News

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

A successful program in Michigan that helps hungry families buy more healthy food is expanding across the country.

Public Domain

A new report predicts that construction will be the fastest growing sector of Nebraska’s economy through 2018, says Net Nebraska. The study predicts that construction employment in Nebraska will reach a record level this year and continue to grow. The sector is expected to expand by almost 10 percent over 2007 levels. Much of the construction growth will be due to state tax dollars for roads projects.

nature.mdc.mo.gov

In the past week, I met a garden neighbor.  Apparently, this blue/green juvenile racerunner lizard moved from his burrow or wherever his last digs were into my 12 x 18 foot raised-bed garden.  Our hilltop is too rocky to support an in-ground garden, so we had to create our own little haven for tomatoes, peppers, onions, and okra.  Mr. Psychedelic must enjoy the insects that also call the Salsa in the Makings Ranch home, and he is now dining al fresco under the tomato vines.

While I was on my hands and knees pulling weeds, this little character’s reptilian movements alarmed me to leap swiftly to my feet.  After all, we live on a sunny, rocky hilltop that translates into perfect snake habitat.  I have found it is best to be on the lookout since slithery things live here too.  After my brain settled and eyes focused, I realized the new garden guard was a cute little lizard called a racerunner.

blackhillsenergy.com

Black Hills Energy has purchased a natural gas transmission pipeline in southwest Kansas from Anadarko Natural Gas Co., reports The Garden City Telegram. The Kansas natural gas utility closed on the sale this week of the 37-mile length of pipeline.

American BBQ Secrets

Jul 15, 2016
Elena Heatherwick / Guardian

Texans take their barbecue seriously. So do other denizens of the High Plains, for that matter. Brad McDonald, an journalist from the South, recently set out to explain to the British readers of the UK newspaper The Guardian exactly how to go about making great American barbecue.

Patrick Michels / Texas Observer

The Observer has published a thoughtful examination of what it means to be a legal guardian in Texas. When all other efforts have been exhausted, guardianship is used to protect people from neglect or abuse. But the situation all too often leads to neglect and abuse—and results in the removal of legal rights. Due to an aging populace and scattered families, guardianships are increasingly common in the Lone Star State.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The nights were often worse for Gabriel, even after long days working on the production line at a pork slaughterhouse in Nebraska.

He had nightmares that the line – what the workers call “the chain” – was moving so fast, that instead of gutted hogs flying by, there were people.

“You’ve been working there for three hours, four hours, and you’re working so fast and you see the pigs going faster, faster,” he says. 

Pratt Tribune

From Kansas Agland:

In spite of the wildfire that burned nearly 400,000 acres of grassland in Barber and Comanche counties, farmers and ranchers continue to look to better times and a renewed commitment to their farm and ranch operations.

Rural Blog

In the near future we may see robots replacing workers on farms, reports The Rural Blog.

In the past, the main barrier to replacing human labor with mechanical workers has been price. But now, those costs are lowering, according to a Boston-based firm that studies new technology. Meanwhile, farm wages are rising. When wages overtake the cost to run robots in the fields, humans will be replaced.

Creative Commons

Concerns continue to grow in Texas about the spread of Zika, The state has now documented its first baby born with a disease linked to the virus. The infant with Zika-linked microcephly was born near Houston, reports USA TODAY. The mother had arrived in Texas from Latin America, where she presumably contracted the virus. Officials insist there is no risk to the public, as neither the mother nor the baby are infectious.

Creative Commons

The Prowers Journal has published a helpful timeline to help Colorado voters understand important upcoming dates in the 2016 election.

Yesterday (July 14th) was the last chance for an unaffiliated candidate to file a petition for nomination. The final opportunity for a write-in candidate to do so is next week, on the 21st.

gohastings.com

I worked for Hastings for a few years, in college, managing the book department and working at the front counter. In one way or another, Hastings has always been there for me. The retailer is as much a part of my childhood as Palo Duro Canyon or Cadillac Ranch--more so, probably, given how often I shopped there.

Wheat as We Grow It

Jul 13, 2016
Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

From the way it is grown, harvested and processed into flour, and the way it's entwined in the lives of the families who produce it, wheat's journey is an emotional one.

In a time where agricultural practices are questioned at every turn, it's important to look at what's being done to keep our food safe while conserving the environment while providing enough food for the earth's inhabitants.

healthcare.gov

From the Kansas Health Institute:

About 12 percent dropped coverage, close to national average.

Almost nine out of every 10 Kansans who selected health insurance on the federal online marketplace paid for at least the first month of their coverage this year, offering one bit of stability in the sometimes-turbulent marketplace.

thebrittanyfund.org

Two years ago Brittany Maynard, moved to Oregon so she could “die with dignity.” She had an aggressive brain tumor and was in extreme pain, and her story became international news and landed her on the cover of People magazine. In Colorado, some observers who had loved ones experiencing similar pain thought it deeply unfair that Maynard was able to lawfully end her torment while their family members continued to suffer.

