News

Denver Post

Wind farms continue to pump out millions of dollars’ worth of renewable energy in Colorado. But, as the Denver Post reports, turbines are also big business for landowners these days. Colorado landowners received $9 million in lease payments from wind companies last year. And all this wind energy couldn’t have come at a better time for rural High Plains residents. Oil and gas profits have dwindled, and slumping commodity prices have cut into farm and ranch incomes.

Tiffany Stecker / eenews.net

It took 10 million years for the Ogallala Aquifer to fill with water. Now, says a report on eenews.net, after just over a century of pumping and irrigation, a third of the Ogallala is gone, and its future is in grave danger. The Ogallala supplies water to almost 20 percent of the nation's wheat and cotton crops and cattle. But in Haskell County, in the southwest corner of Kansas, water levels have dropped 150 feet since 1950. And that’s just one of many bleak examples.

Kansas Heritage Center/hpj.com

High Plains residents may recognize the name Herb Clutter as the patriarch of the family that was brutally slain in Truman Capote’s true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood. But for folks in Southwest Kansas, the substance of Herb Clutter’s life is of so much more importance than its unfortunate conclusion.

KFOR.com

A group of Oklahoma state employees lamented this week that the state’s ongoing budget cuts are hurting Oklahoma services and citizens. KFOR reports that 20 state employees appeared at the capitol in Oklahoma City on Tuesday to implore state lawmakers to hear them out. They asked legislators to institute revenue-generating measures. They also begged the state to avoid further cuts to services like education, prisons, health care and state parks.

Cindee Talley

Hello, Radio Readers! You know, when HPPR wanted to explore a High Plains sense of place, I was a little skeptical. That our terrain and lives are different from, say the East and West coasts, seems fairly obvious, but are the High Plains all that different from the Midwest? The Southwest? I wondered what ideas about life on the High Plains a novel about eastern Colorado, a social  history of the Comanche, and a memoir about growing up in the ‘60’s and 70’s in Amarillo and Austin could share.

Valerie Mosley / Colorodoan

The debate over climate change has resulted in simmering tensions across the US for years. And this week the issue led to a showdown in the Colorado legislature, reports the Coloradoan. The tussle between Democrats and Republicans occurred over whether to pay for efforts to curb carbon emissions.

Health.com

Last week we reported on how snakes are coming out early this year in Colorado. Now myhighplains.com reports that sneezing and itchy, watery eyes have arrived in the Texas Panhandle earlier than expected. Amarillo has some of the worst pollen levels in the Southern states right now.

Wichita Eagle

You might remember the story of Shona Bandy, the Garden City mom who has become the public face of marijuana use in Kansas. Last year Bandy’s 11-year-old son was removed from her home by state authorities after he mentioned at school that his mom smoked pot. Now Bandy is suing the state and some of the agencies who questioned her son, reports Kansas.com.

Ammodramus / Wikimedia Commons

New evidence suggests Nebraska is breaking some stereotypes when it comes to Red State social issues. According to NetNebraska.org, a recent survey found that three out of four Nebraskans favor laws protecting lesbians and gays from job discrimination.

Goldenrod is a wallflower, standing in the background, while other flowers in the garden take center stage.  It has been blamed for watery eyes and runny noses, when in fact, the true cause of those allergy symptoms is probably ragweed which blooms at the same time.  Goldenrod has taken the heat for years for, but its  blame without substantiation.  It is a rare gardener to take up the cause of the Goldenrod, but I like this plant.  It has a place in my garden. 

Boom

Many of us grew up with stories of the Concorde, the supersonic passenger jet that could cross the Atlantic in the time it takes to watch The Godfather. The Concorde was a commercial failure, and was decommissioned 13 years ago. But now billionaire mogul Sir Richard Branson says his company, Virgin, will partner with Boom to succeed where the Concorde failed. And this time, says Branson, tickets will be affordable.

Jay Janner / Austin American-Statesman

The revolving door appears to be oiled up and turning smoothly in Texas. When the Texas Railroad Commission was searching for a new director to keep an eye on the oil industry, last year, they selected a former oil and gas executive. And when the Commission needed a new chief lawyer, they turned to the former legal counsel for a coal company.

Wikimedia Commons

Crop insurance has come under fire in some quarters over the past few months. While this subsidized federal program remains very popular among many farmers, others have complained that the program helps mega-farmers outbid beginning, and small farmers on land. Others insist that the program forces land values to rise in an unfair way.

Forest Guardians / Wikimedia Commons

There has been an increase in natural gas pipeline explosions in recent years across the US. For example, a 2010 explosion in San Bruno, California, killed eight people. In response to the problem, the U.S. Department of Transportation has expanded federal safety standards for pipelines, reports The Rural Blog.

DeGolyer Library SMU

I’m curator of art and western heritage at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas.  I’ve been asked to comment on this month’s High Plains Public Radio’s Radio Reader A Strong West Wind by Gayle Caldwell.  I’ve lived out here for going on 29 years.   I grew up in Kansas and the title appealed to me initially because of the reference to wind.  I’m out west of Canyon, a little bit north and west of Canyon.  Canyon sits about 18 miles south of Amarillo.

Matt York / AP photo

Last week Arizona selected Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the state’s Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, respectively. But, as The Wall Street Journal notes, the will of the state’s largest voting bloc remains a mystery. That’s because voters registered as Independents aren’t allowed to participate in the state’s primary. And in Arizona, that’s a significant number of primary votes that will remain uncast.

