Troglodyte Miscue

Jun 17, 2016

Kids love to find words that get under the skin of siblings or enemies. This term  gains power due scatological or other socially inappropriate connotations. For me, the word troglodyte, meaning knuckle-scraping Neanderthal, carried great import.. What could be more insulting?

Luke Clayton

Join Luke this week on High Plains Outdoors and visit with Debbie Hagebusch, Director of Tourism for the famous Y.O. Ranch in Texas . 

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Last year the State of Texas slashed $350 million in funding for pediatric therapy services for children with disabilities. Parents of disabled children cried foul, and a group of home therapy providers sued to stop the funding cuts. They lost that court battle in April. Now, as The Texas Tribune reports, Texas is finally poised to move forward with the planned cuts.

Despite Oklahoma’s $1.3 billion budget gap, there’s a law on the books that may trigger additional state income tax cuts in January of 2018. While the income tax rate currently sits at 5 percent, after the automatic trigger the rate would drop to 4.85 percent, reports KGOU. Republican Senator Ron Sharp didn’t mince words: “We have to get rid of that trigger,” he said, adding, “It would be a disaster.”

Andrew Cullen / Reuters

Everyone knows that CO2 emissions are wreaking havoc on our atmosphere, leading to climate change. But there’s another gas causing even more trouble, and it gets less attention because it’s colorless and odorless. That gas is methane, and it’s a climate change powerhouse. In fact, methane is more than 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Daily Beast

Mosquitos carrying the Zika virus are expected to arrive in the United States as early as this summer, notes The Daily Beast. The disease is known to cause birth defects when contracted by pregnant women. Texas is expected to be among the states most affected by the virus.

The Bison holds a special place in the hearts of Americans—so much so that it was recently named the official national mammal by the federal government. But in and around Yellowstone Park and the Grand Tetons, the bison often goes by a different name: lunch. As Colorado Public Radio recently reported, buffalo is a common site on menus around America’s most famous national park.

USDA / Rural Blog

The Washington Post recently reported that many rural areas are past their prime and peaked long ago. But new data from the US Department of Agriculture contradicts that narrative. Rural areas, for the first time ever, experienced a decline from 2010 to 2014. But The Rural Blog notes, that trend appears to be slowing and possibly reversing.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Summer travel season is here, and it brings good news for Oklahoma travelers. Despite heavy demand, Oklahoma gas prices remain among the cheapest nationwide, reports The Duncan Banner.

The national average for regular gas prices continues to rise. But Oklahoma’s average has only moved up by two cents in the last three weeks. It now sits at just $2.15 a gallon.

Carl Juste / MBR/Houston Chroncile

Five nonprofit organizations in Texas have been awarded almost $5 million by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reports The Houston Chronicle. The money will go toward boosting efforts to enroll the state's nearly three-quarters of a million uninsured children.

Rural Blog

Iit’s no secret that many rural communities on the High Plains are losing population. But, as The Rural Blog reported this week, part of the problem may be one of marketing. Rural towns often don’t have websites, and the sites that do exist are usually poorly maintained. Sometimes there’s simply not enough information available for people who might want to move to a given town.

Sam Brasch /

There’s a new massive collections facility beneath the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and it’s a macabre masterpiece. The site contains more dead animals than most of us could imagine, reports Colorado Public Radio. Over its 116-year history, the museum has amassed around one million zoology specimens.

Washington Post

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were good times for the High Plains. Back then, much of the rural plains was growing rapidly. But, as The Washington Post reports, much of America’s rural farm country has been depopulating for a very long time. In fact, more than half of the counties in the nation are in population decline. That means their peaks are long behind them.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Texas is one of only nine states where you can still vote a straight ticket, notes The Texas Tribune. That means, voters in the Lone Star State are still able to go into the voting booth and select a single party, thus voting for each of that party’s candidates straight down the ballot. Straight-ticket voting generally benefits the party in power—in Texas’s case, the Republicans.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Despite a delayed wheat harvest this year, Oklahoma may be looking at one of the strongest ingatherings in recent memory, reports KGOU. That’s because heavy rains caused the delay. For the second year in a row, Mother Nature was kind to Oklahoma farmers. Nevertheless, many farmers are still recovering from years of drought that only recently retreated. Even worse: Some climatologists warn the drought might be returning soon.


