News

Alan Vernon

They're not sport birds, but they are important to the ecological balance of range land. We look at the lives and habitats of the birds, and how conservation initiatives like Conservation Reserve Program helps these species.

PARTICIPANTS:

Tammy VerCauteren
Executive Director
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
Ft. Collins, CO

Matthew Bain
Smokey Valley Ranch Project Coord.
The Nature Conservancy
Oakley, KS

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

When it comes to gerrymandering, or the redrawing of political lines to favor a political party, Texas has come under fire over the past couple of decades. Republican lawmakers in Austin have consistently redrawn the map to ensure that Republicans would fare better in elections.

Sarah Nichols / Flickr

McAlister, Oklahoma, has had a ban on oil drilling within its city limits since 1974. But now Governor Mary Fallin has signed controversial legislation outlawing municipal drilling bans, and the mayor of this small town in southeastern Oklahoma isn’t happy, reports KOSU. In fact, he wrote a eulogy for the death of his town’s 41-year old drilling ban, referring to the ordinance by the name “Ordie.” The requiem  reads, in part, “Ordie . . .

Kansas could effectively lose Amtrak service if one section of the track in Kansas City isn't updated. The piece is owned by the Kansas City Terminal. Amtrak has a federal mandate to install positive train control across its tracks by December of 2015. The line runs daily between Chicago and Los Angeles, serves 33 cities, six in Kansas. They are Dodge City, Garden City, Hutchinson, Newton, Topeka, and Lawrence.

HPPR welcomes Claudia Nygaard to Amarillo for a Living Room Concert on Friday, July 17!  This show will be in our studios, located at 104 SW 6th Ave, on the NW corner of 6th and Polk in the heart of downtown Amarillo.  We are in the basement of Amarillo National Bank's Special Asset Center.  The doors will open at 7:00, and the show will start at 7:30.  We will have the usual great coffee from the folks at Evocation Coffee Roasters and cookies as well.  To make a reservation, give us a call at 806-367-9088 or send an e-mail to music@hppr.org.

If you’ve ever closely examined vintage Ellis photos, you know the town had even more big trees shading yards, parks, and walkways than exist today. Seeing old pictures made me think about trees growing around town. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look long before I found a history of local tree culture.

A Texan Weighs in on the Great Guacamole Debate

Jul 5, 2015
Nikodem Nijaki / Creative Commons

Last week The New York Times sparked a controversy about whether it was kosher to put peas in guacamole.

Creative Commons

Last week, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky became the first major-party presidential candidate in history to accept money from the marijuana lobby. Now Colorado Public Radio has published a story reporting on where the various candidates stand on the issue of marijuana legalization.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Texas is hoping to attract more mental health care workers, and now the state is putting its money where its mouth is. In recent years, clinics in underserved and rural areas of the Lone Star State have had to get creative—touting clean air and low crime rates to bring in mental health professionals.

North to Canada!

Jul 3, 2015
Luke Clayton

 My longing to spend time in what I call the “North Country” began when I was a youngster reading accounts of hunting and fishing trips in Canada. This past week, thanks to the organizational skills of my friends Canadian outdoors writer Brad Fenson, Pat Babcock, owner of Cree River Lodge and the Saskatchewan Department of Tourism, my lifelong dream came to be. The fishing and scenery in this wild country was everything I had hoped it to be and… more!

Creative Commons

 The Huffington Post has provided an engaging overview of the Oklahoma Panhandle, otherwise known as “No Man’s Land.” The article details unique Oklahoma Panhandle events such as the Cow Chip Throwing Competition, held each April in Beaver, and the Posthole Digging Competetion, which takes place the first weekend in June each year in Boise City.

Federal Wiretaps on the Rise in Kansas

Jul 2, 2015
Flickr Creative Commons

Authorities are instituting more wiretaps in Kansas, a new government report has found. As The Kansas City Star explains, when the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts issued its annual report to Congress this week, it found that the number of wiretaps across the nation declined slightly over the last year. But in Kansas, the number of wiretaps authorized by federal judges last year jumped from 5 to 29. The number is higher than every year dating back at least to 2009.

Public Domain

Legends of America has published an interesting retrospective of Nicodemus, Kansas, the only Western town founded by African Americans after the Civil War that still remains. Nicodemus was established by ex-slaves, who had fled the South seeking of place to restart their lives. Founded by a land developer from Indiana and an African American clergyman named W. H. Smith. The first settler was another clergyman, the Reverend Simon Roundtree.

vcmga.org

This week we'll celebrate Old Glory by examining a popular way to 'plant the colors' in your yard or garden.  With roots in South America, the colorful petunia provides a basis for the three colors needed to recreate the American flag.  Though red and white flower blooms abound in our part of plains, blue blossoms are harder to grow successfully because they often need a more acidic soil than we can provide.  But petunias seem to fill the bill for that blue color, and their relatively low cost and successful growth record make them a good choice for patriotic planting.  

Missouri Shoemaker Invents Cowboy Boot Sandals

Jul 1, 2015

The website Mashable.com reports that a cobbler in Missouri has found a way to make cowboy boots more breathable for the summertime by fashioning cowboy boot sandals from old pairs of boots. These new boot sandals retain the top part of the boot—the part that surrounds the calf and ankle, but the lower part has been converted into a flip-flop.

