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Luke Clayton

A hunt this past week with some great friends fortified my belief that the great outdoors is the perfect place for like-minded folks to bond friendships that last a lifetime. I first met Jeff Rice and his lovely wife Demi a couple years ago at, of all things, the Wild Hog Festival in Ben Wheeler Texas. I was there with my book, Kill to Grill, the Ultimate Guide to Hunting and Cooking Wild Hogs and serving as one of the judges of the wild hog cooking contest. Jeff and Demi stopped by my booth and an instant friendship was formed.

Kansans Can Fish Without A License This Weekend

May 31, 2018
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If you want to go fishing in Kansas but don’t have a license, this weekend is a great time to go.

Each year the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism designates a weekend allowing people to fish without a license. "Free Fishing Days" allows those with fishing poles the opportunity to fish for crappie, catfish, largemouth bass and bluegill at state lakes and rivers.

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Many sports fans across the Texas Panhandle were left scratching their heads on Wednesday, while others erupted in outrage, as the five finalists for the name of Amarillo’s new baseball team were announced.

The five finalists are: The Amarillo Boot Scoters, the Amarillo Bronc Busters, the Amarillo Jerky, the Amarillo Long Haulers, and the Amarillo Sod Poodles.

Creative Commons 2.0 / USDA

On Tuesday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bills aimed at boosting consumer privacy protections and improving the state’s long-embattled driver’s license program for people living in the U.S. illegally.

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The recent teachers’ strike in the Sooner State has led The New Yorker to publish an investigation into how the somewhat unsuccessful teacher protests have spawned a “movement of politically engaged” Oklahomans.

In response to the walkout this year, Oklahoma Republicans offered the state’s teachers $6,000 raises. The GOP lawmakers funded the raises with a series of measures that will disproportionately hit the wallets of low-income residents.

US Army Corps of Engineers

In recent years, the Texas Department of Public Safety has spent more than $15 million on two high-altitude surveillance planes.

And as the Texas Observer reports, the planes typically fly at more than 2 miles above the earth, so they are impossible to spot from the ground, leaving Texans in the dark about whether they’re being watched.

Kansas Highway Patrol

After receiving nearly 10 inches of rainfall Monday evening, parts of northwest Kansas experienced heavy flooding that damaged roads and caused a highway closure.

Flooding occurred along the Saline river, which rose four-and-a-half feet above its previous record height. The floods washed out smaller roads and temporarily closed Highway 283 north of Wakeeney.

Southwest Kansas received around one to two inches of rainfall. Larry Ruthi, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said that while these rains will help alleviate the drought, most parts of Kansas are still facing a rainfall deficit.

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In a unanimous vote, the Amarillo City Council has now approved plans for a proposed Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo.

As the Amarillo Globe-News reports, the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation has pledged to give almost $70 million toward the completion of the $90 million project.

Tony Fischer Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, HPPR reported on a herd of buffalo the state of Oklahoma had put up for auction.

The herd, consisting of around 60 head of bison, was located at Foss State Park, near Elk City, about 90 miles west of Oklahoma City. The animals were being auctioned on the state of Oklahoma’s surplus auction site.

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It appears that the Texas foster care system still needs a good deal of work, despite a federal order to overhaul the system.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, last month 50 foster children were forced to sleep in Child Protective Services offices for at least two consecutive nights as they awaited placement.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I’m prefacing today’s sketch, “Fearful Symmetry,” with a couple of disclaimers.  First, I am an incredibly lucky person.  I understand that to be able to poke fun at minor everyday problems is a luxury few people are allowed.  And second, in this episode, names have been changed to protect the asymmetrical. 

Luke Clayton

Luke's guest on today's show is Larry Weishuhn, aka. Mr. Whitetail.

Larry is host of Dallas Safari Club's TV show, "Trailing the Hunter's Moon" and a long-time authority on whitetail deer.

In today's show, Larry and Luke talk about whitetail fawn survival and the importance of leaving what appear to be abandoned fawns alone.

Memorial Day Gas Prices Highest Since 2014

May 25, 2018
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People traveling over the holiday weekend across the High Plains can expect to pay the highest gas prices since 2014.

According to AAA, average gas prices jumped 12 cents in the past two weeks. Compared to an average of the past three Memorial Day weekends, gas prices are almost 50 cents higher.

The average price per gallon as of Friday was $2.74 in Kansas, $2.88 in Nebraska, $2.71 in Oklahoma, $2.90 in Colorado and $2.76 in Texas.

SCOTUS Case Impacts Ag Workers

May 24, 2018
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This week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court says employers can avoid settling disputes with workers in court.

But that could harm people who work on farms or in meatpacking plants … people who often rely on class-action lawsuits to collect unfairly withheld wages.

University of Denver law professor Nantiya Ruan says litigation is expensive and the damages in those types of cases are small, so ag workers usually can’t afford an individual case.

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While Kansas is often the topic of jokes – including its appearance in National Lampoon’s Vacation – the small Kansas town of Coolidge, near the Colorado state line, has become a popular stop for westward travelers.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, Coolidge is one of those towns you can drive through – on gravel roads in this case - in less than a minute. And in the National Lampoon movie, was painted as “Hickville, USA.”

Our Turn At This Earth: The Exploratory Impulse

May 24, 2018
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At age 12, my older brother Bruce knew more about the native plants in our pasture and the birds in our windbreak than I would learn by the time I was 30. I brought his wrath down on my head once for placing stamps of cardinals and woodpeckers, muskrats and badgers—crookedly, poorly torn, and in the wrong spaces—in his Junior Audubon Society booklet. But for the most part, I didn’t share my brother’s drive to understand the natural world.

