High Plains Public Radio

News

Ethanol spills on the rise in the Midwest

Dec 13, 2016
Darrell Hoemann / The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

An ethanol spill occurs every two days on average in the Midwest, the worst of which result in contamination of water supplies, major fish kills, loss of life and millions of dollars of damage.

WKU / Creative Commons

The scourge of opiate addiction isn’t just affecting teens and adults in the heartland. According to a new study, infants are being exposed to opioids in the womb at a much faster rate in rural communities than in urban settings.

www.pewtrusts.org

How healthy are people on the High Plains? According to a new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts, only two of the five states in the HPPR listening area rank among the top half of states when it comes to health.

Brian McGuirk / Flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Agland is taking a look at the agriculture economy from the perspective of farmers and farm implement dealers, who are finding ways to adapt.

An overabundant supply in wheat, corn and every other crop has pushed the prices of those commodities below what many farmers need to break even.

Wikimedia Commons

If you look at a colored map of election 2016 separated by how states voted, the country looks pretty evenly divided. But if you switch that map to show how counties voted, the United States looks like a sea of red, with blue dots here and there, mostly along the coasts.

It looks like a Republican landslide.

That’s not the case, however, as Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote by over two million votes. As we all know, she lost due to the Electoral-College system.

ivn.us

Rural Americans continue to struggle to find adequate mental health care. That’s despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act guaranteed that mental and behavioral health treatment would be covered by all health insurance policies sold on the federal health exchange.

However, as IVN reports, psychological coverage does little good if you live in an area where no services are available.

James Nielsen / Houston Chronicle

A database has been made public that reveals the files of over 5,000 people who have died in police custody in Texas, reports The Houston Chronicle.

This week Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office launched an online initiative known as the Custodial Death Report database. This makes readily available the files that a police agency creates when someone dies in custody.

CNBC

Oklahoma oil billionaire and fervent Trump supporter Harold Hamm is tempering some of his optimism about the prospect of an oil boom under Trump.

In a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last summer, Hamm predicted that U.S. oil production would double under Trump, creating thousands of new jobs. In the wake of OPEC’s decision to cut production, Hamm said on Thursday that he believed U.S. fracking operations could double output if they went “flat out.”

QuoteWizard.com

Some High Plains drivers are among the worst in America, according to a new study.

The insurance website QuoteWizard has ranked drivers in all fifty states. The site used a number of metrics, including total accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, citations, and fatalities, weighted to account for population.

Royal Broil / Creative Commons

A new report from the Census Bureau is shining a light on America’s rural-urban divide, the focus of much discussion and attention since the election of Donald Trump.

As US News and World Report notes, the new study offers a numbers-driven, county-level glimpse into the disparity between city and countryside.

Sarah Hoffman / Omaha World-Herald

Across rural America, volunteer fire departments are struggling to fill their ranks.

As The Omaha World-Herald reports, the problem is that volunteer firefighters and ambulance drivers are growing increasingly older, and there simply isn’t enough interest among the younger population to replace those who age out.

Futureproof / Flickr Creative Commons

Congress passed legislation last week that will go a long way toward fighting opioid abuse.

As The Rural Blog reports, the law will increase funding for medical research and speed up federal approval of new drugs that will help Americans struggling with addiction.

The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk. The president praised the law, saying “We are now one step closer to . . . helping people seeking treatment for opioid addiction finally get the help they need.”

Colorado facing tidal wave of senior citizens

Dec 13, 2016
Colorado Department of Local Affairs

To get ahead of Colorado’s aging population, the state of Colorado just released an action plan that lays out a vision for handling the state’s graying demographic through 2030.

Terror investigation reveals alleged child pornography

Dec 13, 2016
Valarie Smith / High Plains Public Radio

Alleged child pornography has been uncovered in the investigation into the thwarted terror plot planned last month targeting Garden City’s Somali community.

Business leaders in Colorado are banding together to advocate for immigration reform.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Coloradans for Immigration Reform, which consists of 13 pro-business organizations, including chambers of commerce and trade groups, recently formed to support policies favorable to immigrants.

CREDIT LARS P / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Two northwest Kansas superintendents are excited about the prospect of having their small school districts equipped with high-speed Internet.

Pipeline in West Texas draws a protest of its own

Dec 13, 2016
Forest Guardians / Wikimedia Commons

There’s another pipeline protest and this one is not in North Dakota. It’s in Texas.

Chicken farmers hope Trump will back regulation

Dec 13, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Rural voters, many of them farmers, helped get Donald Trump elected last month, and now chicken farmers in particular are hoping that he will get behind Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Adminstration (GIPSA) rules.

Creative Commons

Oil prices will likely continue to rise following a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producing countries Saturday.

Kansas wheat crop facing drought

Dec 13, 2016
Brian McGuirk / Flickr Creative Commons

The condition of the winter wheat crop in Kansas is varied because of a lack of moisture.

Texas Child Protective Services is drawing criticism for discontinuing its issuance of special visas for undocumented immigrant child victims of crime.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Truckers and those involved in autonomous vehicle technology disagree on how long it will be before driverless trucks will make their way to U.S. roadways.

Russ Baldwin / The Prowers Journal

The city of Lamar is receiving $1.3 million from a portion of Colorado lottery proceeds from Great Outdoors Colorado to invest in local parks and trails with an eye toward getting youth outdoors.

energy.gov

Google announced last week that in 2017, renewable energy will power 100 percent of its global operations, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s blog, Into the Wind.

Kansas advocacy groups are pushing for tax increases to fix the state’s budget.

According to the Kansas Health Institute (KHI), groups representing children, teachers, state workers, contractors, and others are proposing a tax overhaul that would reinstate income taxes on hundreds of thousands of businesses and raise the top income tax rate. 

I've been walkin' on the railroad...and it's not what you would expect!

Did you know that, in cities across the world, out-of-use elevated freight rail lines have been resurrected as rustic gardens and public parks? It's true! From Paris to Chicago to New York City, defunct industrial corridors have made for quite the elysian green spaces. 

Fort Worth Star Telegram

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has been generating a lot of talk in recent days in the Texas Panhandle.

Getty/Politico

Oil and gas companies have reason to celebrate this week, as President-Elect Trump is expected to nominate a longtime oil ally to helm the Environmental Protection Agency. As Politico reports, Scott Pruitt has been a staunch opponent of climate regulations in his role as Attorney General of Oklahoma.

Kansas City Star

Kansas has a new Speaker of the House, and he’s coming into the job with a hard row to hoe.

As The Kansas City Star reports, Ron Ryckman is inheriting not one but two budget shortfalls. There’s the current budget gap of roughly $348 million, with seven months left in the fiscal year. And then, once the new fiscal year begins, the shortfall is expected to balloon to $582 million.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr Creative Commons

A retail liquor group in Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking a ballot initiative passed by over 65 percent of voters that would allow wine and cold beer to be sold at grocery and convenience stores.

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