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Texas Tribune

Almost 3,000 Texans died from drug-related overdoses two years ago, and many of these were related to prescription opioid use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named prescription drug abuse as the fastest-growing drug problem in the country.

Nigel Parry / CNN

Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by double digits in Kansas, according to a new poll.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the New York billionaire is ahead of the former Secretary of State by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.

Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein drew 8 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Sen. Jerry Moran has a comfortable lead over his Democratic opponent Patrick Wiesner.

NewsOK.com

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's campaign team has been spending a lot of money. But not much of that money is actually being spent on elections, reports NewsOK.

Pruitt and his campaign team have spent well over half a million dollars since the beginning of last year. That’s despite the fact that Pruitt is ineligible to run again and hasn’t said he’s seeking another office.

The New York Times

Four out of every ten U.S adults don’t vote. Turnout in the U.S. is lower than in Canada, Mexico and most of Europe.

Non-voters in the U.S. are often assumed to be young people, or Hispanics, or the poor. But the truth, according to The New York Times, is the majority of people who didn’t vote in the 2012 presidential election were white, middle-income and middle-aged.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Several key Texas lawmakers have shown little interest in expanding Medicaid in Texas, according to The Texas Tribune.

WSJ.com

E-commerce is transforming rural America in a lot of ways. In small towns, big-city conveniences are now only a click away. But, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the change comes with a price.

pbs.org

During most national election cycles, Colorado has long been known as a key battleground state. But this year Hillary Clinton is outpolling Donald Trump by a wide margin.

PBS recently reported from the reddest parts of the state. They were attempting to uncover why some Coloradans were switching their votes this season.

Michael Schumacher / Amarillo Globe-News

An Amarillo man who made headlines last month for his creative way of helping others is at it again.

Last month Kit Rudd gained statewide attention for living among the homeless in Amarillo to call attention to their plight. And now Rudd has announced that, later this month, he plans to ride the 300 miles to Dallas on horseback.

News on 6

Oklahoma continues to lead the nation in incarceration rates for women, reports News on 6.

As a matter of fact, the state appears to be leaving the competition in the dust. The state imprisoned women at a ten percent higher rate this year over last. And Oklahoma County imprisoned thirty-three percent more women this year than in 2015.

Gov. Mary Fallin has created a Justice Reform Task Force to examine state laws that lead to imprisonment.

They pray. They prey.

But pray/prey tell: why is it that gardeners have been seeing more of these elegant insects this year? Whatever the reason, they're a welcome sight -- not only for their alien-esque arabesques, but also because they feast on pests like something out of a horror film.

Hear more about mantids on this week's edition of Growing on the High Plains.

And it's a good one! (Don't forget your popcorn.) 

Joe Amon / The Denver Post

The United States has unseated Germany to become the top producer of hops in the world—thanks in large part to the efforts of Colorado.

As The Denver Post reports, the U.S. has regained the title of world hop leader for the first time in decades. Over the last two years, Colorado has experienced an estimated 166 percent increase in total acres of hops planted. The acreage serves to support the state’s more than 300 craft breweries.

Rich / Creative Commons

A new study finds that, on average, Nebraska counties that receive a certain livestock-friendly designation gain more cattle farms and lose fewer hog farms than counties without it, reports The Sioux City Journal.

The designation is part of a program created by the Nebraska Legislature over ten years ago. Some rural counties are give0n the designation, and this often leads to more business.

Kansas Department of Corrections

A case disputing the constitutionality of solitary confinement in Kansas is moving forward, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Paul Hellstern / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma’s education superintendent has vowed that she will fight for a ballot measure that would provide $5,000 raises to Oklahoma’s teachers, reports NewsOK.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister indicated that she will support the legislation even though the measure isn’t ideal. Hofmeister said something must be done to address Oklahoma’s shrinking pool of teachers.

The Plains Belongs to Anyone Hardy Enough

Sep 14, 2016
KANSAS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

My name is Megan Hope. I’m a native of Garden City, Kansas, now living in Denver, Colorado. I’ve spent most of the last two decades working among immigrant communities, a path that has everything to do with growing up on the High Plains.  

As I was settling into grade school in the early 1980s, southwest Kansas was being transformed by an influx of Latino immigrants and resettled Southeast Asian refugees, the primary workforce for two new meatpacking plants.

Marie D. De Jesus / Houston Chronicle

Texas is keeping tens of thousands of kids out of special education who might, in other states, be considered special ed students.

That’s because, over a decade ago, Texas officials decided on a percentage of students that should get special education services. That number is 8.5 percent, and it is an arbitrary figure that doesn’t change according to how many students are actually in need.

