's cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-GA, voted present. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, did not vote.

President Donald Trump Jan. 19 announced his intention to nominate Perdue. The secretary of agriculture’s job was the last Cabinet position for which Trump had not named a candidate.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

The Texas House of Representatives has passed a bill that would raise the legal age at which accused criminals are tried as adults in the Lone Star State.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the measure is known as the “Raise the Age” bill, and it would ensure that 17-year-old offenders would no longer be classified as adults. Instead, they would be moved to the juvenile justice system, beginning in 2021.

Kansas judges seek pay raises

Apr 24, 2017
KSCOURTS.ORG

Kansas Chief Supreme Court Justice Lawton Nuss told the Topeka Capital Journal’s editorial board Thursday that state funding of judicial branch salaries had fallen unacceptably below average salaries of peers in neighboring states.

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Despite concerns that repair and cleanup costs would hurt already cash-strapped public schools, a bill  that aims to test the water supply of the aging Colorado public schools for lead over the next three years is advancing in the state legislature.

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The Texas House Thursday approved a bill designed to inject over a billion dollars into public schools and simplify complicated funding formulas.

As The Texas Tribune reports, State Rep. Dan Huberty succeeded at a difficult task Wednesday: getting the Texas House of Representatives to vote for legislation overhauling the funding system for public education, without a court mandate.

Kentucky Derby hopeful has western Kansas ties

Apr 24, 2017
Courtesy / Coady Photography

Patience and racehorses do not necessarily coincide. But for a western Kansas family, patience has paid off.

Janis Whitham of Leoti, Kansas, has a horse headed for the Kentucky Derby—if he stays well and continues to train soundly, according to Whitham’s son Clay. Their 3-year-old colt, McCraken, is currently at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, with trainer Ian Wilkes training for a Derby start.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Legislature took a big step last week toward battling health problems in rural parts of the state.

As StateImpact reports, rural Oklahomans have long been fighting a losing battle with diabetes, and obesity. And heart disease is the state’s number one killer.

First day at the park

Apr 24, 2017
WHEREINTHEUSARV.BLOGSPOT.COM

After months of wearing long pants, heavy sweaters over flannel shirts, and clunky shoes, folks are enjoying the chance to leave jackets behind and head to the park. It’s like a spring cleaning for the spirit as everyone goes down a slide, swings, or teeter totters in order to wipe away winter’s cobwebs and staleness.

HPPR Living Room Concerts presents

Gabrielle Louise - Live in Concert

Chalice Abbey, Amarillo

(2717 Stanley Street)

Doors @ 7p | Show @ 7:30p

Suggested Donation: $15

Hosted by Chalice Abbey & Evocation Coffee

------------------------------------------------------------

Gabrielle Louise is a nationally-touring, Colorado-based troubadour noted for her poignant lyrics and lush voice. The daughter of two vagabond musicians, Gabrielle inherited the predisposition to wanderlust and song. 

Water Conservaton & Preservation

Apr 24, 2017
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

In Dune, water is a precious resource on the verge of extinction. Throughout the book, consequences is a rigid and hard concept. Therefore preserving and conserving water is critical for survival to the Fremen people in Book I of Dune. The Fremen people have taken measures to ensure that any water, or moisture is preserved or reused. For example, the Fremen people have developed a suit called stillsuit and it is a very special suit, especially in the harsh climate of the Arrakis planet. The stillsuit will prevent the body from losing more than a tablespoon of their body’s moisture in a specified time period. Keep in mind the many activities a person does in a day to lose moisture, sweat, urine, exhaled air, organs, among other activities which averages to about 10-15 cups of water, per day. And this suit allows that moisture to be reused and loses no more than a tablespoon of body moisture per day. That is an amazing piece of technology that preserves and conserves the body’s liquid. Another practice by the Freemen culture to preserve and conserve water loss is salvaging the liquid from cadavers. While the image this produces is less than desirable, the point is being made of just how critical and precious water as a resource is on this planet. The premise around Herbert’s world of water shortage becomes very real and believable as you continue to read through Book I in the Dune.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Bob, Robbie and Leah Maass ready equipment for planting season on their farm near Ellsworth, Iowa.Credit AMY MAYER / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIAEdit | Remove

Three months after his nomination, Sonny Perdue faces a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate Monday for the post of secretary of agriculture.

Historians' efforts land Cherokee Trail back on Kansas maps

Apr 23, 2017
Patricia Middleton / The Hutchinson News

The Cherokee Trail is back on the map after years of being forgotten, thanks to the research of historians from southern Kansas.

Linda Andersen, a historian from Galva, first heard of the trail in 2005 at the Santa Fe Trail national symposium in McPherson, when two speakers talked about the trail.

"I had never heard of it before then," Andersen said.

A group known as the Friends of the Cherokee Trail — Kansas first met on Sept. 17, 2013.

Austin American-Statesman

A Federal court has once again ruled that the Republican Party in Texas intentionally tried to disenfranchise minority voters when it redrew district lines in 2011.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, the 2-1 ruling attested that the GOP diluted minority votes in an attempt to gain more power in the state.

Podcast seeks to stoke interest in cowboy poetry

Apr 23, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

In the first 20 years following the Civil War, cowboys who drove cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas, would improvise poems and songs as a means of fighting boredom on the trail. And that is how cowboy poetry was born.

A new podcast called Cowboy Crossroads is helping to keep that rich tradition alive.

Wikimedia Commons

Kansas’ projected budget shortfall shrank from about $1 billion to about $900 million, after a key biannual revenue analysis predicted better than anticipated tax receipts last week.

As The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, members of the state’s consensus revenue group offered cautiously optimistic projections that followed multiple downward revisions in recent years.

My Dune Epiphany

Apr 22, 2017
Astronaut William Anders / Christmas Eve 1968 from Apollo 8

Some years after the Apollo astronauts took the first color photograph showing the earth rising over the lunar surface, I read the epic science fiction novel Dune. I was a lonely kid growing up in Southeast Kansas and I was drawn to the novel by its action. I didn’t understand the nuance contained in the pages of the dog-eared mass market paperback copy I carried around for weeks, but after reading and re-reading the novel in the years to come, I began to  its skillful depiction of politics, religion, and the fight for limited natural resources.

Flickr Creative Commons

Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s bid for re-election next year may be in jeopardy, according to new polling numbers.

As the Dallas Morning News reports, if the race were held today, Cruz would face an uphill battle against either of his two potential Democratic rivals for the seat.

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