Darrell Scott’s new record ‘Ten’ is a collection of songs written by his friend the late Ben Bullington, a Montana physician who wrote songs for fun in his spare time.  Ben and Darrell met by chance in Yellowstone National Park a few years ago and became friends.  When Ben passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2013, he had heard only the beginnings of this record.  It’s a beautiful tribute to a talented songwriter gone too soon.  We will listen to ‘Ten’  this week on High Plains Morning.

The National Drought Mitigation Center’s latest Drought Monitor has been released, and areas of southern Kansas and eastern Colorado were 2-4 degrees above normal for the week. Above-normal precipitation was confined mainly to portions of northern and eastern Kansas and western and central Nebraska, with departures of up to 3 inches above normal observed over north central Kansas. With the cooler conditions and recent rains, most of Nebraska and northwest Kansas was no longer classified as “abnormally dry.”

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Starting in September, Texas will have one set of procedures for politicians and bureaucrats and another set for everybody else.

For the past four summers, Doug Armknecht of Smith Center, Kansas has been working to capture his wife's family harvest in Osborne County. His breathtaking YouTube videos of the LaRosh family harvest have drawn increasingly large viewerships since 2012, now reaching 37,000 hits, reports Kansas AgLand.

Die Fly!

Aug 16, 2015

If curses and death wishes worked, a fly couldn’t survive, let alone buzz in anyone’s ear or crawl on their flesh, near my house. In the last two weeks, I’ve thought or said, “Die fly,” at least a 10,000 times. Unfortunately, wishing these creepy crawlers into the afterworld has had absolutely no effect. It’s time for an attack plan.

Today, I'm sharing a recipe from my book, Kill to Grill.  It's a variation of a dish my grandma and mom used to make.  I modified it to take less time, but still taste just as wonderful!  

Motown31 / Creative Commons

Underperforming Texas schools could face harsh penalties, according to a new law that takes effect September 1st. The Texas Tribune reports that if school districts don’t perform up to standards, the state will be authorized to strip them of their authority, or even close the school.

Mark Sebastian / Wikimedia Commons

US students aren’t getting enough sleep, says a new study by the CDC. The reason? 82% of middle schools and high schools start too early for the students to get the necessary amount of nightly rest.

Marjan Lavareski / Flickr Creative Commons

StoryCorps has a big homework assignment for students as they head back to school this fall.

A Tireless Conservationist Bids Kansas Adieu

Aug 12, 2015
Travis Morisse / The Hutchinson News

Tim Christian and his wife Cozette are packing everything into a camper and heading West. For the past ten years, Tim has coordinated the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, a non-profit that helps Kansas ranchers regenerate grazing resources. His efforts in the state have been exceedingly successful, says Kansas Agland. And you can see the difference.

Nationwide, Rural Jobs Continue to Gain Ground

Aug 12, 2015
Daily Yonder

Job rates in the rural corners of the US continue to rebound, according to the The Daily Yonder. However, while the picture was generally rosy in the nation at large, the Panhandle of Texas and the state of Kansas still saw job losses and a rise in the unemployment rate.

Creepy Crawlies

Aug 12, 2015

A look at perennial and annual weeds that vine, twine, and torment gardeners throughout the HPPR region.  These creepy crawlers require almost daily purging, whether by hand weeding or a healthy spritzing of weed killer.  And still they often return, like the cast of a bad horror flick!  

Flickr Creative Commons

Residents of Seward County, Kansas, are learning to pick vegetables—and having a wonderful time doing it. The four-acre garden plot at Seward County Community College has become a place for the citizens of Liberal to gather and enjoy the summer weather. The garden, known as Prime Pickin’s, was cultivated as part of the college’s Sustainable Agriculture program.

Clean Power Plan Adds More Doubt to Holcomb Expansion

Aug 11, 2015
Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

From Kansas Public Radio:

The Clean Power Plan recently announced by President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by almost one-third over the next 15 years. And, as Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson reports, tucked into the plan’s thousands of pages is language that makes it even less likely that a new coal-fired power plant will ever be built in southwest Kansas.

Vassilis Michalopoulos / Flickr Creative Commons

US rural residents received some good news this week. The Rural Blog reports that the network communications company Windstream has received $175 million to support internet use in the countryside. The money will go to support broadband for customers in 17 states, among them Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. The broadband support will allow rural customers to access fast internet speeds in areas where service might otherwise be prohibitive.

