News

Nick Krug / LJWorld.com

Even amid a budget crisis, struggling public schools and rural hospital closures, the Kansas GOP legislature and Governor Sam Brownback continue to double down on their tax-cutting strategies. On Wednesday, the state slashed projections for tax collections by another $348 million.

Prowers Journal

The employment situation in Colorado continues to boom, reports The Prowers Journal. Nonfarm payroll jobs increased by almost six thousand last month. That brings the total for the state up to well over two-and-a-half million jobs. At the same time, the unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point to 2.9 percent—far below the national average.

Kin Man Hui / San Antonio Express-News via AP

The once-fringe Texas secession movement is gaining ground, and has become a priority for some conservative grass-roots Texans. A new Washington Post article reports that when Texas Republicans assemble for their state convention next month, it’s possible they’ll debate whether to secede. The Post makes clear that there’s little chance secession will actually happen.

Most doctors unsure how to discuss end-of-life care, survey says

Apr 22, 2016
istockphoto.com

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Doctors know it’s important to talk with their patients about end-of-life care.

But they’re finding it tough to start those conversations — and when they do, they’re not sure what to say, according to a national poll released Thursday.

Rural Blog

The rural grocery store crisis in Minnesota has become the focus of rural communities across the country, who see themselves in the woes of the Land of a Thousand Lakes. According to a recent survey, more than a third of rural Minnesota grocery store owners don't expect to be in business in five years. The problem?

Author Phillip Meyer on Pioneer Myths

Apr 21, 2016
Library of Congress

The following is a transcript of the conversation between Dr. Alex Hunt and Phillip Meyer:

AH – For Radio Readers Book Club, I’m Alex Hunt, Professor of English at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.  Today, I’m speaking with novelist Phillip Meyer.  Your most recent novel, The Son, has been called a Texas epic.  What moved you to write a novel so engaged with Texas history and identity?

The Lumineers / cpr.org

Colorado indie stalwarts the Lumineers have had a breakout few years, vaulting themselves into the upper echelons of mile-high pop-folk. Their hits “Ho Hey” and “Stubborn Love” remain permanent radio fixtures four years after their release. Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner recently spoke with frontman Wesley Schultz and percussionist Jeremiah Fraites: Here are some highlights from that interview:

On if they get sick of hearing "Ho Hey":

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor/KHI

From the Kansas Health Institute:

On a busy league night in a Raytown, Mo., bowling alley, former auto worker Raymond Fowler keeps up his game playing alongside his wife and longtime teammates.

Fowler, who’s 67, stays busy in his retirement, but it’s not all fun and games. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and made a lot of changes to his diet and exercise routine, which now includes four bowling sessions a week.

Christian Murdock / The Gazette

Citizens of El Paso County in Colorado have grown increasingly concerned about the presence of wind turbines in the area, reports The Gazette.

County residents have accused the local energy company, NextEra, of causing various health problems. Complaints include headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as inaudible, low-frequency sound waves known as infrasound, and a phenomenon known as shadow flicker.

New Mexico's Yucca

Apr 20, 2016

This week we’ll complete our state flower series with a tribute to a plant that can take the heat and thrive on very little water, making it a good choice for many of the gardens in our High Plains Public Radio broadcast area.

Talking with Phillip Meyer

Apr 20, 2016
Alex Hunt

AH – For Radio Readers Book Club, I’m Alex Hunt, Professor of English at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.  Today, I’m speaking with novelist Phillip Meyer. In The Son, an important part of the novel occurs on the High Plains of the Texas Panhandle and clearly draws on some legendary types – the cattleman Charles Goodnight and the Comanche leader Quanah Parker. Can you talk about your decision to write about this place and these figures?

Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma’s economy remains sluggish—an understatement—as lawmakers continue to try to find solutions to the state’s $1.3 billion budget deficit. And things continue to go in the wrong direction. In March the state received $17 million less in gross receipts than a year ago at the same time, according to The Norman Transcript. That marks the eleventh consecutive month the state has collected fewer taxes than the previous year.

Chris Hill / examiner.com

It’s been a crazy spring on the High Plains, to say the least. Last week, as reported by Newschannel 10, the Oklahoma panhandle saw torrential rains, hail, and tornadoes. Water flooded roads, and highways were closed. Meanwhile, roads were closed in the Texas Panhandle, too, and tornadoes touched down in the area.

