News

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

An upcoming Supreme Court case involving a Colorado wedding cake shop’s refusal to serve a gay couple could have major implications in Texas.

As The Texas Tribune reports, in 2012 a baker at the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado denied service to a gay couple, citing his own religious exceptions to gay marriage. If the high court rules in favor of the baker, the decision could affect a number of recent prominent cases in Texas.

Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

New criminal justice laws in Oklahoma, approved by voters last November, went into effect last week but as Oklahoma Watch reports, the laws are still shrouded in uncertainty.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Since before he was elected, President Donald Trump has been touting a $1 trillion proposal to overhaul the infrastructure of the United States.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Texas and nine other conservative states are threatening to sue the Trump administration unless the White House stops offering deportation relief and work permits to so-called “DREAMers.”

Stephen Pingry / Tulsa World

Oklahoma began its new budgetary year on Friday, and Gov. Mary Fallin published an editorial in the Stillwater News Press defending her state’s accomplishments. While she acknowledged that the past session was challenging, she asserted that Oklahoma lawmakers were able “to fund core mission services such as education, health and human services, and public safety.”

Driverless beer delivery sets Guinness World Record

Jun 30, 2017
Otto/Anheuser-Busch

That self-driving truck that delivered beer down I-25 in Colorado a few months ago? It set a Guinness World Record.

As The Denver Post reports, in October, a self-driving truck from tech company Otto hauled 51,744 cans of Budweiser beer from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 132-mile road trip set a Guinness World Record for the “Longest continuous journey by a driverless and autonomous lorry,” which in non-British English means tractor-trailer.

Prairie Tayles: Fourth of July Fun

Jun 30, 2017
CCO Public Domain

“Gramma, wuuuhms (worms), pops!” giggled my three-year-old granddaughter, calling from western Kansas. It’s early July, so I realize her parents have taken her to buy childhood firecrackers such as black snakes and those little poppers that I, our daughters, and now our grand love to throw on hard ground. Sure enough, my little caller’s mother confirms that’s what happened. This is G’s first year to enjoy these holiday favorites, and she wanted to share her excitement.

Luke Clayton

 Luke Clayton and Lake Tawakoni catfish guide David Hanson (903) 268 7391 discuss a recent trip with Luke, his daughter Ashley and her two children Anna and Conner.

Today's show's theme is introducing youngsters to the sport of fishing. Tune in and learn the do's and dont's of getting kids "hooked" on fishing. 

Beef Products Inc. settles lawsuit against ABC

Jun 30, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

Beef Products Inc. has settled a $1.9 billion lawsuit against ABC News.

As the Sioux City Journal reports, terms of the settlement are confidential, but in a statement, BPI Attorney Dan Webb said the company was “extraordinarily pleased” with the settlement and that BPI’s product has been vindicated.

In a written statement, an ABC spokesperson said the “amicable resolution” of the lawsuit was in the network’s best interest.

"As an artist, my goal is to remind everyone that we’re all here to take care of each other. As an entertainer, my job is to make sure we all have a good time doing it.”      

—Mudbone  

Today on High Plains Morning, HPPR listeners had the pleasure of a pre-lunch serenade and brief roots music history lesson from Mudbone.

Hear the interview and his live, in-studio performance at the link below.

CC0 Public Domain

Cheap, imported solar panels have fueled growth in the solar industry in Texas, and reinvigorated the careers of laid-off oilfield workers, as the Texas Tribune reports, but some industry leaders fear a trade case will increase prices and end that growth. 

ENERGY.GOV

The wind that blows across the Great Plains makes it prime real estate for wind turbines.

But as Colorado Public Radio reports, some are concerned that wind energy could threaten the reliability of the nation’s electric grid, while others believe if properly planned for, there’s no limit on how much renewable energy the grid can one day handle.

Today we'll take a trip to a pumpkin paradise, thanks to Steve & Janet Weidner. These two are regional gourd royalty, tending a massive pumpkin and squash farm on the High Plains. 

People of the Plains: Wings

Jun 28, 2017

Tom Morris is a 97-year-old WWII veteran from Amarillo, Texas.

Starting out his life, he worked hard, dedicating his time to the railroad when he decided to better himself and attend the University of Texas Law School. While enrolled in school the war started and he instantly knew that his time and talents were needed to help serve the country.

rainbow / Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Legislature will meet next month in a special session, and LGBT advocates are gearing up for battle once again.

As The San Antonio Current reports, champions of LGBT rights have already named the 2017 Texas legislative session “The Session of Oppression.”

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A new service in the State of Oklahoma hopes to ensure that voters never miss another election.

As KOSU reports, the new alert system from the Oklahoma State Election Board will send out notices to interested voters whenever an election is around the corner. The service will also remind voters when it’s time to renew their annual absentee ballot requests.

The issue of vehicle inspections gained some attention earlier this year, after the Texas Senate approved a bill that would make the necessity for inspections a thing of the past.

