News

Under a clean power plan proposed by the federal government, states can develop their own strategies to limit carbon emissions. If they don’t, the feds will do it for them. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he plans to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over its plan for Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is drawing more criticism about his order to monitor the federal military exercises known as "Jade Helm 15." This time it's from former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a former GOP state representative and late-night host Jon Stewart.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback vetoes bill requiring new insurance mandates and background checks for drivers of the ride service Uber.

Best & Worst States for Working Moms

May 6, 2015
www.wallethub.com

In the world of working moms the High Plains region spans the center of a survey of equality and support for mothers to hold their own in the workplace. With Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma ranking in the mid to low range at number 24, 33 and 42 respectively as the best and worst states for working moms.

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

Health care advocates are calling for Kansas lawmakers to increase tobacco taxes to help fill a budget hole of more than $400 million. Dr. Roy Jensen, with the University of Kansas Cancer Center, says the governor’s proposed tax increase on tobacco could cause thousands of Kansans to quit or never start smoking. He says that could save the state a billion dollars in health care costs in the coming decades and possibly prevent up to 15,000 deaths. 

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

The wind power industry, free-market business groups, the governor and lawmakers have unveiled a compromise to overhaul the Kansas renewable energy standard. It would remove the mandate that 20 percent of power generation come from renewable sources and replace it with a voluntary goal.

Some advocacy groups get something they’ve wanted, eliminating the mandate for renewable energy. Mike O’Neal is president and CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

When it comes to vaccinating to prevent the human papillomavirus, Kansas shares last place with Utah reports the Kansas Health Institute. The virus causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. A partnership is working to improve that rate. The Kansas Foundation for Medical Care and the University of Kansas Cancer Center are concentrating their efforts on a key outreach component to ensure adolescent girls receive the full regimen.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been on the receiving end of bi-partisan criticism since he ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor a training exercise by U.S. Special Operations Command. Abbott defended his actions, but also made a point of saying there is nothing for people to worry about. Abbott says his directive to the state guard was only to create an official channel of communication between the special forces training and the Governor's office. Jade Helm 15 is a two-month training exercise across several states where soldiers will "further develop tactics, techniques and procedures for emerging concepts in Special Operations warfare."

The Texas Senate approved a bill this week limited municipal control over oil and gas drilling and prohibiting any city from banning fracking. The Denton ban could eventually fall if the bill is signed by the governor.

The True Colors of Racisim

May 5, 2015
The Washington Post

Contemporary technology provides a unique and much more accurate way survey taboo subjects like racism. Using the search engine Google, Washington Post journalist Christopher Ingraham poses the question, “Where do America’s most racist people live?”

Mark Hilliard of Hale County, Texas, says, "This is cotton country. It's rare to find a pristine playa lake." He bought the native grassland on which the playa sits from family members, then protected the playa and a grassland buffer with a permanent Wetlands Reserve Easement. He couldn't be more happy with NRCS assistance removing sediment from the playa to improve its function and create bird habitat. NRCS conservationist Blake McLemore discusses what's involved in negotiating a perpetual easement.

Pam Zubeck / Colorado Springs Independent

Pam Zubeck remembers when the Arkansas River flowed every day outside Garden City, Kansas.  Zubeck writes of old-timers recounting about a river so wide, you had to board a ferry to cross in the Colorado Springs Independent.  High School kids used to pedal their bikes to the river to check fishing lines in the summer. 

Now, where there was once a river, there's a dry riverbed- a mecca for dirt bikers and four wheels.  It’s also home to water guzzling tamarisks. 

Lauren Coodley / History News Network

The nation’s top safety watchdog lacks the resources or ability to set and enforce rules in a timely manner reports The Washington Post.  In 2012, the Government Accountability office found it takes nearly eight years on average to issue a new rule.  That’s because of the heavy burden of documentation needed to withstand industry lawsuits and a budget that’s declined significantly since 2010.

Case in point is one of the most dangerous jobs in America- meatpacking.  There were over 28,000 reported injuries in 2013, but OSHA says it doesn’t have the resources or ability to set or enforce rules. 

peeksintojoyce.blogspot.com

 Remember the childhood story about the country mouse and the city mouse? I loved to read that book as a little girl. Why it appealed to me, I don’t know. However, since late this summer my daughters and I have had the opportunity see observe the differences between country cats and town cats.

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

The chair of the Senate Tax Committee in the Kansas Legislature says he’ll offer some proposals next week that could close the budget gap. Legislators need to fill a hole of more than $400 million. But, he’s offering few details.

Republican Kansas state Senator Les Donovan had reporters thinking he was giving them a hint on the plans. He says there’s been too much focus on Kansas eliminating income taxes for many business owners. He says when the state cut personal income tax rates that did more to cause the budget gap.

