HPPR Economy and Enterprise

Kansas: Breaking Health Down by the Numbers

Aug 4, 2013
Colourbox

The Kansas Health Institute put together a view of the state of the state’s health by the numbers.  

Indiana Public Media

It doesn’t make sense, does it?  Domestic oil and gas production is booming, and yet prices are still pretty high.  Dr. Tec Patzek, Chairman of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, said there are many reasons in an article by State Impact Texas.   

Help to Understanding the Affordable Care Act

Aug 4, 2013
Summacare

Whatever term you give it, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, enrollment begins October 1 with coverage effective January 1.  To help negotiate the healthcare maze, the Kansas Health Institute reported there’s help: a nationwide interactive map and town hall meetings across Kansas.   

Entrepreneurship the real crop of this urban farm

Aug 2, 2013
Beth Lipoff/KCUR

When you grow up in the city, chickens aren’t something you see every day. But 13-year-old Malek Looney is getting to know them well.

"They’ll flap their wings and make loud noises and squawk at you. And you’ll be like, 'Oh no, they're mad at something,'" said Looney, taking a break from watering crops on a recent sunny morning.

Is Fracking Stealing From Your Neighbors?

Jul 31, 2013
texastribune.org

Fracking has become an industry standard, allowing access to stores of oil and gas that previously were inaccessible.  However, a State Impact Texas story poses the question,”Is fracking stealing from your neighbors?”

AQHA

A federal jury of seven men and five women decided that the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) violates state and federal antitrust laws by barring cloned horses from it’s registry according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Imagine enough water to fill a couple of great lakes, but spread under some of the driest parts of eight western states. That was the High Plains Aquifer 60 years ago, before new pumping and irrigation systems made it easy for farmers to extract billions of gallons from it and use it to grow lucrative crops on the arid land.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The world’s soil is in trouble. Ecologists say without dramatic changes to how we manage land, vast swathes of grassland are at risk of turning into hard-packed desert. To make sure that doesn’t happen, researchers are testing out innovative ways to keep moisture in the soil.

In eastern Colorado, one way could be in the plodding hooves of cattle.

Conventional wisdom tells you, if ranchland ground has less grass, the problem is too many cows. But that’s not always the case. It depends on how you manage them, if you make sure they keep moving.

Skip Mancini

Our final trip to Busy Bee Farms includes some advice from the experts on how to choose and use a great tasting tomato.  Differences between tomatoes that are shipped long distances and the greenhouse or homegrown varieties are explored, as well as tips on storing colorful heirloom tomatoes.  Susan also sums up the family's belief in the true rewards of hard work.     

KanCare is the commercially run managed care version of the Kansas Medicaid program.  The next step in program implementation according to the Kansas Health Institute is to begin a health home model for the state’s 36,000 mentally ill.

Jonathan Goforth / flickr commons

The plains states rank well generally for income mobility according to a new study considered to be the most comprehensive yet on the subject.  Based on millions of anonymous income records, the study by leading economists found four primary factors correlated with higher income mobility in an area: a larger and more dispersed local middle class, more two-parent households, better elementary schools and high schools, and more civic engagement, including membership in religious and community groups.

Estate taxes can complicate farm transitions

Jul 26, 2013
Kansas Poetry (Patrick) / Flickr

Welsh-born immigrant William R. Charles in 1868 fought an uphill battle with Indians and grasshoppers when he homesteaded 400 acres of well watered crop and timberland in Republic County, Kan., that his great-grandchildren farm today. The family’s first log cabin burned to the ground in December, 1869 and they dug through two feet of frozen dirt to find shelter.

Today, Charles’ grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their children are far flung from that homestead, Valley Point Farm, 240 miles northwest of Kansas City.

NW Kansas: Oil Pipeline Construction Begins in August

Jul 25, 2013
econintersect.com

An pipeline transporting oil from the Bakken production area of North Dakota and Eastern Montana to Cushing, Oklahoma cuts across Kansas.  A recent article in the Salina Journal said the purpose of the project is to transport domestic oil to domestic refineries. 

http://renews.biz/

EDF Renewable Energy agreed to buy the 200MW first phase of the Hereford Wind Project according to a recent ReNews article.  The purchase includes an option on the 300MW second phase. 

wikimedia.org

Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, New York, and Miami are no longer the immigration points for Hispanics and Latinos coming to the United States.  Kansas State University recently reported new patterns have developed.  Matthew Sanderson, associate professor of sociology at Kansas State University, is studying why rural areas, particularly southwest Kansas, have experienced large increases in Hispanic immigration. 

University of Houston

Texas crude may not be oozing to the surface, but scientists think they can find oil and gas deposits just by looking at dirt.

