Can You Hear Me Now?

Oct 10, 2016

We’re talking about Dave Egger’s What is the What, the third book in HPPR’s Radio Readers Fall Read. Our theme is stories, and, in this novel, Valentino Achak Deng recounts his life.  Rather than presented chronologically, rather than moving linearly through time,  Valentino’s narrative is fragmented, episodic, largely retrospective. It encompasses twenty some years, beginning in the relative present of his working minimum wage jobs in various eastern and southern cities of the United States, then to his early childhood in southern war-torn Sudan to a disordered life in the US, then back to resettlement in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. The novel concludes as Valentino prepares for yet another beginning, another relocation. When I think about it, Valentino’s life is much about endings and departures as it is about beginnings and arrivals.  His story, like Enrique’s, like Antonia’s is comprised of hostility,  hunger, violence, and death, stories that seem impossible to bear.

Texas Observer

Renewable energy has seen a boom recently. That means many landowners have been tempted to lease their acreage to solar companies. In many cases, farmers and ranchers have received fliers and letters from solar operations.

David McNew / Getty Images

The State of Oklahoma is asking its citizens to pray for the oil industry, reports The Week magazine.  The statewide prayer initiative will culminate on October 13th with a special breakfast event in the capital, known as Oilfield Prayer Day.

Stephen Koranda / KMUW

The Topeka Capital-Journal has obtained budgetary documents which the Brownback administration sought to suppress.

The documents show the implications of the Sunflower State’s potential 5-percent budget cut. If the cuts go through, they could include $17 million in spending reductions for prisons and a loss of nearly $7 million for children and family programs.

One Neighbor's Story - Generations' Stories

Oct 7, 2016

So, both my parents are immigrants from Vietnam.  Back in the 1970s, my grandfather was a police officer in Vietnam.  When the Vietnam War came around, the North had him put in jail because he was one of the government officials.  He spent five years and four months in jail.  They took him into the jungle for hard labor and stuff.  They spent a lot of time being poor because after the North took over the country since they were a Communist society they had all the resources and everything sold to pay off their war debts, so it was really hard for them to makes ends meet.  But, luckily my grandmother was smart about the whole thing.  She sold rice and stuff so, like before the North had a chance to sell off all her stuff, she sold it and bought gold and diamonds for it which was easier because the North also changed all the currency, so everyone who was wealthy suddenly wasn’t wealthy anymore.

Kelly Caminero / Daily Beast

Early last month, a Donald Trump surrogate threatened that if the New York billionaire wasn’t elected, the U.S. would have “taco trucks [on] every corner.” This prompted many Texans to say, “Sounds good to me!”

The Verge

We’ve seen plenty of troubling news lately about the disappearance of bees in the heartland. So  it’s nice to come across a happy bee story this week.

Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle

The Kansas budget crisis doesn’t seem to be letting up.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the Sunflower State missed its September revenue estimates by nearly $45 million. State lawmakers are now asking Governor Sam Brownback to act swiftly to fix the issue. Kansas is only three months into the current fiscal year, and the state is already in the hole by almost $70 million total.


Job pressures, low pay and lack of mobility force many teachers to quit soon after they begin. With that in mind, the personal finance website Wallethub set out to find which states are doing a good job of treating teachers with the respect they deserve.

Our Neighbors - One Woman's Story

Oct 6, 2016

Maria:  I came here because I love this country.  I came here to see my sister.  I was in Mexico and I came crossing the river.  The Rio Bravo.  It was dangerous.  It was hard.  But I came here because the life is better than my country.  This is a blessed country.  I love this country.

I find good job.  I have a good life here because now I can help the people. When the people have problems, they ask me what they need to do to solve their problems.  Can I help them. 

StacieScott / The Gazette

A new submarine will head to sea next year, with a taste of the Centennial State on board.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that cooks aboard the brand-new USS Colorado have been studying the cuisine of the state that is the submarine’s namesake. Some of Colorado’s top chefs recently met with the kitchen staff of the underwater vessel.

This week's installment of Growing on the High Plains provides an inside scoop on how best to beckon bashful butterflies to your High Plains garden. 

  From deadheading your branching mums to seizing (rather than sneezing) rods of gold, these well-worn pointers will ensure an influx of "flying flowers" to your all-you-can-eat growing space.  Learn what to plant and how to prune so that you'll optimize unannounced visits from thirsty nectar collectors.   

A beloved West Texas artist will be remembered this weekend by the West Texas A&M art program. Jim Harter was born in Lubbock in 1941, and later lived in Canyon and attended WT.

Creative Commons

The oil sector has seen gains recently, reports The Wall Street Journal, and reached a three-month high on Monday.

