High Plains Public Radio


Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

When most people think about vandalism, littering and shooting, they think of big cities.

www.electoralintegrityproject.com / The Electoral Integrity Project PEI-US 2016 (1.0)

Amid the partisan rancor of election 2016, the system of American democracy has come under increased scrutiny.

Last week, North Carolina drew national attention when a group of experts found that, when it comes to election integrity, the state ranks alongside such questionable democracies as Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone.

Chris Neal / Topeka Capital-Journal

In recent years, American schools have experienced a rising problem of kids missing too much school.

And, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Education, rates of chronic absenteeism are highest in rural areas.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas could soon draw national attention again for its role in the battle over transgender bathroom rules.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the Lone Star State may become the next battleground in the fight over this controversial issue. Republican lieutenant governor Dan Patrick has been hoping to pass a law very similar to the legislation that has made North Carolina the focus of national outrage from LGBTQ advocates.

cstoddard / Flickr Creative Commons

Aquifers around the world, including the High Plains, provide water for crops, but as National Geographic reports, a new study suggests that some of the biggest grain-producing regions could run dry in the next 50 to 100 years.

Several scientific breakthroughs made in 2016

Dec 27, 2016

From the moment that Einstein’s theory of gravity was proven when two black holes slammed together, to the discovery of a region of space where the temperature is right for liquid water, and by extension, life, 2016 was full of scientific breakthroughs.

Creative Commons

Wheat farmers have historically used grain futures to hedge against low grain prices, but many are losing faith in the tactic.

David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

A new law in Oklahoma will allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine and strong beer starting in October of 2018.

Up to now, only liquor stores were allowed to sell these products. But the fight over the new law isn’t over yet.

As the Fort Smith Times Record reports, Oklahoma’s liquor stores are challenging the new voter-approved guidelines, hoping to put a stop to them. They say the law will put mom-and-pop liquor stores out of business.

Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

Sixty-one Texas hospitals will see federal funding cuts next year, reports The Dallas Morning News. The cuts will come mostly in funding for patient infections and injuries.

The cut in funding is a punishment of sorts, under what is known as the hospital-acquired condition reduction program.


Colorado has been among the top 10 fastest-growing states in the country over the past few years, but a Census Bureau report shows that the growth rate slowed a bit in 2016.

With Christmas behind us, some of these scams may not be as much of a concern now, but the Better Business Bureau wants people to stay alert to several scams that are prevalent throughout the year. 


After the new year, the Kansas Geological Survey will be measuring groundwater levels in western Kansas to monitor the health and sustainability of the High Plains aquifer.


Many people use the same password, or a variation thereof, to access the myriad of websites or apps that they use on a daily basis, and after every big hack, experts warn people to stop.

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons

Donald Trump’s search for a Secretary of Agriculture is drawing criticism from some important contingents within the ag sector. As Politico reports, it’s been six weeks since the election and Trump has yet to name his nominee for the position.

Trump spent a good deal of time during the election building a relationship with agribusiness representatives, but some of his potential choices for the USDA position have begun to fracture that relationship.


Christmas was made just a little bit brighter this year for some low-income children, thanks to gifts from an unexpected source.

Some of the worst offenders in Texas prisons worked hard this holiday to crochet stuffed animals for needy kids.

The inmates made for a surprising image: These hardened men in their white prison jumpsuits, many of them muscled and heavily tattooed, bent carefully over their yarn and poking away with their crochet hooks.

Hunting wild hogs at night

Dec 24, 2016
Luke Clayton

On this week's edition of High Plains Outdoors, Luke Clayton talks about the Mossberg MVP Patrol Rifle in .223 with Hornady Big Boar ammo.

The rifle is topped with a Photon XT night vision scope, which can be used day or night. 

The Wall Street Journal

Like many other rural institutions like hospitals and factories, rural colleges have been struggling—and among these, rural liberal arts colleges have perhaps been hit the hardest.

According to U.S. Department of Education data, of the 300 private four-year colleges in rural areas, 43 percent have seen declines in enrollment in recent years.


This week Oklahoma regulators released new regulations in hopes of further reducing the frequency of earthquakes in the Sooner State.

As The Oklahoman reports, this "fracking" plan is an expansion of previous responses to earthquakes linked to wastewater disposal wells. Recently the state has seen rapid development in the SCOOP and STACK formations in west central and south central Oklahoma. Almost half of Oklahoma’s 78 drilling rigs are in those two areas.


A Colorado elector is being referred to the state attorney general’s office for investigation.

KHI News Service File

While staff vacancies at two state-run psychiatric hospitals in Kansas are down, state officials say there is still room for improvement.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A scientists’ union, out of concern for employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has established a hotline for them to use to report political meddling.


Those planning to travel for the Christmas holiday should expect severe weather in some areas of the central United States.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s budget gap next year could amount to well over half a billion dollars.

To plug the hole, lawmakers in Oklahoma City are discussing selling some of the state’s power plants.

As StateImpact Oklahoma reports, the Sooner State has considered the idea of selling the Grand River Dam Authority to make up for the budget shortfall. The plan would involve selling some of Oklahoma’s hydroelectric dams, as well as a coal-fired plant.

www.GlynLowe.com / Flickr Creative Commons

More people are moving to Texas lately than any other state, reports The San Antonio Current.

According to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 400,000 new people settled in Texas between July of last year and July of this year. That’s almost twice as many as the second place state, California, received in the same period.

Flickr Creative Commons

After more than a year of threats, Texas is officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of its Medicaid program.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, the $3 million in Medicaid reimbursements the organization received in 2015 will be cancelled next month.

Regardless of whether or not “the white stuff” falls from above, High Plains holidays always seems to sprinkle in great memories and offer an extra scoop of seasonal splendor.

On today’s edition of Growing on the High Plains, I’ll take you back to a time that shaped my appreciation for this special time of the year. Tune in and travel back to a time of milkshakes, penny candy, and a drug store jukebox that played both Bing and The King. Snow or no, these are the remembrances that set the scene for my High Plains holiday.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What has been referred to in the past few years as a “Nightmare” superbug, which up until now has been confined to hospitals, may have spread outside of health care facilities.

Death Penalty Information Center

A study by the Death Penalty Information Center found that death sentences and executions dropped to historic lows in 2016.

Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

Alan Williams of Modoc, Kansas says his wife, Tonja, is like the Willy Wonka of western Kansas.

Ed Schipul / Creative Commons

Oil and gas officials in Oklahoma continue to celebrate OPEC’s decision to reduce its output, reports The Norman Transcript.

As Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association President Mike Terry put it, “The move is good news for Oklahoma, where the oil and natural gas industry is the backbone of the state’s economy.”