HPPR People & Communities

People

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Communities

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Center for Rural Affairs

Tyler Vacha grew up on a farm in Nebraska, and he learned a lot of valuable lessons there. In a recent essay for the Center for Rural Affairs, Tyler wondered if the important lessons he picked up would be foreign to children of the twenty-first century.

Tyler wrote that he’s recently become aware that he’d taken his experiences on the farm for granted. How, he wondered, will he teach his kids to be responsible without asking them to feed and water livestock?

Morning Consult

Rural residents still aren’t using the internet as much as their urban counterparts, according to a new study.

Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Texas athletes fared remarkably well during the first week of the Olympics, reports Texas Monthly. During the first seven days in Rio, Texans took home thirteen medals, eight of which were golds. As a matter of fact, a full one third of the United States’ medal count has been won by Texan athletes.

I just received this incredible thank-you card from Sarai, my new buddy at the Canyon Public Library. She came in to drop off her registration for our Chase the Sunset event in the Palo Duro Canyon, and I got her to record a station ID for High Plains Morning. Thank you, Sarai! You'll never understand how VERY happy this makes a morning DJ!

  

The Gazette

Colorado and Kansas are two of the most welcoming states toward refugees, according to a new study.

Researchers from the International Rescue Committee combed through tweets from all 50 states looking for positive and negative language regarding refugees. Colorado ranks eighth for having the most positive tweets regarding newcomers fleeing terror and hardship, reports The Gazette. Kansas performed even better, landing at fourth on the list.

cfra.org

The Center for Rural Affairs is celebrating the “Dog Days” of summer with a canine-focused fundraiser. Send a photo of your pup to info@cfra.org, and the Center will feature the picture on their website and social media. The CFRA is hoping to raise $10,000 by the end of August.

Peter Thody / roadtripamerica.com

Most travelers passing through Groom, Texas, are distracted by the almost-200-foot-high cross that towers over the little town. But the lucky few who happen to glance north of the interstate are met with a surprise. In Groom you’ll find what Slate’s Atlas Obscura blog calls “The Leaning Tower of Texas.”

This small town just east of Amarillo on old Route 66 contains a water tower that looks to be the victim of an earthquake. The structure leans at a crazy angle, two of its legs dangling off the ground.

Check out Amarillo-based News Channel 10's coverage of HPPR's projected expansion, 94.9 FM Connect. Thanks to John Kanelis for this story. 

We're excited to explore this next chapter in our station's future!

Terry Jeanson / Texas Escapes

Immigration in Texas doesn’t seem to be slowing, notes The LA Times. Almost 45,000 immigrants have crossed the border since October, most from Central America. The small Texas town of Alice has found itself reeling after the oil bust, and the influx of immigrants hasn’t helped the town’s fortunes. But now a British correctional company has offered itself up as an “unexpected savior.”

Lauren Koski / amarillo.com

Wills Elementary in Amarillo has been harvesting produce alongside the brick buildings of the school. And now those fruits and vegetables are going to a good cause, reports Amarillo.com. The food will help refugee and low-income families feed their families. The program is part of a partnership with the High Plains Food Bank.

Nick Cote / New York Times

The West has changed a great deal since the days of thousand-mile cattle drives. Ranchers now employ drones to track livestock, and many have traded in their trusty horses for four-wheelers. But in Colorado and other parts of the High Plains, notes The New York Times, there’s one tradition that hasn’t changed: branding day.

Getty Images

Trivia wiz and 74-time Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings recently reported on strange phenomena on a Kansas farm for Condé Nast Traveler. The 360-acre farm of Joyce Taylor, just north of Potwin, is a quiet place off the beaten path. But a few years ago Taylor, 82, began receiving strange phone calls and visitors.

KDVR

Ever dream of owning a ghost town? Now’s your chance!

The deserted town of Cabin Creek, Colorado, in rural Adams County, is now available for purchase on Craigslist, reports KDVR. “We've had so many people look it`s been amazing,” said the current owner of the town, James Johnson. The road-side village along Highway 36 is available for the tidy sum of $350,000. For that price, you’ll get an old service station, a café, an abandoned motel, and a small house.

NTV

Surrounded by weeds in a remote section of Webster County, Nebraska, sits an unremarkable clearing. You wouldn’t think it was anything special if you stumbled upon it, notes NTV, but if this pasture could talk it would tell you a secret. There used to be a baseball field here, and a legend pitched from its mound. His name was Denton True Young. But most folks know him as “Cy.”

