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I've been walkin' on the railroad...and it's not what you would expect! Did you know that, in cities across the world, out-of-use elevated freight rail lines have been resurrected as rustic gardens and public parks? It's true! From Paris to Chicago to New York City, defunct industrial corridors have made for quite the elysian green spaces. On a recent trip to the Big Apple, I was thrilled to visit The High Line —one of the city's most unique public parks. Hovering over Manhattan’s West Side,...

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has been generating a lot of talk in recent days in the Texas Panhandle. The controversial Republican from Stephenville is still being considered for a post in Donald Trump’s cabinet. Miller stopped into Amarillo and made some enemies at a local restaurant, even as he drew heat from The Texas Tribune for spreading false news on his social media accounts. As the Tribune notes, a brief survey of Miller’s Facebook page showed the commissioner reposting...

Getty/Politico

Oil and gas companies have reason to celebrate this week, as President-Elect Trump is expected to nominate a longtime oil ally to helm the Environmental Protection Agency. As Politico reports, Scott Pruitt has been a staunch opponent of climate regulations in his role as Attorney General of Oklahoma. The suggestion that an avowed climate change denier will head the agency charged with protecting the environment has left environmental advocates feeling devastated. As Oklahoma’s AG, Pruitt has...

Kansas City Star

Kansas has a new Speaker of the House, and he’s coming into the job with a hard row to hoe. As The Kansas City Star reports , Ron Ryckman is inheriting not one but two budget shortfalls. There’s the current budget gap of roughly $348 million, with seven months left in the fiscal year. And then, once the new fiscal year begins, the shortfall is expected to balloon to $582 million. And Governor Sam Brownback has decided to wait until January to propose a solution to the state’s budget crisis,...

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr Creative Commons

A retail liquor group in Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking a ballot initiative passed by over 65 percent of voters that would allow wine and cold beer to be sold at grocery and convenience stores.

Feds reviewing status of lesser prairie chicken

Dec 7, 2016
Texas Wildlife and Parks / Gary Kramer

Earlier this year, the lesser prairie chicken was removed from the threatened and endangered species list, but in response to a petition by environmentalists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to review the bird’s status.

The Denver Post

Going forward, it will be more difficult to get constitutional amendments on the ballot in Colorado.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

An increase in oil prices is likely a precursor to higher gas prices over the holidays. Following an agreement by OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, last week to cut global oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day, the price of crude oil rose to $55 per barrel, a 16-month high, as Yahoo News reports. AAA reported a seven-day increase in national average gas prices which reached $2.18 per gallon Monday. That is a five-cent per gallon increase from last week. OPEC’s...

The Wichita Eagle

Kansas has traditionally had a lower unemployment rate than the nation at large. But that looks to be changing next year, if analyst predictions hold true. As The Wichita Eagle reports , the latest numbers have Kansas at 4.4 percent unemployment, slightly lower than the national average. But the U.S unemployment rate just dropped once again, to 4.6 percent. Meanwhile, experts expect the Kansas unemployment rate to rise to about 4.7 percent in 2018 based on current data. Governor Sam Brownback...

Gett/Motley Fool

The market for agriculture drones looks to be far bigger than many analysts suspected, according to a new report by The Motley Fool . In fact, the addressable market for drones performing agricultural work could be as high as $33 billion.* Drones were first used for agricultural purposes in Japan. Now Goldman Sachs is predicting the agriculture sector to be the largest user of drones in the U.S. over the next five years. And drone makers are increasingly turning their focus to agriculture. So...

Gallup/CDC / WaPo/Wonkblog

Almost half of overweight Americans don’t know they’re overweight, reports The Washington Post . The CDC says more Americans than ever are overweight, with the problem even more pronounced in the heartland. And, according to a new Gallup study, far fewer of them think they’re overweight. Back in 1990 about 56 percent of Americans were found to be overweight. And almost as many—48 percent—considered themselves to have a weight problem. Today, the percentage of overweight Americans has risen to...

NPR.org

High Plains women who’ve come to rely on free birth control under the Affordable Care Act may lose their benefits once the Trump administration takes the reins. The law providing cost-free contraception has been popular among working women, but deeply unpopular with foes of abortion rights. And Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services is an avowed opponent of reproductive rights. As The Seattle Times reports, Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia, has a 100 percent...

Memories of Pearl Harbor, Japanese internment camp

Dec 6, 2016
Amache.org

The Amache Japanese Internment camp held over 7,000 Japanese – mostly American citizens – from 1942 to 1945 following the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that left over 2,400 dead and over 1,100 wounded.

Following last week’s move by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), crude oil prices rose above the $55 per barrel mark Monday, hitting a 16-month high, Reuters reports.

Ars Technica

Oklahoma could be in for a lot less shaking according to a research study that shows earthquake activity slows as wastewater injection is reduced.

The Wichita Eagle

Talk continues to swirl around the possibility that Kansas Governor Sam Brownback could be given a position in Donald Trump’s cabinet—most likely as Secretary of Agriculture. Now the question many in the Sunflower State are asking is, would it be easier for Kansas to fix its budget problems if Brownback moves up? As The Kansas City Star reports, some lawmakers and analysts in the state think the answer is yes—though those yesses are qualified by certain conditions. Many believe Brownback’s...

Eric Gregory / Journal Star

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2016 Farm numbers were released last week. As Farm Futures reports, farm income for 2016 is forecast to drop by almost 15% from last year’s levels. This is the third straight year net cash farm income has dropped. Most of the income decrease can be attributed to a drop in income from livestock and animal products. John Hansen, head of the Nebraska Farmer’s Union, says the lower prices are putting a strain on producers and lenders. He said he’s expecting “a...