HPPR’s Living Room Concert Series

Presents High Plains folk music icon,

RANDY PALMER

HPPR Studios (210 N. 7th St.)

Garden City, KS

Doors @ 6:30p | Show @ 7p

Suggested Donation: $15

fivethirtyeight

In early 1952 an Oklahoma City petroleum geologist named William Atkinson raised eyebrows by purchasing earthquake insurance for his home.

His odd decision looked like a bit of psychic brilliance a month later. In April of that year Oklahoma City experienced a powerful earthquake—the most powerful in the state’s history until last week.

David Zalubowski / The Wichita Eagle

Voters in Kansas elections this November will not have to show proof of citizenship if they register using the federal form, reports The Wichita Eagle.

In January Kansas announced a controversial rule that would require proof of citizenship from voters who register using the federal form. But last week a federal appeals court rejected the rule. The court’s decision came after the League of Women Voters challenged the law.

Cynthia Raiser Jeavons / Ecology Action

Tiny, biointensive farms around the world have been showing small ag operations how they can grow far more food with newer methods than with conventional approaches, reports ensia.com.

Biointensive farming incorporates a host of methods, including transplanting and double-digging. The newer strategy also involves on-site composting, close plant spacing, use of seeds from naturally-pollinated plants, and the use of specific food-to-compost crop ratios.

The Denver Post

Despite Colorado’s ballooning population, the state’s waistlines remain as skinny as ever.

Colorado has once again been named the leanest state in America, reports The Denver Post. The announcement means Colorado has held the title consistently for over ten years.

According to the CDC, Colorado also as the lowest rate of adult diabetes, the lowest rate of physical inactivity and the second-lowest rate of hypertension in the United States. But there’s still room for improvement.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images/WSJ

Apache Corp. has high hopes for a new oil field in West Texas, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The energy giant announced last week that the overlooked “Alpine High” region potentially holds the equivalent of at least two billion barrels of oil. “Alpine High,” is an area near the Davis Mountains in far west Texas.

Jorge Luis Plata / Reuters

The largest wind farm in U.S. history was just given the green light, reports Business Insider.

Wind XI is the $3.6 billion project in Iowa that will include 1,000 turbines. The operation is expected to be completed in 2019. Upon completion the wind farm will generate up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power roughly 800,000 Iowa homes.

RJ Sangosti / The Denver Post

Autumn is just around the corner and the Denver Post has published a list of perfect drives for seeing Colorado’s beautiful fall colors. Rocky Mountain State Park provides an added bonus in addition to its breathtaking leaves. Elk herds can be seen congregating in the meadows during the fall, with bulls emitting their high-pitched bugle call.

Eric Gay / AP photo

Last week, voting rights advocates accused Texas Republicans of mounting a procedural end run around a panel of federal appeals court judges.

Kool Cats Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma has now been upgraded to a 5.8, making it the highest magnitude earthquake in the state’s history.

In the wake of this massive quake, CNN Money has published an overview of what we know about these quakes.

A Never Ending Exodus

Sep 12, 2016
SUSAN HARGAGE PAGE, North Carolina

In my own family History, in 1846 my great great grandfather Alma Helaman Hale was 10 years old when he lost his parents as they lived on the Missouri river near Council Bluffs, Iowa. Alma then joined the Mormon pioneers and with his three siblings traveled from their home to the Salt Lake Valley to settle with Brigham Young as he declared, “This is the Place!” One biography states “At this point we can only conclude that Alma became a man at the tender age of ten. There could be no idleness. The full effort of every person was needed just to keep alive.” In Sonia Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey she describes the immigrants as “facing north, toward a new land, a never-ending exodus.” (70) For many, this is a religious journey towards a land of new promise. Nazario describes some that bring “a tiny drawing of San Cristóbal, the patron saint of travelers, or of San Judas Tadeo, the patron saint of desperate situations” (70).

Martin Dimitrov / Getty Images

Students from sparsely populated areas can earn money toward undergraduate and graduate degrees, as reported in U.S. News & World Report.

Austin American-Statesman

A Texas appeals court judge has questioned the fairness of the state’s life-without-parole sentences.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, Judge Larry Meyers charged that no-parole sentences lack legal protections. The longtime Texas judge equated life-without-parole sentences to a slow-motion death penalty.

Judge Meyers was once a Republican, but is now a Democrat. He is the longest-serving member of the state’s highest criminal court.

USGS

Oklahoma fracking operations are facing a potential backlash in the wake of last week’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake, Bloomberg reports.

Last year, Oklahoma had almost 900 earthquakes of magnitude three or higher. Earlier this year Oklahoma regulators limited the disposal of oilfield wastewater in the state, hoping to prevent seismic activity. But this latest quake may trigger calls for more limits on wastewater wells in the state.

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