Dave Ranney / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

One of the three companies that administer KanCare co-hosted a fundraiser Wednesday for Republican members of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, opening a new chapter in the state’s move to privatized Medicaid.

The three managed care organizations the state contracted with in 2012 receive nearly all their revenue in Kansas from state and federal tax dollars.

Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman

The Oklahoman reports that oilfield goliath Halliburton is offering settlements to property owners in Duncan, Oklahoma, after the chemical compound ammonium perchlorate showed up in their private wells. The settlements have been a long time coming—testing found pollution from spent rocket fuel in Duncan’s groundwater four years ago. But as the trial date neared, Halliburton decided that settling with Duncan’s residents was a safer course of action.

How a Dry State Grows Plenty of Thirsty Vegetables

Oct 15, 2015
National Geographic

High Plains farmers seeking to grow vegetables with little water resources might consider looking west.

A western Kansas man is charged with voting in multiple Sherman County elections between 2012 and 2014 without being qualified. Secretary of State Kris Kobach is also charging Lincoln Wilson with committing election perjury. Two Johnson County residents are accused to voting in the 2010 general election without being lawfully registered Kansas voters. Few details have been released, but court documents show Kobach has worked with officials in surrounding states.

Gardening goes green

Oct 14, 2015

A review of some of the things the home gardener can do to be a part of the solutions to looming ecological dilemmas.  Some of the things we'll look at concern soil additives, use of aerial sprays, and the growing amount of plastic that has become a part of a gardener's world. 

South Dakota Tribe to Open Marijuana Resort

Oct 14, 2015
United States Fish and Wildlife Service / Creative Commons

The Santee Sioux tribe of South Dakota may have discovered a new money-making model for native tribes across the US, according to The Guardian. The tribe will open the nation’s first marijuana resort on its reservation, hoping to sell its first marijuana cigarette on New Year’s Eve. Marijuana was legalized on the reservation in June.

Ross Ramsey / Texas Tribune

Earlier this month, a Houston-area mother took to social media to complain about a caption in her child’s Social Studies textbook that described African slaves as immigrant “workers,” reports The Texas Tribune.

Prowers Journal

Colorado governor John Hickenlooper as created a commission to study the representations of Native Americans in Colorado’s public schools, according to The Prowers Journal. The governor’s executive order aims to investigate ways to maintain school traditions and avoid incurring heavy costs while still moving away from offensive ethnic stereotypes in mascots and school imagery.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

After years of work, U.S. negotiators on Monday announced agreement on a trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations that is expected to expand export opportunities for U.S. farmers.

In Texas, Property Tax Relief Comes at a Cost

Oct 13, 2015
Peoria Public Radio

Texan voters are likely to approve a constitutional amendment next month that will provide a bit of relief from property taxes, according to The Texas Observer. The measure is expected to save homeowners’ property an estimated $126 per year on average—but it comes with its own price tag.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The debate over the size and role of government isn’t just polarizing national politics.

It is also at the center of a dispute in Sedgwick County over public health funding.

Conservatives who now control the five-member County Commission are seeking to restore “core American values,” which include limited government, said Chairman Richard Ranzau in a recent speech to Republicans at the Wichita Pachyderm Club.

Kansas Hospitals Look to Improve Food Quality

Oct 13, 2015
Kansas Public Radio

Over the years, “hospital food” has come to be a synonym for tasteless glop. But now, a group of hospitals in Kansas--including some rural ones in the western part of the state--aim to change that perception, reports Kansas Public Radio. With their Healthy Food Initiative, Healthy Kansas Hospitals is hoping to make the food they serve patients and employees more healthy and delicious.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

All week, Harvest Public Media’s series Choice Cuts: Meat In America is examining how the meat industry is changing the U.S. food system and the American diet.

In the US, Rural Schools Remain Vital

Oct 13, 2015
John Vachon, FSA photo / Public Domain

The Center for Rural Affairs turned back time this week to one of their favorite posts. The blog entry, dating from the year 2000, was entitled “The Case for Small Schools,” and the essay’s findings are still relevant 15 years later. Some of the important points from the article:

Darryl Birkenfeld / Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

A new program for counting birds relies on random data-collection-points across a landscape -- some on public land, some on private. Ranchers shudder when there's talk a critter might be listed as threatened or endangered; rules sometimes are imposed that impact or impede operations.

A List of the Most and Least Efficient States

Oct 12, 2015
Creative Commons

The website has published a list of America’s most and least energy efficient states. The site measured the efficiency of car- and home-energy consumption in the continental US. Researchers took into account both home and car efficiency.

Winston Corfield

In this week's installment of Agland, Amy Bickel and Kathy Hanks give an update on a young farmer who was severely injured last harvest season.  The man was not expected to live, but life had other plans, and he's made it back just in time to help bring in this year's crops.  