MediC Pix / Alamy Stock Photo

In recent months Texas has launched itself into the center of the anti-vaxxer movement. According to a new report by Science magazine , the Lone Star state is us quickly becoming a battlefield in the war between those who support childhood vaccinations and those who claim they’re dangerous. The number of Texas schoolchildren who haven’t been vaccinated against childhood diseases is growing rapidly. As a result, experts worry that the state may see its first measles outbreaks next winter....

Aphis

The last few decades have witnessed an unprecedented explosion of wild pigs in the continental U.S. Over the last 30 years, feral swine populations have ballooned to spread across 39 states. As AgWeb reports, it’s now estimated that there are as many as 11 million pigs living wild in America. And these animals just seem to keep proliferating, no matter what ag operations try. USDA pig expert Jack Mayer says setting pigs loose on virgin land is akin to pouring water on gremlins. The issue is,...

Variety of religious holidays celebrated in December

Dec 5, 2016

If you’re searching for a holiday greeting that covers the myriad of religious holidays and observances celebrated in December, "Happy Holidays" really does cover it. According to 2016 Inter-faith calendar , the month of December is chock-full of holidays including those observed by Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, pagans, Jews and Zoroastrians. Never heard of Zoroastrianism? It dates back to ancient Greece and is believed to have actually influenced the world’s more well-known religions of...

A tried and true healer: Elderberry Elixir

Dec 3, 2016
mommypotamus.com

Despite the fact I had a flu shot the minute the doctor made them available, one of those germs invaded, took up residence in my ears, lungs, and sinuses, and has hung around with his buddies far too long. I’ve taken antibiotics and added a few homeopathic treatments to see if I can send this invader packing. Some of my self-care, which includes slathering Vicks on my feet and wearing cotton socks to bed, has offered comfort but not a cure. Several sympathetic friends recommended taking elderberry elixir, and one provided a bottle of his homebrew. When I looked up elderberries, it appears science agrees that syrups made from this native fruit have successfully evicted this nasty attacker and its accompanying symptoms.

Preparing fried rabbit

Dec 3, 2016
Luke Clayton

Not too long ago, rabbit was a staple fare on the hunter's table but today, big game hunting steals much of the limelight. Nevertheless, rabbits are great fun to hunt and when fried tender in a cast iron skillet, make a mighty tasty meal.

Ars Technica

Oklahoma’s earthquake rate has declined significantly since late May, reports Ars Technica . And things should be improving even further, according to a new study from Stanford University. The improvement comes after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered wastewater injections to be reduced earlier this year . The injections are generally accepted in the scientific community to be the cause of Oklahoma’s staggering rise in earthquakes over the past few years. As hydrogeologist Scott...

AFP/Getty Images

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the death penalty in Texas. Since the U.S. made the death penalty legal again in 1976, Texas has been responsible for more than a third of the prisoners executed in America. And, as The New Yorker reports, Texas has often put to death prisoners who would have been deemed exempt in other parts of the country due to intellectual disability. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that, no matter how heinous the crime, an intellectually...

Mike Wilson / Farm Futures

The death of Fidel Castro this week sent south Florida into a tizzy and upended Cuban diplomatic relations with the incoming Trump administration.But on the High Plains, the demise of the island nation’s Communist leader is having a different effect. In the wake of the Obama administration’s loosening of the U.S. trade embargo with the country, many High Plains ag producers found the new Cuban market to be an export boon. As Agweb reports, U.S. agricultural exports to the island have averaged...

US Drought Monitor

Colorado has been abnormally dry in recent months. But, as KUSA Denver reports, that could be changing. Becky Bolinger, a climatologist with the Colorado Climate Center in Fort Collins, says Colorado’s “going through a bit of a shift right now.” Over the past couple of weeks, Colorado’s high country has started accumulate more snowpack. And that’s good news for eastern Colorado agriculture, which often relies on runoff from the Rockies. Two weeks ago, the state’s snowpack levels were only...

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Things are looking up in the heartland. A new USDA study reports that some of the employment and population declines that have plagued rural America in past year have recently turned a corner. According to U.S. News and World Report , rural unemployment has now fallen close to levels last seen before the Great Recession. In 2010 rural unemployment hovered near 10 percent. It’s now been almost cut in half, falling to levels it hasn’t seen in almost ten years. Perhaps most startling is the...

Brian Lowry / The Wichita Eagle

Rural schools in the Sunflower State received some good news this week. Over the next two years, every Kansas public school could be equipped with high-speed internet, reports The Wichita Eagle. This week Governor Sam Brownback announced that about 300 schools in Kansas, most of them in rural areas, will be equipped with fiber-optic connections to provide high-speed Internet access to students. The effort will be paid for with a mixture of state and federal funding. Upfront costs, totaling...

StateImpact Oklahoma

Where do people go when they leave Oklahoma? And when they move to the Sooner State, where do they come from? StateImpact Oklahoma decided to investigate , and you probably won’t be shocked to learn that the state’s large neighbor to the south is the main destination of migrating Oklahomans. But you might be surprised to learn that just as many citizens move from Texas to Oklahoma as go the other way. California is second on the list of source states for folks moving into Oklahoma, followed...

Lynn Lane / Texas Observer

When folks talk about Texas cuisine, they often think of Tex-Mex or barbecue or chicken fried steak. But Lone Star chef Adán Medrano wants to make sure we don’t forget Texas’s first cuisine. Medrano is a lover of what he calls Texas Mexican food. As The Texas Observer reports, Texas Mexican is the cuisine of the Mexican-American community of Texas, whose ancestors are the Native Americans who first lived here 12,000 years ago. These are the dishes of the Tejas, Karankawa, Coahuiltecan and...

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