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Anonymous Cow / Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to labor force growth and rates of certain crimes, Amarillo doesn’t measure up to similar cities, according to a new study reported by The Amarillo Globe-News.

The study, from a group called Avalanche Consulting, found that Amarillo has more violent crime and property crime than comparable cities like Lubbock, Chattanooga, and Rochester, Minnesota.

Country kid fun

May 19, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

Warm weather always reminds me that country kids know how to have fun. An eight-year old from the Denver area made me think about this when he entertained me with adventures he enjoyed at a trampoline and arcade business near his home. After he detailed hours of good times performing tricks and challenging friends, I wondered what my grandkids would remember about their country childhoods. Thank goodness, I spied two teens playing a crazy game of either hide-n- seek or paint ball war in between lined up hay bales along Highway 24.

WWW.OURHENHOUSE.ORG

Something’s been eating my strawberries. Yes, the luscious berries that we planted two springs ago and carefully nurtured so we’d have fresh fruit over our ice cream and cake or sliced to sweeten a fresh spinach salad. Since they first began blooming in May, I’ve harvested about 15 scarlet bursts of flavor that hip hop on my taste buds. Last week, I went to pick some for supper and discovered I’m not the only one that likes this spring treat.

City of Garden City, KS

Two independent film makers are in production on a new documentary film focusing on Garden City.

According to a press release, film makers Bob Hurst and Tess Banion – in collaboration with lifelong Garden City resident and former mayor Nancy Harness - are exploring the history of Garden City, Finney County and the many immigrant groups that have come to call the area home over the last 100 years and beyond. 

COURTESY / COADY PHOTOGRAPHY

The western Kansas horse that ran in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby finished in eighth place.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, McCraken, owned by Leoti’s Janis Whitham, finished eighth after going off at 6-1 – the third best odds of the 20 horses that ran in the coveted race. 

After starting in the 15th gate, the three-year-old broke to the middle of the pack but never had a spurt to get to the front.

Troglodyte Miscue

May 5, 2017
LEARNER.ORG

Kids love to find words that get under the skin of siblings or enemies. This term gains power due scatological or other socially inappropriate connotations. For me, the word troglodyte, meaning knuckle-scraping Neanderthal, carried great import.. What could be more insulting?

Imagine my surprise to discover a word I secretly called my worst enemies was part of the scientific name of one of my favorite birds, the house wren.

COURTESY / COADY PHOTOGRAPHY

The western Kansas horse running in the Kentucky Derby is described as a “handful” but one that could very will win the coveted race.

As The Wichita Eagle repors, McCraken, named for the Kansas town of McCracken, belongs to Janis Whitham of Leoti. Her son, Clay Whitham, describes the 3-year-old horse as a closer.

“He’ll hang back in the pack – and then, after that second turn, he’ll make a move," he said.

Kentucky Derby hopeful has western Kansas ties

Apr 24, 2017
Courtesy / Coady Photography

*This story first appeared in High Plains Journal on April 23, 2017. 

Patience and racehorses do not necessarily coincide. But for a western Kansas family, patience has paid off.

Janis Whitham of Leoti, Kansas, has a horse headed for the Kentucky Derby—if he stays well and continues to train soundly, according to Whitham’s son Clay. Their 3-year-old colt, McCraken, is currently at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, with trainer Ian Wilkes training for a Derby start.

First day at the park

Apr 24, 2017
WHEREINTHEUSARV.BLOGSPOT.COM

After months of wearing long pants, heavy sweaters over flannel shirts, and clunky shoes, folks are enjoying the chance to leave jackets behind and head to the park. It’s like a spring cleaning for the spirit as everyone goes down a slide, swings, or teeter totters in order to wipe away winter’s cobwebs and staleness.

Mongo

“But--I didn’t start it,” are words parents and teachers hear regularly. Over decades, I’ve learned that seeing one kid hit another doesn’t mean that child began the fuss. Usually he or she is answering another youngster’s actions. The bad news is I saw what I saw, so I have guide that person back to acceptable behavior at home or in a classroom. A lesson I try to teach is that reacting often draws unwanted attention. 

Dodge City micro-brewery expected to open in June

Apr 13, 2017
Gerald B. Keane

The first micro-brewery in Dodge City and one of the only ones in southwest Kansas is pushing for a June opening.

As The Dodge City Globe reports, Dodge City Brewing  is currently under construction near Third Avenue and Spruce Street.

Once open, the brewery will offer more than 30 recipes and currently has six featured beers including Space Cowboy, Demon Red Ale, Pete’s Brown Ale, Uncle Johnny’s Cream Ale, Samurai Cowboy and Maurice Wit.

Ammodramus

Combine past information with storytelling and you get history, which both entertains and offers examples of actions that improve lives. Kansas has experienced thousands of years of learning how to set up functional communities. At least 155 years of those include practice establishing permanent towns operated by local and state governments.

CC0 Public Domain

Youngsters nowadays have tough choices when it comes to playing. For those of us who are living our second half of a century, the p word meant wandering outdoors to look for trees to climb, finding neighbor kids willing to put together a newly invented street game, or digging up some dirt suitable to build forts or create giant war zones for green plastic army men.

Irish in Kansas

Mar 24, 2017
Creative Commons CC0

A childhood friend recently posted the title of this column on her Facebook page as a meme. It made me smile as I thought about the latest St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Even those who don’t have a drop of old  Ireland in them enjoy celebrating with corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, green beer, Irish parades, shamrocks, or leprechaun tales. This adoption of Irish customs, even temporarily, is a recent occurrence. In the mid to late 1800s, those of Irish heritage found more heartache than ready acceptance.

David Koehn / NET News

“For most of our trafficking victims this is kind of where we're going to start,” says Jamie Manzer, as she gives a tour of the SASA (Spouse Abuse Sexual Assault) Crisis Center, where she worked until recently.

