News

Dale Daniel

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says there are four principles to improving soil health: 1) keep soil covered as much as possible; 2) disturb the soil as little as possible; 3) keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil; and 4) diversify as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.

New Study Shows Kansas Sales Tax Hurting Rural Grocers

Aug 10, 2015
Michael Cannon / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute

A group pushing for elimination of the sales tax on groceries in Kansas is touting a new study.

The Wichita State University study shows that even before it was raised last month from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent, the statewide sales tax was costing rural grocers an average of about $18,000 a year in lost sales.

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Aug 10, 2015
Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don’t plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

A Ranking of the Best and Worst States for Student Debt

Aug 10, 2015
thisisbossi / Flickr Creative Commons

The online financial site WalletHub has published a list of the best and worst states for student debt. The site compared the 50 states by combining seven key metrics , including average student debt, the state’s unemployment rate, and the percentage of students with past-due loan balances.

A few years ago, we replaced the windows in our house. I expected dust, noise, flies, and suffering through hundred degree plus July days, but I didn’t expect an Oscar quality actor to make an appearance. One thing about living in the country, something unexpected always happens. Because of our remodeling project, I faced one of my most dreaded fears—a snake in the kitchen.  

Luke Clayton

 Well, hello folks!  Today, Cindee sat down with me and we talked a little about how hogs came to the United States.  They're aren't a native species.  They've been brought to the area in multiple waves, starting back as far as the Spanish explorer, Desoto.

Take a listen, you just might learn a thing or two.

Survivor of Indianapolis Torpedo Recalls Disaster

Aug 7, 2015
Amarillo Globe-News

Amarillo.com has reported on a hero living in the Texas Panhandle.

Past midnight on July 30, 1945, Cleatus Lebow was drinking lemonade and talking with some of the other guys on the USS Indianapolis. Then came the explosion. “We all knew it was a torpedo,” says Lebow, who was 21 at the time. Suddenly swimming in shark-infested waters, he had been thrown into the most deadly tragedy in U.S. Naval history. Still, he felt a reassuring calm.

Colorado Experiencing Marijuana Boom

Aug 7, 2015
Kevin Moloney / The Guardian

Colorado’s fortunes have skyrocketed since recreational marijuana became legal 18 months ago. Some observers have called the boom a “gold rush,” reports the British newspaper The Guardian. Denver now has four dispensaries for every Starbucks, and the number is growing.

Alex Proimos / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute

Once again, the majority of the nation’s hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for having patients frequently return within a month of discharge — this time losing a combined $420 million, government records show.

The rains have turned brown back to green once again, but in terms of the aquifer, it's not enough.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From the Kansas Health Institute

One of every five Kansas adults has at least one disability, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Amarillo Educates Law Enforcement on Human Trafficking

Aug 6, 2015
Creative Commons

Six children were rescued from sex traffickers in Amarillo in March, reports Amarillo.com. Now the city has brought in an expert on human trafficking to educate law enforcement about the issue.

In a Changing World, Texas Expands Solar Usage

Aug 6, 2015
Portuguese_eyes / Creative Commons

As the second-largest state and one of the hottest. Texas leads the US in solar energy potential, reports The Texas Tribune. But up to now, Texas has squandered that opportunity as lawmakers provided few incentives to encourage solar expansion. Solar energy still makes up a tiny percentage of the state’s power supply.

oregonstate.edu

Last week we visited about a weed called nutsedge that was relatively new to me until I put in a garden fountain and thus created an ideal world for this water loving bad boy.  Today, we'll begin to revisit a series of stories about weeds- those pesky, prankish guests who come to the garden party without an invitation and can wind up taking over the entire  homestead.   Though originally aired 4 years ago, I think you'll find most of those bad boys of the garden world are still around and still causing headaches for gardeners. 

Executive Office of the President of the United States

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Ceremony in Independence, Mo., marks golden anniversary of government-sponsored health coverage.

Advocates of government-sponsored health coverage gathered Thursday at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., to mark the anniversary of legislation that’s both a local story and a milestone for medical care in the United States.

Monsanto Hopes to Purchase Pesticide Behemoth

Aug 5, 2015
Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

A possible deal was announced this week that could have a lasting impact on American farmers, reports Harvest Public Media. The monolithic agricultural company Monsanto has proposed a deal to purchase the world’s largest pesticide company, Syngenta. Monsanto has said that it aims to find new ways to combine chemicals and biotech crops. In an effort to expand, the company has been recently been buying up a lot of tech companies.

