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Government & Politics
5:26 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Last Minute Budget Addendum and Deadline Pressure Leads to Questionable Program Approval

Representative Marc Rhoades
Credit tilrc.org

In the midst of conference committee negotiations, with dozens of bargaining items on the table, Representative and House Appropriations Committee Chair, Marc Rhoades, presented a $12 million grant program earmarked for Educational Design Solutions.  Dave Ranney reported in a  recent article by the Kansas Institute of Health the Senate agreed to this addition partially out of desire to end the drawn out session to a close. 

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Harvest Public Media field note
4:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Tying crop insurance to conservation faces tough road in House

Now that the Senate has a farm bill (technically the Agriculture, Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013)ready and waiting for reconciliation with a House version, it’s a good time to look at how some of what the Senate passed may play out in the House—and what it all means for the general public as well as for farmers.

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1:10 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

First Plainsong, then Eventide, now Benediction, from Colorado Novelist Kent Haruf

Lead in text: 
Benediction continues the story of the small, ever-changing, ever-the-same, town of Holt, Colorado. In "Plainsong," the picture of traditional family was shifted when two brothers took in a pregnant girl who became their "daughter." "Eventide," saw the community ban together to protect a family from a violent uncle. "Benediction," brings a minister from Denver to the high plains, who challenges the community's beliefs, and Holt will never be the same.
Death hovers over Benediction, the latest of novelist Kent Haruf's books about the eastern Colorado town of Holt. Two earlier works are called Plainsong and Eventide, and the liturgical nuances of the titles seem fitting as this benevolent Colorado novelist bids farewell to a dying world.
Playa Country Episode
6:32 am
Tue June 18, 2013

NRCS Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative at Work - Tom Turner's Story

Credit photofeather.wordpress.com

Land manager Tom Turner of St. John, KS, manages grazing land in west-central Kansas in the sandhills south of Kinsley. Owing to sandy soil composition the grassland is fragile.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
5:20 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Arizona Cypress

What began as a decorative planting in a city park has developed into a love affair with an evergreen tree that may hold one of the keys to solving a major problem on the prairies and pastures of the High Plains.  Three years ago, we planted a memorial garden for my mother in our local city park.

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Economy & Enterprise
5:18 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Census: Kansas and Oklahoma Median Age Decreases; Texas Majority-Minority

Nationally, the United States is aging, but recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed five states bucked the trend.  They are: Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Alaska.  The report also noted half of children under the age of five are minorities, Asians are the fastest growing minority or ethnic group, and four states, including Texas, are, "majority-minority."  You can read the recent article from the Kansas Institute of Health here.

Environment
5:14 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Lone Star Tick Bites Can Be Agents for Meat Allergy

Credit npr

Lone Star Ticks are becoming more common on the High Plains.  They look like other ticks, but females have a white spot on their back.  On my return from hiking in western Kansas canyon breaks last weekend, I found one had hitched a ride home with me.  I didn't think anything of it until I came across an article from the Wichita Eagle telling about an allergy to meat that can develop a few hours after being bitten by one of these little buggers.  In the piece, allergist, Thomas Scott, says the allergy is not to the tick bite itself.  The tick is just the vehicle.  As with any allergy, some reactions are serious.  The article can be found here.  A little digging led me to another article by NPR last fall about the increased distribution of the tick, the causative agent of the allergy, and said there are no governmental warnings at this time.  It also reminded me that an ounce of prevention, in the form of DEET, before I head out is worth avoiding the whole worry.

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10:32 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Higher Education Cuts Strain Kansans

Lead in text: 
Leaders in higher education struggle operate within caps and budget cuts, families wrestle with increased tuition, legislators grapple with fiscal accountability, and Governor Brownback signs the cuts into budget.
Kansas universities and colleges are beginning to come to grips with what they are calling "devastating" budget cuts imposed by the state Legislature. Leaders at the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State University are warning that the cuts, along with what legislators called a "salary cap," will damage everything from farming programs to the ability to educate doctors to the ability to help Wichita's aerospace industries create new jobs.
Featured events
5:38 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Carter Sampson returns to Garden City to perform at HPPR's studios June 28th

Credit Lauryn Shapter

HPPR welcomes Carter Sampson to our Garden City studios for a Living Room Concert on Friday, June 28!  We are located at 210 N 7th St.  We'll open the doors at 7:00, and the show will start at 7:30.  Carter performed at last year's Tumbleweed Festival, and this is her first visit to HPPR.  Don't miss it!

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Harvest Public Media field note
8:01 pm
Sun June 16, 2013

How are decisions made about projects that benefit rural America?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture first began designating funds for rural development in 1933 as part of the New Deal. More federal funds were allocated in the Agricultural Act of 1970. During this fiscal year, the rural development program is administering approximately $38 billion in loans, loan guarantees and grants. It’s being used to construct or improve 48 rural libraries, assist 243 projects in the delivery of healthcare and help more than 270,000 low income families get affordable housing, according to the USDA.

