News

Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Midwest farmers are expected to plant a huge corn crop this year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts farmers will plant nearly 94 million acres of corn this season. That’s up 6 percent from last year’s planted acreage and would be the third-highest planted acreage in the U.S. since the 1940s.

Creative Commons

All five of the incumbent Republican U.S. House members from Oklahoma will face challengers this fall, reports News9. Steve Russell and Markwayne Mullin have Democratic opponents, while U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine faces at least two Republicans and an independent. Rep. Frank Lucas will face a GOP challenger, and Rep. Tom Cole will face a Libertarian.

National Conference of State Legislatures / fivethirtyeight

Are higher-paid legislators better at running their states? There are two schools of thought. Many experts believe when it comes to state government, you get what you pay for. Conversely, states where lawmakers bring in higher salaries have often been linked with corruption. Even so, states like Texas with a very low legislative income are certainly not free from corruption. And low pay can limit state representation to the wealthy.

Stuart Jenner / Thinkstock

According to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, if the United States worked harder to make the genders more equal, it could advance its gross domestic product by trillions of dollars.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Food waste is an expensive problem. The average U.S. family puts upwards of $2,000 worth of food in the garbage every year.

What some see as a problem, however, others see as a business opportunity. A new facility, known as the Heartland Biogas Project, promises to take wasted food from Colorado’s Front Range and turn it into electricity.

Thinkstock

In recent years, Oklahoma has seen a resurgence of a very old crime: cattle rustling. The Times Record reports that, often, these modern rustlers steal cattle to fuel their drug habits.

Granger Meador / Flickr Creative Commons

The state of Oklahoma has been locked in a pitched battle with the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes over who should control a lake in the southeastern part of the state, known as Sardis Lake, reports StateImpact Oklahoma.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Some of the most important medicines doctors prescribe to fight infections are losing effectiveness and the Obama Administration is calling on farmers to help turn the tide against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A recent report by the president’s advisors on antibiotic resistance charts some progress but also left some critics urging for more immediate action.

Eric Gay / AP photo

As The Texas Tribune has pointed out, Monday was a tough day for the "Class of 2014" in Texas--the group of Lone Star pols who rose to prominence two years ago, including Gov. Greg Abbott, AG Ken Paxton, and Ag Commish Sid Miller. Here’s a recap:

Chris Neal / Topeka Capital-Journal

Last week Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt discussed a partnership with the Kansas Motor Carriers Association and Truckers Against Trafficking to fight sex trafficking in Kansas and to support victims of the practice, reports The Garden City Telegram.

Aaron Jacobs / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s a brave new world, and the old public school curriculum of Reading, Writing, and ’rithmetic is being added to and evolved in fascinating ways every year.

AP photo

The state of Kansas has been facing the prospect of losing $60 million in annual tobacco payments. The money currently funds children’s programs such as early childhood development and reading comprehension.

Chan Lone / Texas Tribune

Despite lower uninsured rates that in previous eras, Texas still has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, reports member station KUT. And those rates seem to differ according to racial and ethnic lines, according to new evidence.

Susie Fagan / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, after Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill reauthorizing the Local Food and Farm Task Force.

Residents of St. John packed a room in late January for an emotional, standing-room-only town hall meeting.

ncronline.org

Whatever state you live in, you might be wondering if your governor is gearing up for a run at the White House—or maybe it hasn’t occurred to you to ponder the possibility. In any case, The Texas Tribune has devised a handy flow chart to help you determine your governor’s political aspirations. I plugged the names of some High Plains governors into the chart, and here’s what I came up with.

Texas Tribune

After months of scrutiny and controversy, the foster care system in Texas appears to be worsening instead of improving, according to The Texas Tribune. Abused children are being left in psychiatric facilities far past the eight to 10 days covered by Medicaid. In fact, that’s an understatement: As of August, children were being held for an average of 768 days.

Medicare shakes up joint replacement payments

Apr 12, 2016
istockphoto.com

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Medicare patients likely won’t notice the difference, but their doctor may have more skin in the game when it comes to their outcomes if they get joint replacement surgery at many of Kansas’ largest hospitals.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced a program that would require participating hospitals to repay some money for knee and hip replacements if the average cost of a procedure is too expensive due to complications.

tau0.wordpress.com

As the oil recession continues, some are beginning to wonder if this setback could turn into a full-fledged oil bust like the one that deeply wounded many Texas small-town economies. Communities across the western part of the Lone Star State are seeing businesses shutter as jobs are cut and production is slashed. As the Texas Observer reports, towns in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford and Barnett shale regions are seeing unemployment rates rise.