Hoarding isn't confined to city limits.  The duo explore the phenomenon happening down on the farm.

Patrick Michels / Texas Observer

Texans are being forced to wait longer to receive abortions than ever before, according to The Texas Observer. The number of abortion providers in Texas has fallen from 41 down to 18 since Republican lawmakers passed a restrictive law in 2013.

In this episode of Agland, it's about the State Fair Banana Bread Queen, a ghost town trying to come back to life, a fall harvest update, and the most beautiful Kansas places to visit in the fall.

New research shows that sorghum is the ideal crop for eastern Colorado. According to the Journal-Advocate, sorghum is cheaper to grow and produces higher yields on the Colorado plains than corn.

Due to its central location between Forts Leavenworth and Wallace, Hays, Kansas, hosted numerous famous military men who earned their gold stripes and leaves fighting the Mexican- American War, Civil War, and Indian Wars.

These soldiers left their mark on our landscape in the names of forts, towns, parks, streets, and university buildings.  We would have forgotten one such site except for its mention in the letters and diaries of Albert and Jennie Barnitz, later collected and edited into Life in Custer’s 7th Cavalry by historian Robert Utley.

Luke Clayton

My wife and I are making the annual trek to Galveston Bay for some fishing.  This year it's about red fish and trout.  I'm going out with Captain Mark Gonzales, he's with Captain Mike's Galveston Fishing Guides.

I'm sending you this audio postcard for a little taste of the great time I'm having, although I'm telling you, it's not as good as the red fish with lemon and butter I'm grilling for supper tonight.

Stay tuned.  Next week I'll have another adventure!

Staple Foods See a Drop in Price

Oct 9, 2015
Olle Svensson / Creative Commons

Staple foods have shown a decrease in price this year, reports The Rural Blog. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the total cost of 16 staple food items has dropped by 12 cents over the last year. Whole milk had the biggest drop, down 17 percent. Apples, bacon, cheddar cheese, flour, bagged salad, vegetable oil, Russet potatoes, white bread and chicken also declined in price.

High Plains Silos Juggle an Overflow of Crops

Oct 9, 2015
Gerald B. Keane / Public Domain

Many grain elevators on the High Plains still have a lot of wheat to move this year, reports Some silos are hauling the summer wheat crop out of storage and onto ground piles or bunkers in anticipation of a large fall harvest. The US dollar is at a high value right now, and there’s a glut of wheat on the global market. That means many elevators have more grain than they know what to do with.

Kansas Ag Network

The president of the Kansas Farm Bureau is concerned about a growing problem: lack of education. According to the Dodge City Daily Globe, Rich Felts believes education is one of the biggest issues facing Kansas farmers. "There is so much about agriculture that isn't being passed on or explained to children," Felts said on Tuesday. The farm bureau president is concerned about the disconnect between the older and younger generations.

In the current Kansas political climate, it’s tough to be the Supreme Court Chief Justice.

How does one stay motivated when the judicial branch seems at odds with the legislative branch over school funding, selection of local chief judges, and the  division's budget is at risk if the selection law is struck down?  Add to that the judicial branch, comprised of 1,800 people, hasn't seen a raise in seven years.

roy.luck / Flickr Creative Commons

In light of recent earthquakes, officials near the oil hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, are considering a worst-case scenario plan. According to the Journal Record, 11 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have been recorded near the Cushing oil hub since April. If one tank were damaged in a quake, oil companies could easily respond. But if all of the storage tanks were damaged by large earthquakes, first responders would be overwhelmed.

EPA Revises Pesticide Standards

Oct 8, 2015
Sakhorn / Shutterstock

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a new set of Worker Protection Standards, reports The Rural Blog. According to the new EPA rules, children under 18 will now be prohibited from handling pesticides in the US. Farm workers will also require pesticide training every year, a change to the old rule that required training every five years. And the new rules require posting of no-entry signs for areas containing the most hazardous pesticides.

In NW Kansas, Fear of Worsening Drought Conditions

Oct 8, 2015

A dry late summer in Northwest Kansas has raised concerns about a potential return to drought conditions. The latest US Drought Monitor listed the region’s drought status as “moderate,” reports Prairie Farmer.

Much of Kansas has seen enough rain to rescue wheat yields and nourish fall crops. But the stubborn northwest region has seen diminished yields of corn and soybeans. And some analysts are beginning to have concerns about next year’s winter wheat crop.

This week we'll visit about companion planting, and more specifically about what's probably the most famous coupling of a threesome of vegetables.  Based on an ancient Native American technique called the Three Sisters, we'll explore the support system provided when you plant beans, corn, and squash together.  And we'll throw in a couple of extra 'sisters' for good measure.