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Chan Lone / Texas Tribune

Texas’s foster care system has been in crisis for years now. The Lone Star State has been plagued by reports of abuse and neglect in the system. State workers are severely overworked, and there were even reports of foster kids regularly sleeping in the offices of state foster care workers.

Earlier this year a federal judge ordered Texas overhaul the system, and the directive was backed up by an independent review paid for on Texas’s dime.

The New York Times

America has been a majority-urban country since 1920. But, as The New York Times reports, this country’s political process has always been intentionally tilted to favor rural votes.

cfra.org

The Center for Rural Affairs warns cutting income tax rates could potentially break Nebraska’s economy in the middle of its slow-but-steady recovery.

As senior policy associate Brian Hansen writes, “those in Nebraska pushing for income tax cuts promise that doing so brings economic and job growth, but Kansas’ results make those promises ring hollow.”

Alvesgaspar / Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge’s ruling last week is being hailed as a victory for insecticide companies and lamented as a loss for beekeepers and nature advocates, reports Agri-Pulse.

An insecticide seed coating called neonicotinoid is believed to be partially responsible for the disappearance in many areas of the country of bees. Environmental groups had sued to have the substance outlawed.

Jeanne Falk / K-State Research and Extension

The High Plains has seen unusually mild fall temperatures, even reaching record highs in many areas.

But now the temperatures are dropping and the question becomes, how will the weather switch affect High Plains farmland?

More specifically, after the unseasonable warmth, will winter wheat be ready for the drop in temperatures? As AgProfessional.com reports, the short answer is, “Probably so.”

Rural Blog

A Wisconsin case on legislative redistricting could have wide-ranging effects on rural voters across the U.S.

As The Rural Blog reports, a panel of three judges in Wisconsin has determined that the state’s Republican party acted unconstitutionally when it redrew state legislative districts in 2011.

Oklahoma's teacher shortage not helped by election

Nov 25, 2016

A teacher shortage in Oklahoma could grow even larger following the election, in which Oklahomans shot down a one-cent sales tax hike that would have increased teachers’ annual salaries by $5,000.

Fewer women in Oklahoma legislature following election

Nov 25, 2016
Getty Images

Despite an uptick in the number of female candidates running for seats in the Oklahoma legislature this year, women will hold fewer seats in 2017.

There will be 19 women among 149 elected representatives in Oklahoma’s legislature when it reconvenes in 2017, compared to 22 in 2016, Oklahoma Watch reports.

AP photo/Topeka Capital-Journal

The Sunflower State is making a particularly strong showing when it comes to filling jobs in Donald Trump’s White House.

As the Topeka Capital-Journal­ reports, there are more Kansas names being floated this year than in any presidential transition in recent memory. There have been at least five Kansas names speculated about for potential top posts since the election.

History.com

This holiday, here’s a little known story about Thanksgiving in America, courtesy of TIME magazine.

Many schoolchildren learn that the first Thanksgiving occurred between Wampanoag Indians and English Pilgrims at the Plymouth Colony in 1621.

John F. Kennedy even mentioned Plymouth as the site of the first Thanksgiving in a speech. When he made this declaration, a Virginia Senator objected, saying the first Thanksgiving was actually celebrated in Virginia in 1619, two years before the Plymouth celebration.

Tara Henry / Fox 8 Cleveland

This holiday, a story about farmers in Indiana responding to tragedy with compassion and resilience.

Earlier this month Indiana farmer Steve Wollyung experienced an unspeakable loss when his four-year-old daughter died. On top of the heartbreak, there was no way Wollyung was going to harvest his crop in time.

A longtime family friend heard about the tragedy, and asked a couple of local farmers for help.

John Tlumacki / Boston Globe

Here’s a poem for Thanksgiving:

The Harvest Moon by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

--

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes

And roofs of villages, on woodland crests

And their aerial neighborhoods of nests

Deserted, on the curtained window-panes

Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes

And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!

Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,

With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!

All things are symbols: the external shows

Texas ranks in the top 10 for worst drivers

Nov 24, 2016
Car Insurance Comparison

According to a national study, Texans are among the worst drivers in America.

Using information gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Car Insurance Comparison published a list of America’s worst drivers by state and Texas tied with Louisiana for the largest number of fatal car crashes and their causes.

Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Move over turkey. Step aside stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole, an iconic Thanksgiving dish, turns 60 years old this year and it’s as popular as ever.

Love it or loathe it, the classic Midwestern casserole has come to mean more than just a mashup of processed food sitting next to the mashed potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving  to all of our HPPR listeners!

To mark the holiday, I'm shaking free a few loose memories from beneath the pecan trees of my past. They say this holiday is all about reflecting on our blessings and spending time with family -- even if a few of our relations can be a little nuts.

Enjoy this Thanksgiving edition of Growing on the High Plains, and I wish you all a peaceful meal full of bounty and gratitude...and a big slice of pecan pie! 