Prices have been rising on optimism spurred by an OPEC-production deal. After meeting in Algeria, OPEC leaders announced that they would coordinate a reduction of output to 33 million barrels a day.

Previous Image Enlarge Next Image 1 / 3 Sunday, Tulsa mayor-elect GT Bynum spent the day with Pennsylvania U.S. representative, Bill Shuster. He's the chairman of the House of Transportation and Infrastructure CommitteeCredit News on 6Edit | Remove

Mark Nozell / Flickr Creative Commons

Hillary Clinton now holds a double-digit lead over Donald Trump in Colorado, according to the most recent polls.

As CBS News reports, the Democratic candidate is leading the GOP’s candidate by 11 points in the Centennial State. Clinton took was the choice of 49 percent of the respondents, compared with 38 percent for Trump. Libertarian Gary Johnson is polling at seven percent, and three percent support Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Andrew Fysh / Creative Commons

The children's death rate in Kansas hit a record low in 2014, the last year for which data is available.

As the Topeka Capital-Journal reports, Kansas had 410 child deaths in that year. That’s the lowest death rate in any year since the Kansas State Child Death Review Board began reviewing cases in 1994. Child abuse was responsible for 53 percent of the deaths.

One Neighbor's Story - Uganda to the High Plains

Oct 5, 2016
Dodge City Community College

Mohammad Omar - Hi, my mane is Mohammad Omar.  I am from Africa, especially Uganda.  I am here since 2014, but I am living now in Dodge City.  I like Dodge City, Kansas, because we have a lot of work here.  Before I am working Tyson Food.  I start again Cargill Company.  Now I am working three years at National Beef.  So, we are happy to be here in Kansas, Dodge City.

Jordan Hatcher / Flickr Creative Commons

The Texas Nationalist Movement is saying they think they deserve a voice in the U.S. presidential debates, according to The Houston Chronicle

Canyon Area Library  brought in some High Plains wanna-be podcasters and WOW -- we were all amazed by what these gifted storytellers pulled together in less than an hour!

Thank you so much to our participants, our organizers, and all the parents. (Your kids are GREAT!) The spontaneous creativity knocked our socks off. From the studio to the airwaves, see below for the final cuts.



Improving the quality of life in Amarillo and across the High Plains

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Autumn is officially upon us, and that means it’s time for flu shots.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Huffington Post that a flu vaccine is still the best way to protect yourself from coming down with the virus.

Steve Gooch / The Oklahoman

The debate over a controversial agricultural ballot measure in Oklahoma is growing more heated, reports The Oklahoman.

SQ 777 is a constitutional amendment that would prevent Oklahoma lawmakers from passing legislation to regulate agriculture unless it has a “compelling state interest.” Rep. Scott Biggs said he authored the measure to limit the power of groups like the Humane Society.

Accuweather / The Wichita Eagle

High Plains listeners who enjoy a cold winter may have reason to rejoice.

Signs aren’t pointing to a repeat of last year’s mild season, reports The Wichita Eagle, and that means there could be more snow on the way. However, the cold won’t come until late, say meteorologists; the early part of the season is expected to be rather mild. Dave Samuhel is a senior meteorologist for AccuWeather. He says this year will “be more like winter should be.”

Psychonaut / Wikimedia Commons

A Colorado group is doing its best to fight the scourge of a highly addictive drug popular in rural communities.

As KUSA reports, the Colorado Meth Project is spreading a message of hope, and they believe it’s working. And the numbers agree: between 2005 and 2015, Meth use in teenagers dropped by 40 percent. Kent MacLennan is executive director of the program. He says the project is still staying hot on the trail of making sure teens are aware of the dangers of the drug.

The Fall Read - Refugees on the High Plains

Oct 4, 2016

As the Radio Readers move on from this month’s book Enrique’s Journey to October’s read, Dave Eggar’s book on the story Somali immigrants titled What is the What, we continue themes of separation from family, intense dangers in fleeing one’s homeland and eventual settlement and adjustment to life in the U.S. In the past decade, Amarillo has welcomed a large refugee resettlement program placing refugees from the likes of Burma, Iran, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, and Cuba among other countries.

David Woo / Dallas Morning News

We hear a lot of stories about how Texas shapes the wider world. From oil policy to cowboy lore, the Lone Star State has an outsized impact on planet earth. But last week The New York Times published an editorial on how the shape of Texas shapes the conversation about Texas.

L.A. Times

Few states have undergone as rapid a political transformation as Colorado, notes the L.A. Times.

High Plains Morning was recently haunted by the living ghost of Gabrielle Louise, who was traveling through Amarillo while touring for her recent full-length album release, If the Static Clears.

Digital Globe / The Washington post

Many energy experts from around the world have been wondering, exactly how much crude oil has China been stockpiling?