Brennan Linsley / AP photo

Rural voters have been flocking to the GOP in recent decades, reports governing.com.

This year, there are 15 states where rural residents make up more than half the population. Republicans are governors of 11 of them. And the GOP has a chance to pick up the other four in November.

Chelsea Self / Glenwood Springs Post Independent/AP

Bud Gardner is a fixture in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The grizzled-yet-affable man has worked for the city for the last 23 years. He’s a jack-of-all-trades for the city government, mending potholes and fixing water lines.

Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade / US Army

Rural America has always been home to many of America’s veterans. That’s still true today, but the percentage of veterans living in small towns and ag communities is dropping, reports The Daily Yonder.

The reason? Older generations are dying off, while younger generations are more likely than to live in bigger cities. From 2007 to 2014, the percentage of veterans who live in rural areas decreased noticeably.

Wallethub

Independence Day is around the corner, and the personal finance website WalletHub decided to determine which states are the most and least patriotic. The results may surprise you. The site tried to weed politics out of the equation by measure 12 metrics that speak to patriotism.

These included number of active duty military and veterans, voting percentages, and number of volunteers. Virginia was found to be the most patriotic state, while New Jersey is the least.

Skubasteve834 / Wikimedia Commons

Independence Day patriots rejoice! Fireworks go on sale today in parts of the Texas Panhandle, reports the Amarillo Globe-News. Law enforcement agencies are, of course, warning folks to obey local fireworks ordinances. That means possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited within the city limits of Amarillo.

Amy Bickel / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

CASTLETON – For Sam Grilliot, it’s harvest time, and that means the old Oliver is lumbering through the wheat field.

More often, you find similar antique combines abandoned in a hedgerow. But for Grilliot, the 50-year-old machine is one of the tools he depends on each year.

USDA / Rural Blog

The Washington Post recently reported that many rural areas are past their prime and peaked long ago. But new data from the US Department of Agriculture contradicts that narrative. Rural areas, for the first time ever, experienced a decline from 2010 to 2014. But The Rural Blog notes, that trend appears to be slowing and possibly reversing.

Rural Blog

Iit’s no secret that many rural communities on the High Plains are losing population. But, as The Rural Blog reported this week, part of the problem may be one of marketing. Rural towns often don’t have websites, and the sites that do exist are usually poorly maintained. Sometimes there’s simply not enough information available for people who might want to move to a given town.

Washington Post

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were good times for the High Plains. Back then, much of the rural plains was growing rapidly. But, as The Washington Post reports, much of America’s rural farm country has been depopulating for a very long time. In fact, more than half of the counties in the nation are in population decline. That means their peaks are long behind them.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

The annual wheat harvest has begun in Kansas. Kansas Agland captured farmers Brett Mott and Russell Molz cutting wheat and delivering it to the grain elevator. Photos by The Hutchinson News's Andrew Whitaker.

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

STAFFORD – They aren’t painting the town red. Not yet.

But a group of dreamers are envisioning their Main Street’s empty storefronts as something more than storage space for someone’s clutter.

Dave Hall / The Guardian

An editor for the British news site The Guardian recently went on a trek with a team of Oklahoma stormchasers. His expectations were low—he knew seeing a tornado was rare, even for these intrepid weather watchers.

Lindsey Bauman / Hutchinson News

From Harvest Public Media:

The blue bus is still going.

Once wheat harvest swings into operation around Lane County, probably by mid-June, the bus will rumble down dusty county roads.

In an earlier life it had been a school bus. But it was transformed long ago into a makeshift kitchen that often was filled with the sweet aroma of freshly baked oatmeal cookies.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media

A weathered wooden shed that holds wheelbarrows, hoes and other basic tools is the beacon of the Student Organic Farm, a two-acre swath within the Iowa State University Horticulture Research Farm. On a warm spring evening, a half-dozen students gather here, put on work gloves and begin pulling up weeds from the perennial beds where chives, strawberries, rhubarb and sage are in various stages of growth.

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.

Tantrums LLC/The Guardian

After losing her oil job when prices dropped below $50 a barrel, Houston’s Shawn Baker started a new kind of business, reports The Guardian. In a world where there’s so much simmering anger, she thought, why not let people pay to smash stuff? Baker started Tantrums LLC, a one-stop shop where customers can release their inner Incredible Hulk.

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