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3:03 pm
Sun June 16, 2013

NW Kansas Physician Continues to Be an IT Groundbreaker

Lead in text: 
A rural physician was the first to be federally certified to use electronic medical records in the state of Kansas, and continues the trend by being chosen as one of the first Health IT Fellows.
Dr. Jen Brull - a family medicine physician in the tiny western Kansas town of Plainville - is among the first class of 28 fellows to be named this month by the national agency that coordinates health information technology efforts.
Environment
2:43 pm
Sun June 16, 2013

Oklahoma Water Statutes Trump Texas Compacts

Credit PHOTO BY REUTERS/MIKE STONE

A recent Supreme Court ruling found the interstate water compact between the states of Texas and Oklahoma does not supersede Oklahoma's water statues.  Recent stories from State Impact Texas, provide the legal document and insight from Gabriel Eckstein, law professor and water expert, as well as Sara Tran, SMU law professor.

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Featured events
5:45 am
Sat June 15, 2013

Dana Hubbard's first Living Room Concert on June 28th in Amarillo

HPPR proudly welcomes Dana Hubbard to our Amarillo studios for a Living Room Concert on Friday, June 28!    We'll open the doors at 7:00, and the show will start at 7:30.  We will have the usual great coffee courtesy of the folks at Evocation Coffee Roasters, and Molly's cookies will be available as well.   To make a reservation for this show, give us a call at 806-367-9088 or send an e-mail to music@hppr.org.  Dana has recently re-located to Amarillo-let's make him welcome!

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9:48 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Austin Church Finds Unique Path to Blending Colors and Culture

Lead in text: 
Vox Veniae, a church in East Austin, Texas, has discovered a unique path to blending people of different colors and cultures, as well as reflecting the place they live. The key? Being a good neighbor who engages and participates in the world. A great lesson no matter where you live on the high plains. Don't miss the video- Rev. Gideon Tsang shares insightful perspective.
AUSTIN, Tex. - Last Sunday at Vox Veniae, a 200-person church in working-class East Austin, the volunteer baristas showed up an hour before worship services to make locally sourced coffee in the vaunted Chemex system, beloved of connoisseurs. To enhance the java-snob appeal, no milk or sugar was provided.
High Plains Outdoors Episode
9:01 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Distance Marksmanship is About Math and Wind

This past week, I was one of Jay’s students and after some intensive one on one instruction, learned some things I never knew about rifle shooting and also was reminded of some of the basics of rifle shooting that I had forgotten.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:35 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Assistant Pollinator

Credit treehugger.com

Watching bees and butterflies with pollen-coated legs buzz about my garden fascinates me. While I don’t plan to grow my leg hair until it can collect yellow nodules of plant magic, I have decided to join these insects’ efforts to pollinate my tomato blooms.

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2:12 am
Fri June 14, 2013

There is Beauty in the Supercell Beast

Lead in text: 
Rotating clouds drive High Plains residents to cover. Timelapse photographs reveal there is beauty to be found in the beast.
Phoenix-based photographer Mike Olbinski has captured stunning footage of a supercell, or a rotating thunderstorm, near the Texas panhandle town of Booker. It's something Olbinski, who says he's been capturing storms like this since 2010, hasn't seen before, at least not of this magnitude. No, there was no tornado.
Harvest Public Media story
8:01 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Budget cuts and wider competition for USDA's 'rural' dollars

Eugene Jacquez’s family has grown beans and raised sheep at the base of the Culebra peaks in San Luis, Colo., for generations. He belongs to the Rio Culebra Cooperative and says without federal funding, many of his neighbors will be reluctant to sell to the co-op.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

    As lawmakers debate the Farm Bill in Washington, millions of dollars are at stake for small businesses across the country. Rural development grants go out to everything from home loans to water projects to small co-ops.

With budget cuts likely, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is adjusting how these funds are used, and proposing changes to the word “rural.” But there’s concern that a tighter belt at the federal level means farmers and ranchers in small towns will be left behind.

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Harvest Public Media story
6:27 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

The Tricky Business of Running a CSA

A regular supply of fresh, locally grown produce is the expected return from investors in a CSA farm.

Within the local food movement, the community supported agriculture, or CSA, model is praised. It’s considered one of the best ways to restore a connection to the foods we eat. Consumers buy a share of a farmer’s produce up front as a shareholder and then reap the rewards at harvest time. But as Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports running a CSA can bring some tricky business decisions.

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2013 study of 34 measures
8:59 am
Thu June 13, 2013

CO bests NE, KS, TX and OK in overall senior health

Credit America's Health Rankings

Colorado ranks 8th, Nebraska 14th, Kansas 18th, Texas 39th and Oklahoma 49th in overall senior health according to the 2013 America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report.  

