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

WFAA

Retired Teachers in Texas will soon take a big hit when it comes to healthcare costs, reports WFAA.

Beginning in September, educators who have reached retirement in Texas will pay double or even triple their current healthcare premiums.

Ella's Dad / Creative Commons

The Texas Senate has put the statewide pre-K program on the chopping block, reports KXAN.

The most recent Senate budget plan shows significant funding cuts for the pre-K grant proposal, which is backed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

The grant plan was initiated two years ago, after lawmakers declared state prekindergarten funding to be in a state of emergency. The Governor’s grants would put well over $100 million toward high-quality Pre-K across Texas.

KFOR

Oklahoma may lose its last insurer on the healthcare marketplace next year, reports KFOR. The number of insurers on the Oklahoma exchange has fallen after several carriers sustained significant losses.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak noted the “absence of legislative action to create a solution that can restore the stability of our health insurance system.”

Creative Commons

A school finance proposal that would boost funding by more than $75 million is going to fall short of what the Kansas Supreme Court views as adequate.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the court ruled earlier this month that the state was not providing an adequate education to all Kansas students and gave the Kansas Legislature until June 30 to come up with a new school finance formula.

William Brawley / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma saw four more flu-related deaths this week, according to the Oklahoma State Health Department.

As The Oklahoman reports, that brings the statewide total for flu deaths since last September up to 68. The state has also seen more than 2,100 Oklahomans hospitalized due to influenza since the beginning of this flu season. The most recent deaths occurred in Oklahoma, Cherokee, Kay, and Tulsa counties.

Bob Daemmerich / The Texas Tribune

Yesterday the Texas Senate Education Committee passed legislation to open the door to what has become known as “School Choice.” As The Texas Tribune reports, the new bill would pay tax dollars to  parents, to be used for private school tuition and homeschooling expenses.

The bill passed by a vote of 7-3, with the Republicans on the committee voting in favor. The measure will now head to the full Senate, where it’s also expected to pass. The legislation has long been a priority for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

foodsafetynews.com

Almost 75,000 pounds of beef products have been pulled from store shelves in Texas, reports KFDA.

The recall occurred after reports of E Coli in boneless beef products were received from Waco’s H & B Packing.

davebloggs007 / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week Wyoming approved a plan to cut $35 million from the state’s K-12 budget. Wyoming is just the latest of several oil and coal states across the country, including Texas and Oklahoma, that have slashed funding for education, reports The Atlantic.

Last year, Oklahoma cut well over $100 million in public school funding, forcing some districts to move to four-day school weeks.

Creative Commons

Higher education tuitions have been rising lately in Texas. But financial aid packages haven’t been increasing to keep up with the hefty cost of college, reports the Texas Tribune.

Texas lawmakers say they understand that helping students obtain college degrees is vital to the state’s economic future. But the legislative evidence doesn’t seem to be backing up their words.

News Journal

Near the end of the Obama administration, prison reform advocates had grown cautiously optimistic that America’s pattern of incarcerating two million US citizens each year might be coming to an end.

Wallethub

In all but six states, women outnumber men. Yet in many areas of the U.S., women are being treated poorly. There are still 19 states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and women make up the majority of poor, uninsured adults in those states.  

Heather Carpenter Costello / Creative Commons

Texas lawmakers are taking aim at a boozy trend that has started to take hold in some Lone Star dentist’s offices.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, some dentists have been offering alcoholic beverages to patients while they wait to be seen. Last week Texas legislators called the new idea “appalling” and “irresponsible.”

56 mumps cases being reported in Kansas

Mar 12, 2017
Centers for Disease Control / Wikimedia Commons

56 cases of mumps have been reported in Kansas, prompting the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to urge Kansans to take precautions. 

As The Wichita Eagle reports, 56 mumps cases have been reported in Kansas since March 4.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the cases were reported in Atchison, Barton, Crawford, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Franklin, Johnson, Marshall, Riley, Rooks and Thomas Counties.

Valarie Smith

A new program for at-risk juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system was launched in 52 western Kansas counties and 29 northeastern counties last week.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, the Kansas Department of Corrections celebrated the launch of the Functional Family Therapy (FFT) program at the Finney County Department of Corrections in Garden City.

NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory

March 5 to 11 is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas and a couple of events are planned to ensure people are ready for severe weather.

According to the National Weather Service, a statewide tornado safety drill will take place at 10 a.m. central time on Tuesday and Finney County Emergency Management will be holding a severe weather/storm safety training Thursday.

