High Plains Public Radio


Kansas Memory, Kansas Historical Society

HPPR listeners thinking about the theme of this year’s book club--Borders and Becoming--need to keep in mind that borders change to meet the needs of those who live within them. Over the last two and a half centuries, the parameters of the United States changed repeatedly. A modern day description of the contiguous states would include Folksinger Woody Guthrie’s first stanza of “This Land Is Your Land.”

Gary C. Caskey / UPI

Texas crude oil production looks like it may be on the road to recovery, reports UPI.

Even so, output is still lower than last year, according to the Texas Railroad Commission. July’s daily production rose to 2.4 million barrels of oil per day. That’s three percent higher than it was two months previous.


Kansas highways are ranked third best in the nation, according to a new report released by the Reason Foundation.

The report judges states on overall highway performance and efficiency. The top-performing states in the overall rankings this year are rural states with limited traffic congestion. Kansas’s neighbor to the north, Nebraska, landed at number four on the list.

AP photo

Is it possible that tweaking a 21-year-old law could add millions of voters to the rolls?

Five states, including California, now automatically register voters when they sign up for a driver’s license. But many others, like Texas, make the process rather difficult.

Getty Images

Oklahoma now has more earthquakes than any state in the lower 48, including California. And, as CNBC reports, the cause of all this shaking appears to be manmade. But can anything be done?

Suchat Pederson / Suchat Pederson, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal

Since December, six major agriculture companies have agreed to merge, including Dow and Dupont. The agriculture industry has since come under criticism for the “tsunami” of huge corporate mergers.

Thad Allton / Topeka Capital-Journal

Just how much is the Kansas budget crisis hurting individual Kansans? According to a recent report, every Kansas taxpayer carries a $6,500-a-person tax burden. By comparison Nebraska, Kansas’s neighbor to the north, which did not slash taxes, boasts a surplus of $3,500 per taxpayer.

Brennan Linsley / AP photo

In November, Colorado voters will decide on Amendment 69, which would institute a statewide health care system in the Centennial State.


High-Plains beef could be making its way back to China, reports KWCH.

China, a country that boasts the world’s largest population, has announced they are ready to lift a ban on the import of U.S. Beef. The ban has been in place since 2003.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Last year, Texas announced that it would slash $350 million in Medicaid benefits to disabled children. In response, a group of concerned Texans filed a lawsuit seeking to block the cuts. But this week, The Texas Tribune reports, the Texas Supreme Court allowed the cuts to move forward.

The money was going toward speech, physical and occupational therapy providers and the families of children who receive those services.

Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Donald Trump is set to win Oklahoma’s seven electoral votes this November, reports KGOU.

His victory is being predicted despite widespread voter ambivalence about his candidacy in the state. A recent poll shows Trump leading Hillary Clinton by 15 percentage points in Oklahoma. Trump has at times struggles to gain traction even with Conservative voters in the state. Trump lost Oklahoma’s Republican primary to his GOP rival Ted Cruz, a Senator from neighboring Texas.

Rural Blog

When rural areas adopt broadband networks, it leads to higher levels of voting and civic engagement.

That’s according to a new a new study by Oklahoma State University. The study found that, as rates of rural broadband adoption increase, so do other civic factors. These include rates of voting in local elections, contacting local public officials, joining a neighborhood group and discussing politics with friends or family.

AP photo

Ever since recreational pot use became legal in Colorado, marijuana arrests in western Nebraska have been climbing, reports The Lincoln Journal-Star.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Texas is threatening to withdraw from the nation's refugee resettlement program, reports The Texas Tribune.

Public Domain

A backlog in Medicaid applications is costing Kansas more than two million dollars a year, reports The Lawrence Journal-World.

According to a recent state audit, the massive number of unprocessed first-time applications is weighing on the state budget. The audit also discovered that the state has stopped reviewing renewal applications for now.

Colorado Springs Police Department / cpr.org

The nation is still reeling from the aftereffects of two more controversial police killings last week. And now Colorado officials are looking to shore up policies on who should be given access to body camera footage in the event of an incident in the state.

Jann Mayer / Creative Commons

Is America’s rural infrastructure crumbling?

