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What do High Plains folks hate the most?

There’s a new app called Hater that works like Tinder, except it matches users based on common things they loathe.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, according to the app’s users, the most common thing Texans hate is . . . “sleeping with the window open.”

This may come as a surprise, as there are so many things to hate in Texas, like rattlesnakes and poorly constructed tacos.

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Texas now leads the nation in job growth, according to new numbers from the Texas Workforce Commission.

As The Dallas Morning-News reports, the Lone Star State’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.6 percent, which puts Texas slightly higher than the national rate of 4.4 percent. However, Texas performed better than most of the country.

Douglas Perkins

One Oklahoma teacher has now turned to panhandling to pay for necessary items for her classroom.

Oklahoma teachers will be returning to work in a few weeks, and that means they’ll have to get their classrooms ready. But, in cash-strapped Oklahoma, this can be an even bigger challenge than in other states.

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Oklahoma will soon announce a new health care initiative aimed at reducing premiums and expanding coverage for everyday Oklahomans.

As Oklahoma Watch reports, the Affordable Care Act has struggled recently. Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only remaining insurer on the state exchange.

Luke Clayton

For the past seven years, Luke and a friend have outfitted archery elk and bear hunts in northern Colorado. This is a busy time of year with lots of preparation for the high country hunting. Luke is busy curing and smoking ham and grinding sausage for the three weeks in elk camp.

There’s nothing more tasty than a big breakfast with cured hickory smoked ham when in that cool mountain air. For more information, visit the Hunting East Texas website

Lake Lou / Flickr

Learning more about how our ancestors lived fascinates me so I’m always up for any adventure that involves the past. A favorite place to explore old times is nearby Cottonwood Ranch at Studley, Kansas. First, the architecture is interesting. Even better, are its stories. The curator and his support team have skillfully preserved this English-style sheep ranch and its history. Fortunately, the original owner kept meticulous records that open windows into his world. In addition, the caretaker is a great storyteller for those inclined to listen. 

FINDYOURSPOT.COM

Agriculture, water, transportation, growth and economic development are all being discussed at city halls across West Texas. So why not better communicate ideas?

That, according to The Amarillo Globe News, is the reasoning behind a coalition of sorts that mayors – including Amarillo’s Ginger Nelson – recently formed.

The group, which also includes mayors from Lubbock, Big Spring, Midland, Odessa and San Angelo, met in a closed meeting Wednesday.

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The demand for locally grown and produced foods in Colorado over the past 10 years has gone from being a mere trend to a lifestyle for many Coloradans.

This according to a recent survey conducted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), in collaboration with Colorado State University, about consumer attitudes toward agriculture.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

In what seems to be an overture to the House, Gov. Greg Abbott added two new education-related issues to his special session call Thursday: school finance reform and increased benefits for retired teachers.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout. 

By Aliya Swaby, The Texas Tribune

When curating one's seasonal planting, most veteran gardeners have their favorites. Time-saving green thumbs often prefer perennials, while those attracted to a regular change of scenery might opt for annuals. 

People of the Plains: Coaching Without Words

Jul 19, 2017

Ryan Brigance, better known as Coach Ryan, is a coach, friend, and role model to several people. I am just thankful to be one of them.

Ryan was the owner and head coach of Amarillo Cheer Elite, or ACE. He opened the gym with his parents when he was 21, and sadly, closed it recently at the age of 36. He is newly married and now works as a hot tub mechanic and a part-time school cheer coach.

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The oil and gas industry in Colorado over the past four years has put millions of dollars into campaigns for politicians and for public relations.

As The Denver Post reports, the oil and gas industry has poured more than $80 million into Colorado to shape public opinion and influence campaigns and ballot initiatives, creating a political force that has had broad implications throughout the state.

Kansas Geological Survey

There is hope for the Ogallala Aquifer.

That, according to the Garden City Telegram, is what Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said when they visited Garden City Tuesday.

Ed Uthman / Wikimedia Commons

This year’s regular legislative session ended with one GOP lawmaker calling Federal authorities on a group of peaceful protestors. That move was followed by a scuffle on the floor of the House of Representatives in which that same Republican Congressman, Rep. Matt Rinaldi, threatened to “put a bullet in the head” of one of his Democratic colleagues.

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Newly elected Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson has signed a letter asking Gov. Greg Abbott to reconsider the agenda for the special session that convened on Tuesday in Austin.

As The Amarillo Globe-News­ reports, the letter asserts that some items on the legislative agenda could directly impede the economic growth of Texas cities by taking away the sovereign right of municipalities to govern themselves.

Famartin / Wikimedia Commons

Many Oklahomans will be forced to change the way they drive after a new law takes effect in November.

As KFOR reports, beginning Nov. 1, drivers will no longer be allowed to travel in the left lane permanently.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Recent polling has shown Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to be more popular than the other big-name Republican politicians in the Lone Star State. Abbott is up for re-election next year, and at this point his prospects are rosy.