The National Weather Service provides storm identification/spotter training sessions each spring in cooperation with area emergency management agencies.

CC0 Public Domain

As childhood immunization rates rise in Colorado, a lawmaker wants to strip funding from the state’s Immunization Information System.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado ranks 14th in the country in childhood immunization rates, according to a study released Friday.

“All The President’s Men” was published in 1974.

Over here at Harvest Public Media, we may not have Deep Throat. But we do have Undercover Cowboy.

Deep Throat, of course, was the Washington Post reporters’ source for their Pulitzer Prize-winning expose of the Nixon White House and the Watergate burglary. Deep Throat was revealed in 2005 to be Mark Felt, a former FBI official.

KVII

Oklahoma Panhandle State University has plans for a new facility that it hopes will draw more students interested in wildlife-related programs

As KVII reports, the new Panhandle State Collegiate Shooting facility is being built on 203 acres of ranch land in Texas County. The complex will feature a pistol range, a rifle range, an Olympic 3D archery range, multiple skeet ranges, and a wildlife education center.

Penn State / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas firefighters are asking residents to stop flying drones near wildfire sites, reports The Houston Chronicle.

Last weekend, the Texas A&M Forest Service was battling a blaze near College Station when it was forced to send out an official request to Texas citizens, pleading with them to not fly drones near the fire.

CDC/Wikimedia Commons

Three cases of mumps are currently being investigated by the county health department in Finney County and state health officials are investigating whether additional people were exposed to mumps during wrestling meets last week.

StatNews.com

In recent years, rural hospitals have struggled to survive in the United States, and many have closed. But in the small West Texas town of Childress, the hospital is thriving against all odds.

Trace Thomas / Texas Tribune

Some rural homeschool parents have suddenly found themselves making unlikely alliances with public school unions in Texas, reports The Texas Tribune.

Many homeschool advocates have traditionally been staunch conservatives. But now some are lining up against former allies like Senator Ted Cruz, to battle a “private school choice” bill that could pass this Texas legislative session.

Creative Commons

A Texas Panhandle city traditionally associated with oil is moving toward the forefront of agricultural science.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, this week Borger welcomed the opening of a new livestock genetics center.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

Deaths due to the flu have been spreading across Oklahoma, reports KFOR.

According to officials from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 37 deaths related to the flu have now been recorded in the state. That total includes nine in recent days. Tulsa County has been hit the hardest, with 10 deaths this year in that county alone.

Across Oklahoma, almost 1,500 people have been hospitalized due to influenza this year.

NewsOK.com

The Oklahoma Legislature may soon give public school teachers a raise, reports The Oklahoman.

The proposed law lays out a three-year plan, under which Sooner teachers would receive an increase of $1,000 in the first year. When the three-year term is over, teachers in the state will have seen a total pay increase of $6,000 per year.

jeffsmallwood / Flickr Creative Commons

While Texas has garnered national news for its poor treatment of foster kids, Oklahoma has quietly been amassing a far more troubling record.

As The Tulsa World reports, a report has found that Oklahoma had more cases of foster-care abuse and neglect in 2015 than any other state.

Paul Locke / Flickr Creative Commons

Oil and natural gas operations may be linked to childhood cancer, according to a new study by the University of Colorado.

As The Denver Post reports, children who grow up near oil and gas drilling are statistically more likely to contract leukemia between the ages of five and 24. The study was peer-reviewed, and published in an online multidisciplinary journal last week.

KFDA

A celebrated Amarillo teacher has invited President Trump’s new Education Secretary to visit the Texas Panhandle, reports The Amarillo Globe-News.

Shanna Peeples made news across the country two years ago when she was named the National Teacher of the Year. She was personally given the award by Barack Obama, and had a private lunch with the former president in Washington.

Woodley WonderWorks / Flickr Creative Commons

A new bill being proposed in Oklahoma would forgive student loans for the state’s teachers, reports KFOR.

Rep. Mickey Dollens’s proposed legislation would give Oklahoma teachers student loan forgiveness if they stay at any school for at least seven years. Educators cheered the bill, saying it’s on the right track. But, they added that the new law doesn’t solve the crux of the education problem in Oklahoma, which is low teacher pay.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

A new study has found that four out of five schools in Texas offer no sex education at all, or opt instead for strict abstinence education.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the study by the left-leaning Texas Freedom Network discovered that 25 percent of Texas school districts offer students no sex education of any kind.

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