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Texas has been front and center in the national debate over the last year, for a myriad of reasons. The Lone Star State has weathered a devastating hurricane, a horrific church shooting, historic wildfires, shaky trade negotiations with Mexico, and a controversial bathroom bill.

In this week's show, Luke gives some tips that might help you transform that big buck or doe into some tasty steaks and roasts.

Hanging a deer a couple of days before butchering is always a good idea, but sometimes not possible because of warm temperatures. In a controlled environment, such as a walk-in cooler that can keep the meat just above freezing for several days greatly improves the flavor. If the weather is cool, it's always a good idea to hang the deer in a garage, barn or covered structure for a couple days.

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Imagine a time traveling pilgrim joined your family’s Thanksgiving celebration this year. After you got over the surprise of finding in individual wearing a tall hat, short pants, stockings, funny looking shoes, and possibly carrying an antique weapon in your dining room, you’d have to wonder about the differences between 1622 and 2014. Questions might include what this visitor thought about modern homes, holiday foods, and current pastimes to celebrate a national holiday that ties contemporary Americans to one of the first English settlements in the new world.

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The USDA has increased its forecast for Colorado’s corn production.

As The Prowers Journal reports, the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Nov. 9 crop production report is forecasting 187.96 million bushels of corn this fall, due to an anticipated increase in average yield, which is projected at 148 bushels per acre, up about 3 bushels per acre from last month, when the USDA predicted overall corn production in Colorado at 184.15 million bushels.

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A large solar project in Texas has been put on hold and will likely be canceled if the Trump administration goes ahead with imposing tariffs on cheaper panels made in China.

As KUT reports, a 100-megawatt solar farm was being planned outside of Fort Stockton, Texas that would have brought 300 to 400 people at its peak but a threat of tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports would likely make the project too costly to pursue because solar panels account for about 40 percent of the cost of a solar plant.

Our Turn At This Earth: Plains Icons

Nov 16, 2017
Patrick Bolduan

Every few years, I obey the compulsion, as instinctive as a migratory bird’s, to return to the home nest. Last time I visited the northwest Kansas farm I grew up on, I parked my car by the pole that used to bring electricity to our house. The electricity it brought now kept a pivot sprinkler clocking through the ghost of the farmstead my mother’s family had settled in 1906. As usual, I walked down the rows of ankle-high corn, searching for artifacts I might recognize.

Thanks so much to a trio of Nashville darlings, Szlachetka & Granville Automatic, for stopping by High Plains Morning today!

Find out more about their music and forthcoming albums by clicking on their names.

And if you're in the Amarillo area, go see them at Bar Z Winery tonight (11/16/17) in Canyon, TX.  If you missed their interview and live, in-studio performance, click the link below.   

Today on Growing on the High Plains, I'll dig back through my memories of the Osage orange tree—a scruffy-but-useful native of our region.

You might know them as the bushy bearer of hedge apples—those puckered, chartreuse orbs that usually just clonk to the ground and rot. Well, I grew up knowing them by a very different name, and our family employed them as pest control, believe it or not. But ask a rancher or farmer trying to secure their property border, and they'll tell you that these trees are good for a lot more!

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The recent resurgence of Texas oil markets is causing some Texas prison guards to leave their jobs for the more lucrative work in the oilfields.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, in the last year alone, the state prison system has seen a remarkable 28 percent turnover rate.

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Yet another Democrat has pulled off an upset victory in deep-red Oklahoma.

As NBC News reports, Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman defeated Republican Brian O’Hara in Tuesday’s special election for the Oklahoma’s Senate District 37. Ikley-Freeman is the fourth Democrat this year to flip a Republican seat in Oklahoma special elections.

At The Texas Capitol, Victims Of Sexual Harassment Must Fend For Themselves

Nov 15, 2017
Shelby Tauber / The Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Interviews with more than two dozen current and former lawmakers and legislative aides indicate sexual harassment regularly goes unchecked at the Texas Capitol. And sexual harassment policies rely on officials with little incentive or authority to enforce them, particularly in cases of harassment by lawmakers.

Disgust overwhelmed her when she felt his tongue on her hand.

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The oil boom continues in the Permian Basin region of West Texas, and with the boom comes an increase in natural gas flares. According to The San Antonio Express-News, natural gas flaring in the Permian Basin rose significantly from 2009 to 2014.

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Texas Panhandle Congressman Four Price announced this week that he will seek re-election next year, the Amarillo Globe-News reports.

Price has proven a popular candidate in the 87th district that includes Potter, Sherman, Moore, Carson and Hutchinson counties. He ran unopposed last year, and in his 2014 re-election bid he took 85% of the vote. 

Texas Farmer Turning Wine Into Water

Nov 14, 2017
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A Texas farmer is turning wine into water – well sort of.

As The High Plains Journal reports, Steve Newsom of Levelland, Texas recently began growing wine grapes because they are very efficient users of water.

