Kansas to Take in 777 Refugees

Sep 28, 2015
AP photo

Kansas is expected to take in 777 refugees this year, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. Of that number, 90 will settle in southwest Kansas, mostly in Finney, Ford and Seward counties. Various organizations throughout Kansas are working with the refugees, helping them to start over in the heartland.

Luke Clayton

Well, folks this is the last installment from Elk Camp for this year.  I'm sending you this last post card on a rainy morning from inside our guide "hut" which is actually a cattle trailer we've partitioned into three separate living areas for the three of us guides.

Before you get to feeling too sorry for ole' Luke, it's warm, dry, and it's off the ground, and that's way better than an old tent.

Our hunters stay in a nice little cabin about 60 yards away.

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.

Supermoon Eclipse is Sunday

Sep 25, 2015

Fall is right around the corner and if you’re a stargazer this is good news.  The nights are longer, the temperatures cooler and the bugs will soon be gone. This month is a great time to get out and observe one of nature’s best events - a total lunar eclipse.  

Stephen Graham Jones

This week, the third and final finalist for the 2015 Texas Observer Short Story Contest was posted on the Observer’s website. The story, “Hands Moving Through Hair” by Rebecca Wurtz, joins the two previous selections, K.C.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Nilvio Aquino weaves through a tangled jungle of marijuana plants at an indoor grow facility in Denver.

“Throw your nose in there. It’s nice and pungent,” he said, pulling a seven-foot tall plant down to nose height at one of the company’s grow facilities.

On the High Plains, Gas Prices Continue to Fall

Sep 25, 2015
Denver Post

Gas prices continue to plummet, now falling to a nationwide rate of $2.29 per gallon. The Denver Post reports that Colorado prices are slightly higher than the national average, at $2.55 per gallon. Kansas prices are just below the national average, at $2.16 a gallon, according to the Garden City Telegram.

Wall Street Investment in Land Concerns US Farmers

Sep 25, 2015
Des Moines Register

Wall Street investors have been buying up farmland across the US, leading some to worry that land prices are growing unustainable. According to The Rural Blog, many American farmers fear the prices are ballooning beyond the point where they can reasonably be expected to turn a profit.

A recent survey found farmland was the second most popular investment among 13 categories, behind only energy. Farmers worry that outside investors lack the close ties and direct knowledge necessary to preserve the land.

David Zalubowski / AP photo

Colorado tourists who want to smoke the pot they’ve legally purchased are running into a problem: where to light up. There’s no smoking in the stores—or on the street, or in parks, or in most hotels, reports Colorado Public Radio. Many tourists have turned to eating their marijuana; five million pot edibles were consumed in Colorado last year.

A Texas Legend Goes Back to His Panhandle Roots

Sep 24, 2015
Eric Frommer / Flickr/ Texas Standard

Texas music legend Joe Ely is going back to his roots—though it might be said he never left them. After some 45 years in the business, the influential singer-songwriter is releasing an ode to his home, reports NPR newsmagazine Texas Standard. The album, entitled Panhandle Rambler, is a paean to Ely’s native home on the South Plains.  Ely was born in Amarillo and raised in Lubbock. The singer hopped trains as a teenager, and says he never really appreciated the Panhandle until he left. But he always came back to the flatlands.

Most of us think of him as Newly O’Brien from the long running television series Gunsmoke. But, Buck Taylor first love was art says his wife Goldie. Taylor’s art is on exhibit along with a private collection of memorabilia from movies he’s been involved in during the Wild West Fest at the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City. The exhibit features watercolor western scenes, images from Gunsmoke and Tombstone, as well as movie scripts and outfits. People are loving the traveling showcase says museum director Lara Brehm. She says most of the visitors are baby boomers who grew up watching Gunsmoke. Taylor will be in attendance at the reception being held at Boot Hill Museum Friday evening.

Study: Crop Diversity Has Declined in US

Sep 24, 2015
US Census of Agriculture

A new study indicates that the diversity of crops grown by American farmers since 1978 has declined, reports The Rural Blog. The study was performed at the county level. It discovered that the lowest crop diversity was found in the upper Midwest states. States in the West and South fared better.

Areas with high crop diversity tend to be more resistant to disease, pest, and crop failure. But there is room for swift positive change. Unlike natural ecosystems, croplands are replanted yearly. Thus, they can recover from stagnation more quickly.

My August Kitchen

Sep 23, 2015

    One thing that keeps me in the annual gardening go-round  is the idea of growing and creating good food for a good cause.  This week we'll visit about the incredible amount of work that goes into dealing with the harvests of August, and the friendship and camaraderie of canning that all that work creates.

Christopher Hooks / Texas Observer

Texas’s latest budget has slashed funding for health care, and especially Medicaid. The cuts caused over 400 people, many of them parents of special needs children, to appear at a hearing in Austin last week. According to The Texas Observer, parent after parent took to the mic to complain that legislators were robbing their children of their futures.

