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

James M. Dobson / Garden City Telegram

Last Friday Abe Hubert Elementary School in Garden City hosted its first Ag Day. As reported in The Garden City Telegram, the event had several activities based around a common theme: agriculture.

Rural Blog

When it comes to mental health and veterans, rural soldiers are less likely to receive help than their urban counterparts, reports The Rural Blog.

Ken Piorkowsky / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week, the Lone Star State concluded a record-breaking gap in executions, reports The Houston Press.

Before last Wednesday, the State of Texas had gone six months without putting anyone to death. That’s the longest stretch without an execution since 2008. Back then, a moratorium had been called while the U.S. Supreme Court considered the legality of lethal injections.

Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

In many rural areas, maintaining mental health can sometimes come down to finding a ride.

As Oklahoma Watch reports, Transportation is often a barrier for rural dwellers seeking mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Wallethub

Job pressures, low pay and lack of mobility force many teachers to quit soon after they begin. With that in mind, the personal finance website Wallethub set out to find which states are doing a good job of treating teachers with the respect they deserve.

Andrew Fysh / Creative Commons

The children's death rate in Kansas hit a record low in 2014, the last year for which data is available.

As the Topeka Capital-Journal reports, Kansas had 410 child deaths in that year. That’s the lowest death rate in any year since the Kansas State Child Death Review Board began reviewing cases in 1994. Child abuse was responsible for 53 percent of the deaths.

NFID/HuffPo

Autumn is officially upon us, and that means it’s time for flu shots.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Huffington Post that a flu vaccine is still the best way to protect yourself from coming down with the virus.

Psychonaut / Wikimedia Commons

A Colorado group is doing its best to fight the scourge of a highly addictive drug popular in rural communities.

As KUSA reports, the Colorado Meth Project is spreading a message of hope, and they believe it’s working. And the numbers agree: between 2005 and 2015, Meth use in teenagers dropped by 40 percent. Kent MacLennan is executive director of the program. He says the project is still staying hot on the trail of making sure teens are aware of the dangers of the drug.

Marie De Jesus / Houston Chronicle

A Texas lawmaker thinks schools should be teaching students the proper actions to take in the event of a police stop, reports The Houston Chronicle.

Mike Groll / AP photo

Each US state has its own policies for what books are allowed in its prisons. But, according to quartz.com, Texas goes farther than most in censoring what inmates have access to.

reason.org

Kansas highways are ranked third best in the nation, according to a new report released by the Reason Foundation.

The report judges states on overall highway performance and efficiency. The top-performing states in the overall rankings this year are rural states with limited traffic congestion. Kansas’s neighbor to the north, Nebraska, landed at number four on the list.

Brennan Linsley / AP photo

In November, Colorado voters will decide on Amendment 69, which would institute a statewide health care system in the Centennial State.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Last year, Texas announced that it would slash $350 million in Medicaid benefits to disabled children. In response, a group of concerned Texans filed a lawsuit seeking to block the cuts. But this week, The Texas Tribune reports, the Texas Supreme Court allowed the cuts to move forward.

The money was going toward speech, physical and occupational therapy providers and the families of children who receive those services.

Bret Levin / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost half of Colorado school districts are not complying with a state transparency law, reports The Colorado Independent.

The watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch has found that 43 percent of Colorado’s school districts are not complying with a law requiring school boards to post minutes of their meetings in a timely manner.

The law went into effect in June 2014. It says school boards must post minutes within 10 days of approving them.

Michael Flippo / Thinkstock

The United States Department of Agriculture is releasing up to five million dollars in grants to help create or strengthen farm-to-school programs, reports FarmFutures.com.

The competitive grants are part of a federal initiative further to increase foods from local farms and ranches in America’s school meals.

Sue Ogrocki / AP photo

Oklahoma has opened its first new abortion clinic in over forty years, reports Refinery29.

