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Wallethub

When it comes to charitable giving, Oklahoma ranks in the top 10 among all states, according to a new study by the personal finance website Wallethub.

Oklahoma was the only state in the HPPR listening area to make the top 10, though Kansas was close behind at number 12. 

Nebraska landed at number 20, and Colorado just missed making the top half of states, with an appearance at number 26 on the list.

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Solar power continues to expand across the Sooner State.

As The Tulsa World reports, in this state that has long been a bastion for proponents of fossil fuel, photovoltaic panels can be seen glittering beneath the Oklahoma sky more and more frequently these days.

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Concerns over wildfires are growing in the Texas Panhandle, as the state moves deeper into an unusually dry winter.

As The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, meteorologists are warning that conditions are once again unusually ripe for fires across the region. The La Nina weather phenomenon is leading forecasters to predict dry, unusually warm weather in Texas—perfect conditions for grass fires.

Colorado Ill-Prepared For Economic Downturn

Dec 4, 2017
50states.com

Colorado is among the least prepared states in the country for the next recession.

As The Denver Post reports, a new analysis from Moody’s Analytics found that the state’s rainy day fund of $613 million is less than half the money needed for even a moderate economic downturn.

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is being pressed to lobby the state’s congressional delegation in opposition to a cut in a federal tax credit that could derail $1.5 billion in planned projects across Kansas.

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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants more Texas churches to welcome guns into their sanctuaries, The Texas Tribune reports.

In the wake of a mass shooting in central Texas last month that left 26 people dead, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he believed that arming worshipers would help prevent similar tragedies.

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The executive chairman of BNSF railroad recently penned an editorial in the San Antonio Express-News pleading with lawmakers, including Texas Sen. John Cornyn, not to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Leaving NAFTA, wrote Matt Rose, would end the one million jobs in Texas that rely on the trade deal. Rose noted that, in 2015, the Lone Star State exported over $125 million worth of goods to Mexico and Canada.

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A statue of Quanah Parker, the legendary Comanche chief, has been dedicated in Snyder, Texas, reports The Abilene Reporter-News.

The bronze statue was crafted by Abilene sculptor Terry Gilbreth, and it shows Parker looking out over the open prairie with a spear in his hand. The statue stands in front of the Scurry County Museum on the campus of Western Texas College. From the tip of the spear, the statue stands almost 20 feet high.

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Colorado is taking its battle against human trafficking to the road.

As The Denver Post reports, proposed legislation in Colorado would use the eyes and ears of the road – truckers – to battle the state’s growing battle with human trafficking.

Little Spouse On The Prairie: The Man Diet And Speed Shopping

Dec 2, 2017
Valerie Brown-Kuchera

The Man Diet

Last week, I introduced you to Joel, my much older husband.  This week’s show is two-fold -  “The Man Diet” followed by “Speed Shopping.”

Eight weeks ago, my husband gave up Dr. Pepper. Not entirely, mind you. He simply dropped his intake from unlimited (between eight and 10 per day) to two 12-ounce drinks a day.  I’m happy for him, because this reduction allowed him to lose 30 pounds in those two months.  Yes, I said 30 pounds.  In. Eight. Weeks.

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Anyone reading or listening to news over the past few weeks must, as I do, long for comfort and continuity to counterbalance media reports. What better way than to root ourselves in customs that go back enough generations that they’ve withstood the test of personal and national distress. Our family honored such a tradition recently with a shower to celebrate the birth of our youngest daughter’s first child. As I put away a dish passed from my grandmother to my mom and now to me, I thought about the generations of women who’ve gathered to celebrate an impending birth.

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Immigrants in Texas who are part of the beleaguered DACA program are seeing their prospects dwindle as Democratic discussions with the Trump administration fell apart this week.

As The Texas Tribune reports, each day that passes without a fix means hundreds more undocumented immigrants are put at risk of deportation.

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Oklahoma has once again been ranked first in the nation when it comes to slashing funding for education.

As KOSU reports, over the past decade Oklahoma has cut school funding more per-pupil than any other state. According to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, since 2008, the amount of funding available per pupil in Oklahoma has dropped by almost 30 percent.

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T. Boone Pickens is selling his ranch, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The 89-year-old energy magnate, a graduate of Amarillo High School, values his Mesa Verde ranch at $250 million dollars. The ranch stretches across 65,000 acres in the northeastern Panhandle.

Colorado Feedlot Being Sued For Dead Fish

Nov 30, 2017
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An eastern Colorado feedlot is being sued by Colorado that claims cow manure is to blame for killing thousands of fish, but the feedlot takes issue with some of the state’s claims.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, many of the over 100 feedlots in Colorado are located near waterways and environmentalists are concerned with historic rain events becoming more common, that manure will find its way into streams and groundwater.

Our Turn At This Earth: Leaving Goodland

Nov 30, 2017
Ammodramus/Wikimedia Commons

My Kansas hometown was straightforwardly named for what surrounded it: good land. I grew up on some of that good, if somewhat hillier than prime, land, about fifteen miles beyond town as the crow flew, through sunny skies over sunlit plains, up toward the Colorado and Nebraska borders.

