News

Radio Readers BookByte: Tsil Cafe & New World Foods

Nov 10, 2017
Tom Averill / Topeka, Kansas

I’m Tom Averill, author of the culinary novel Secrets of the Tsil Café, and a “foodie” in my kitchen and in my library. My book, published in 2001, came from years of research, starting in 1992, the 500th anniversary of the Columbus voyage.  I wasn’t on the Columbus bandwagon, given the European decimation of the New World:  the killing and enslavement of people, the pilfering of gold and silver, the outlawing of languages and religions, even the environmental damage done. 

Texas Voters Approve Seven Constitutional Amendments

Nov 9, 2017
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Texans on Tuesday night voted in favor of seven constitutional amendments.

As The Texas Tribune reports, as of late Tuesday evening, about 85 percent voted in favor of a proposition authorizing tax exemptions for certain partially disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. It was a similar outcome for a proposition authorizing property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.

Creative Commons

Last week, a bipartisan panel of legislators in Colorado supported a package of six bills aimed at preventing and treating the state’s opioid crisis.

As The Denver Post reports, the approach puts the state in the top tier for its response and has been boosted by a $35 million infusion from the federal government t test solutions to what President Donald Trump has labeled a national public health emergency.

CCO Creative Commons

An investigation into reports of an active shooter at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City Wednesday night proved to be unfounded, but a man was arrested for sending threatening emails to a hospital associate.

According to a press release from Garden City Police issued Thursday, Centura Health/Catholic Health Initiatives received email threats referring to a civil litigation case the company was involved in.

Our Turn At This Earth: An Introduction

Nov 9, 2017
CCO Creative Commons

“I grew up on the mild-green, short-tufted buffalo grass prairies of northwestern Kansas.” That is the first sentence in my first book, One Degree West. Not all people define themselves by their childhood past, but still today, if asked to explain who I am, I would begin there—on that western Kansas farm, under a broad sky on the dry sunlit plains, in a family who never had to question who we were, because we were directly connected to the source of our identity.

The time is ripe for a flash of red and gold over a white rump, flickering through the sky and trees,  as well as digging dinner from the ground. (All you High Plains ornithophiles will know what I’m talking about!)

Today on Growing on the High Plains, I'll discuss Northern flickers (Colaptes auratus)—the medium-to-large, brownish woodpeckers that tend to appear when the colder seasons are near. Spotting their showy, dotted plumage always pairs well with our vibrant, changing leaves in the fall. 

CC0 Creative Commons

Texans are still reeling from the worst mass shooting in state history, but some in the Texas Legislature want to take action to prevent future massacres.

As The Texas Tribune reports, a number of Democrats and at least one Republican in the Texas Legislature are launching an effort to investigate the state’s gun laws. Ar a news conference at the capitol on Wednesday, state Reps. Poncho Nevárez, and Nicole Collier urged state leaders to declare gun violence a public health issue.

Kurykh / Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday night, the citizens of the state of Maine voted by a wide margin to expand Medicaid coverage in the state. This vote could have repercussions in states like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas that have refused to expand Medicaid.

As NBC News notes, Democrats “are hopeful their victories are a harbinger of further gains . . . with more ballot initiatives [and] legislative efforts to come.” Maine has tried in the past to expand Medicaid through legislative means, but the state’s Republican Governor Paul LePage vetoed five separate attempts to do so.

BLM/Public Domain

A group of small oil and gas producers in Oklahoma has grown frustrated with the lack of progress in the Sooner State. In their view, the state Legislature has been negligent by failing to raise taxes for necessary state business like teacher pay raises. In response the group, known as Restore Oklahoma Now Inc., has announced its plan to try to bring the matter to voters.

Radio Readers BookByte: Edible Stories? Not so Much

Nov 8, 2017
Free Republic

What is edible about this book, Edible Stories: a novel in 16 parts?

Not much, really. A far cry from the Kurlansky selection we read in August, there are no recipes, no community stories… The most mouthwatering descriptions are of Orangina and caviar… Things already prepared for us, and placed on a shelf in a store for us to pick up.

We start this book with a lie. A man decides to lie rather than be embarrassed for a single moment… He pretends his entire life to everyone he sees and knows. It makes them wary of him; they stop trusting him. The people around him—his wife, his secretary, his boss and colleagues—they grow tired of his false front. They can’t connect to this persona.

keesler.af.mil

Oklahoma teacher Teresa Danks recently made national news when she began panhandling beside the highway to raise money for school supplies.

On average, American teachers spend $500 a year of their own money on school supplies for their students, but that number can be much higher in states like cash-strapped Oklahoma. American teachers are currently eligible for a small tax break of $250, to reimburse themselves.

Public Domain

The Texas Panhandle has a long tradition of going its own way when it comes to politics. Now that State Sen. Kel Seliger is in the midst of a pitched re-election battle, he may pay for his legislative independence. Last session Seliger voted with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick 30 times, but he voted against the Senate leader twice. Those two “no” votes were enough to ignite the wrath of Patrick, according to Lubbock Avalanche-Journal columnist Jay Leeson.

istockphoto

Several varieties of medical marijuana, concentrates and edibles were recalled in Colorado last week, over concern they were grown with an unapproved pesticide.

As The Denver Post reports, state marijuana regulators recalled more than 50 varieties of medical marijuana, concentrates and edibles produced by Tree of Wellness in Colorado Springs, after the Colorado Department of Agriculture found the pesticide myclobutanil in product samples.

Fall Harvest Wrapping Up In Kansas

Nov 7, 2017
CCO Public Domain

As of the end of October, autumn’s harvest in Kansas began winding down.

