Joel Martinez / AP photo

Over the past seven years Colorado has nearly halved its teen birth rate.  Texas, too, has seen its teen birth rate decline, just like most of the US. But if you look closer at these two states, some stark differences emerge.

Colorado is ranked 18th lowest in teen birth rates nationally. Texas is 46th.

Colorado’s has 20 births per 1,000 teenage girls. That’s below the national average of 22. Meanwhile, Texas sees 38 births per 1,000 teenage girls—almost double the rate of Colorado.

Bill Wade / Post-Gazette

Erin McLelland came to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia last week with a message for her party: Pay more attention to rural voters.

The nominee for congress in Pennsylvania says Democrats need to do a better job understanding the concerns of small-town America. McLelland believes the disconnect is hurting the party, reports The Gloucester Times.

Now that the speeches have concluded and the balloons have dropped, what does all the hoopla of the political conventions mean for Oklahoma? Not much, says The Tulsa World. At least, not in terms of the November elections.

Charlie Riedell / AP photo

From Texas to North Carolina to Wisconsin, federal judges have recently struck down state laws judges say were designed to keep minorities out of the voting booth.

Environmental Protection Agency / Public Domain

Looking across the endless flickering grass of the Kansas plains, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a simple ecosystem. But underneath that grass, a symphony of life hums.

A teaspoonful of Kansas soil contains tens of thousands of microbial species, says And now scientists have managed to untangle the complex strains of life that make up the Kansas prairie symphony.

News 9

Two Oklahoma contracting companies have settled claims over a fire at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma, reports News 9 Oklahoma.

Images_of_Money / Creative Commons

The economy in Nebraska appears to be going strong, according to a new study. Economic growth in the Cornhusker State is expected to continue through the rest of the year, reports the Lincoln Journal-Star.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Rural Americans are benefitting greatly from the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, rural citizens are gaining health insurance coverage faster than their urban counterparts, as member station KMUW reports. 

This is especially striking given that two-thirds of uninsured rural people live in states like Kansas and Texas that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility.

Nacho Doce / Reuters

In the period between 2005 and last year, nearly 7,000 people died while in legal custody in Texas, reports The Atlantic.

The deaths had many explanations. Some died from natural causes or suicide. Others died at the hands of other inmates or police or correctional officers.

The insect that transmits the Zika virus is known as the Aedes aegypti mosquito. And now that particular breed of mosquito has been discovered in southwest Oklahoma, reports KFOR.

The insect was found after the Oklahoma State Department of Health began a collaborative mosquito surveillance project with Oklahoma State University. Entomologists detected the mosquitoes in six different Oklahoma communities.

The insect that transmits the Zika virus is known as the Aedes aegypti mosquito. And now that particular breed of mosquito has been discovered in southwest Oklahoma, reports KFOR.

The insect was found after the Oklahoma State Department of Health began a collaborative mosquito surveillance project with Oklahoma State University. Entomologists detected the mosquitoes in six different Oklahoma communities.

Three months ago, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services announced that Kansas had about a 50-50 chance of having its credit rating downgraded again. Last week, the bad news arrived. The company has downgraded Kansas from a AA to a AA- rating.

Only Illinois, Kentucky and New Jersey now have worse credit ratings than Kansas.

Last week the Federal Government released its ratings for nearly 5,000 hospitals across the United States, reports The Rural Blog. Hospitals are rated from one to five stars, and the news wasn’t great. Only 102 institutions hospitals, or 2.2 percent, earned five stars.

Daily Beast

Colorado’s recreational marijuana amendment went into effect two years ago. Since then, Marijuana-related emergency room visits for children under 10 have increased dramatically, reports the Daily Beast.

Sarah Crabill / Getty Images

The STAAR test will live on to fight another day, reports Texas Monthly. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness program is the standardized test by which Texas students are measured. A state commission was expected to totally scrap the controversial tests during a meeting last week. Instead, the panel decided to strike down a recommendation to replace the test. Some smaller changes were proposed, however.

In today's High Plains Outdoors, Luke tells you how to use inexpensive cuts of pork to make some of the tastiest smoked sugar cured ham you can imagine.

