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A GOP proposal to allow people to carry concealed guns without a permit died in a House committee Wednesday.

As The Denver Post reports, Senate Bill 97 failed in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs failed by a 6-3, party-line vote, after passing the Republican-controlled Senate.

Julio Salazar

Sitting outside a coffee shop on the town square in Canyon, Texas, I spent yesterday afternoon talking with someone who has a lot to say about the controversy over the DACA program. Julio Salazar was brought to Amarillo before he started pre-kindergarten, and he has attended Amarillo schools his whole life.

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My cousin Mark Jones ranches in eastern Colorado on what were once the headwaters of the Arickaree, a tributary to the Republican River. Mark calls it the Ricaree. “Was there water here in the Ricaree when you were a kid?” I asked him.

“Oh yeah,” he said.

“Is there ever water in it now?”

“Hardly ever.”

Last week I shared my experience hunting down the elusive McFarland Juniper, so I thought this week I could offer a few more evergreen endorsements to round out your coniferous collection.

Today’s Growing on the High Plains will continue the conversation about landscaping with drought-tolerant evergreens. Gardeners, hedge your bets with a lovely Woodward Juniper perimeter, or perhaps rock out with a stunning, jade-hued Arizona Cyprus accent tree. Both trees are known to reach impressive heights, and neither require quite as much watering as you might expect.

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Recent radar imagery shows a large portion of West Texas, near the New Mexico border, is sinking at alarming rates.

Two massive sinkholes are heaving and moving near Wink, Texas, according to a geophysical team from Southern Methodist University. The sinking is occurring across a 4000-square-mile region. Some areas have sunk as much as three and a half feet in a little over two years, reports phys.org.

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Credit rating agencies recently sent a warning to the Lone Star State: If Texas doesn’t get its spending under control, including its overstretched obligations in the areas of public education, pensions, transportation and health care, then the state’s credit rating will be downgraded.

Wake Up, Campton!

Mar 21, 2018
Von Holten

What to do with John Campton? The famous painter at the center of Edith Wharton’s novel, A Son at the Front, is a perplexing gent. An American expatriate living in Paris on the eve of World War I, Campton is likeable and sympathetic in many ways—his love for his son is sincere. His confusion about war in such a civilized society is sympathetic. And we see him work to understand George, whose idealism diverges dramatically from his father’s. Campton is soulful, elegant, and sophisticated.

And yet. John Campton is also prickly, small-minded, and vengeful. We learn that he abandoned his family to paint in the countryside. After his wife divorces him, he continues to pursue painting, and not provide for his son, while George’s wealthy—and by all accounts, doting—stepfather supports and raises him. This mercy is met with contempt throughout the novel.

COLLECTORS! MUSIC LOVERS! VINYL HOARDERS! AGING HIPSTERS! LISTEN UP! Across the US, vinyl enthusiasts celebrate RECORD STORE DAY on April 21st. This year, join High Plains Public Radio for our first-ever POP-UP VINYL SWAP at HPPR Studios—Amarillo (104 SW 6th Ave, Basement).

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson / The Texas Tribune

Texas is among several states that will bar teachers, dentists, nurses and other professional license holders from renewing their licenses if they are in default on their student loans. Critics say the practice is counterproductive, since it impedes Texans’ ability to work and pay back those loans.

From The Texas Tribune:

edwards.af.mil

The arrival of spring break didn’t stop teachers in Oklahoma from pursuing their quest for higher pay.

As KFOR reports, this week many teachers traded in their vacations to instead visit the state capitol, in hopes of convincing Oklahoma lawmakers to raise their compensation and staving off a statewide walkout on April 2nd.

Courtesy / Lee Richardson Zoo

Lee Richardson Zoo is happy to announce the first pregnancy of Juani and Cleo, the new breeding pair of reticulated giraffes.

Juani, the male and future sire, is nine years old and arrived from Indianapolis Zoo in 2011.  When he was transferred to Garden City, it was with the intent of contributing to the giraffe population through breeding in the future.  Zoo staff worked with AZA’s Giraffe SSP to identify a female that would be a good genetic match for him.  Cleo, the five-year-old soon-to-be mom, arrived in 2014 from Jacksonville Zoo.

Jonathan Baker

Several fires burned throughout the Texas Panhandle this weekend, on a Sunday that was windy even by West Texas standards. One fire near the northwest loop of Amarillo ultimately burned 400 acres of grassland before being conquered by firefighters from Potter County Fire, the Texas A&M Forest Service, and the Amarillo Street Department.

50states.com

Last week, a bill that would raise hunting and fishing fees in Colorado passed the Colorado Senate.

As The Denver Post reports, the Senate unanimously passed the measure, which would allow Colorado Parks and Wildlife to raise fees – as well as the price for park passes - to support conservation programs and chip away at a $45 million maintenance backlog on 11 dams owned by the division.

Kansas Fire Service

State officials said yesterday that the recent rain helped emergency responders across Kansas put out the latest wave of wildfires. Sixty-two wildland fires burned more than 17,000 acres between March 14th and 18th. The wildfires initially broke out in Rice county but were followed by fires in eight other counties -- including Barber and Reno, which were affected by fires earlier in March as well.

Update: Texas Panhandle Wildfires

Mar 19, 2018
Texas A&M Forestry Service / tfsgis.tamu.edu/currentfireactivity/

Over the weekend, several fires broke out across the Texas Panhandle.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the County Line fire that started in Hartley County on Thursday and spread into Oldham and Moore counties burned 15,682 acres. It is now 100 percent contained.

The second largest fire, the Old Muddy Road fire, began in Potter County Sunday and burned 4,480 acres as of Monday morning, at which time it was 65 percent contained.