Slideshow: Amarillo Residents Concerned About Flooding

Aug 4, 2015
KFDA

Overnight storms in Amarillo this week broke the record for year-to-date rainfall. Amarillo.com reports that the city has seen almost 27 inches of rain this year. This brings the total past the previous record, set in 1960. In neighborhoods around Amarillo’s playa lakes, flooding has become a serious concern. Citizens near the 77th street neighborhood have been stacking sandbags around their houses.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Grant Gerlock at Harvest Public Media has written a dispatch from the Pierce County Fair in Nebraska, where he checked in with Emily Lambrecht, a 17-year-old 4-H and FFA exhibitor who has spent months preparing for the fair. Lambrecht has been showing animals since 2009, and this year she once again showed calves from her family’s herd. Emily has trained the animals to walk with a rope halter, like a dog on a leash.

Texas Observer

The Texas Observer has reported on a new study which found that greenhouse gas emissions could cost Texas billions if left unchecked. The report, by the Risky Business Project, studied many factors, including rising energy costs and heat-related deaths. Texas is expected to be most affected by extreme heat and rising sea levels. Hot temperatures could have a debilitating effect on agriculture, and the encroaching ocean will lead to significant property damage.

The Clean Power Plan tells each state how much carbon emission has to be reduced, but the state can decide how to meet the target. How that's going to work in Kansas is yet to be decided.

Sean and Sara Watkins from Nickel Creek, Sebastian Steinberg from Soul Coughing, Benmont Tench from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, Don Heffington and Greg Liesz from everywhere and Fiona Apple-that is the cast of Watkins Family Hour.  Recorded in 3 days, this all-covers record displays the immense talent collected here in this croup of people that originally came together over the last couple of years at a monthly jam session at Largo in Los Angeles.  Tune in this week to High Plains Morning to hear every track from Watkins Family Hour.  

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

When the director of the state’s Legislative Budget Board recently questioned the legality of some of Governor Greg Abbott’s vetoes in the state budget, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick took issue. The Texas Tribune reports that Patrick has called for a review of all legislative agencies—agencies which he himself oversees.  Patrick claims he wants to see “what reforms are needed, what guidelines are needed and what changes need to be made.” In reality, this could mean replacing current administrators with those of his own choosing.

Oklahoma Lags Behind Nation in Solar Usage

Aug 3, 2015
U.S. Department of Energy / National Renewable Energy Laboratory

In Oklahoma, oil and gas are king. The state is also a powerhouse when it comes to wind energy, ranking fourth in the nation.  But when it comes to solar energy, the state has some catching up to do, according to StateImpact, a reporting project of NPR stations. Oklahoma’s deficiencies in the area of solar energy have nothing to do with the sun, and everything to do with state policy.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Republican leaders in Texas take pride in how often they have sued the Obama administration. The state has filed 34 lawsuits against the executive branch, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. Most of the lawsuits were taken up by former attorney general Greg Abbott, who is now the governor. Ken Paxton, the current AG, has mounted three suits since January, with more to come. The total cost of the lawsuits amounts to $4.8 million.

When it comes to the budget, Kansas tax collections have come up short of estimations ten times in the last year. Four of those occurrences were at least $20 million below expectations. Shawn Sullivan is the state's budget director. He says he doesn't know if there's something his department should be doing differently. But, he plans on talking with colleagues in other states to learn how their processes work in the coming months.

This is the eighth time this year a Kansas has contracted a disease that was never seen in the Western Hemisphere prior to 2013.

Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration on Thursday announced $63 million in changes to the state budget.

Much of that comes from increases in federal aid, cost-cutting measures and some services costing less than initially projected. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, outlined the plan in a Statehouse news conference.

Laughing Squid / Creative Commons

The expanding marijuana industry in Colorado may have hit a financial roadblock, reports The New York Times. Federal banking officials have rejected an application from The Fourth Corner Credit Union in Denver, which serves Colorado’s pot industry.

Creative Commons

Texans are being asked to curb their electric usage as demand has reached record-breaking levels, reports The Texas Tribune. The operator of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which covers most of the state, is asking Texas consumers to use less electricity wherever possible.

We’ve raised chickens most of our marriage, so that’s thirty years of learning to understand feathered, cackling females. I can confirm this species is messy, noisy, piggish, and sometimes mean –which explains the term henpecked. They’re also dense and run like gawky, miniature Tyrannosaurs. Despite their character flaws, I love my girls. However, one of them has confused me.

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