In a time when technology so often seems to be tearing us apart, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of how the internet can bring us together. The ride-sharing services known as Lyft and Uber recently left Austin in protest of strict local regulations about who could drive for the companies.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

The annual wheat harvest has begun in Kansas. Kansas Agland captured farmers Brett Mott and Russell Molz cutting wheat and delivering it to the grain elevator. Photos by The Hutchinson News's Andrew Whitaker.

National Park Service/CPR

It looks like Western Colorado may be sitting on quite a bit more energy than experts believed. In fact, as Colorado Public Radio reports, the western part of the state has 40 times more natural gas than previously thought. However, it’s unlikely the extra gas will produce another oil boom, as tapping the energy would only send prices lower.

A man who devoted his life to dance and the arts in the Texas Panhandle has died, reports Neil Hess joined the outdoor musical drama Texas in its inaugural year, serving as choreographer. He later worked his way up to directing the beloved musical, running the show from 1985 until 2001.

An Oklahoma environmental group recently filed a lawsuit seeking to force oil companies to reduce the wastewater fueling the earthquakes that have ravaged the state. But now, Oklahoma oil and gas companies are asking a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The Obama administration on Wednesday moved to sharply limit short-term health insurance plans, which a growing number of consumers have been buying even though they offer less coverage than what the Affordable Care Act decreed all people should have.

Tom Corser / Wikimedia Commons

A controversial transmission line that would carry wind power to the east from Kansas is gaining more support, reports The Wichita Eagle. The 780-mile Grain Belt Express line will transmit wind power from western Kansas across Missouri and further eastward. And now a group representing Missouri municipal utilities has signed up for space on the transmission line.

Travis Morrisse / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

Kansas net farm income in 2015 hit a 30-year low, reaching a level not seen since the 1980s farm crisis.

Accrual net farm income across 1,159 Kansas Farm Management Association farms averaged $4,568, drastically down from a five-year average of $120,000.

Center for Disease Control Public Health Image Library

It’s a tiny virus, visible only with an electron microscope, but it could wreak major havoc this summer if it’s not contained. As the weather warms and mosquitos arrive, the Zika virus could spread further through Texas, The Houston Chronicle reports.

It’s looking like the weed-killer atrazine is in for a long uphill battle, reports Politico. The EPA recently assessed the widely sprayed substance as harmful to animals and plants. But last week agriculture industry groups charged that the federal agency’s study is based on a misguided scientific review.

Continental Resources/WSJ

Even with today’s low oil prices, producers are still finding places where they can profitably drill. In Oklahoma and West Texas, notes The Wall Street Journal, some companies are still managing to thrive in today’s struggling oil economy. One area of Oklahoma known as the Stack, for example, is still producing solid returns.

Getty Images/WSJ

If you’re feeling unproductive at work, maybe you should consider standing up. Stand-up desks have been gaining popularity in recent years. The newest trend is something called a “stand-capable” desk. That’s a desk that can be converted to standing or sitting positions. And a new study reported in The Wall Street Journal shows that these desks often increase productivity.

Kristi Koser / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

At the grocery store, processed foods like cereal, crackers and candy usually maintain the same price for a long time, and inch up only gradually. Economists call these prices “sticky” because they don’t move much even as some of the commodities that go into them do.

Take corn, for example, which can be a major food player as a grain, a starch or a sweetener.  

There's a new study out. It shows that health providers in states that expanded Medicaid are doing much better than providers in states that didn't expand the program.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

STAFFORD – They aren’t painting the town red. Not yet.

But a group of dreamers are envisioning their Main Street’s empty storefronts as something more than storage space for someone’s clutter.