Monday is Colorado Day—the anniversary of the day Colorado was admitted to the United States. In celebration, has published some facts about the Colorado state flag.

The flag as it appears today was adopted in 1911 by an act of the state’s General Assembly.

John Hanna / AP photo

A political action committee called Main Street Kansas has been making questionable claims about moderate Kansas Republican candidates. It has now been discovered, as the Lawrence Journal-World reports, that the group’s radio ads are being funded by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. The funding might possibly constitute a violation of Kansas ethics law, says the Journal-World.

Carolyn Kaster / AP photo

Back in 1993, when Bill Clinton took office, the Oklahoma congressional delegation looked a lot different than it does today. The state’s roster of national office holders consisted of five Democrats and only three Republicans. What a difference a few years makes. By the time Clinton left the White House, there were no Democrats left in the delegation, reports News OK.


The risk of HIV outbreaks in rural and suburban communities has increased in recent years. The rise can be attributed to the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the US, reports When rural residents are forced to share syringes, transmission of HIV increases rapidly.

Andrea Morales / New York Times

Oil workers in Texas can breathe a bit easier this month. Some oil and gas industry experts have predicted that the market has, finally, bottomed out. And now it appears maybe those predictions are coming true.

Energy producers across Texas cut 900 jobs last month. That’s not great news by any means, but it’s much better than the seven to 8,000 jobs the industry eliminated in January and February, reports Fuel Fix.

Pew Research Center / The Wall Street Journal

In 1992 the Democratic Party nominated a Southern-drawling man from Hope, Arkansas, as it’s choice to become president. Almost a quarter century later, the party that will choose that man’s wife as its nominee is a different animal than it used to be. As Peter Nicholas reports for the Wall Street Journal, the Democratic Party of today is more liberal, better educated, less willing to compromise, and decidedly less white.

HPPR Seeks: Director of Regional Content

Jul 28, 2016

High Plains Public Radio is seeking a Director of Regional Content. This full-time position is responsible for providing a daily stream of content on topics of interest and concern to the High Plains region through broadcast, digital and social media.  This position can work out of our Garden City (preferred) or Amarillo studio.

Kiichiro Sato / AP photo

The State of Texas has given up the fight—for now—on trying to prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining birth certificates for their children born legally in the States.

Rural Blog

It’s no secret wastewater injection wells linked to fracking have led to a staggering rise in earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas. But now, notes The Rural Blog, oil and gas companies appear to have discovered a method to reduce man-made seismic activity.

Peter Thody /

Most travelers passing through Groom, Texas, are distracted by the almost-200-foot-high cross that towers over the little town. But the lucky few who happen to glance north of the interstate are met with a surprise. In Groom you’ll find what Slate’s Atlas Obscura blog calls “The Leaning Tower of Texas.”

This small town just east of Amarillo on old Route 66 contains a water tower that looks to be the victim of an earthquake. The structure leans at a crazy angle, two of its legs dangling off the ground.

Let's talk about native plants, and what they can add to YOUR High Plains garden. Not only do these natural neighbors have what it takes to survive in our unpredictable climates, they also make a seamless habitat for indigenous birds and bugs -- many of whom are crucial to the health of our landscape. 

Check out Amarillo-based News Channel 10's coverage of HPPR's projected expansion, 94.9 FM Connect. Thanks to John Kanelis for this story. 

We're excited to explore this next chapter in our station's future!

Trevor Brown / Oklahoma Watch

The number of homeless students in Oklahoma has soared by 55 percent over a period of just four years, according to Oklahoma Watch. As of 2015 the number stood at almost 28,000 homeless students in the state. Of that number, about 1,600 were live in unsheltered locations like cars, parks, campgrounds and abandoned buildings. The rest are “doubling up,” meaning they’re runaways or unaccompanied youths living with relatives or friends.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP photo

Last week Senator Ted Cruz delivered a bombshell speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he refused to support Donald Trump, the party nominee. But, as ABC News reports, some of the harshest backlash came from members of Cruz’s own delegation in Texas. At the Texas delegation’s breakfast following his speech, Cruz was heckled by Texas delegates.