Drenaline / Wikimedia Commons

The US Department of Energy approved a project last week that would ship renewable energy directly from Oklahoma’s panhandle to cities in the southeastern United States. The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports that the 700-mile Plains and Eastern Clean Line project was okayed by the feds last Friday. The electricity transmission line will cross 14 Oklahoma counties before passing through Arkansas and ending north of Memphis, Tennessee.

John Moore / Getty Images/Guardian

Last week a group of Hispanic voters urged the United States Supreme Court to block Texas from enforcing its voter ID law, says NBC News.  Lawyers for the League of United Latin American Citizens were joined by one of the state’s Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Marc Veasy of Fort Worth. The legislation requires a photo ID to vote but limits the permissible forms of identification.

Jacob McCleleand / KGOU

In the midst of Oklahoma’s budget crisis, Gov. Mary Fallin has adopted a one-time fix to fund the state’s public schools and prisons over the next year. The solution involved dipping into what is known as the state’s “Rainy Day Fund,” reports member station KGOU. Last week the governor signed two supplemental funding bills that would take $78 million dollars from Oklahoma’s constitutionally mandated savings account.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The staggering frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma has caused many problems, not all of them having to do with geology. The state has now come up with a way to settle disputes that arise because of regulatory actions issued to reduce quakes, reports StateImpact.

cpr.org

With the disappearance of America’s bees, a California tradition is changing, reports Colorado Public Radio. Beekeepers flock to California every spring to watch billions of honeybees pollinate the state's almond trees. But now, many almond growers are switching to a new breed of tree that grows what are known as Independence almonds. These almond trees are special because they’re self-pollinating. That’s good news for farmers, who spend lots of money hiring bees to pollinate their crop.

Laura Erickson / Cornell University

This year, 2016, marks the centennial of the first Migratory Bird Treaty, which the United States signed with Great Britain on behalf of Canada. That treaty and the three that followed — with Japan, Russia and Mexico — form the cornerstones of our efforts to conserve migratory birds, like the Sandhill Crane.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

While many Texans have signed up for Obamacare in recent years, a new study has found that many of them may not understand what they’ve signed up for, reports CNBC. According to new research, people who get health coverage through their jobs or government-run programs like Medicare are generally familiar with terms like premium, deductible and co-pay. But Texans who buy coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace are less comfortable with these terms.

Rick Wilking / Reuters

In the wake of the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado officials approved a number of new gun control laws. The measures passed the Colorado legislature in 2013 and were signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper. The new laws were immediately challenged by supporters of gun rights. But now, reports Reuters, a federal appeals court has ordered a lower court judge to dismiss the challenges to the gun legislation.

Courtney Perry / Minneapolis Star Tribune

Beekeepers on the High Plains might want to keep an eye on a story to the north. Two beekeepers in Minnesota have received compensation from the state’s department of agriculture after their hives were destroyed. The hives were severely damaged last spring by toxic pesticides that had drifted off a neighboring cornfield, reports the Star Tribune.

John Hanna / AP photo

Kansas lawmakers have begun debate on a proposed solution to the state’s school funding crisis. The Kansas Supreme Court has determined that funding for schools in the Sunflower State is not equitable, noting that poor districts often get a raw deal. The court has ordered lawmakers to fix the problem, reports The Wichita Eagle. Debate started last week on a bill that would reshuffle K-12 money in a way supporters hope will meet the court’s order for more equitable funding.

Barbara Damrosch / Washington Post

This spring folks on the High Plains might consider feeding their soil a seafood dinner. When we make soup, it might seem easier to just dump an envelope of dehydrated powder into the pot. But using real leeks and thyme isn’t hard, and it results in a richer and tastier meal. Your soil acts in much the same way, says a recent column in The Washington Post.

Texas makes you tough

Mar 27, 2016
Cindee Talley

I’ve been thinking a lot about the influence of “place” on who we become and whether or not that influence ever wanes.  

In A Strong West Wind, an account of a Texas high plains girlhood, Gail Caldwell writes, “How do we become who we are? The question belongs not just to genes or geography or the idea of destiny, but to the entire symphony of culture and its magisterial march—to Proust’s madeleines and Citizen Kane’s “Rosebud” and anyone’s dreams of being someplace, anyplace, else. I was a girl whose father had taken such pride in her all her life, even when it was masked as rage, that he had lit a fire in me that would stay warm forever. I was the daughter of a woman who, on a farm in east Texas in the 1920s, had crept away from her five younger siblings so that she could sit on a hillside and read—a mother whose subterranean wish, long unrevealed, was that I might become who she could not. Each of us has these cloisters where the old discarded drams are stored, innocuous as toys in the attic. The real beauty of the question—how do we become who we are?—is that by the time we are old enough to ask it, to understand its infinite breadth, it is too late to do much about it. That is not the sorrow of hindsight, but its music: That is what grants us a bearable past.” 

dariennewsonline.com

Easter is about much more than egg hunts and a big ol’ rabbit posing for pictures with little ones. However, in small towns across Kansas such festivities remind winter -weary children and adults that spring truly has arrived. With the promise of sugary treats, hope rises like sap in tots impatient to collect brightly colored eggs tempting them from a green lawn. Their enthusiasm should be bottled and sold.

Venison Pastrami

Mar 25, 2016
Luke Clayton

Join Luke this week for some hands on, step-by-step instructions in making pastrami and corned venison at home! Many people might be surprised to learn that making corned beef (or corned venison) has very much in common with making pastrami. Both tasty sandwiches cuts require curing the meat first. After curing, pastrami is seasoned and either baked or slow smoked. Corned beef or corned venison is slow simmered for a couple hours after curing. Luke goes into great detail this week in describing the process.   

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