News

supremecourt.gov

The State of Texas’s recent losing streak in Federal courts came to an end this week, as the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Texas does not need to redraw Congressional voting districts before next year’s elections.

Before You Tear That Old Barn Down ...

Sep 13, 2017
Creative Commons CC0

Barns are as much a symbol of the High Plains as the plains themselves and while many old barns are being replaced with metal sheds and outbuildings, there are ways to give barns a new shot at life.

According to the Center for Rural Affairs, financial assistance through state and federal tax credits may be available to help aid in the process of restoring an old barn.

There are several steps to be taken, however.

Wikimedia Commons

Relatives of undocumented immigrants are at risk for being charged criminally if they sponsor or take them into their homes.

As ProPublica reports, over 400 people were arrested this summer as part of what Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, calls a crackdown on guardians who pay human smugglers, also known as "coyotes."

youtube.com

For decades, Tobe Zweygardt guided busloads and carloads of visitors through the Arikaree Breaks in northwest Kansas – an area reminiscent of a sort of miniature Grand Canyon.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, Zweygardt, who also welded and sculpted signs from old farm and implement parts and marked routes along the breaks, died Sunday at the age of 101.

If you have not yet attended an HPPR Living Room Concert, you are missing some serious fun. Our station proudly hosts singer-songwriters, folk artists, and Americana masters from across the country as they travel through the High Plains. We also love supporting regional favorites, growing our station's community of live music lovers, as well as fans of public radio

Radio Readers BookByte: Food as Metaphor

Sep 13, 2017
Garland, Kansas / Kansas Memory, Kansas Historical Society

I was six years old when I realized that food can be dished up in two categories:  food that proves someone loves you, and food that proves someone doesn’t love you.

Let me explain.

Imagine that you go to your grandmother’s kitchen in the morning. Breakfast at your grandmother’s—crispy bacon, fluffy scrambled eggs, warm, tender cinnamon rolls—lets you know that the day will be good.  Life is good.  Someone loves you.

Ed Schipul / Wikimedia Commons

A prominent Texas legislator is taking four of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to task for their refusal to vote for a relief package to aid the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Mac Thornberry, the congressman who represents the Texas Panhandle, was one of the legislators who voted against sending a $15.25 billion initial aid package to the coast.

SHEPPARD.AF.MI

Friday was the official start of Colorado’s dove hunting season and because the Arkansas Valley of southeast Colorado is so vast, scouting for the birds is essential – at least according to two hunters.

Local Farmers Cash In On Corn Tortillas

Sep 12, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Many in the High Plains region regularly enjoy the tortilla chips – an item more local than what might think - that, along with a bowl of salsa, typically precede Mexican meals.

As The High Plains Journal reports, Leon and Nancy Winfrey of Plains, Kansas own Southwest Tortillas – made with food grade white corn grown on their farm. The family sells fresh corn tortillas to restaurants in Kansas and Oklahoma.

CCO Creative Commons

Plans for the largest wind farm in the U.S. to be built in the Oklahoma Panhandle were recently announced by developers, but military air bases are pushing back.

As State Impact reports, the western part of Oklahoma is an ideal place for military flight training because of its wide open skies.

Radio Readers BookByte: What Else Are We Missing?

Sep 12, 2017
Victor Hugo Green, 1940 / Wikipedia

I’m Meagan Zampieri, your book discussion leader for this month. Our first Fall Read 2017- Food and Story is The Food of a Younger Land, edited by Mark Kurlansky and I chose to lead the discussion for this book because, well.

I travel a lot for my work.

That is an understatement. This year alone, I’ve crossed Kansas so many times I’ve lost count. I have gone to Texas, St. Louis, and Chicago, and I have a trip to Utah planned. Wichita tomorrow, Topeka on Tuesday, Lawrence the following Tuesday. Sharon Springs at the beginning of August, Dodge City at the end of August, Wichita again in a couple months… That’s outside of whatever meetings I might need to attend inside of the 12-county region I serve in my work with libraries.

Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

More than half of U.S. rural counties have no hospital where women can give birth, according to MinnPost.com.

According to a new study by the University of Minnesota, over the past decade, the number of U.S. rural counties without obstetric units increased by 50 percent.

This means that rural women are at greater risk of birth-related complications than previously realized.

Wikipedia

The deer population in south-central Kansas is being tested for a fatal disease.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, two deer from Stafford County tested positive for chronic wasting disease – or CWD -  a contagious disease that’s always fatal to deer, elk and moose.

Pixabay

Long distances, rugged topography and scattered population centers are among several barriers to providing broadband Internet service to Colorado’s rural areas.

As The Denver Post reports, the state’s broadband map shows vast stretches of the state – especially on the Eastern Plains and across the mountains – with slow to no internet service.

Wikimedia Commons

Todd Lamb, the current Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, recently announced his plan to bring positive change to his home state. Lamb, who announced his plans to run for Governor in April, told KSWO that his vision for the state includes five steps.

Those steps are, in the Lt. Gov.’s words, “to reform and restructure state government, education priority, infrastructure, economic diversity and making Oklahoma work again.”