2013, Gerhard Assenmacher / Boulder County Audubon Society

This year, 2016, marks the centennial of the first Migratory Bird Treaty, which the United States signed with Great Britain on behalf of Canada. That treaty and the three that followed — with Japan, Russia and Mexico — form the cornerstones of our efforts to conserve migratory birds, like the Lark Bunting.

Kevin Romero / Via AP

In an unconscionable act that has a community reeling, a nefarious thief has stolen 19 cases of provolone from an eatery in Pueblo, Colorado. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the loss amounts to $2,000 worth of cheese.

The thief broke through padlocks on a freezer at the Do Drop Inn to get to the cheese. The thief didn’t take anything else.

NewsOK

The 2016 Oklahoma Book Awards were held this weekend in Oklahoma City, reports News OK.

Winners included Bike on, Bear! by Cynthea Liu for Best Children’s Book and The Mercy of the Sky by Holly Bailey for Best Nonfiction Book. The Long And Faraway Gone by Lou Berney won the Fiction award, and Places I Was Dreaming by Loren Graham took home the Poetry prize.

The Beats: Many have Kansas roots

Apr 10, 2016
George Laughead, Jr.

I grew up in Dodge City. My father grew up here and my grandfather was on the first city commission, so I have deep roots.  Part of living in southwest Kansas was that we had dozens of buses and trains going to all sorts of places back when I was a kid.  Thus we had a paperback bookstore very early and it had a lot of books.

In that bookstore, I found a book called The Beats edited by Seymour Krim. It had come out in 1960.  In 1963, I stole a copy of it. Because I was 13, the owner wouldn’t sell me one. 

bioquest.org

For a man who wrote easy-on-the-ear verse in line after line of iambic pentameter, William Shakespeare must spin in his grave to think he’s the reason millions of screeching, squabbling starlings swarm from shore to shore and border to border in America.

So who had the misguided idea to import these obnoxious creatures? In 1890 and 91, New Yorker Edward Schieffelin, a leader of the American Acclimatization Society, acted on a romantic notion to import examples of everything ever mentioned in a Shakespearian play to his hometown. Unfortunately, the bard included starlings in a scene in part one of Henry IV. That was the beginning of this cursed bird’s existence in the New World.

Luke Clayton

Luke's guest on High Plains Outdoors this week is one of his long time friends Joe Dunn. Joe is a Chaplain for Victim Relief Ministries and also uses his BBQ skills and... his gigantic smoker nicknamed The Beast, to feed homeless folks and anyone in need of a great BBQ meal. 

Joe gives some cooking tips that is sure to help your next BBQ turn out great. Joe's wife Donna works with her husband and through the years, the duo have prepared thousands of meals for people in need. 

Texas A&M

A species of minnow that has eluded scientists for over a century has been found hiding out in West Texas, reports UPI.com. It all occurred thanks to a case of mistaken identity.

Notropis megalops, the West Texas shiner, closely resembles the Texas shiner, Notropis amabilis. But scientists at Texas A&M have examined the minnow’s DNA and confirmed the species distinction.

News 9

Should you for some reason happen to be in the basement of the Oklahoma capitol next Wednesday afternoon, you’re going to witness an impressive sight.

Up to 40 Oklahoma’s educators will arrive ready to fill out applications to run for state elected office, reports News 9 Oklahoma City. The public school workers are running to try in response to deep cuts to education funding in the state, which have gutted schools and left students in the lurch.

AP photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed a school finance bill in response to an order from the Kansas Supreme Court, reports the Garden City Telegram. With its order, the court intends to develop a more equitable education funding system.

cpr.org

Yesterday we reported on a problem Texas is struggling with: The state has so much renewable energy these days that, when the flow slows it costs power companies a lot to ramp up fossil fuel energy again. This problem could be solved by renewable energy storage, the next frontier on the energy landscape.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

Huddled out on the Kansas plains, 25 miles west of Dodge City, you’ll find a town named for an ancient ruler of the Aztec empire. In fact, the main street in Montezuma is even called “Aztec.” The Hutchinson News recently profiled the town, which is a wonderful example of how rural communities can not only survive in today’s heartland—they can thrive. The town is a treasure trove of unexpected places and quirky characters.

Calvin Mattheis / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

It is evident from the sweeping acres of sorghum, wheat and pastures of cattle, the irrigated circles that can be seen from the sky, and from the scenic overlook at Dodge City where thousands of cattle are fattening:

Kansas’ backbone is agriculture.

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