As Kansas Agland reports, farmers reported a mixture of yields, depending on the location and the amount of moisture.

J Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

West Texas A&M University in Canyon is working on a new campus blueprint, an effort to improve movement and accessibility across the campus.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the $400,000 plan was launched under the direction of new WT president Walter Wendler.

CC0 Creative Commons

A charter school association in Oklahoma has brought a lawsuit against the state, in hopes of diverting more revenue away from traditional public schools and into charter school coffers.

As The Tulsa World reports, the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association's lawsuit hopes to do what similar suits in Colorado and Florida have achieved: sharing local tax money equally among district and charter schools.

Spencer Selvidge/Laura Skelding / The Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

"It has been a tough cycle to recruit candidates," former U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro said Sunday about the challenges for Texas Democrats in 2018.

With 36 days until the filing deadline for Texas' 2018 primaries, concerns about Democrats' statewide ticket are coming into public view.

CCO Creative Commons

Illegal marijuana operations have begun springing up in rural areas of Colorado following increased crackdown in urban areas, so the state is looking to put together a task force within the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for investigating black market marijuana operations.

Radio Readers BookByte: Control the Food - Control the Culture

Nov 6, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

There’s a certain possessiveness with art, even if we did not create it ourselves.  People love to be the “discoverer” of greatness.  I have this possessiveness toward books.  When I read an incredibly powerful book, I am torn between my desire to share the greatness with others so that we may talk and revel in the wonder of it together, and my desire to keep it to myself.  A part of me wants to own it and hoard it.  I realize this is completely irrational. 

Jacob Morin

People who live on the High Plains are resilient, taking negative events and turning them into positive ones.

There is perhaps no greater example of this than 33-year-old artist Jacob Morin of Amarillo, who in 2002, was shot in the neck following a drug deal gone bad.

“The bullet traveled through my neck,” Morin said, in a phone interview with High Plains Public Radio. “It changed my life completely.”

Jonathan Baker

The Indian community of the Texas Panhandle met this weekend for an evening of dancing, singing, and community. The event, held in the auditorium at Amarillo’s Caprock High School, was a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, which is held every autumn. Children of all ages danced in traditional garb, and adults sang and danced alongside them.

CC BY-SA Nick Youngson

Oklahoma has become the poster child for a wider national trend of states experiencing budget problems, as reported on Governing.com.

The news site notes that Oklahoma proves that one-party states are not immune to major budgetary problems. As it stands now, Oklahoma Republicans are gridlocked about how to deal with a $215 million budget shortfall left by the collapse of a cigarette fee earlier this year. The $1.50-a-pack fee, a one-time fix which was supposed to plug the gap, was rejected by the state Supreme Court.

house.gov

Two more powerful Texas Republican lawmakers announced their retirements last week, reports The Texas Tribune.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, the influential chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, announced he will not run for re-election, sparking a flurry of conjecture over who will run for Lamar’s central Texas seat. Lamar has been in Congress for over 30 years.

af.mil

Medicaid is failing children with disabilities in Texas, according to The Austin American-Statesman.

Medicaid services in Texas have steadily declined in recent years for children with the most severe disabilities. The decline is due to cost-cutting measures by congressional leaders.

My Plates press release

Seventeen years ago, at the dawn of the new millennium, the State of Texas scrapped its traditional white license plates for a more graphics-heavy design.

The 2000 plate, with its cowboy and space shuttle and oil derricks and moon and stars, gained popularity among some but was lambasted by others who saw the design as an unfortunate departure from the clean design of the past.

If you fall into the first group, then you have cause to rejoice this month as the state has announced that independent contractor My Plates is bringing back the millennial design.

Prairie Tayles: More Than A Thorn

Nov 3, 2017
U.S. National Park Service

As I mulled writing about devil’s claw plants for this column, my thoughts skittered across a dozen bunny trails. So, hang with me. Folks who grow up on the plains frequently re-purpose seemingly unrelated items into functional uses. Stephen Ambrose noted this ability in his book Band of Brothers. He praised the ingenuity of American farm boys who welded metal to fronts and undercarriages of tanks and other military vehicles, permitting them to plow open centuries-old hedgerows. Their problem-solving saved lives and permitted the U.S. front to advance across Europe.

Luke Clayton

November marks the beginning of trophy blue catfish season on many lakes. Guide David Hanson says about the time the whitetail deer begin their annual rut, the big blue catfish turn on at Lake Tawakoni, where he has been fishing and guiding for most of his life.

Radio Readers BookByte: Memama's Sweet Roll Dough

Nov 3, 2017
Lynne Hewes / Cimarron, KS

Every year at Thanksgiving, I spend quality time with my grandmother, a wonderful woman who died about 40 years ago.  Together, early each Thanksgiving morning, she and I pour a cup of coffee, dig out a handwritten recipe card, peel, cut up, and boil one large potato, and set about creating “Memama’s sweet roll dough.”

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Farmers, lured by the promise of an easy, steady paycheck by raising chickens are told if they just keep the birds healthy, industrial poultry processors will take care of the rest.

As The Texas Observer reports, however, after growers sign an exclusive contract to build several 24,000-square-foot chicken houses, the companies that process the poultry sometimes require expensive improvements be made to the chicken houses that many growers can’t afford.

Valarie Smith / High Plains Public Radio

A package of bills to improve and reform livestock disaster programs have been introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, respectively, by Congressman Roger Marshall, R-KS, and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, respectively.

This from the High Plains Journal.

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