HPPR Health, Education & Welfare

Health

‐state policy‐impact of federal policy‐rural health care delivery‐access & availability

Education

‐state policy‐programs and opportunities‐access & availability

Welfare

‐state policies‐income levels‐wellness‐quality of life

Community After School Program

Many working parents in Oklahoma are having a hard time affording programs to occupy their children while they’re working, according to OklahomaWatch.

Both after-school programs and summer camps can be extremely costly, which means they sometimes aren’t an option for parents struggling to make ends meet.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The threat of the Zika virus is likely to return to Texas this summer, and, as KUT reports, one of the biggest difficulties health experts are coming up against is a gap in knowledge among citizens. A recent study conducted by the University of Texas’s Medical Branch has found that many vulnerable Texas women aren’t aware of their risk for infection.

NewsOK.com

According to a new study, life expectancies in some parts of Oklahoma are growing at a more rapid pace than in others.

NewsOK reports that the Oklahoma Panhandle has exhibited a marked increase in life expectancy since 1980, showing a gain of between four and five percent, one of the strongest surges in the state.

Lindsay Pierce / The Denver Post

The United Health Foundation has released its rankings of the healthiest and least healthy states for seniors, and the results show Colorado seniors to be much healthier than their counterparts in other states in the HPPR listening area.

Creative Commons

Law enforcement can be a thankless job. Even so, there are almost a million cops in America, most of whom work diligently to protect their communities.

The personal finance website Wallethub has produced a list of the best and worst states to be a police officer.

Editor5807 / Creative Commons

A new reports shows that bad roads in Oklahoma are costing taxpayers $5 billion annually.

As News 9 reports, the study by the national transportation group TRIP finds that Oklahomans currently spend almost $2 billion dollars on fixing their cars. Another billion is spent on traffic accidents, and the state sees yet another $2 billion in lost productivity yearly, due to traffic jams and delays.

Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature has been hard at work this month trying to come up with a budget. And among those watching the proceedings closely, says The Texas Tribune, few have more to lose than Texas’s colleges and universities.

Even as enrollments continue to rise statewide, many schools are likely to see funding cuts. That means less money for more students.

KSN

This week, officers of the Garden City Police Department were called out to investigate a potential threat of violence at Garden City High School.

As KSN reports, this is the third Garden City arrest made in recent weeks, related to teenage bullying or threats of violence.

RJ Sangosti / The Denver Post

Colorado Republicans have now pulled the plug on a bill that sought to repeal the state’s health care exchange, reports The Denver Post.

Meanwhile, rural hospitals received a bit of good news. The Colorado Legislature has passed a bill preventing $528 million in cuts to hospital funding. Some conservative lawmakers opposed the bill, as they say it will only lead to more spending and debt. Instead, they said the measure should have gone to the voters.

Fort Hays State University will soon have a new addition, thanks to the generosity of two former students.

As Fort Hays State University News reports, Richard and Dolores Fischli recently committed $5 million to build a center for student success on the university campus – a facility that will be a convenient one-stop-shop for students to access academic, medical and mental health support.

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

Colorado State University recently broke ground on a $20 million center for its meat science program.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Greeley-based meatpacking giant JBS USA provided much of the money for the facility, which the company and university say will help “advance best practices in food safety, meat sciences and animal handling and welfare.”

Flickr Creative Commons

Some High Plains states are proposing bills that would allow climate change denial to be taught in public schools, under the rubric of “academic freedom,” reports Vice.

Stock Photo/Norman Transcript

The number of incarcerated inmates in Oklahoma has reached 62,000, reports The Norman Transcript.

The state’s prisons are currently at 109% capacity. Back in December the state of Oklahoma hit a new prison population record of 61,000. Now, in only four months, 1,000 inmates have been added to that record.

WFAA

A Texas teacher and Army veteran is taking on what he calls state-endorsed shaming at public-school cafeteria counters.

As WFAA reports, Kelvin Holt says he became concerned when he saw a cafeteria worker admonish a child who didn’t have enough money to pay for her meal, then tossing the food out and giving the child a lesser substitute.

Bies / Flickr Creative Commons

In the State of Texas, the death rate for new mothers is now higher than any other place in the developed world.