Scientists at the University of Houston are finding ways to use sophisticated analysis of satellite imagery to detect miniscule changes to the Earth' surface caused by mineral deposits below, StateImpact Texas reports.

www.city-data.com

Three jewels, totaling $113 million, will be added to the crown of downtown Amarillo. They are: a $69.3 million convention center hotel, $30.3 million multi-purpose event venue, and $13.4 million parking garage.  The Amarillo Globe-News reported they will be constructed in the vicinity of City Hall and the Amarillo Civic Center.

A food fight over U.S. sugar program

Jul 22, 2013
Colorado State University Libraries Archives and Special Collections

Sugar beet growing and refining was once a major industry in western Kansas and remains so in northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming and western Nebraska.  But it’s an industry that’s been supported by government subsidies of one sort or another dating back to 1789.  This pits sugar users against sugar producers over whether preserving a U.S. industry and domestic jobs is worth paying twice the international market price for sugar.  Harvest Public Media has an update on the ongoing debate. 

Metal thefts plague farm country

Jul 21, 2013
Payne Roberts/Harvest Public Media

In the countryside, there are fewer people – and some prefer it that way, especially thieves. The National Insurance Crime Bureau says that metal thefts have increased by 36 percent since 2010 – and that leaves farm equipment and machinery as easy pickings.

Want to invest in farmland? Join the crowd

Jul 19, 2013
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

The new company Fquare is bringing crowd-sourcing to the increasingly lucrative market of investing in farmland.

It's About Oil: Pipelines and Spills

Jul 18, 2013
flickr.com/photos/shannonpatrick17/

North Dakota has the most reported oil spills of any state.  Oklahoma ranks number two, but that may be a gross understatement.  State Impact Oklahoma says spill reporting requirements vary from state to state.  The Oklahoma mandate is ten gallons or more, Texas is five, and in North Dakota, it's one gallon or more. 

Credit Todd Wiseman & Mikhail Popov, Texas Tribune

For the past 14 years, Texas has celebrated the return to school with a sales tax holiday.  KUT News reports this year the event is August 9-11.  Most clothing and back-to-school supplies under $100.00 are not taxed.

Estimated shopper savings is expected to be more than $74 million across the state.

Details about exempt items are available from the Texas State Comptroller's website.

GUS CHAN / THE PLAIN DEALER /LANDOV

Injection wells are linked to earthquakes in a handful of states like: Texas, Wyoming, Arkansas, Ohio, and Colorado.  Impact Oklahoma reported the largest earthquake connected to a disposal and injection well occurred on November 2011 in Prague, Oklahoma.  However, Oklahoma has not responded with significant regulations.

Our second visit to Busy Bee Farms in Kismet Kansas takes us for a tour of internal workings of the greenhouses that produce literal layers of tomatoes,  as well as lettuce, cucumbers and other vegetables. Pond plants and koi fish provide some tropical looking landscapes on our walk-through.  We'll also get the buzz on the insect population that helps pollinate and protect the produce and plants.

Texas Tech University

  What do you get when you combine resources from The U.S. Department of Energy, a private company named Vestas, and Texas Tech University?  A project with the goal of creating a better wind farm. 

Go Health

The Kansas Health Institute reported when it comes to the upcoming health insurance exchange, state-run is better than federal.

Video Documentary: Aging of the American Farmer

Jul 14, 2013
Ray Meints for NET News

Farmers are getting older.  They’re working longer, staying on the land later and continuing to do what they’ve done for decades: heading out day after day after day to work their land.

In 1978, the average age of the American farmer was just over 50. In 2007, it was creeping toward 60, at just over 57-years-old. What does that mean for the agriculture industry? Harvest Public Media went to answer that question by focusing on this massive demographic shift that affects not just rural America but the power and potential of an entire industry. 

Silent Radio Celebrates 50 Years

Jul 13, 2013
NIST

Wired magazine recently reported, "the most important radio you've never heard," celebrated its 50th birthday.  WWVB, a station that broadcasts from the base of the Rocky Mountains, sends out a signal that keeps Americans on time.  Devices lock onto and sync with the signal.  This invisible piece of infrastructure, you've never tuned in and listened to,  has moved industries from entertainment to telecommunications. 

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

While the farming community continues to age fewer young people are filling the ranks, prompting the question: Do young people even want to farm anymore?

The quick answer is yes, just not in the same numbers as they used to. And surveys indicate many of them don’t want to farm in conventional ways.

Western Kansas Clinics Receive Federal Grant Money

Jul 11, 2013
shrm.org

Two western Kansas clinics received federal monies to help residents maneuver their way through the upcoming health insurance exchange.  The Kansas Health Institute reported the funds will be used to hire a total of 32 outreach workers in 14 clinics across Kansas.  The total grant amount was $1.6 million.

The two clinics are: 

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