gunwatch.blogspot.com

There are several bills allowing Texans to openly carry handguns facing the legislature this session.  But, they have some challenges reports the Amarillo Globe News

State Rep. John Smithee is the senior lawmaker in the Texas Panhandle delegation.  He says, “There’s two issues:  one is how strict your licensing is, and two is where you could take your open carry and what restrictions would be placed upon it.”

The Amarillo Republican says he hasn’t take a formal position on the matter yet.

Smithee doesn’t expect lawmakers to debate the proposed bills until March. 

thepoliticalinsider.com

Kansas Rep. Tom Sloan is trying to piece together a Medicaid expansion proposal he hopes Gov. Sam Brownback and GOP conservatives might consider according to the Kansas Health Institute

The moderate Republican from Lawrence is borrowing elements from other conservative governors that have received or are seeking federal approval for more private-sector approaches.

The state’s budget shortfalls won’t make things any easier.  The bill has to find a way to cover the state’s share of expansions costs for several years. 

If an Oklahoman has a serious mental illness and gets arrested for a nonviolent crime, whether he goes to prison or gets enrolled in a diversion program largely depends on where they live reports KGOU.

Only 16 counties in the state have mental health courts.  The only two in Western Oklahoma are in the southern counties of Comanche and Cotton according to the Oklahoma Government website.

Megan Verlee / cpr.org

As of yesterday there’s only one place in Colorado for undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license reports Colorado Public Radio.

The licensing program is funded by an extra fee charged on undocumented immigrant driver’s licenses, but the DMV needs approval from the legislature’s budget committee before spending the money its collected.

J.N. Stuart/Flickr Commons

The lack of fire as a management tool on the Great Plains has permitted indigenous and foreign woody plants to encroach on prairie grasslands, reducing Lesser Prairie-Chicken habitat. Through the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative, NRCS can help producers and range managers remove woody invasive species – through burning, cutting and spraying. We tell one Oklahoma Panhandle rancher's experience participating in the NRCS initiative.

PARTICIPANTS:

Jordan Shearer
Beaver Co. Rancher
Slapout, OK

The virus that devastated hog farms last year could be slowing down, and that could mean lower prices at the grocery store.

Tom Roeder / gazette.com

The Pueblo Chemical Depot is working to destroy America’s largest stockpile of Cold War-era mustard gas shells reports the Gazette.

The depot plans to blast its first shell with its explosive destruction system in March.  There are almost 800,000 rounds stored at the 23,000-acre depot.

There are plans to expand operations next year.  A separate plant costing $725 million should be at full bore by that time.  It will render more than 55 chemical shells harmless every hour, 24 hours a day.

agrilife.org

Some of the deadliest jobs in the nation are in rural places.  The Washington Post reports lumberjacks, fisherman, and pilots run the greatest risk at work.  In general, people who work with heavy machinery like combines, oil rigs, or tractors are a good deal of danger.

Farming, ranching, truck driving is about twice as hazardous as being a police officer. 

Transportation accidents account for 40 percent of all deaths on the job.

kansasagnetwork.com

Feral hogs are expanding their range, and now reside in more than 40 states.  They cause about $1.5 billion in damage every year reports Kansas Agland.

Charlie Lee is a wildlife management for Kansas State University Research and Extension.  He says the pigs damage crops, can kill young livestock and wildlife, destroy property, damage plant communities, and can carry diseases that threaten livestock.

That’s why the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, wants to reduce feral hog damage on a national level.

theguardian.com

Watching how much my toddler granddaughter loves books reminds me of a seven-year-old,  toothpick-legged child who thought she was a big girl when her momma handed her anallowance on Saturday mornings. Along with that shiny dime, that little girl’s mother permitted her to trek uptown-- first to the dime store and then to the library. The coin was spent in no time.  It took much longer to wander up and down the bookshelf aisles searching for the perfect three or four titles to carry home so she could escape into those well-turned pages for a week of exciting adventure.

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