But, as The Texas Observer reports, Abbott has thrown his full-throated support behind the controversial measure known as SB4, and his stance may be hurting the GOP’s long-term chances in Texas.

tex1sam / Flickr Creative Commons

In Texas, the special legislative session began yesterday with lawmakers returning to Austin to try to hash out various lingering issues from the contentious regular session. You might be wondering how much the 30-day special session will cost Texas taxpayers.

50STATES.COM

Several thousand Colorado voters have canceled their registrations since President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission, headed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, requested voter information earlier this month.

As The Denver Post reports, almost 3,400 voters canceled their voter registrations as of July 13, following the Trump administration’s request for voter information.

CREATIVE COMMONS

Colorado and federal prosecutors are urging illegal immigrants to report immigration-related fraud.

As The Denver Post reports, prosecutors say they are worried stigma and fear of deportation are keeping people from coming forward to report immigration-related cases of fraud.

Farmers, Ranchers Concerned About Health Care Costs

Jul 18, 2017
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As the national debate on health care heats up, farmers and ranchers have a lot on the line.   

As Politico reports, farmers have been struggling with the economic challenges of sluggish crop prices and sharply lower farm income. And even though close to 90 percent of farmers have health insurance, their concerns over health care is more widespread than it may seem.

marshall.house.gov

It’s no surprise to Congressman Roger Marshall the concerns his constituents have during his trips back to Kansas center on the elevators full of grain that dot the Big First district.

“Trade and the farm bill, that is all I’ve heard about now when I do my town halls,” Marshall told Kansas Agland Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday, he met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s chief of staff, Jamieson Greer, to talk about some of the trade issues, including the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

senate.texas.gov

A prominent Amarillo politician and state senator had some strong words regarding the special legislative session that begins today in Austin. As Amarillo.com reports, Senator Kel Seliger has called the special session an assault on the ability of local communities in Texas to govern themselves.

“There’s no other way you can look at it,” Seliger added.

Before his successful senatorial campaigns, Seliger was the mayor of Amarillo for eight years—and it’s clear that he still carries something of a mayor’s mentality toward local control.

Many of the 20 items on the special-session agenda are aimed at stifling the ability of local municipalities to decide their own tax policy or even who can use the bathrooms in their communities.

One controversial bill supported by Gov. Greg Abbott would place a limit on how much a city can raise its property taxes, even if the city itself favors the tax raise.   

Famartin / Wikimedia Commons

CNBC has released its annual “Worst States to Live In” list, and the news isn’t good for Oklahoma.

The Sooner State came in third on the list, which ranks livability based on a number of metrics including crime rate, attractions, air quality, health care, and legal protections against discrimination.

CNBC noted that heavy tobacco use in Oklahoma led the state to have one of the highest premature-death rates in the nation. Oklahoma also has one of the highest infant mortality rates, and has struggled with widespread mental health problems.

Kansas Agland

It may seem unlikely, but a form of cannabis played a surprising part in the foundational history of the United States, namely the maiden voyage.

The Mayflower that ferried British separatists across the sea, the descendants of whom would later craft the Constitution, was a vessel made possible by the use of hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant with little psychoactive properties but immense industrial potential spanning food, cosmetics and building supplies.

Axel Boldt / Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Legislature spent much of the 2017 session grappling over whether to pass a law disallowing transgender students to use the bathroom where they feel most comfortable, requiring these students to instead use the restroom that correlates with their birth certificates. Now, as the Daily Beast notes, the controversial Texas bathroom bill may end up playing an outsize role in the 2018 GOP primary campaigns.

Leaflet / Wikimedia Commons

Texas has more farms than any other state in the union. And now, as The Austin American-Statesman reports, the Lone Star State also leads the U.S. in number of farms owned by foreign entities. In the past 10  years, foreign companies and individuals have bought up almost two million acres of land in Texas.

The combined worth of all that land tops $3 billion dollars.

Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

The State of Oklahoma has drawn repeated criticism recently for leading the nation in funding cuts to K-12 public schools.

phillipsblackhawks.com

For The Amarillo Globe-News, John Mark Beilue has written a remembrance of a bygone place that still holds a lot of nostalgia for some former residents.

Phillips, Texas, was founded near Borger during the heyday of the oil boom in the 1930s. The town swelled in the 1950s with Baptist and Methodist churches and businesses like the Jolly Drug, the 66 Cleaners and the Ostrum Grocery.

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Texas ninjas and barbarian warriors will soon have reason to rejoice.

As CNN reports, in September it will become legal to carry a sword in public in the Lone Star State. Until this year, knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches were illegal in public. But this autumn, after the new law takes effect, swords, spears, daggers, sabers and machetes will all be legal to wear and wield in public in Texas.

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