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Lawmakers remain concerned about potential snags as Kansas wraps up years of work on migrating driver’s license records from an old mainframe computer to newer infrastructure ahead of a January launch date. 

Rep. Kyle Hoffman, R-Coldwater, a member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Information Technology, asked legislative auditing staff Friday whether the state might see a repeat of the technical woes that plagued the first phase of the same project five years ago. 

Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia Commons

A new law in Texas would allow hunters to shoot feral hogs and coyotes from hot air balloons. But now, balloonists in the Lone Star State are refusing to offer the opportunity to participate in the activity, citing logistical problems.

The Texas Tribune recently spoke with many balloonists and insurers across the state, and they all said they hadn’t heard of anyone planning to hunt hogs from hot air balloons.

house.gov

United States Congressman Mac Thornberry, who represents the Texas Panhandle, was one of four Texas lawmakers who voted against sending billions in relief funding to those suffering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

None of the Texas lawmakers who opposed the bill represented coastal regions.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the House approved the $15 billion in aid to support the hurricane relief effort.

Creative Commons

Hurricane Harvey didn’t just devastate human lives; the storm likely killed thousands of head of livestock as well.

As Texas Standard reports, the full effect of the hurricane on the cattle industry in Texas won’t be known for some time.

US Census Bureau / Wikimedia Commons

It’s no secret that Oklahoma is facing as major teacher crisis. But, as Oklahoma Watch reports, within that larger crisis is another problem. The state suffers from an increasingly dwindling pool of special education teachers.

Kansas Ranchers Paying It Forward

Sep 10, 2017
Courtesy photo

As smoke from Montana and Wyoming makes its way across the High Plains, Kansas ranchers impacted by wildfires earlier this year are paying it forward.

As The Hutch News reports, six months ago, Clark County rancher Steve Hazen was on the receiving end as truckloads of hay and supplies came from all directions to his hometown of Ashland.

Luke Clayton

As Luke explains, there’s something special about hunting on one of the big farms in Kansas, and that’s the deer.

His guest this week, Larry Weishuhn fondly recalls hos own deer hunting trips to Kansas. He drew a tag for the Sunflower State this season and is excited about the opportunity to put one of those bruiser Kansas bucks on the meat pole!

KSRE.K-STATE.EDU

One of the best parts about grandchildren is seeing the world through their lens. Our youngest, a just turned one-year-old, visited recently. While her mom, dad, and gramps were organizing furniture and hunting gear, she and I wandered to the nearby park. Swings and slide held her interest for a while, but she most enjoyed toddling around, spying, and collecting last autumn’s sycamore balls. Due to the dry winter, most of them were still solid. In short time, she’d filled both tiny hands and the crooks of her elbows with tawny treasure.

Beethoven loved being close to nature, and often left Vienna to work in the country. These rural sabbaticals inspired Beethoven's only programmatic work: Symphony No. 6, also known as the "Pastorale." We'll hear this monumental work this week on Amarillo Symphony Presents.

Texas Looks To Improve Troubled Foster Care System

Sep 7, 2017
CCO Creative Commons

A number of laws took effect earlier this month meant to improve Texas’s child welfare system.

As KUT reports, the state’s foster care system was deemed unconstitutional and “broken” by a U.S. District Judge in Dec. 2015, following several reports about Texas kids dying from neglect and abuse while in foster care.

That led to a series of bills aimed at overhauling the system, including Senate Bill 11, which establishes a model that increasingly privatizes the foster care system.

CCO Creative Commons

Even though oil and gas drillers have suffered through about three years of low oil prices, some of Colorado’s largest energy companies still seem optimistic.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Anadarko Petroleum pumped 33 million barrels of oil in the state last year, making them the state’s largest driller. 

Creative Commons

Earlier this week, the Trump Administration announced it would be rescinding DACA – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that currently protects children of parents who came to the U.S. illegally from deportation

The majority of DACA recipients, more commonly referred to as “DREAMers,” are from Mexico, but according to Quartz, the remaining one-fourth come from all over the world, primarily El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

On today's Growing on the High Plains, we'll have a special report from Pumpkin Paradise -- part two of our three-part series. And this time, we'll hear from field correspondent, Bryan Bihorel.

Trudge through the mud with us, as Steve and Janet Weidner reveal the pumpkins' progress across their 12-acre pumpkin patch in Sublette, KS. We'll learn a about squash bees, cucumber beetles, and reproduction -- pumpkin style.

Soil-Science.info / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts says President Donald Trump promised not to cut a key crop insurance program that benefits Kansas farmers. The promise comes despite the fact that Trump placed reductions to the program in his budget proposal.

Nellis Air Force Base

Almost 50 million rural Americans lack access to sufficient dental care.

As Mother Jones reports, in large swaths of the country it can be difficult to make a dental appointment even if you have private insurance. And for Americans who rely on Medicaid, it can be practically impossible to find dental care in small towns. Fewer than half of the dentists in the United States accept Medicaid, and many of those who do are in the cities.

Pages