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Harvest Public Media story
8:01 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Lifeblood for rural communities: federal funds

Staunton, Ill., Mayor Craig Neuhaus, left, checks out the town’s new water plant with Hank Fey, a public works director.
Credit Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media.

As Congress fiddles with major farm legislation, there’s a portion of it that gets very little attention. Some say it is a difference-maker for job creation in small rural communities and provides a boost those towns need. Harvest Public Media’s Bill Wheelhouse reports.

In the small town of Staunton, Ill., the new $9 million water plant is a welcome addition. After all, when the 80-year-old facility it replaces seized up last year, the community’s 5,000 residents were without water for five days. 

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8:09 am
Wed June 12, 2013

New technology, unusual alliances and uncertain subsidies drive wind power

Lead in text: 
Advances in technology, along with an unusual alliance of green and red politics, have spurred the growth of wind energy across the plains states. Yet the uncertainty of short-term tax credits has also created cycles of boom and bust that may harm the industry in the long run. The Economist magazine provides a good overview of the current state of play.
ON A breezy day in October last year the governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback, took a tour of his state's flourishing oil- and gas-exploration industry. But as the bus travelled across the open plains it was difficult not to notice a new phenomenon in Kansan energy: wind turbines. Lots of them.
4:35 am
Wed June 12, 2013

How the Senate Farm Bill Would Change Subsidies

Lead in text: 
If you missed this story on Morning Edition, here's another opportunity.
The Senate voted Monday to approve its version of the farm bill, a massive spending measure that covers everything from food stamps to crop insurance and sets the nation's farm policy for the next five years. The centerpiece of that policy is an expanded crop insurance program, designed to protect farmers from losses, that some say amounts to a highly subsidized gift to agribusiness.
Environment
4:24 am
Wed June 12, 2013

When Water Burns

Credit livinggreenmag.com

Advances in fracking and horizontal drilling make it possible to access gas and oil deposits previously out of reach.  The process has lowered energy prices, created jobs, and reduced emissions.  It could also be contaminating ground water from the Rockies of Wyoming to Pennsylvania.  It is possible, but people affected by the pollution won't talk.     

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Government & Politics
4:23 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Make Room Seniors, Rural Schools are in the Same Boat

Credit wordpress.tokyotimes.org

The trials of senior citizens trying to balance increased expenses with fixed incomes are frequently in the news, and rural schools are in the same boat.  Educational District budgets are strained, and the Affordable Health Care Act requires public employers, like schools, to meet new health coverage requirements. 

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Harvest Public Media story
12:45 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

SNAP cut, direct payments out, insurance in and provisioned

Wheat field west of Amarillo shredded by a late-May hailstorm.
Credit Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo by Kay Ledbetter

The U.S. Senate approved a new comprehensive farm bill Monday, its plan for everything from food and nutrition assistance to disaster aid for livestock producers to crop insurance for farmers. But before you go popping champagne corks and celebrating the creation of five-years of agricultural policy, know this: The U.S. House has yet to weigh in.

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Environment
8:01 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Dust Storm Deja Vu?

John and Jane Stulp witnessed this massive dust storm approaching their farm near Lamar. Seven such storms have hit the area since November.
Credit Jane Stulp, Special to The Denver Post

Picture this:  A software engineer pulls off Highway 83  because the dirt is so thick he can't see.  Dirt drifts that require a farmer to get the scoop out for the tractor so he can clean up.  A layer of fine dust covers everything in the house, and people huddle in their bed and cover their heads so they can breathe.  Scenes from a Ken Burn's documentary?  No, it's happened seven times over the past few months right here on the high plains. 

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Economy & Enterprise
8:01 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Your Infrastructure Grade is...

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently posted the infrastructure report card for each state.  Scores were given in 12 categories: aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, education, energy, flood control, inland waterways, roads, solid waste, transit, and wastewater.

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7:29 am
Mon June 10, 2013

After the Oil Party's Over, Who Will Clean Up?

Lead in text: 
Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling allows drillers to retrieve oil and gas from places that were previously inaccessible. There are comparisons likening current conditions to the days of wildcatters. In the midst of drought, oil is once again having significant economic impact in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, but it's not a risk-free. A Texas man's legal battle with an oil producer brings another issue to light... abandoned oil wells. Who will clean up the mess after the party is over?
LULING, Tex. - Amid the dry weeds on a 470-acre ranch here, a rusted head of steel pokes up, a vestige of an oil well abandoned decades ago. Across the field stand two huge, old wooden oil tanks, one of them tilting like a smokestack on the Titanic.
Culture
8:01 pm
Sat June 8, 2013

There are Many Things to See in Kansas

Credit kansastravel.org

Travelers across the High Plains often say there's nothing to see as you travel across this great expanse.  A recent article in The Wichita Eagle gave a list of 105 things to see in the state of Kansas that would argue that perception. 

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