SASA helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence. That includes women being trafficked: sold against their will for sex. Like a lot of social service agencies, the SASA office used to be something else, but they’ve made the best out of oddly shaped space and rooms.

The Oklahoman

Undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma have evidently become so frightened that many have stopped attending church, citing dread of being deported should they appear in public.

Members of the clergy recently told The Oklahoman that they’ve seen a drop in attendance since news of deportations have spread across the country.

http://www.sandcreeksite.com/

The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site and Bent’s Old Fort – both in southeastern Colorado – saw an uptick in visitors in 2016.

As The Prowers Journal reports, the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in Chivington, Colorado - the site of the 1864 attack by U.S. volunteer soldiers on a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians that left 230 mostly women, children and elderly dead - hosted almost 1,000 more visitors in 2016 than in 2015.

www.firstthings.com

Due to medical appointments and grandkid visits, I’ve spent several days driving across central and western Kansas the last few weeks. During that travel time, gusting north winds have shaken and tossed my silver Toyota like a terrier shaking a rat, leaving me to hope that spring weather lore is more than a wishful thought. Now that the beginning of the month is here and I have a few more journeys to make, that old saying about March, “In like a lion, out like a lamb,” appeals to me.

news9.com

Kindhearted souls from across the country have banded together to help farmers and ranchers left reeling by the wildfires that ravaged over a million acres last week.

As Wide Open Country reports, one Texas rancher has donated $30,000 worth of hay to feed misplaced livestock. Ranchers across the Lone Star State have followed suit; since last week flatbeds stacked with hay have been seen rolling onto the Llano Estacado from points south.

www.colorado.gov

On the eastern plains of Colorado is a rehab clinic for the homeless who are addicted to drugs and alcohol – an unusual site given that most such facilities are based in cities.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community, located in Las Animas, Colo., is also unique in that most drug and alcohol treatment providers for the homeless push “housing first” programs.

Lindsey Bauman

Help is coming and is here – where the prairie is singed to the earth – and at all hours.

Jeff Kay was up at 2 a.m. Monday to help unload a couple of trucks carrying hay for ranchers affected by the Clark County wildfires.

“It’s unbelievable the way the farming and ranching community has come together,” said Kay, who operates Ashland Feed and Seed. “There are donations coming from all over the world.”

Immigrants vital to Colorado, national economy

Mar 14, 2017
NY - http://nyphotographic.com/

In Colorado, one in 10 residents, or just under 533,000 people, were born in another country, making them a vital part of the state’s economy.

It's all in the perspective

Mar 10, 2017

Last week I wrote about my gardening efforts to encourage black swallowtail butterflies to lay eggs. My hopes were that these would become caterpillar hordes that would munch my fennel and dill until bare stems remained. We’re almost at the naked stick stage, and I’ve learned that folks don’t always see things my way. We’ve had friends and family drop by to enlighten me about my insect cultivation practices.

A beautifully tough place to live

Mar 10, 2017
Sarah Nishimuta / Woodward News

It's hard for people who don't make their living on a ranch or farm, growing crops, grassland and cattle to understand how this week's fires have devastated residents here.

Last night I had someone who does not live here call me and try to console me by saying, "Well, ash is good for the grass." All I could say to that was "Wha?"

Courtesy El Quartelejo Museum

There is no Trump in Kansas, but Scott County has Pence.

Not that there is evidence of political aspirations in this little town. It sits just off Cherokee Road, surrounded by treeless farmland, where it has been floundering for more than a century.

It’s unlikely that its founder, J.W. Pence, has any blood connection to Vice President Mike Pence – or that the 85 percent of Scott County voters who supported the Trump/Pence ticket did so because there was a town of Pence in their county.

Glimmer721

Kevin Costner’s character Ray in the movie Field of Dreams listened to a mysterious voice telling him, “If you build it, they will come.” Against others’ advice, he sacrificed a cornfield to construct a baseball diamond in the middle of Iowa farm country. If you’ve watched this film, you know the end of the story. Shoeless Joe Jackson, members of the banned 1919 Black Sox team, and others show up to play some spirited games.

Pedro Figueiredo

For more than 400 years, the only halt to England's annual Pancake Race was World War II.

Tradition runs deep in Olney, anchored by St. Peter and St. Paul − the church with the tall spire along the bank of the River Great Ouse in the heart of England.

It's here the bell has been tolling every Shrove Tuesday, calling the community to the Shriving service, the day before the 40 days of Lent. Even through the War of the Roses, legend has it the annual Pancake Race was run in Olney.

Creative Commons

A north central Kansas filmmaker’s drone video of wheat harvest is premiering at a New York City film festival next month.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, Doug Armknecht’s video called 'Beauty & Bounty' documents his wife’s family’s 2016 wheat harvest in Osborne County and is premiering at the New York City Drone Film Festival, which takes place March 17 to 19.

Colorado rancher shows support for Trump in a big way

Feb 26, 2017
9 News

An eastern Colorado rancher is showing his support of President Donald Trump in a way only a rancher, or farmer, could come up with.

As 9 News reports, rancher Doug Koehn of Limon, in frustration at some of the negativity coming from opponents of Trump, hopped on his plow and carved the word “TRUMP” in big block letters into his field.

The letters are approximately 800 feet wide and 800 feet long, a mile-long Trump, Koehn told 9 News.

Public Domain

Miners may have headed to the mountains hoping to discover gold nuggets and tiny gilt grains in streams and veins of rock. Unlike those adventuresome characters, we’ve stayed home on the prairie and discovered treasure in our Kansas garden after experimenting with new crops. One such Eureka moment arrived in the form of beta-carotene, vitamin A rich sweet potatoes.

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