In a new seven-part series on “Keeping Rural America Competitive,” Agri-Pulse set out to answer that question.

The question is more pressing than ever. The world’s population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. That means food production in the U.S. will need to increase dramatically. That means a strong infrastructure will be necessary to deliver crops, livestock, dairy and poultry products to markets.

Today on High Plains Morning, we were thrilled to host SHEL, a Fort Collins, CO AND Nashville-based troupe of four sisters who have been writing and performing together since they were kids.

Currently on tour with their 2nd LP, Just Crazy Enough, SHEL wanted to high-five the High Plains -- so they stopped in to play us a few tunes!

As promised, here's the link to their delightful new video, "You Could Be My Baby."

David Shankbone / Creative Commons

Colorado election campaigns have filed their latest financial reports. Here are a few takeaways, courtesy of KUSA.

First of all, tobacco companies have deep pockets. Pro-tobacco groups have spent $5 million to keep a new tobacco tax from passing. That’s more money than any other campaign has raised in Colorado this cycle.

Creative Commons

Over the past year, Oklahoma saw one of biggest unemployment increases of any state, reports The Oklahoman.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Oklahoma had the second-highest unemployment rate increase for the 12 months ending in August. The state’s unemployment rate rose 0.8 percent. The statewide average now sits at 5.1 percent.

While unemployment has been growing in Oklahoma over the last year, the pace of the job loss has been slowing since March. Many of the job losses came in the energy sector.

Office of the Attorney General of Texas / KTSA

The State of Texas is suing the Obama Administration once again, reports KTSA.

This time the lawsuit centers around a new federal overtime pay law. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he’s “constantly” having to sue the government because he and his colleagues feels the Obama Administration is making new laws. And he insists that the Executive Branch’s job is to enforce laws, not write them.

The Fall Read - Refugees on the High Plains

Sep 23, 2016

As the Radio Readers move on from this month’s book Enrique’s Journey to October’s read, Dave Eggar’s book on the story Somali immigrants titled What is the What, we continue themes of separation from family, intense dangers in fleeing one’s homeland and eventual settlement and adjustment to life in the U.S. In the past decade, Amarillo has welcomed a large refugee resettlement program placing refugees from the likes of Burma, Iran, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, and Cuba among other countries.

High Plains Journal

Kansas farmers are looking to build a relationship with Cuba, reports The High-Plains/Midwest Ag Journal.

Kansas City Star

Earlier this month, racist messages were written on the sidewalks of a college in a small Kansas town, reports The Kansas City Star.


A temporary exhibit at Oklahoma City’s City Hall this week is drawing attention to many of the state’s “Most Endangered Historic Places” in hopes of protecting these priceless sites, reports KFOR.

Gary C. Caskey / UPI

The Lone Star State was, for the most part, less impacted by recent economic downturns than other states. Strong recovery in the services and construction sectors helped to keep the state afloat during hard times.

Bret Levin / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost half of Colorado school districts are not complying with a state transparency law, reports The Colorado Independent.

The watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch has found that 43 percent of Colorado’s school districts are not complying with a law requiring school boards to post minutes of their meetings in a timely manner.

The law went into effect in June 2014. It says school boards must post minutes within 10 days of approving them.

"The fairies break their dances and leave the printed lawn." —A.E. Housman

This week on Growing on the High Plains, I have an offbeat tale about odd circles that seem to crop up supernaturally on the grass. Rest assured: there's a logical reason for the peculiar presence of these "fairy rings," especially given this summer's peculiarities.  Whether they're marked by darkness or puffs of white, learn more about this serpentine fungus among us.  

Michael Flippo / Thinkstock

The United States Department of Agriculture is releasing up to five million dollars in grants to help create or strengthen farm-to-school programs, reports FarmFutures.com.

The competitive grants are part of a federal initiative further to increase foods from local farms and ranches in America’s school meals.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

Oklahoma has opened its first new abortion clinic in over forty years, reports Refinery29.

In fact, Gerald Ford was president the last time Oklahoma opened a new family planning clinic. The Trust Women South Wind Women's Center will provide many services to women, including abortions, Ob/Gyn care, family planning, adoption services, and emergency contraception.