The holidays are coming, and some of us are scrambling to make our seasonal gift lists. If you happen to have a gardening enthusiast in your life, there's a great book available that you might consider: The Earth Knows My Name by Patricia Klindienst.

To compile the stories in this book, the author traveled across the US, digging deep into different cultures to unearth how they engage with the food they grow. From Native Americans to immigrants from Asia and Europe, you'll learn fascinating tales of bountiful gardens in both rural and urban regions. 

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An artifact from the birth of Texas has made its way back into official hands after 173 years.

As The Austin Chronicle reports, a map of the Republic of Texas that was purchased by a Kerrville couple at a Dallas liquidation sale has been handed over to Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.

The map depicts Texas in 1844, one year before the independent nation was granted statehood.

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The State of Texas is scrambling to find a way to avoid telling nearly half a million Texas kids that they’ve lost health coverage this holiday season.

As things currently stand, hundreds of thousands of children in Texas will be informed of their lost coverage three days before Christmas.

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If Congress doesn’t act in the next two months to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program, more than 75,000 children and pregnant women will be without insurance.

As The Denver Post reports, Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP – called the Child Health Plan Plus, or CHP+ in Colorado - provides coverage for children in families that bring in just enough income to be above the cutoff for Medicaid and federal funding for the program officially expired last month.

Trump Gives Roberts Rain Check On Talking NAFTA

Nov 29, 2017
U.S. Senate

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump asked Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts for a rain check when Roberts raised the agriculture industry’s concerns over NAFTA renegotiations.

Roberts told Politico that he wants to work with Trump to achieve what the president is hoping to achieve in NAFTA talks but that he also thinks it’s important that Trump knows that starting a clock on NAFTA is not the answer, referencing a strategy Trump has alluded to in which Canada and Mexico would be notified of the U.S.’s intent to withdrawal from the deal, in an attempt to force the two countries to make concessions before the six-month withdrawal window closed.

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Coloradans will soon see commercials warning about the dangers of using tobacco products.

The tobacco industry will start running the ads this week in Colorado, as Colorado Public Radio reports, due to an 11-year-old court ruling that found tobacco companies had misled the public about the dangers of cigarettes.

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Potter County, Texas, which encompasses part of Amarillo, is considering launching a lawsuit against major drug companies.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the county hopes to win back some of the money spent in the battle against the opioid scourge. Attorney Jack Walker has asked Potter County to join in the lawsuit being filed by his Dallas firm.

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Texas farmers are concerned that if plans for two of the world’s largest agricultural firms to merge go through, it will diminish competition and cause prices for seeds and other essential products to increase.

As The Texas Tribune reports, German conglomerate Bayer, a global distributor of seeds best known for its pharmaceuticals like aspirin, hopes to buy Missouri-based agricultural firm Monsanto, which sells agricultural chemicals.

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A new scientific study asks the question: What if everyone in America suddenly went vegan and stopped eating meat, eggs, milk, and fish.

As the Highland Plains Journal reports, the authors say that in that extreme scenario – the nation’s food supply would increase by 23 percent and greenhouse gas emissions would drop by 2.6 percent. However, to ensure people are getting their vitamins and minerals, we would need to grow different crops and take supplements to meet recommended dietary guidelines.

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The recent Oklahoma special legislative session ended with a shocking turn of events earlier this month, when Governor Mary Fallin vetoed much of the budget bill the state legislature had devised.

Fallin herself had called the special session. The two-month long convening of lawmakers looked to be on the path to success when Fallin took out her red pen.

The move dismayed GOP leaders, who said Fallin had indicated to them that she would support the proposal. So now, what’s next for Oklahoma? 

New Tool Available To Help Farmers Understand When Temperature Inversions Occur

Nov 28, 2017
K-State

From Kansas Agland:

Risk of herbicide dicamba drift is heightened during the weather phenomena

Kansas State University is offering a new tool to help farmers assess when temperature inversions occur in their region. The information can be useful in assessing the risk for herbicide drift when applying products such as dicamba, an herbicide used to kill weeds in genetically modified soybean and cotton crops. Accidental drift of dicamba into neighboring fields damaged millions of acres of crops this year.

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Texans only have a few weeks to wait until medical marijuana becomes legal in the state. But, as The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, only Texans with the most tenacious forms of epilepsy will be allowed to purchase the drug.

Marijuana plants are currently being grown in South-Central Texas. The active ingredients in the plants will be converted to liquids and sold in droppers to epileptics before the end of this year.

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Texans went to the polls earlier this month to approve seven different constitutional amendments, many of which might have seemed to the casual voter like something that could easily have been dealt with by the State Legislature.

If you were wondering why you needed to go vote on whether sports teams should be allowed to hold charitable raffles, you weren’t alone.

Colorado One Of The Nation's Top Hemp Producers

Nov 27, 2017
U.S. Department of Agriculture

As U.S. hemp production doubled in 2017, Colorado became one of the country’s top hemp producers.

As The Cannabist reports, Colorado now grows almost 40 percent of all the hemp in the U.S. – more than twice what any other state grows.

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