News

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

Texas’s agriculture commissioner says he has joined Donald Trump’s ag team, reports The Texas Tribune.

caninest / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the world’s most famous wolf packs may be gone thanks to years of excessive hunting, reports The Guardian.

Alaska’s wolves were celebrated in novels by Jack London, and the East Fork pack has been studied for longer than any other collection of wolves on earth.

Lyrical Postcards in Willa Cather’s My Antonia

Aug 12, 2016

The essence of poetry is song, or lyrical feeling. How well Willa Cather understood the lyrical beauty of the Great Plains. She delights readers of My Antonia with poetic passages, like Jim Burden’s first look at Nebraska: “There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made.”

Rural Blog

Last year, there were 640 oil spills in the US that affected groundwater or surface water in some way. As The Rural Blog notes, many of these crude oil spills go unnoticed and unreported.

In the last seven years there have been 2,500 reported spills. And that number is probably low due to underreporting.  Some oil and gas agencies don't even track spills at the state level.

KHOU

The 2018 midterm election could be an interesting one in Texas, reports KHOU.

Some Texan officials who will be on the ballot are already in a strong position. Gov. Greg Abbott already has almost $30  million in the bank. Other Lone Star lawmakers look less invincible. Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing federal securities fraud charges and is under criminal indictment in state court.

Topeka Capital-Journal

This week Kansas’s education commissioner lamented the state’s graduation rate. Commissioner Randy Watson said Kansas must work with students and families to improve high school graduation rates, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal.

John Leyba / Denver Post/Getty

Last Monday, anti-fracking proponents in Colorado turned in a petition featuring nearly 200,000 signatures. That means the state is one step closer to having two statewide fracking referendums on the ballot this fall, reports CNBC. The petition reached the requisite signature number over the weekend thanks to a last-minute push by advocates.

The effort is supported by a grassroots coalition called “Yes for Health and Safety Over Fracking.”

University of Houston/KHOU

College can be extremely isolating and stressful. Some students begin drinking too much or turn to drugs, and some even consider suicide. When Texas students find themselves in dire straits, their options are limited.

The counseling centers at Texas universities are understaffed. According to KERA News and The Texas Tribune, many counselors say they’re frustrated by their inability to reach students.

Gardeners have a saying about perennials: "The first year they sleep; the second year they creep; and the third year they leap."

Today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll unearth a few common myths about these boisterous blooms, which are quite misunderstood by beginning gardeners. If you go into the ground with a deeper understanding of what to expect from perennials, you'll sooner reap the sweet smell of success.

usgs.gov

You probably don’t think much about all those grassy strips and medians you pass on the highway during your morning commute. But, as PRI reports, those medians are providing shelter to a whole world of critters.

Orlin Wagner / AP photo

Nebraska may want to look to the south for guidance, as two recent events in Kansas might provide some important budgetary lessons. Firstly, last week S&P dropped the Sunflower State’s credit rating for the second time in two years.

smartasset.com

Oklahoma and Texas residents are among the worst drivers in the US, according to a new study. As SmartAsset.com reports, the Lone Star State has the ninth worst drivers in America. Meanwhile, Oklahoma fared even worse, ranking third.

Texas has the highest percentage of deaths coming from drunk drivers, at 40%.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Colorado is rated as America’s leanest state. But that honor seems to stem from the health attitudes of some of the wealthier parts of the state. In towns like Pueblo, obesity is a real problem. Pueblo’s obesity rate reached 30% in 2014. That’s nine percent higher than the state average.

We Are All Immigrants

Aug 10, 2016
Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

When I learned that our Radio Readers Fall Read would be themed “Stories: Borders and Becoming,” I began to think about what that might mean, exactly. We all have family stories of our beginnings and becoming in this country.  Whether we’re descendants of German  immigrants, Irish immigrants, Mexican immigrants, Asian immigrants, we all “just came here” at one time or another.  We have that story of becoming in common.

Ryan Poppe / Texas Public Radio

Latinos make up 17 percent of the U.S. population. But they only hold one percent of elected offices, reports Texas Standard.