War and the Ruling Class

Mar 19, 2018
Wikipedia

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’m the discussion leader for this month’s book club read, A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton.

The theme for the Radio Readers Book Club this spring is World War I, but Wharton’s novel isn’t your usual war novel. This is no Red Badge of Courage or All Quiet on the Western Front. In fact, there are no scenes of violence or bloodshed at all in Wharton’s book. Instead, Wharton examines the effects of the Great War on those left behind, the parents and aunts and uncles and volunteers in the cities, who are left to helplessly await news of their children at the front.

US Air Force

The Texas unemployment rate rose slightly in the most recent numbers, up 4.2% for January. As KFYO notes, the jobless rate in the Lone Star State is slightly higher than the national figure, which stands at 4.1%. Annual employment growth for January in Texas was 2%, marking 93 consecutive months of annual growth.

Amarillo’s unemployment rate, at 2.8%, is significantly lower than the statewide rate. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s jobless rate held steady at 4.1%, a tenth of a point lower than Texas’s.

KUT/Texas Tribune

Lambda Legal has settled with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the case of Passion Star, a transgender woman who claimed prison officials didn’t protect her from sexual and physical abuse while incarcerated in male prisons.

From The Texas Tribune:

PxHere

I never camped out as a kid.  My parents weren’t campers.  We didn’t even own a tent.  At the time, I felt righteously indignant.  What kind of childhood doesn’t include sleeping in a tent at the lake?  I swore, when I grew up and had kids of my own, I would never, ever, ever, put them through the human rights violation of NOT camping. 

SONGBIRDS to land on HPPR

Mar 17, 2018

Join High Plains Public Radio Saturday at 1 p.m. as we welcome the new show, SONGBIRDS. 

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, host Valarie Smith will be toasting to Irish musicians.  Tune in for the likes of Cara Dillon, Janet Devlin, Damien Rice and more.

Luke Clayton

Join Luke at the campfire in front of his cabin this week and learn one of his simple, but very tasty camp recipes.

We don't always have a lot of time for cooking on fishing or hunting camps, but this tasty recipe takes canned beans and sausages to the next level!

High Plains Public Radio is thrilled to announce TWO NEW MUSIC SHOWS highlighting the best in folk, roots, acoustic, Americana and more—and they're BOTH hosted by regional DJs, born and raised on the High Plains! Don't forget to tune in THIS SATURDAY and catch HPPR's exclusive new programs, Songbirds and What the Folk?

Family, War and Loss

Mar 16, 2018
Jason Harper / Hays, Kansas

I’m Jason Harper from Hays, Kansas, for HPPR’s Radio Readers Spring Read commemorating the 100-year anniversary of WWI. I’m responding to A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton.

A Son at the Front is about a family and how a boy's parents try to use their social influence to keep their son from the front lines of the First World War. Yet the son secretly joins the infantry and his father's resultant intense reactions are central to the novel's development. 

Jason Boyett

A podcast about the Texas Panhandle has been gaining a good deal of attention in recent months.

Author Jason Boyett, who grew up in Amarillo, says he started the “Hey Amarillo” podcast for a couple of reasons. The project allows him to give back to his hometown, and it also provides panhandle residents with a chance to hear from people who live near them but aren’t necessarily like them.

Recent guests include Amarillo mayor Ginger Nelson, a DACA recipient, and an NAACP board member, and a young entrepreneur.

USDA

Farmers are going to attempt to appeal to President Donald Trump about his trade policies via television.

As Politico reports, the 30-second ad is sponsored by  Farmers for Free Trade, an advocacy group that wanted to make the case that foreign retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum and other pending trade restrictions will have a potentially devastating impact on their exports, if China and other trading powers decide to boost tariffs on soybeans, wheat and other farm goods.

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Hays-based non-profit Sunflower Electric announced at the end of February that it will purchase energy from the Johnson Corner Solar Project when it opens in 2019.

As the Hays Daily News Reports, the 240-acre solar facility in Stanton county will likely be Kansas’s largest solar plant and will produce around 55,000-megawatt hours, annually. That’s around 1% of the total energy that Sunflower Electric and its sister company Mid-Kansas Electric produce.

L. A. Huffman

When we were kids, my brother Bruce had a knack for finding arrowheads on the pasture hills surrounding our family’s farm. Once, he even found a point resting in the grass at the base of a neighbor’s light pole. I would drag sharp edges of against my palm and imagine braves racing bareback over our once unfenced pastures.

But despite the fact that these artifacts practically littered the ground beneath my feet, I grew up ignorant of Indian history. I didn’t know that many of the battles I’d seen on TV and at the movies, between cowboys, or cavalry, and Indians had taken place right in the Kansas-Colorado border region where we lived.

Derek Klingenberg of Peabody, Kansas is kind of a farmer celebrity. His Youtube channel which has over 70,000 subscribers, features everything from ag-themed pop-music parodies to trombone covers, but what really caught our attention was his cow art.

Tuesday, Klingenberg took his cow art to the next level, when he posted a video where he herded his cows to spell out the word “Hi,” and took a snapshot from outer space. 

I’ve long admired McFarland juniper trees—capable of growing to towering heights like an Italian Cyprus, but sturdy enough to withstand the severe High Plains droughts and wind. It had been a long-time dream to add one of these majestic trees to my landscaping, but would I actually be able to locate one?

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The Oklahoma Senate has passed a law that would make it legal for adoption companies to refuse services to same-sex couples.

As The Tulsa World reports, the measure passed by a vote of 35-9 and now heads to the House for consideration. LGBTQ advocacy groups decried the Senate vote.

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