Luke Clayton

Lake Fork guide Seth Vanover eased his comfortable guide boat up to a stick up in the back of a cove and secured the craft with a looped bow rope. The area had been deluged with a heavy rain the night before and the lake was on a welcome rise. We were fishing during the calm between two spring thunderstorms. The rising water had undulated shoreline grass introducing worms, crawfish and all sorts of insects into the food chain. This was classis text book spring time catfish waters if ever I’d seen them!

Tyson Foods is the country's largest poultry producer. The company will stop feeding its chickens human antibiotics. Farmers raising livestock often add low-level antibiotics in an effort to treat disease, prevent disease from spreading, and also to help animals grow more quickly.

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

Kansas lawmakers didn’t take on anything too significant their first day back from spring break. They’re going to be spending the rest of the wrap-up session looking for ways to fill a deficit of more than $400 million. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, tax committees are scheduled to start work Thursday.

The chairman of the Kansas House Tax Committee, Republican Marvin Kleeb, says they’re going to start first by digging into the budget numbers. Then next week, they’ll start looking at tax proposals.

A Western Kansas Highway Worth Your Time & Travel

Apr 30, 2015
Kansas Public Radio

Warmer weather brings out the wanderlust in many of us. Something about springtime can create a desire to get outside, hit the road and see something new. Commentator Rex Buchanan has been up and down a highway in western Kansas that he says is worth your time and travel.

Commentator Rex Buchanan is the director of the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas and a regular contributor to Kansas Public Radio.

Highly contagious bird flu has infected more than 100 locations across the country. Despite disaster planning, this outbreak has been massive.

foodfromtheearth.wordpress.com

One of the major markets for mint occurs during the Kentucky Derby, when mint juleps are served up to anyone with a desire to taste them and toast the famous horseracing event.  But the sharp taste and smell of mint makes it a major player not only at the racetrack, but in herb gardens, gourmet kitchens, and apothocary shops throughout the world.  This week we'll investigate the many kinds of mint, and issue some well-intentioned warnings about planting it, in a way that will allow it to become a highlight and not a nightmare in your garden.   

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

A state audit is critical of a Kansas program where some convicted sex offenders are sent for treatment after they serve their prison sentences. The audit says the involuntary program doesn’t offer individualized treatment and most people don’t complete it. Kari Bruffett is secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which runs the Sexual Predator Treatment Program. She says the audit doesn’t take into account recent improvements they’ve made.

The companies managing Kansas' privatized Medicaid program continued to lose money in 2014. Amerigroup, Sunflower Health Plan and United Healthcare cut their losses from the year before, but still took a loss of $52 million. Losses totaled $116 million in 2013.

The Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant chain announced this week that it has taken food products derived from genetically engineered crops off of its menu.

Mapping Migration in the United States

Apr 29, 2015
Gregor Aisch and Robert Gebeloff / New York Times

The New York Times has generated a series of interactive maps that details the human migration patterns of each state. The maps show the percentage of residents born in each state, other states as well as outside the U.S.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Once a regular dining option, a mix of cultural and economic factors pushed lamb off the American dinner table. To put the meat back on the menu, ranchers and retailers are being encouraged to reach out to a more diverse set of consumers, specifically American Muslims and Latinos.

cbsnews.com

The National Teacher of the Year is an educator from Palo Duro High in Amarillo.  Shanna Peeples is the first Texas teacher to win the award since 1957. 

Peeples works in an environment where 85 percent of students live below the poverty line and where more refugee children are enrolled than in any high school in the district reports the Amarillo Globe News.

The landscape of southwestern Kansas is colored mostly shades of brown… dotted with circles of green…. with the distinct interruption of feedlots. But, in the small town of Ulysses, there’s a place that nurtures creative souls. Some call it “brush storming.” Local artists gathering around a table working on projects while they chat about life and ask each other for artistic advice. It’s like an old-fashioned quilting bee. The Main Artery also showcases the work of artists, but it’s more than a gallery says Tracy Teeter. She purchased the business in January. It’s also a creative workspace.. a place to perfect your skills… and gather with friends. The gallery started with 11 members over a decade ago. Today there are 21 different artists from a 100 mile radius.

Survey says…. most Kansas voters believe it’s wrong to discriminate against gay and transgender people, but they also value religious faith.  A recent survey by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University reveals Kansans also reject attempts by some to push their beliefs onto others.

According to a press release from FHSU:

Dr. Chapman Rackaway, a Docking Fellow and an FHSU professor of political science, found that Kansans are largely divided on support for gay marriage, civil unions or neither.

William C. Johnson

McPherson County landowner Dale Schmidt bought ground he intended to farm, but often it was too wet to plant, or to harvest. He's pleased he enrolled the land as a perpetual wetland easement. Schmidt and his NRCS District Conservationist Blake McLemore discuss the improvements made to the parcel.

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