Public Domain

Determined residents and local officials have helped turn the tide on a declining population in a northwest Kansas community.

As High Plains Journal reports, the U.S. Census of 2010 reflected that Quinter, Kansas had experienced a 4.5 percent population decline and that Gove County’s population declined 12.2 percent since 2000.

Kansas wheat harvest yields a mixed bag

Jun 28, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

Wheat harvest is in full swing across the High Plains and according to Kansas Wheat, yields in the Sunflower State have been a mixed bag.

According to day 12 of the Kansas Wheat Harvest reports, Irsik and Doll Feed Service of Pierceville reported yields of 30 to 40 bushels per acre, while Mid State Farmers Coop of Rush Center reported average yields of 45 to 50 bushels per acre. The highest average yields reported by the WaKeeney branch of Frontier Ag, Inc., were in the 40s.

Valarie Smith / High Plains Public Radio

While a new law significantly increases the fine for texting and driving violations in Colorado, it also makes texting and driving legal, as long as it isn’t done in a “careless or imprudent manner.”

Erika Rich / Texas Tribune

Texas’s controversial “sanctuary cities” law is set to take effect on Sept. 1 and this week marks the beginning of a series of hearings to determine whether the law is actually legal.

As The Texas Tribune reports, some Texas communities began fighting the bill almost as soon as Gov. Greg Abbott signed it.

With Houston signing onto the lawsuit last week, the largest cities in the state are all lodging protests to the immigration enforcement law.

Michael Stravato / The New York Times

The New York Times recently spoke with immigrants in Texas who had fled repressive regimes, and many of them noted unsettling similarities between the countries they left and the current administration in Washington.

More than one of the immigrants mentioned the recent cabinet meeting where President Donald Trump had members of his cabinet go around the room, praising him.

FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Even though it brings in lots of green in terms of dollars to states that have legalized it, marijuana production is not green in the environmental sense.

More than $1 billion per year in taxable sales has been generated in Colorado since the state approved the legalization of cannabis in 2012, but as The Guardian reports, producing even a few pounds of weed is equivalent in the environmental sense to driving across America seven times.

Divorce rate in Kansas reaches all-time low

Jun 27, 2017
Pixabay

Kansas’s divorce rate has dropped to its lowest level in 50 years, when the state began keeping annual records.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the divorce rate last year dropped to 2.6 per 1,000 persons and there were just under 7,200 divorces, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 

Those numbers have never been that low.

Valarie Smith / High Plains Public Radio

Wildfires can be started by neglected campfires or cigarette butts. They can ignite from prescribed burns run amok, or launch from lightning strikes.

However they’re caused, Victoria Donovan, a Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, has been running the numbers to see how often they’re happening.

In a new study, she found a serious uptick in wildfires over the last 30 years across the Plains from Texas to the Dakotas.

The Oklahoman

The teacher crisis in Oklahoma doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, reports The Oklahoman.

Last year, Oklahoma was forced to certify 1,100 emergency teachers to plug unfilled jobs due to low pay and teachers moving out of state. This year, the state Board of Education has already approved 224 more emergency certificates. Emergency teachers are hired without the traditional training expected of a public-school teacher. These last-minute stop-gap educators are forced to learn on the job.

San Antonio Express News

In a recent editorial in the San Antonio Express-News, two prominent Texas economists suggested ways to revitalize the rural economy in Texas.

Many people in Texas yearn for small-town life, write Thomas Tunstall and Gil Gonzalez, but their rural work options are limited. An investment in rural infrastructure, including broadband, would help this problem.

Jerry Lara / San Antonio Express News

The State of Texas is putting the brakes on the idea of debtors jail, reports The San Antonio Express News. For decades, the Lone Star State has been tossing people in jail when they were unable to pay fines.

Last year, over half a million Texans served time for unpaid parking tickets and the court fines. But beginning in September, judges will begin considering the economic status of defendants before sending them to jail.

CREATIVE COMMONS

Texas Panhandle school districts are pleading with the state for more funding.

As The Amarillo Globe News reports, a wind farm, as well as several oil and natural gas wells in Roberts County, Texas has given independent school districts in Miami and Bushland a robust tax base to draw from for paying for teachers and buildings, but the tax roll was cut in half this last year as oil and gas prices decreased and a state aid provision districts rely on to guard against economic downturns expires in September.

Former southwest Kansan's play headed to Broadway

Jun 26, 2017
Courtesy

A former southwest Kansan’s play is Broadway-bound.

As The Hutch News reports, 31-year-old Shane Howard grew up on the dry high plains of western Kansas, where he tapped a reservoir of inspiration for his play, “In Pursuit of Peace,” for the upcoming Broadway Bound Theater Festival in New York City.

Howard told The Hutch News the play has a western Kansas theme.

“This is a love story between a father and son, and how they deal with their relationship,” he said.

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