Reuters/NBC News

Black Friday may soon be a thing of the past on the High Plains, as in the rest of the country.

As NBC News reports, Black Friday is slowly being replaced by what many retailers are referring to as “Black November.” And some of the deals that consumers have come to expect on Friday are already available. For example, Amazon launched its Black Friday store last Tuesday.

Rural Blog

A pastor recently wrote an editorial in The Lexington Herald Leader attempting to explain Hillary Clinton’s loss in the heartland.

According to Paul Prather, a pastor in rural Kentucky, Democrats brought the election of Donald Trump upon themselves by ignoring the needs of small-town Americans. Prather noted that many Americans without college degrees find it almost impossible to earn a living.

Food Network

The cost of a Thanksgiving meal for the average American has lowered to below five dollars a person this year, according to the American Farm Bureau.

The group traditionally does an informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table. This year their study concluded that a feast for 10 this year will cost $49.87, or just under five bucks per belly. The cost is down by almost 25 cents since last year.

Mike Gorman / The Wall Street Journal

After the most contentious presidential election in memory, many of us are just hoping to get away from the Thanksgiving table without witnessing a murder.

Here, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, are some tips for surviving Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Evan Vucci / AP photo/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Proponents of private school vouchers and charter school expansion in Texas may have reason to celebrate once Donald Trump takes office in January.

Trump’s education policy plans mostly remain shrouded in mystery. But, as The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, the president-elect has indicated that one of his first priorities will be to reform what he calls “school choice.”

Senior citizens are a prime target for financial scammers, whether it’s through the Internet or a telephone call.

A 2010 study conducted by infogroup/ORC found that close to 20 percent of elderly Americans, about seven million people, had experienced financial losses from “an inappropriate investment, unreasonably high fees for financial services, or outright fraud.”

Bill Husa / Enterprise-Record

If you’re heading out into the frenzy of Black Friday, here’s some advice from mental health experts, courtesy of The Mercury News.

First of all, if you’re prone to over-shopping, consider visiting actual brick-and-mortar stores rather than shopping online.

Reflections: Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Nov 22, 2016
NPR

Once again, High Plains Public Radio presents Reflections, the annual special program that airs on the night before Thanksgiving. Since 2010, HPPR has been bringing this mix of classic jazz, swing and pop standards to the airwaves to welcome the beginning of the holiday season.

This year's show airs from 7 to 11 p.m. CST and the featured artists are three female vocalists - Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Tune in to hear some of these artists' signature performances, plus a few surprises from their less-known recordings.

The Splendid Table's Turkey Confidential

Nov 22, 2016

11:00 a.m. central time. On Thursday, November 24, help is on the way for Thanksgiving cooks, kitchen helpers and dinner guests on this, the biggest cooking day of the year. Lynne Rossetto Kasper, award-winning host of public radio's national food show The Splendid Table®, will be available to answer listener questions throughout the live, two-hour program. Quickly becoming a Thanksgiving morning tradition, past shows have included everything from a cross-country trucker cooking his Thanksgiving dinner on the manifold to a panicked first-time cook who didn't realize a turkey needs to be thawed. Lynne handles all questions with wit, expertise and laughter.

A High Plains Thanksgiving: Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Nov 22, 2016

Spend a little time with Stephen Johnson as he hosts an hour of music with songs about tradition, family, home, and cooking.

Share your reflections and your favorite recipes. Call 800-678-7444 during the show, or leave a message on Facebook or here on the web site, to join in the celebration.

Ars Technica

Attorneys in Oklahoma are laying the groundwork for a massive class action lawsuit surrounding the recent profusion of earthquakes in the Sooner State.

CSAW/WTAMU

A new venture at West Texas A&M University is drawing a lot of buzz across the High Plains. The Center for the Study of the American West was launched this fall and has already positioned itself as one of the jewels in WT’s crown.

The project’s sponsor, Dr. Alex Hunt, says the Center’s role is to foster interdisciplinary research, teaching, and public outreach relevant to the American West.

Lisa Krantz / San Antonio Express News

Texas employers added almost 14,000 jobs last month, according to the latest report from the Texas Workforce Commission.

Over the past year, the Lone Star State has added almost 210,000 jobs to its job-rolls, reinforcing the resiliency of the Texas economy.

Crispin Havener / KKCO

A Colorado ballot measure that would have removed a reference to the slavery in the state’s constitution has failed, reports Colorado Public Radio.

When counting concluded on Friday, the Secretary of State's office had the votes to keep the slavery language leading by almost 18,000 votes. The amendment’s backer, Democratic State Rep. Jovan Melton of Aurora, conceded, saying the voters had spoken.

The Wichita Eagle

Last week Donald Trump named Kansas rep. Mike Pompeo as his choice to head the CIA. Now the question for Kansans becomes, who will take Pompeo’s vacant seat in congress?

As The Wichita Eagle reports, it’s now up to Kansas’ 4th Congressional District to choose a successor.

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