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How Some Small Towns Are Achieving 'Brain Gain'

13 hours ago

When communities watch young people grow up, go off and never return, remaining residents and politicians often bemoan there’s been a “brain drain” — especially when such population loss means schools and businesses close.

High Plains Morning was honored to speak with Denise Cross (Treasurer/Financial Advisor & Volunteer) and Stefanie Rodarte-Suto (Volunteer & Presenter) at ONE-Amarillo, an area nonprofit committed to stop human trafficking in the greater Amarillo area by educating, empowering, and engaging with those at risk, survivors, and compassionate volunteers in our community that are willing to help.

Amarillo Globe-News

A legend in the world of High Plains journalism retired this weekend. Jon Mark Beilue’s first byline appeared in the Amarillo Globe-News 37 years ago, and the Groom native has been a steady voice of reason in the Texas Panhandle ever since.

Beilue began his career covering class 5-A football games for what was then the Amarillo Daily News, fresh off his graduation from Texas Tech.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Recently, I began to notice that purveyors of print material and packaging designers have started using much smaller fonts than they used to.  This annoyed me, as any consumer study will clearly show that people don’t like to have to squint to make out instructions, recipes, and article content. 

One evening, as I was trying to read a major national newspaper, I made an offhand comment to Joel about this disturbing trend. 

The 2018 Fall Read's theme is Let’s Talk – Aging, Death & Dying.  You'll find thoughts and ideas about books from Radio Readers through a series of BookBytes posted below. If you'd like to contribute a BookByte, simply contact Kathleen Holt for more information. 

Hannes' Ark River Adventure

Jul 5, 2018
Ben Kuebrich / HPPR

For 30 years, former Johnson County, Kansas Manager Hannes Zacharias wanted to kayak the entirety of the Arkansas River -- from Colorado all the way to New Orleans.

He’s finally doing it, but there’s one problem -- a big stretch in Western Kansas is completely dry.

Ben Kuebrich / High Plains Public Radio

This last weekend, Dodge City was one of the hundreds of cities across the U.S. to hold “Families Belong Together and Free” rallies to protest against children having been separated from their parents at the border.

The event was organized by the Dodge City Catholic Diocese and featured speeches by religious leaders and songs and prayers in both English and Spanish.

Dennis McKinney, former Kansas State Treasurer, also spoke at the event. He said the border needs to be secured, but that there’s no need to split families.

Jonathan Baker

The small town of Canyon, Texas, will swell to the size of a small city this week, as it hosts one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the state

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the town of just over 13,000 will grow to a population of 40,000 or even 50,000 over the two days of the extravaganza. It all begins on Tuesday night, with an outdoor concert at the First United Bank Center, when the Josh Abbott Band will play.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

We’ve been talking about fears the last couple of weeks.  I’ve shared some of the phobias my teenager and my middle-schooler have inherited from their mother, who has more than enough to go around.  I’d be remiss if I left out my littlest child, Clementine.  I would say the jury is still out on her, since she’s only five.  But that wouldn’t be true.  I don’t think she fears a single thing.  

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A tradition that's almost a century old in the Texas Panhandle is coming to an end.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the Tri-State Fair's board of directors has decided to end the parade that kicks off the nine-day celebration every year in September.

Roman Leal

Last week, the Texas Panhandle was abuzz about a billboard. The sign didn’t mince words, simply asking “LIBERALS" to "please continue on I-40 until you have left our Great State of Texas.”

In an editorial in The Amarillo Globe-News, Jon Mark Beilue called the sign, “childish and immature, noting that the sign only “add[ed] to the division in the country.”

After the backlash, the sign was promptly taken down.

A team of lawyers has volunteered to make sure immigrant children in Topeka separated from their parents have the legal help they need to reunite with their families.

Former U.S. attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom said Monday he’s assembled team of at least 10 lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries volunteering help to immigrant children staying at The Villages, a shelter in Topeka that’s been taking in children separated from their parents when they crossed into the United States.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Last week, I talked about how maternal fears impact offspring, even when those children haven’t been specifically conditioned to be afraid.  It’s almost as if they absorb their mother’s abject terror or ingest it in her breast milk.  It’s funny -- I’m not afraid of this program -- but they seem to be.  I would have no idea where they picked up that fear.  Surely their stepdad doesn’t fear it. 

This week, High Plains Morning spoke with the delightful Mollea Wainscott, Special Projects Coordinator for Housing at the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation. We were inspired by her passion for revitalizing abandoned, "blight" housing, making it functional and available for low-income families.

