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A program in Colorado that helps teach low-income parents about proper diet and nutrition appears to be working, reports Colorado Public Radio. New research shows that the state’s childhood obesity rates are down for families taking part in the program. The federally-funded nutrition initiative is known as WIC, which stands for Women, Infants and Children.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Health advocates cheered this week when Oklahoma officials announced they were considering expanding Medicaid in that state. Oklahoma has been missing out on millions of federal health care dollars with its decision to not participate in the Affordable Care Act. But with ballooning budget problems and rising health care costs in the state, opting out no longer seems viable. And that means Texas could be next, reports member station KUT.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has a portentous new book out that tackles some of the biggest issues in America. Included a proposal for a convention of the states to change the U.S. Constitution. So, The Texas Tribune wondered, what’s the Texas exec up to? Abbott claims he’s not using the book as a springboard to position himself for higher office.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week Reuters found that Oklahoma state officials tried to protect oil companies from blame after earthquakes shook the state. Now StateImpact Oklahoma reveals via Reuters that the state’s fracking boom created new oil millionaires.

Chalkbeat.org

Just as the state of Colorado is embarking on a number of critical education initiatives, Education Commissioner Rich Crandall shocked the state by suddenly announcing his resignation last week. Crandall had only been on the job for four and a half months, reports Chalkbeat.org.

Jim Malewiitz / Texas Tribune

The election for Texas Railroad Commissioner is often a high stakes race. That’s because the agency isn’t just in charge of railroads, as the name indicates. The commission also regulates the oil and gas industry and gas utilities in the Lone Star State. But this year’s race has become especially rancorous, notes The Texas Tribune.

James M. Dobson / Garden City Telegram

With all the recent rains, farmers in southwest Kansas have a bright outlook for the wheat crop and summer harvest, reports The Garden City Telegram. Finney County farmer Jarvis Garetson called the April showers a godsend. “It changed our dryland crops from poor conditions to very good,” he said.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the job of protecting the state’s beautiful rivers has long been the domain of the Scenic Rivers Commission. But on July 1st, reports StateImpact Oklahoma, the state will say goodbye to the agency. With a 1.3 billion budget hole, Oklahoma simply can’t afford to support the commission anymore.

On May 11 Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill disbanding the small state agency.

Hutchinson News

If you live in Kansas and you’re planning to switch your party affiliation and vote in the August 2nd primary election, you’d better hurry. The Hutchinson News reports that the deadline for Kansas voters to change political party affiliation comes earlier than ever this year. Those who wish to switch must do so before noon on Wednesday, June 1.

sundgren.com

I recently overheard someone at an area coffee shop say, “The worst day of fishing is better than the best day at work.” I’m not sure I agree 100 percent, but any day with a baited hook tossed out, waiting for a nibble is a good day. You’re near water, catching sunrays, listening to birds twitter, and smelling that nose teasing scent of mud, water plants, and fish. If you happen to reel something in to put on the dinner table, it’s a bonus.

Luke Clayton

This week on High Plains Outdoors, Luke visits with Shawn Ballard, owner of Diamond Park Homes www.diamondparkhomes.com in Alba, Texas. Ballard's company builds tiny homes (399 sq. feet or less) and ships them all over the country. There is a boon in Tiny home living today. Tune in and learn all about this downsized way of living.  

CBS 4 Denver

Two High Plains states lead the nation in hail damage, reports The Denver Post. Over the past three years, Colorado ranks second behind Texas for the number of insurance claims filed due to hail strikes on homes, property and cars.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Most Americans want the government to pay for health care, a new poll shows. According to KRMG Tulsa, 58 percent favor replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, with a federally funded health care program.

fieldsbh / Flickr Creative Commons

The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer is coming to Texas, reports FuelFix.com. China-based Goldwind is planning to establish what will be its largest wind farm in the US, and has chosen the Lone Star State as the location.

Sandra J. Milburn / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

ST. JOHN – For about two months of the year, Stafford County farmer Jordan Hickel would run his pricey combine through wheat fields in June, followed by fall commodities like corn and soybeans.

Then the machine would sit silent in the shed, awaiting the next harvest season.

KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Gov. Sam Brownback’s office announced Tuesday he has signed into law a bill allowing the executive branch to suspend indefinitely the water rights of Kansans who fail to file annual water use reports.

Ralph Barrera / Austin American-Statesman

Texas health officials have deemed Zika “the virus from Hell.” As summer approaches, efforts are underway to combat the virus, reports The Austin American Statesman. The state’s undertaking is focused on controlling the mosquito population.

Provided photographs / amarillo.com

Last week in Clarendon, Texas, a crew of cowboys passed through town on a historic journey. The men were delivering pen pal mail to school children from Missouri to Texas. Their task was performed in the same way it would have been done over a hundred years ago. But the unique part, notes Amarillo.com, is the method by which they transported the letters. The cowboys made the journey in an authentic 1880 Butterfield Stagecoach. This was the coach’s swan song.

Andy Marso / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Almost four years since new nutrition standards were introduced, many kitchens need updates.

Most Kansas school districts have moved to comply with stricter nutrition standards since the U.S. Department of Agriculture imposed them almost four years ago.

But many still lack kitchen equipment necessary to make the healthier school breakfasts and lunches appealing.

David Zalubowski / AP photo

The Colorado legislative session ended last week, and it was a period of missed opportunities, says Colorado Public Radio. The two parties agreed on what the problems facing Coloradans were. The trouble is, they couldn’t agree on the solutions. The result: the state’s residents still face many issues going forward.

wordsforworms.com

A card from a dear friend inspired me to think awhile about all the quotes about gardens.  

I was surprised to find some of my favorites were about weeds, like this one said by Eeyore, "Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.  

I've also been fond of Luther Burbank's, "Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful;  they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul."

Or these two that made me stop, and consider carefully what my garden says about me:

Jack Williams |  LIVE IN AMARILLO

Saturday, June 4th

@ The Fibonacci ~ (Chamber Music Amarillo)

3306 SW 6th Ave. ~ 7:00 p.m.

$15 Suggested Donation

JACK WILLIAMS returns to Amarillo! 

Kansas Highway Patrol / Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill into law that aims to fill vacancies in the state’s Highway Patrol service, reports The Kansas City Star. As a result, Kansas motorists should expect to pay higher vehicle registration fees beginning in July. The extra fees will go toward providing funds for the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Urban Institute / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health InstituteBiggest gains found in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility for adults.

Bolstered by the federal health reform law, the number of lower-income children getting health coverage continues to improve, a recent study found.

Wikimedia Commons

An aviation company in Amarillo is in talks for a deal with the federal government that could bring as much as $100 billion to the region, reports Amarillo.com. Bell Helicopter could possibly soon begin producing as many as 4,000 aircraft for the United States Army. The deal hinges on Bell’s parent, Textron, beating out Boeing for the contract.

Prowers Journal

A wind turbine east of Lamar, Colorado, went offline last week, reports The Prowers Journal. The culprit? Metal shavings. Repairs are expected to cost about $300,000.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has chosen a new leader to take the reins next year, reports member station KOSU. Charles McCall is a Republican from Atoka in southeast Oklahoma. It’s hoped that he will bring a unique perspective on water to the capitol.

Corn planting in Princeton, Ill., last month. / Bloomberg News

Farmland values have fallen sharply in parts of America’s heartland, reports The Wall Street Journal. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago cites the recent period as the sharpest drop in Midwestern cropland values in almost three decades. Over the past two years, farm incomes have steadily declined. Investors who had piled into the asset a few years ago have begun to retreat. As a result, low prices are weighing down land values from Kansas to Indiana.

Pew Research Center / businessinsider.com

Over the course of this young century, the gap in American cities between the haves and have-nots has continues to widen, reports Business Insider. The Pew Research Center recently analyzed Census Bureau data, looking at the state of the middle class in America's metropolitan areas.

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / Jason Unboun / Texas Tribune

Texas’s complicated method for funding its public schools has increasingly come under criticism in recent years. Last week the case finally reached the state Supreme Court, reports The Texas Tribune. The high court upheld the state’s public school funding as constitutional, but didn’t exactly praise the system.

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