Sanofi Pasteur / KUT

Texas has seen 221 cases of mumps this year. That’s more cases than at any time in the past 20 years, reports KUT.

okcfox.com

Over half a million uninsured motorists drive on Oklahoma’s roads every day.

Now, reports KOKH, a new program aims to lower that number. The state’s District Attorney Council has proposed a system that would allow law enforcement to scan license plates and determine if the driver is insured.

But, for the plan to work, Oklahoma’s motor vehicle insurance database will need to be upgraded.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

This week the Texas House Public Education Committee heard testimony on a bill that would decrease the number of standardized tests faced by students in the Lone Star State.

At first blush, the idea seems like it might carry broad support among Texas educators. But, as The Texas Tribune reports, teacher opinions on the idea actually constitute a mixed bag.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Legislature took a big step last week toward battling health problems in rural parts of the state.

As StateImpact reports, rural Oklahomans have long been fighting a losing battle with diabetes, and obesity. And heart disease is the state’s number one killer.

Colorado facing teaching shortage

Apr 19, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

In Colorado, the teacher shortage is growing larger each year with rural districts struggling the most to fill teaching positions.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is in need of around 3,000 new teachers, but the graduation rate from teacher-preparation programs has declined by close to 25 percent over the past five years.

Brad Gibson / Oklahoma Watch

For decades, Oklahoma public schools have been struggling to retain principals. Last year 73 percent of Oklahoma’s 1,900 principals had held their positions for five years or less.

As Oklahoma Watch reports, the constant turnover of principals costs Oklahoma districts thousands of dollars a year.

AgWeek

In an opinion piece this week, the editorial board of the weekly agricultural newspaper AgWeek insisted that rural health care has reached a dire state, and must be addressed now.

When it comes to heath care, writes AgWeek, “the worry is greater today than it's ever been.” Hospitals have been closing across rural America at a troubling pace. Many agriculturalists have taken jobs away from the farm, just so they can have health care.

Dallas Morning News

In 2015, Texas spent almost half of its budget on healthcare—a total of nearly $43 billion. Now, as health costs spiral out of control, the Lone Star State is trying to figure out how to assure the health of the state’s residents, while still paying for state worker insurance, prison inmate health, and disabled benefits.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

In a move that has infuriated health advocates in his state and across the country, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback vetoed a measure last week that would have expanded Medicaid across the state.

As The Kansas City Star reports, the decision means 150,000 more Kansans will go without health care than if he had signed it. The bill passed the Senate in a 25-14 vote, and passed the house by a similarly wide margin of 81-44.

David Amsler / Flickr Creative Commons

A new report shows that the rate of those who receive disability benefits is far higher in the rural parts of America than in the more populous centers.

As The Washington Post reports, 133 of the 136 counties with the highest disability rates in the U.S. are rural. In those counties, more than one in six working-age adults receive disability.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control

Last year, Oklahoma experienced a record number of drug overdoses, reports Oklahoma Watch.

In another gruesome precedent, methamphetamines were the biggest killer, for the first time ever. 2016 saw 952 from overdose deaths, and that number could reach closer to 1,000 as pending autopsies are finalized. The overdose number is almost 100 deaths higher than the previous record of 870 in 2014. Of the deaths, over a third occurred due to methamphetamines.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

When it comes to education budgets, Texas colleges and universities are facing some dark days ahead, reports The Fort Worth Star Telegram.

The state Legislature has proposed deep cuts to higher education funding, and on top of that the Trump administration has suggested slashing Federal contributions, and Texas is considering freezing tuition rates.

KFOR

Dallas school districts have been actively recruiting Oklahoma teachers.

As KFOR reports, Dallas ISD is holding interviews in Oklahoma City this week to try to convince some of the state’s most qualified teachers to head to Texas, where pay and benefits are significantly better than in the Sooner State.

Creative Commons

The Colorado Legislature has proposed a series of deep budget cuts that could cause rural hospitals across the state to close.

Indiana Public Media / Flickr Creative Commons

A proposed Kansas school finance formula drew more fire this week, in the closing day of hearings on the plan.

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