Creative Commons

In honor of Independence Day, the website wallethub.com has completed a study to determine which US metro communities most resemble the nation at large. The website compiled data including age, gender and income as well as more complex measures such as household makeup and housing tenure.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

While the five-year drought has been broken in Oklahoma, the rain was too much and too late for many wheat farmers, says StateImpact, a reporting project of NPR stations. This year, the wheat crop was ready before the fields were dry. Though the rain was certainly more welcome than the alternative, many wheat fields were too soggy for combines and other heavy equipment to be employed.

After Lightning Strike, A Kansas Town Fades Away

Jun 30, 2015
Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

The Hutchinson News reports the story of Esther and Dean Lamm of Bristow, Kansas. If you haven’t heard of Bristow, you’re not alone. Nothing remains of the town but an old cemetery; the rest has been consumed by wheat fields. Esther and Dean were married on July 21, 1957, in the Bristow Methodist Church in Osborne County.

Colorado Remembers the Pony Express

Jun 29, 2015
Frank Reese / Flickr

Last week, on a warm Wednesday evening, 600 riders raced on horseback across the northeastern corner of Colorado. The riders were retracing the route of the legendary Pony Express, to commemorate the mail service’s 155th anniversary.

14% of Colorado Residents Use Marijuana, Study Finds

Jun 29, 2015
Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

NPR member station KRCC reports that a new study has found that 14% of Coloradoans use marijuana. The Colorado state Health Department reports that of those 14%, one third use pot every day. Almost one if five of state marijuana users drive after using the substance. A little over half of Colorado residents have never tried pot.

Harper's Weekly

Shortly after the end of the Civil War, Lieutenant Colonel George Custer sent an Army search party to search for the Lieutenant Lyman Kidder and his men, who had gone missing. The searchers soon came upon the men, lying dead on the open plains, some with as many as 50 arrows. Kidder’s party had been set upon by a Sioux and Cheyenne war party.  Kidder was killed, along with an native scout and ten enlisted men.

Texas to Create Gold Bullion Depository

Jun 29, 2015
Bullion Vault / Flickr Creative Commons

In regional news, Texas has signed a law to establish the creation of a “Texas Bullion Depository,” a vault to hold gold bullion and increase the stability of Texas’s gold reserves. The gold that will be put in the vault, worth more than $660 biillion, is currently being held in a bank in Manhattan, Reuters reports.

James Taylor’s ‘Before This World’ is his 17th studio record, and his first #1 record on the Billboard charts.  These new songs were written over the last 2 years in a self –imposed seclusion in a friend’s apartment in Rhode Island.  James has said that he didn’t feel he could write a new song unless he had an isolated, distraction-free environment in which to write.  Recorded at his home studio, ‘Before This World’ was worth the 13 year wait since ‘October Road’ in 2002.   Tune in to High Plains Morning this week to hear 'Before This World' in it's entirety. 

Art on the Move

Jun 29, 2015

Frequently, I see ornate box turtles crossing a country road or highway. Because I like this home-carrying little reptile, I dodge these little speed bumps. While seeing them slowly lumber across the road triggers a smile, I hadn’t thought much about these Kansas state reptiles until recently.

This summer, I’ve been waking up early to enjoy the cool morning air as I water, weed, and pick veggies. A bonus of rising with the sun is meeting some of my yard neighbors that hide during the heat of the day.

Harry Pears / Creative Commons

More wind power is headed to the High Plains. A Spanish steel company has announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in the Texas panhandle, according to the Houston Chronicle. GRI Renewable Industries said it intends to build a wind tower plant in Amarillo that would employ 300 people and build 400 towers a year.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

The High Plains Journal has reported on concerns of High Plains farmers about the returning presence of sugarcane aphids to the region this season, which could be a threat to sorghum yields. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts have suggested that hybrid pearl millet might be an alternative for growers.

Lindsey Bauman / The Hutchinson News

The Hutchinson News has reported a deeply touching story about a mother in Ulysses, Kansas, who finds herself in a struggle for her life. Becky Teeter was always the tower in her household that everyone leaned on. She and her husband Monty adopted two children in the eighties, and their family grew in strength and love over the years. Monty realized his dream of owning his own irrigation company.

Putin Encourages Texas Secession

Jun 27, 2015
Creative Commons

Politico.com reports that Vladimir Putin has cast his eye toward the Lone Star State. The US’s lead role in imposing sanctions on Russia after the country’s annexation of the Crimea and incursions into the Ukraine has fostered Russian resentment against America. Now Putin has engaged his propaganda machine to encourage fringe groups who would like to see Texas secede from the US.

In the Great Smoky Mountains, A Lightning Bug Symphony

Jun 25, 2015
Ryan Atkins

Just for fun, while there's still some summer left, here's a travel idea to see one of nature's most magnificent light shows. During hot summers on the High Plains, we still get a chance to see lightning bugs dancing at twilight. But the Great Smoky Mountains National Park takes it to a new level.  

Rural Job Growth Rebounds

Jun 25, 2015
Marcella Gadson / Google Creative Commons

After a decline earlier this year, job growth in rural America is back on track, reports The Daily Yonder. This April saw 232,000 more jobs in rural counties than during the same period a year ago. In addition,  the unemployment rate in rural areas has fallen from 6.2 percent a year ago to 5.4 percent in that time.

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