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In an ironic twist of fate, the building that once housed the seat of law and order is becoming the very thing that took some to face the judge In an ironic twist of fate, a distillery will call the courthouse home. The Dodge City Courthouse and old city hall is being renovated to become Boot Hill Distillery. Hays Kelman is a co-owner. He says whiskey will be the main attraction, but it takes a few years to age, so the business will also produce vodka, gin, white whiskey and red eye whiskey. Kelman is partners with his father and Chris Holovach. They’ll be using grain from their farms in Haskell and Scott Counties. Kelman says they want to keep everything as local as possible. A fall opening is planned.

KTWU

 The host of a long-running Kansas public television is leaving his position reports KPR.  Dave Kendall is the host of Sunflower Journeys.  He says he’s been part of producing the program about Kansas since 1987.

Kendall says the advent of new technology has made the program available to everyone online. 

Snack Pak explosion

May 28, 2015

Childhood hunger is one of the most overlooked and underreported problems in our region. An Amarillo couple’s volunteering experience with America’s Promise at Margaret Wills elementary prompted them to connect with Snack Pak 4 Kids. Today Snack Pak provides more than 3,700 weekend sack lunches for around 50 schools in the Amarillo ISD very week. Snack Pak provides more than 6,000 in 34 other school districts in the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. Dryon Howell says the program is making a difference. He’s been involved in Snack Pack for Kids since 2010. Howell says kids can’t learn if they’re hungry. And Snack Pak is making a difference… a measurable difference. Howell says 2/3 of AISD teachers surveyed in the last three years have seen an academic improvement because of the program.

wikipedia.org

This week we'll look at the hows and whys of growing gourds, on both an ornamental or functional level.  Related to squash and cucumbers, few varieties are popular as edibles, but numerous types can serve in various ways.  Most of the work of producing gourds comes not with the growing but with how they are treated after the harvest.  Curing and cleaning are the first steps in a process that can produce bird houses, feeders, nifty containers, or art objects.

Recent rains might have pushed the drought out of our minds, but climate scientists say the hot, dry weather is a glimpse into the future, and Oklahoma is a good place to study what adaptations will work.

Amarillo can use its red light cameras can keep for at least another two years because the Texas Legislature won’t approve a statewide ban this session. The Texas House Transportation Committee killed a bill that would have gradually phased out the electronic equipment photographing vehicles running red lights.

Kansas legislators put a $25 limit on the amount of cash welfare recipients can obtain. It's hard to overstate the significance of this action. Many households without enough money to maintain a minimum balance in a conventional checking account will pay their rent and their utility bills in cash. A single mother with two children seeking to withdraw just $200 in cash could incur $30 or more in fees, which is a big chunk of the roughly $400 such a family would receive under the program in Kansas.

Morning Edition featured a story that reminds us to take a moment to remember what this day is about. If you missed it, follow the link.

What is this three day weekend all about? What are the traditions of Memorial Day? Take the quiz from the Washington Post and find out how much you know about a holiday many will say marks the beginning of summer.

The new release from Dar Williams-‘Emerald’- is her 11th release and her first record since 1995’s ‘The Honesty Room’ that has not been released by Razor & Tie Records.  ‘Emerald’ features several special guests including Richard Thompson, Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche.  We will listen to ‘Emerald’ this week on High Plains Morning.

solarlivinginterns.blogspot.com

It is that time when Kansas cars, driveways, and tops of heads wear purplish reminders of a passing bird’s mulberry feast. Everyone saw it coming as pale fruits of this native tree first turned from white to bright red then matured to black-purple. Not so long ago, Jayhawk-state residents looked forward to this early spring fruit as one of summer’s first harvests. Now days, most folks consider these berries a mess to clean up.

wikipedia.org

The past couple weeks have brought rain, rain, sorely needed rain.  It’s also saturated the ground and left some standing water.  That’s the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.  This report from KGOU.

  HPPR is so pleased to present Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines in a Living Room Concert  on Friday, June 5! This show will be at The Fibonacci, located at 3306 SW 6th Ave, the home of Chamber Music Amarillo.  The doors will open at 7:00, and the show will start at 7:30.  We are asking for a suggested donation of $15.00 for this show.  To make a reservation, call us at 806-367-9088 or send an e-mail to music@hppr.org.  Don't miss this one!

About Terri Hendrix(from terri's website terrihendrix.com)

Luke Clayton

Join Luke this week while he visits with Seth Vanover about the impact the fresh water from all the rain is having on catfishing.

More rain and less warmth than normal is both a blessing and challenge to farmers. About 60 percent of corn is in the ground in the Texas Panhandle. Jourdan Bell is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist. He says he’s concerned about fungal disease. Some seed put in the ground hasn’t germinated, and in saturated conditions you can see degradation and possible infection. Bell also says if the corn’s not planted by early May, there can be some pretty hefty yield degradation. That’s led to farmers considering planting grain sorghum. The moisture’s has a mixed impact on wheat. Bell says there’s been a lot of hail damage and very heavy disease pressure, but he thinks farmers will see a considerable boost in yields.

Texas lawmakers put the finishing touches on a $210 billion state budget last night. The budget now goes back to both chambers for a vote.

The Kansas House approved a bill that some legislators hope will improve voter turnout in local elections.