Michael Stravato / The Texas Tribune

A low-key, low-turnout primary runoff election Tuesday set the slates for November's general elections — starting with the Democratic nominee for governor.

From The Texas Tribune:

Tuesday’s runoffs set the major party ballots for a November general election where Texas Republicans will be trying to maintain a 24-year winning streak in statewide elections while Democrats will be trying to breach the red seawall with a blue tsunami.

Marshall Expects Farm Bill To Pass House In June

May 24, 2018
marshall.house.gov

Kansas Republican Representative Roger Marshall says that despite the Farm Bill failing to pass in the House last week, he still expects it to pass. 

No Democrats voted for the bill, and the Freedom Caucus, a small group of conservative Republicans, also withdrew their support until after immigration is discussed.

Marshall is on the House Agriculture committee. He says there are no plans to win over Democrats by backtracking on stricter work requirements for federal food aid.

My grandmother called them "flags," but they're also known as "poor man's orchids." Anyone aware of common flowers that take to our climate will surely recognize -- and likely know a little about --these blooms.

On today's Growing on the High Plains, I'll tell you all about the iris, a flower that's heady, hardy, and just right for thriving on the High Plains. 

A Look At Colorado's Treasurer Candidates

May 23, 2018
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There are three Republicans and two Democrats on the June 26 primary ballot for the state’s treasurer job this year. The Denver Post recently published a rundown of each candidate.

On the Republican side is Justin Everett, Polly Lawrence and Brian Watson.

Everett is a state representative who left the Colorado General Assembly to get into the treasurer’s race to advance his hard-line positions on fiscal responsibility.

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A black bear cub was killed in an accidental crash Monday near a Southwest Kansas town.

As the Wichita Eagle reports, the bear was found dead near Elkhart, Kansas. Black bears are an unusual sight for the area -- the last confirmed sighting in that county was in 2011.

But game wardens and biologists say there may be more bears in Southwest Kansas this year due to droughts and wildfires in New Mexico and Colorado. These conditions experts say, often push bears, especially young males, into Kansas.

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Texas voters participated in a runoff election on Tuesday, with decisions being finalized in both major statewide races and local Panhandle races.

Statewide, in the race to decide Gov. Greg Abbot’s Democratic challenger this November, Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez defeated Texas businessman Andrew White. If she’s victorious this November, CNN notes, Valdez would be the state’s first lesbian and first Latina governor.        

Bob Davis To Take The Reins At HPPR In June

May 23, 2018
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High Plains Public Radio has filled the executive director position with an experienced leader who will be officially taking the reins in June.

Bob Davis is coming to HPPR from the Anniston Star, in Anniston, Alabama, where he worked for the past 12 years as editor and then publisher/editor.

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The Colorado governor’s campaign is being pegged as the most expensive campaign in the state’s history but because of the way candidates are spending their money, it may not be information that is readily available. contracts, the level of spending likely won’t be made public.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, many of the state’s gubernatorial candidates have super PACs raising money to buy ads, much of them on TV. Because TV stations aren’t required by the FCC to disclose those.

Flying east to west over Kansas, the land transforms from lush green to desert brown. Rectangular farm plots fill in with emerald circles, the work of center-pivot irrigation.

Outside Garden City, in the middle of one of those circles, Dwane Roth scoops up soil to reveal an inconspicuous PVC pipe. It’s a soil moisture probe that tells Roth exactly how much water his crops need. The device is one of many new technologies designed to help farmers make the most of every drop.

“All that you have to do is open up your app,” said Roth. “It’s going to tell you, you don’t need to irrigate or you’re going to need to apply an inch within  six days.”

Cory Doctorow / Wikimedia Commons

As Texas reels from yet another school shooting, as 10 students were killed in the small suburb of Santa Fe over the weekend, officials in the Lone Star State are at loggerheads about how to deal with the problem.

As USA Today reports, Texas Attorney General Dan Patrick reiterated his belief that state lawmakers should not tighten gun laws in the wake of the tragedy. Meanwhile, the police chief of Houston, the largest city in Texas, of which Santa Fe is a suburb, said he did not believe that “thoughts and prayers” were enough.

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Primary runoff elections will be held across Texas tomorrow.

As The Texas Tribune reports, in more than 30 races statewide, no candidate drew more than 50 percent of the vote. That means Texans will go to the polls to decide between the candidates who placed first and second in those races. The most high-profile race is for which Democratic contender will face off against Gov. Greg Abbott this November.

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Businesses in the Lone Star State are growing increasingly worried that President Trump's “America first” economic policies might do harm to trade between Texas and Mexico.

As the BBC reports, Texas industry leaders are worried that Trump’s hostility toward the North American Free Trade Agreement could cut into profits and lead to job losses.

Songbirds for History Nerds

May 19, 2018

Joining Songbirds this week is Marla Matkin, a living historian and independent scholar.  We will be discussing the 100th grand reunion of Forsyth Scouts: Battle of Beecher Island.  Featuring Fort Harker, Fort Hays, Fort Wallace and Beecher Island in Wray, Colorado.  We'll also be enjoying some cowboy music from likes of Don Edwards, Michael Martin Murphy and Kansan, Dave Zerfas.  Join us this Saturday at 1 pm as we combine our love for music and history.

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