In fact, Gerald Ford was president the last time Oklahoma opened a new family planning clinic. The Trust Women South Wind Women's Center will provide many services to women, including abortions, Ob/Gyn care, family planning, adoption services, and emergency contraception.

Elizabeth Renstrom / TIME

Almost a third of older Americans simply aren’t moving enough, a recent TIME article reports.

According to a new study, 28 percent of people over the age 50 are too sedentary. In fact, more than half of baby boomers don’t do any exercise at all. That’s despite the unquestionable and widely known health benefits of exercise.

Creative Commons

Kansas recently came in seventh in the nation in the rate of obesity.

And a recent editorial in the Garden City Telegram took the Sunflower State to task for its unhealthy ways. In the last year, Kansas has risen from 13th to seventh in the rankings. Thirty-five percent of adults in Kansas are obese, up from 31 percent last year. Kentucky was the only other state to see its residents grow more obese.

The Washington post

The number of uninsured Americans has dropped to its lowest level since before the Great Recession, reports The Washington Post.

The gains in insured citizens came primarily among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, those obtaining insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

KSN

Wednesday will be an important day for Kansas public-school students, reports KSN.

In two days, the Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the system is inadequately funded. The court will decide whether the Legislature is providing enough money for Kansas public school kids to receive a suitable education. Kansas schools and teacher groups are watching the developments closely.

Harry Cabluck / AP photo

A controversial Texas textbook on the Mexican-American experience is drawing widespread criticism, reports CBS News, with some critics claiming the book is “dripping with racism.”

The textbook has been determined by a state committee to contain many mistakes. The state’s education board held a hearing on the book last week. About 100 people signed up to speak, and the hearing even drew a busload of protestors to Austin.

Texas Tribune

Almost 3,000 Texans died from drug-related overdoses two years ago, and many of these were related to prescription opioid use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named prescription drug abuse as the fastest-growing drug problem in the country.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Several key Texas lawmakers have shown little interest in expanding Medicaid in Texas, according to The Texas Tribune.

News on 6

Oklahoma continues to lead the nation in incarceration rates for women, reports News on 6.

As a matter of fact, the state appears to be leaving the competition in the dust. The state imprisoned women at a ten percent higher rate this year over last. And Oklahoma County imprisoned thirty-three percent more women this year than in 2015.

Gov. Mary Fallin has created a Justice Reform Task Force to examine state laws that lead to imprisonment.

Kansas Department of Corrections

A case disputing the constitutionality of solitary confinement in Kansas is moving forward, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Paul Hellstern / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma’s education superintendent has vowed that she will fight for a ballot measure that would provide $5,000 raises to Oklahoma’s teachers, reports NewsOK.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister indicated that she will support the legislation even though the measure isn’t ideal. Hofmeister said something must be done to address Oklahoma’s shrinking pool of teachers.

Marie D. De Jesus / Houston Chronicle

Texas is keeping tens of thousands of kids out of special education who might, in other states, be considered special ed students.

That’s because, over a decade ago, Texas officials decided on a percentage of students that should get special education services. That number is 8.5 percent, and it is an arbitrary figure that doesn’t change according to how many students are actually in need.

The Denver Post

Despite Colorado’s ballooning population, the state’s waistlines remain as skinny as ever.

Colorado has once again been named the leanest state in America, reports The Denver Post. The announcement means Colorado has held the title consistently for over ten years.

According to the CDC, Colorado also as the lowest rate of adult diabetes, the lowest rate of physical inactivity and the second-lowest rate of hypertension in the United States. But there’s still room for improvement.

Martin Dimitrov / Getty Images

Students from sparsely populated areas can earn money toward undergraduate and graduate degrees, as reported in U.S. News & World Report.

Wallethub

Community colleges were once disparaged as inferior to four-year institutions. But in recent years, two-year colleges have stepped up their game, sometimes even outperforming traditional universities. The personal finance website WalletHub has published a list of 2016’s states with the best and worst community college systems.

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