“I get scowled at, but we see ourselves converting irrigated cotton acres to dryland and convert some of that water saved to drip irrigation and still have the same amount of acres in production,” he said.

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There’s a growing problem with Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors who take high-priced specialty drugs: there’s no cap on how much they pay.

As The Denver Post reports, each prescription drug plan is structured a little differently, but people with very high drug costs almost inevitably enter what’s called the “catastrophic” phase of coverage. Then, they pay 5 percent of the list price of their drug, which is no small sum in an age of $10,000-a-month cancer drugs

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Gun deaths are on the rise in Oklahoma, reports Oklahoma Watch.

Despite the fact that it's been over three decades since the state has seen a prominent mass shooting, homicides by firearms have been increasing over the past decade.

Oklahoma has the ninth highest rate of per capita gun deaths among. The state now averages four or five murders a week, and more than one suicide per day.

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Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas have found themelves in a sticky position in recent days, as they continue to be peppered with questions about their support for Alabama Senatorial candidate Roy Moore.

Late Monday afternoon, Cornyn officially withdrew his support of Moore after a fifth woman charged the Alabama judge with pursuing her sexually as a teenager.

The new allegations would, if true, unquestionably constitute violent sexual assault. Moore has been accused of initiating sexual conduct with a 14-year old girl.

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The rate of people who smoke cigarettes in Amarillo remains higher than the national rate, reports The Amarillo Globe-News. The city is home to almost 32,000 smokers, and collectively, they cost the city over $2 million annually.

Pi Ying Huang / The Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

A blast of retirements and a grim political climate for the GOP could dramatically reshape the future of the Texas Republican delegation.

WASHINGTON – For those closely watching the Texas delegation in Congress, Tuesday night provided lots to chew on.

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Last week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives fell five votes shy of passing a tax bill that would have shut down the Special Legislative session and prevented the need for steep budget cuts.

As KGOU reports, the plan was supported by advocates from the health care, education, and public policy sectors. But the widespread support of nurses and teachers wasn’t enough. The tax plan would have eased the state’s budget woes by raising taxes on gasoline, tobacco products, beer, and oil and gas wells.

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In recent months, the rent-to-own furniture industry has gained attention in Texas. State officials have accused the industry, and especially the rent-to-own behemoth Rent-A-Center, of using deceptive and abusive practices against customers.

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Amarillo voters last week approved a massive $100 million bond proposal benefitting the Amarillo Independent School District. In response, AISD officials announced an aggressive construction schedule to spend the money on a wide variety of school repairs and renovations.

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Sustainable irrigation and better field management practices to reduce the degradation of reservoirs are something Gov. Sam Brownback is foreseeing as the future of Kansas agriculture.

As The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, Brownback predicted greater public support for both practices at the Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Manhattan Wednesday.

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Kansas v. Colorado was the first interstate water lawsuit case to come before the U.S. Supreme Court, setting a precedent for all other interstate water suits in the U.S.

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The 2018 election season has officially begun in Texas. This weekend marked the neginning of the filing period for all Lone Star candidates who plan to run for public office.

Join us for Geography Awareness Week celebration on Silver Rails.  We have National Geographic Maps for your correctly answered questions.

The grand prize winner of geography awareness week will get this lovely globe bookend with the cancer is walnut base built by Jeff Horlacher of Horlacher jewelers in Colby Kansas

It's Geography Awareness Week, and we're celebrating it on Silver Rails: Music of the World in the Folk Traditions.

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The search for gold compelled Spanish Conquistador Cornado to venture into what is now Kansas. Ironically, he found gold more valuable than the metal he hoped to find. Unfortunately, he didn’t recognize the importance of the gold dust he found covering his boots and leggings as he rode and walked through the tall and short grasses of Quivira.

Larry Weishuhn

Alan Cain whitetail deer program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Alan and Ellis Powell, also with TPWD, recently used big bore air rifles to do a bit of research into the effectiveness of big bore air rifles for harvesting game.

Cain recently spoke at the TPWD Commissioners meeting in Lufkin and gave his opinion of the power and effectiveness of big bore air rifles in cleanly and humanely dispatching deer-sized game. 

Radio Readers BookByte: Tsil Cafe & New World Foods

Nov 10, 2017
Tom Averill / Topeka, Kansas

I’m Tom Averill, author of the culinary novel Secrets of the Tsil Café, and a “foodie” in my kitchen and in my library. My book, published in 2001, came from years of research, starting in 1992, the 500th anniversary of the Columbus voyage.  I wasn’t on the Columbus bandwagon, given the European decimation of the New World:  the killing and enslavement of people, the pilfering of gold and silver, the outlawing of languages and religions, even the environmental damage done. 

Texas Voters Approve Seven Constitutional Amendments

Nov 9, 2017
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Texans on Tuesday night voted in favor of seven constitutional amendments.

As The Texas Tribune reports, as of late Tuesday evening, about 85 percent voted in favor of a proposition authorizing tax exemptions for certain partially disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. It was a similar outcome for a proposition authorizing property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.

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