Lauren Koski / amarillo.com

Wills Elementary in Amarillo has been harvesting produce alongside the brick buildings of the school. And now those fruits and vegetables are going to a good cause, reports Amarillo.com. The food will help refugee and low-income families feed their families. The program is part of a partnership with the High Plains Food Bank.

Nick Cote / New York Times

The West has changed a great deal since the days of thousand-mile cattle drives. Ranchers now employ drones to track livestock, and many have traded in their trusty horses for four-wheelers. But in Colorado and other parts of the High Plains, notes The New York Times, there’s one tradition that hasn’t changed: branding day.

Creative Commons

Pot opponents in Colorado had been gearing up to for a battle to try to force a vote on whether marijuana dealers in the state should require less-potent pot. Their proposed initiative would have also warned pot shoppers that the drug could cause brain damage and paranoia. But now these opponents have decided to give up the fight, reports Colorado Public Radio.

Backers of the measure announced Friday that they have been unable to raise enough money to advertise their plan.

Free State High School in Lawrence, Kan., a public school. Kansas has for years been the stage for a messy school funding fight that has shaken the Legislature and reached the State Supreme Court.Credit Mike Yoder / AP photoEdit | Remove

Texas Tribune

Last year advocates for the disabled in Texas became enraged when the state legislature instituted sweeping budget cuts to a state-funded children’s therapy program. Last week those advocates received some good news, reports KVUE.

On Friday the Texas Supreme Court delivered a temporary, last-minute victory to families of children with disabilities. The cuts were scheduled to take effect July 15, but the Supreme Court’s order will delay those cuts.

Brennan Linsley / AP photo

There are few divides in the United States greater than that between rural and urban places, Colorado Public Radio recently noted.

Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

The State of Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections has leased a new private facility in far western Oklahoma, near Sayre. The state began moving inmates there last Tuesday, reports KGOU.

The new facility will mark the first time the state has utilized a private facility to house inmates, though state employees will run the prison. The facility is owned by Corrections Corporation of America.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has fallen 25% this year, reports The Wall Street Journal. The decline comes after the state’s efforts to curb the oil and gas industry’s practice of pumping wastewater from its underground operations.

Richard Carson / Reuters

Due to its large deposits of shale oil, the United States has more recoverable oil available than either Russia or Saudi Arabia, according to Reuters. The information comes from a new report by Norwegian consulting group Rystad Energy.

The study contends that the US currently holds an estimated 264 billion of barrels of reserves in existing fields, discoveries and yet to be discovered fields.

That’s eight billion more barrels than Russia has, and over 50 billion more barrels than the Saudis.

Seth McConnell / Denver Post

There’s a new visitor overtaking Colorado’s front range this summer, reports The Denver Post. Black-tusked tussock moth caterpillars have spread across 25,000 acres of the state in a single year. Authorities have spent almost $300,000 on a helicopter chemical assault to stop them.

CNN/Texas Department of Public Safety/US Census Bureau

There are almost 28 million people living in Texas, and more than 1 million of them are licensed to carry a handgun, reports CNN. That’s one out of every 28 people. Dallas County has the third highest number of gun licensees in the state, following Harris (139,563) and Tarrant (71,504) counties.

Jolie Green / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

For the first time nearly 15 years, the price of wheat is so low that government loan programs have once again kicked in.

Luke Clayton

In this weeks show, Luke takes you with him to the wilds of northeast Texas on a hog hunt with Tim Smith, owner and publisher of Airgun Hobbyist Magazine www.airgunhobbyist.com and Tim's son Ben. Ben is an accomplished marksman but this was his first big game hunt. We were hunting Terry Tate's ranch. Tate makes the Professional Big Bore Air Guns www.pbbairguns.com. Ben was successful in harvesting two wild hogs, one with the .45 caliber PBB Airgun  shootine a Hunter's Suipply roundball and one with an arrow using a Sam Yang rifle designed to shoot arrows. Not that Ben has his first big game animal in the cooler, he's ready for a lifetime of hunting adventures...the journey has begun!

www.ourhenhouse.org

 Something’s been eating my strawberries. Yes, the luscious berries that we planted two springs ago and carefully nurtured so we’d have fresh fruit over our ice cream and cake or sliced to sweeten a fresh  spinach salad. Since they first began blooming in May, I’ve harvested about 15 scarlet bursts of flavor that hip hop on my taste buds. Last week, I went to pick some for supper and discovered I’m not the only one that likes this spring treat.

Ken Rofidal / Creative Commons

Kansas congressman Tim Huelskamp received a stern Twitter rebuke from elder Kansas statesman Bob Dole this week, reports The Hutchinson News.

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