Mercy Hospital Independence

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Rep. Jim Kelly says closure should serve as warning to other communities

The scheduled closure of the hospital in the southeast Kansas community of Independence could create new urgency around the Medicaid expansion debate.

John's Photography / Creative Commons

The economy in the rural parts of ten Western states is likely to slow down, according to a new survey. The Denver Post reports that weak crop and energy prices are hurting profits across the region. This could lead to a rural economy slump. The survey queried bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Today is the September Equinox. The number of hours in the day and night are equally balanced all over the world- that's about 12 hours. The change in tilt causes the seasons. Here in the United States, the fall equinox is usually characterized by huge variations in temperature. The leaves are changing color, and an increase in low pressure usually brings in more rain, and maybe snow.

After Idaho Ruling, More Ag Gag Challenges to Come

Sep 23, 2015
Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

After a federal judge struck down an Idaho law that made it illegal to take undercover video on farms and ranches, animal rights groups say they are primed to challenge similar so-called “ag gag” laws across the country.


On Saturday, September 19, 2015, KGUY 91.3 FM was taken off the air due to serious safety concerns. This decision was made at the broadcast tower site after a crew unsuccessfully tried to climb the tower to make repairs. The severity of the tower damage led to a decision by the tower owner, American Tower, to take the tower down immediately. In the process, a significant amount of damage occurred to our broadcast equipment.

Ilana Panich-Linsman / New York Times

In an election cycle where immigration is front and center, officials on the Texas border have been enforcing some very strict rules. The New York Times recently reported on regulations in Texas that limit the types of IDs parents can show to receive copies of birth certificates. As a result, many immigrants have been unable to receive birth certificates for their children who were born in the US legally.

In Oklahoma, Continued Tilling Could Bring Trouble

Sep 22, 2015
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Tilling and planting on the same land in Oklahoma for generations has left the soil in poor shape. And StateImpact Oklahoma warns that if farmers don’t change the way they grow crops, there will be trouble.

Nathan Rupert / Flickr Creative Commons

Conservationists are upset by a new Colorado Parks and Wildlife effort to kill mountain lions in order to boost the mule deer population for hunting season. On the Huffington Post blog, a professor at the University of Colorado called the plan a “kill-kill” proposition.

Author Urges Westerners to Get out of Their Cars

Sep 22, 2015
AP photo

For over half a century travel in the American West has been defined by the automobile. But one author decided to find out what it would mean to travel in the West without a car.

Burning is a cost-effective method of controlling invasions of Eastern Red Cedar, but there's more to burning than simply touching torch to ground. Prescribed burns follow a precise, multi-page "prescription" to ensure efficacy and safety.

Kansas Health Institute

Oklahoma is considering installing a gun range in the state’s largest and oldest state park. NPR member station KGOU reports that state tourism officials are weighing plans for an outdoor sports shooting complex, which would be built at Lake Murray State Park. The proposal has generated complaints that the gun range could disturb the park’s ambience.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Fall is here, and it’s time again for flu shots. Officials are making clear that they’ve tried to avoid a repeat of last year, when immunizations proved ineffectual against a surprise strain. 170 million doses of flu vaccine are expected this year, reports The Kansas City Star. Options range from traditional shots, a nasal spray, a high-dose version for seniors, and even a needle-free injection for squeamish patients.

Yoga on a Kansas Farm Proves Enriching

Sep 21, 2015
Mark Pettijohn

Over the past few years in early September, Kansas farmer Mark Pettijohn has found an interesting way to invite the surrounding community onto his farm. Labor Day at the Pettijohn farm has become Yoga Day. Pettijohn recently wrote of his experiences in Kansas Agland. Each year, the farmer encourages all levels of yogis and families to attend the event. His kids cut sunflowers from his farm and provide one to each guest.

It’s clear Americans have a love affair with stuff. Even the tiniest towns have entrepreneurs who build and rent storage units to families and individuals who own more than they can keep at home. Reality TV caters to this crowd with shows such as American Pickers, Hoarders, and Junk Gypsies. Northern Kansas communities that border historic 36 capitalize on this popular trend each September. The annual Highway 36 Treasure Hunt focuses on both buying and selling goods that might include ornate doors and their hardware, pre-war metal wheels that didn’t get collected in the iron drives during WW II, antique furniture, dishes, and glassware, hunting and fishing gear, and oddities too good to throw away.

Luke Clayton

It's Elk Camp season, and I'm in the Rockies with the crew.  I'll be sending you audio postcards.  This show we're getting settled in, you'll hear from the ramrod of our outfit, and my partner Larry Large.  It's going to be a great time.  Listen to the audio, and enjoy the sounds of Elk Camp in the Rockies.