Building fence facts

Apr 20, 2016
Deb Farris / KAKE

From Kansas Agland:

Last week, livestock markets in Pratt and Reno counties helped raise $120,000 by auctioning off a donated heifer and two steer calves in an effort to raise funds to aid ranchers with wildfire losses in Reno, Harvey, Barber and Comanche counties.

Steve Swain / RFD-TV/Variety

Did you know America has a network devoted solely to rural-interest programming? The channel is called RFD-TV, and it sometimes has to fight to survive among networks designed to appeal to more heavily populated areas.

Philipp Meyer, acclaimed author of The Son and American Rust, will give a reading Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, on the campus of West Texas A&M University.

American Heart Association / Daily Beast

A new scientific paper has proposed a potential future solution to the more than half a million people who die every year in the US from heart failure. Though it may sound like science fiction, humans may one day be able to grow new tickers when the old ones go bad.

Brent Lewis / The Denver Post

More people are on the move in Colorado than in any other state, reports The Denver Post. In fact, one in 10 Colorado households lived in another county or state than they did the previous year, according to a study of 2014 tax returns.

KSlegislature.org

Kansas legislators were grilled this weekend by a small but vocal group of citizens. The interrogators wanted the lawmakers to justify the state’s low revenue and reasons for not expanding Medicaid. The exchange occurred at a South-Central Kansas Legislative Delegation meeting, reports The Wichita Eagle.

Eric Kounce / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in 12 years, Texas job creation has been lagging behind the rest of the nation. The numbers come from a new study by the Austin non-profit Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. “The ‘Texas Miracle,’ as our state’s nation-leading economic engine has been dubbed, is currently on ice,” said Dale Craymer, the author of the report.

Stan Keiser/Audubon Photography Awards / audubon.org

This year, 2016, marks the centennial of the first Migratory Bird Treaty, which the United States signed with Great Britain on behalf of Canada. That treaty and the three that followed — with Japan, Russia and Mexico — form the cornerstones of our efforts to conserve migratory birds, like the Burrowing Owl.

Ibraheem Al Omari / Reuters

Oil prices are set to plunge again, reports quartz.com. Oil producers gathered in Doha this weekend in an attempt to freeze production in the glutted crude oil market. With the news of the proposed production freeze, oil prices had recently soared by more than 30%. But the various oil interests failed to reach an agreement.

Jensen Sutta / Boulder Daily Camera

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame inducted six new artists on Saturday, reports the Boulder Daily Camera. The ceremony, and an accompanying concert, occurred on the University of Colorado campus.  The event was held in an auditorium named for one of the inductees, Glenn Miller.

Olivia Morrison / Wichita Eagle

Last month saw the worst wildfire in Kansas history. The fires in Kansas can be partially blamed on a plant that was of little concern a half century ago. Fifty years ago red cedar trees in Kansas were counted in the tens of thousands. Now the number is closer to 100 million, reports Kansas.com. Just in the last ten years the number of cedar trees in the state has jumped by thirty million. The cedars, sometimes called junipers, make ideal kindling for wildfires. And when you toss in recent high winds and drought conditions, you’ve got a deadly combination.

washington.edu

pioid overdoses continue to take lives in rural America. To combat the problem, Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have been certified to administer an overdose rescue drug. The drug, known as naloxone, has already helped save the lives of 30 people in the state, reports KRMG.

photographybanzai / Flickr Creative Commons

When it comes to income inequality between the sexes, Oklahoma has one of the worst pay gaps in the nation, reports the Tulsa World. Full-time working women in Oklahoma earn 73 cents for every dollar a man earns. That’s six cents less per dollar than the national average. The gap in Oklahoma adds up to over six billion dollars a year that women would receive if they were paid equally.

mysanantonio.com

When it comes to completing coursework at two-year colleges, Texas is falling behind, reports My San Antonio. This could prove a hindrance in years to come. By 2020, a full 30 percent of US jobs will require some college experience or an associate’s degree.

NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Wild hogs have overtaken Oklahoma’s farmland, and the problem is costing farmers thousands, reports KOCO.com.

Vox.com

As the residents of Flint, Michigan, grapple with the thorny problem of how to live in a place where the water is toxic, concern about drinking water safety has spread across the US.

National Center for Transgender Equality / fivethirtyeight

North Carolina recently caused a national firestorm when the state legislature passed a law requiring bathrooms to be gender-segregated, to prevent people from using facilities that don’t correspond to their biological sex.

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