US Uninsured Rate Reaches Record Lows

Aug 11, 2015
jasleen_kaur / Flickr Creative Commons

The rate of uninsured citizens in the US continues to reach record lows, reports the Center for Rural Affairs. A recent Gallup report shows the rate falling 12 percent in the second quarter of 2015.Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, the rate of uninsured Americans has fallen by over 36%. Before the implementation of the ACA, the US uninsured rate was a persistent and growing problem. The problem was made worse by the Great Recession of 2008.

Dale Daniel

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says there are four principles to improving soil health: 1) keep soil covered as much as possible; 2) disturb the soil as little as possible; 3) keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil; and 4) diversify as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.

New Study Shows Kansas Sales Tax Hurting Rural Grocers

Aug 10, 2015
Michael Cannon / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute

A group pushing for elimination of the sales tax on groceries in Kansas is touting a new study.

The Wichita State University study shows that even before it was raised last month from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent, the statewide sales tax was costing rural grocers an average of about $18,000 a year in lost sales.

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Aug 10, 2015
Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don’t plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

A Ranking of the Best and Worst States for Student Debt

Aug 10, 2015
thisisbossi / Flickr Creative Commons

The online financial site WalletHub has published a list of the best and worst states for student debt. The site compared the 50 states by combining seven key metrics , including average student debt, the state’s unemployment rate, and the percentage of students with past-due loan balances.

A few years ago, we replaced the windows in our house. I expected dust, noise, flies, and suffering through hundred degree plus July days, but I didn’t expect an Oscar quality actor to make an appearance. One thing about living in the country, something unexpected always happens. Because of our remodeling project, I faced one of my most dreaded fears—a snake in the kitchen.  

Luke Clayton

 Well, hello folks!  Today, Cindee sat down with me and we talked a little about how hogs came to the United States.  They're aren't a native species.  They've been brought to the area in multiple waves, starting back as far as the Spanish explorer, Desoto.

Take a listen, you just might learn a thing or two.

Survivor of Indianapolis Torpedo Recalls Disaster

Aug 7, 2015
Amarillo Globe-News has reported on a hero living in the Texas Panhandle.

Past midnight on July 30, 1945, Cleatus Lebow was drinking lemonade and talking with some of the other guys on the USS Indianapolis. Then came the explosion. “We all knew it was a torpedo,” says Lebow, who was 21 at the time. Suddenly swimming in shark-infested waters, he had been thrown into the most deadly tragedy in U.S. Naval history. Still, he felt a reassuring calm.

Colorado Experiencing Marijuana Boom

Aug 7, 2015
Kevin Moloney / The Guardian

Colorado’s fortunes have skyrocketed since recreational marijuana became legal 18 months ago. Some observers have called the boom a “gold rush,” reports the British newspaper The Guardian. Denver now has four dispensaries for every Starbucks, and the number is growing.

Alex Proimos / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute

Once again, the majority of the nation’s hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for having patients frequently return within a month of discharge — this time losing a combined $420 million, government records show.

The rains have turned brown back to green once again, but in terms of the aquifer, it's not enough.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From the Kansas Health Institute

One of every five Kansas adults has at least one disability, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Amarillo Educates Law Enforcement on Human Trafficking

Aug 6, 2015
Creative Commons

Six children were rescued from sex traffickers in Amarillo in March, reports Now the city has brought in an expert on human trafficking to educate law enforcement about the issue.

In a Changing World, Texas Expands Solar Usage

Aug 6, 2015
Portuguese_eyes / Creative Commons

As the second-largest state and one of the hottest. Texas leads the US in solar energy potential, reports The Texas Tribune. But up to now, Texas has squandered that opportunity as lawmakers provided few incentives to encourage solar expansion. Solar energy still makes up a tiny percentage of the state’s power supply.

Last week we visited about a weed called nutsedge that was relatively new to me until I put in a garden fountain and thus created an ideal world for this water loving bad boy.  Today, we'll begin to revisit a series of stories about weeds- those pesky, prankish guests who come to the garden party without an invitation and can wind up taking over the entire  homestead.   Though originally aired 4 years ago, I think you'll find most of those bad boys of the garden world are still around and still causing headaches for gardeners.