Federal regulators are requiring extensive renovations to make the Kansas State Hospitals safer for patients. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary says patients can't be housed in areas where the construction is being done. That means 60 beds have to be emptied. That's affecting the where patients are being referred.

This Lamar Town

May 21, 2015
Russ Baldwin / The Prowers Journal

Pick a highway.. any highway… here on the high plains… as you pass through small towns there are skeletons standing on main street, reminding you of another time, when the bare buildings were bustling business, the quiet streets were full of cars, there wasn’t a parking place to be found, and the sidewalks were brimming with people. 

One Lamar, Colorado resident shares a poem of longing for those days and hoping they return.  

pphm.org

American artist George Catlin (1796–1872) journeyed west five times in the 1830s, traversing the Great Plains where he visited and painted more than 140 American Indian tribes. The exhibition “George Catlin’s American Buffalo” presents 40 original Catlin paintings from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection to show the crucial role of the buffalo in Plains Indian culture. Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum will host the Smithsonian American Art Museum Touring Exhibition “George Catlin’s American Buffalo” May 30- Aug 30, 2015 in the Foran Family Galleries.

Midwesterners rarely have the opportunity to hear the sound of the 17-year cicada, and this is the year. Some say it's annoying. Regardless of your assessment of the song, you won't get the chance again until 2032.

There’s a new eye in the sky in the Texas Panhandle, and it’s helping monitor the electric lines. Southwestern Public Service is exploring the use of drones. SPS’s parent company, Xcel Energy, has permission to use the technology. Wes Reeves is the spokesman for SPS. He says there are some clear advantages of drone use in the rough panhandle terrain. Reeves says air assessment also has distinct advantages in disasters like the 2014 Fritch wildfire. The Federal Aviation Administration approved Xcel’s request earlier this month. The company will use the drones to survey transmission and distribution lines, power plants, renewable energy facilities, substations, and natural gas pipelines it has in other regions.

You’ve probably heard of a stud bull before.. the favored male who mates with the herd. But a stud dame? They exist and the demand for their offspring is growing. Just how would you maximize the number of calves a supercow can produce? Some ranchers are using a process called embryo transfer, or E.T. that’s where the super cow is given hormones so she produces multiple eggs, then she’s bred, and the fertilized eggs are harvested. The embryos are implanted in less valuable cows who carry them to birth.

The Gourd People

May 20, 2015
Skip Mancini

A trip to the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show brought me face to face with a family of gourds that were watching me as I was watching them.  This whimsical art form has been mastered by a garden artist named Betty Finch, and she does wonderful things with gourds big and small.  Don't miss the slide show!

Here's a link to Betty's website: finchgourd.com  

khi.org

Some state legislatures are moving to shield residents’ federal health insurance subsidies in advance of a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act.

The Kansas Legislature is not among them.

As Kansas lawmakers work toward a tax plan to end the 2015 session, they have not had any briefings on the King v. Burwell case, the verdict expected in June or its implications for the nearly 100,000 Kansans who purchased insurance from healthcare.gov, the online insurance exchange.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

The big story from the U.S. Drought Monitor for our region is rain.  Recent rains are made large scale drought improvement across southwest and west central Kansas.  There’s a small area of severe drought in northwest Kansas where the recen rains haven’t been as substantial.  Oklahoma and Texas has experienced big improvements, but some residual dryness is evident.

Exceptional drought conditions have been completely eliminated from Texas and Oklahoma for the first time since July of 2012.

Senate Bill 498, which ends a five-year property exemption for new wind farms on Jan. 1, 2017, is headed to Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk.

If you’re a fan of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, The Oklahoma Historical Society just released a compilation of rediscovered songs from the personal transcriptions of Bob Wills. The original recordings were included in the Wills Family donation of Bob Will’s personal items. About 130 recordings of radio broadcast from the 1940s were discovered in the collection. The audio was deteriorating because they were only meant to be played a limited number of times. The work was restored and remastered. The initial run is 1,000 records pressed on 180-gram vinyl. The album features songs once thought lost to time, dust, heat and mold from one of Oklahoma’s biggest musical icons. The effort is part of OHS’s effort to tell more Oklahoma history through music, film, radio, television, literature, theater, and more.

Courtesy Ben Wheeler/Pheasants Forever and Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

Dave Hilfterty grows dryland winter wheat and irrigated corn in Perkins County, Nebraska. Dave had a challenge that was perfect for Wetlands Reserve Program assistance. Amongst his five irrigation circles there's a lagoon, which he got tired of trying to farm through.

In eastern Colorado, some farmers are breaking the law flying drones to pinpoint which parts of their fields need fertilizer, water, weed killer, or seed. Jean Hediger is one of the law breakers. The 60 some year old farmer says she has pure intentions, and preventing use of this technology is keeping farmers in the dark ages. Those who risk using the drones without permission from federal authorities could face penalties of thousands of dollars… up to 27 thousand dollars. That might change- soon. The Federal Aviation Administration proposed new rules in February allowing people to fly small unmanned aircraft for commercial reasons. Drone operators would have to be certified and keep their devices in sight during flight. Currently, the FAA allows farmers and other to apply for exemptions. About 300 have been granted, but the process is lengthy.. and there are about 1,000 people already on the waiting list.

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