And one group is hoping to change that. The Latino Victory Project’s goal is to develop a pipeline of Hispanic leaders to run for future open seats. These Latino elected officials will then address policy issues important to the Hispanic community.

Eddie Seal / Bloomberg News

Texas is the most productive state for wind power—by far. The Lone Star State pumps out 18,000 megawatts of energy a year, reports the MIT Technology Review. And that’s not counting an additional 5,500 megawatts of possible further capacity, which is equal to California’s entire installed wind capacity.

Chris Neal / Topeka Capital-Journal/AP

Last week The New York Times editorial board waded into Kansas politics to laud the decision by voters in the state’s GOP primary. Last Tuesday, moderate Republicans in Kansas scored a dozen “impressive victories” over their far-right opponents. The primary’s losers were all loyal to the state’s beleaguered governor, Sam Brownback.

Pixabay / Creative Commons

A company that delivers blood and medicine using drone technology is looking to expand its operations across the US, reports Consumerist.com. This could be great news for many Americans who live in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

thrombocyte.com

The Oklahoma Blood Institute says there’s a simple way that Oklahomans can help victims of trauma in their state. More than any other factor, the institute says it’s important to increase the state’s supply of O-negative blood.

As KFOR reports, O-negative blood allows emergency personnel to start blood transfusions during transport to the hospital. This increases a trauma victim’s chance of survival.

The Gazette

Colorado and Kansas are two of the most welcoming states toward refugees, according to a new study.

Researchers from the International Rescue Committee combed through tweets from all 50 states looking for positive and negative language regarding refugees. Colorado ranks eighth for having the most positive tweets regarding newcomers fleeing terror and hardship, reports The Gazette. Kansas performed even better, landing at fourth on the list.

Caldwell Banker/Denver Post

Late rock-and-roll legend Joe Cocker’s Colorado ranch will go to auction on September first, reports The Denver Post.

Gotog / Getty Images

Rural schools have had their share of struggles in recent years. Populations in the heartland are dwindling, and school funding often goes to more populous schools in large urban centers.

Justin Dehn / Texas Tribune

The Texas prison system could slash its operating budget by about $250 million in the next few years, reports The Texas Tribune. The budget cuts come after the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was asked to trim its budget by four percent.

techcrunch.com

When people hear terms like “tech” and “startup” they generally think of cities like San Francisco and New York. But a “Silicon Prairie” has continued to grow in certain parts of the rural Midwest, reports TechCrunch.com.

This could be good news for areas in the heartland where population loss has been a real problem. Some states are turning to technology to fight back against the dwindling population trend.

Why Read My Antonia?

Aug 8, 2016
ndsu.edu

HPPR listeners thinking about the theme of this year’s book club--Borders and Becoming--need to keep in mind that borders change to meet the needs of those who live within them. Over the last two and a half centuries, the parameters of the United States changed repeatedly. A modern day description of the contiguous states would include Folksinger Woody Guthrie’s first stanza of “This Land Is Your Land.”

Creative Commons

Monsanto’s newest herbicide-tolerant soybean seeds have not yet been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. But that hasn’t stopped the company from releasing the product to store shelves. 

Band of Lovers is back! 

When music writer Kate Bee wrote about their debut album, “It’s a golden road trip,” her words also reflect the band’s lifestyle. Born on the road in the fall of 2013, Band of Lovers has been living and touring full-time in their self-converted 1997 Dodge van.

Patrick Jonsson / Christian Science Monitor

In recent decades, a gulf has been widening across the US between the haves and have nots. And rural America certainly hasn’t been immune to the trend, notes The Christian Science Monitor.

feedthechildren.org

It’s no secret that Oklahoma’s public education system has faced some critical challenges in recent years. Luckily, Feed The Children and its corporate sponsors like Whataburger are well aware of the struggles of Oklahoma’s teachers.

Erich Schlegel / Getty Images

Last month a federal appeals court declared that Texas’s controversial Voter ID law was biased against minority and poor voters. Now, as Bloomberg reports, the Lone Star State has reached a compromise that will allow these voters to have their voices heard.

Pages