High Plains Morning was honored to host Tejay Adams, the founder of the Amarillo-based nonprofit Stand Against Suicide. He's hosting a rally this Sunday, June 24th, at 34th & Georgia in Amarillo from 2:00 to 4:01pm, to bring visibility to the public health crisis of suicide in our region. You can  RSVP here.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I have many fears - probably more than most people, I’m afraid.  Do I have more than most?  I do, don’t I?  I hope my kids don’t inherit this flaw.  They will.  Won’t they? 

Hey, my anxiety is justified!  Research shows children really do inherit phobias from their mothers. 

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Last week, High Plains listeners got an analogy about how weight gain is essentially like compound interest – as you add kids, you actually have more surface space upon which to pack the pounds, which grows your bottom line more quickly.

Kansas is on its way to becoming a majority-minority state, with white residents expected to make up less than half of the population by 2066.

A new report from the Kansas Health Institute shows that the state is quickly becoming older, more urban and more diverse.

From Texas Standard.

The next full moon falls on June 27. In the west Texas desert near Marfa – if you are in the high desert grasslands just east of town – you may spot an unlikely arrangement of large black or granite stones like a Texas Stonehenge. As the sun sets on that day, that megalith will begin to come to life.

Little Spouse On The Prairie: Compound Dieting

Jun 2, 2018
Valerie Brown-Kuchera

As listeners know, Joel loses weight simply by hearing other people talk about their diets.  I, on the other hand, have to muster all my willpower, work out at least an hour a day, and cut my calories to under 500 per week to see progress.

From Texas Standard.

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a report based on some 30,000 pages of internal records from the Department of Homeland Security between 2009 to 2014, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. What they’ve found is what they call “the pervasive abuse and neglect of unaccompanied immigrant children detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

From Texas Standard.

In an effort to control its borders, the U.S. has been unequivocal in declaring what will happen to those who illegally immigrate to the U.S. with underage kids in tow – you may be be separated from your kids. It’s supposed to be a deterrent. In the past, parents with children were not routinely prosecuted for illegally crossing the border. But that’s changed, and now kids are being separated from their parents.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I’m prefacing today’s sketch, “Fearful Symmetry,” with a couple of disclaimers.  First, I am an incredibly lucky person.  I understand that to be able to poke fun at minor everyday problems is a luxury few people are allowed.  And second, in this episode, names have been changed to protect the asymmetrical. 

Creative Commons

While Kansas is often the topic of jokes – including its appearance in National Lampoon’s Vacation – the small Kansas town of Coolidge, near the Colorado state line, has become a popular stop for westward travelers.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, Coolidge is one of those towns you can drive through – on gravel roads in this case - in less than a minute. And in the National Lampoon movie, was painted as “Hickville, USA.”

At The Law Shop in Van Meter, Iowa, attorney Amy Skogerson untied a piece of blue yarn from around a bunch of craft sticks.

Each stick had a word or short phrase stamped on it, and she read from them as she placed them on her desk: “negotiate, court representation, research law, draft documents.”

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

You already know that, like me, Joel’s a bit sentimental. He likes to hang on to things.  It’s not just his favorite pair of decades-old shoes, either.  In fact, when we first got married, we had a bit of a quandary.  Let’s just say Joel’s preferences in matters of style were, initially, a bit different than mine.  Luckily, his taste has become incredibly similar to mine throughout our marriage.  In fact, it’s remarkable how quickly it has evolved, although I’ve always tried to be respectful of his man cave. 

Farm-to-market and ranch-to-market roads have helped rural Texans get around since the 1940s. But what happens when these roads become completely surrounded by the city, with fewer ranches and farms on route? The seemingly odd road names caught one listener's curiosity.

I want to build up my collection of valuable items to leave for my children.  Though they won’t inherit millions of dollars, I think my children will be even more appreciative of the meaningful items I have been saving for them.  There are several very special doilies that great-grandmothers have made, along with some heirloom salt and pepper shakers. 

Bob McMillan / Wikimedia Commons

In late April, fires raged across the Oklahoma landscape, devastating farming communities.

And as The New York Times reports, relief bales of hay began arriving before the flames were even quenched. The hay is a much-needed respite for farmers and ranchers in the Sooner State, with the cylindrical bales serving as a way to feed cattle who have found themselves in a charred and bleak landscape.

Little Spouse On The Prairie: In Sickness And In Health

Apr 28, 2018
Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I saw this meme last week: “During childbirth, a woman’s pain is so intense that she can almost imagine what it’s like when a man has a cold.”  I am very, very lucky.  Joel is rarely if ever, sick, and when he is, he actually retains most of his humanity.

No, Joel is tough when it comes to the common cold or the odd bout of stomach upset.  It’s when there’s an injury involved that he tends to overreact. 

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