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Texas and New Mexico have entered into a contentious dust-up over ... dirt.

As ABC News reports, the “turf war” started when New Mexico accused road workers in the Lone Star State of crossing the state line to collect New Mexican dirt, in order to repair a dirt road in Hudspeth County.

Prairie Tayles: Dead Right And Rumble Strips

Aug 18, 2017
KANSASCYCLIST.COM

There was a time that I found rumble strips - you know, those zig-zaggy indentions down the middle and sides of highways - to be nothing but obnoxious. They make terrible sounding vibrations when crossed, regardless of whether drivers intend to pass over them or not. They remind me of a dentist using the big drill to grind out a chunk of old filling. My feelings about those asphalt irritations changed the day those rough-carved asphalt concaves saved not only my life but my mom’s. Since then, I’ve new respect for that once disturbing noise.

Kansas' attorney general is leading a nationwide push to identify elder abuse and find ways to help in the fight against the growing problem.

It's estimated that one out of every 10 elderly people who live at home in their later years will become a victim of abuse. Elder abuse can include physical abuse, neglect and financial abuse or exploitation.

It is a crime in Kansas to commit abuse on seniors which, by Attorney General Derek Schmidt's definition, includes anyone 65 and above. As of 2010, there were more than 40 million people over 65 in the U.S.

People Of The Plains: Learning To Love

Aug 17, 2017
Courtesy

Kristy Reynosa hired me to be her family’s nanny when I was a sophomore in high school.

I watched her daughter Molly, who was 11 at the time, and her granddaughter Tylee, who was 8.

Molly was this little girl who could do anything she put her mind to. You put a ball in front of her, and she knew how to make a point with it in whatever game it was. You told her to run a certain distance at a time and she did it five minutes under.

MDT.MT.GOV

Does anyone else wonder what highway workers charged with stopping one lane of traffic during road construction think about as they stand in the elements and flip their signs from stop to slow eight to twelve hours a day? Whenever possible, I visit with these souls who brave extreme temperatures and irate drivers to see how their jobs compare to my inside work.

Wikimedia Commons

Daily temperatures may still top the century mark during the next thirty days, but soon they’ll start dropping. Knowing old Man Winter has already packed his bags and bought his ticket to Kansas compels me to google long-term weather forecasts each year. The irony is that I’ve done this long enough to realize weather prognosticators have worse batting averages than losing baseball teams. To prepare better for changing seasons, I also consider what meteorological prophets who rely on folk wisdom have to say.

El Dean Holthus knows what people might think of a town like Smith Center, Kansas.

At nearly the exact geographic center of the contiguous United States, it's an hour from the nearest Interstate. It's home to about 1,600 people, but that population is declining like most of rural America's.

They probably think, he says, that "it's just a little hole in the ground."

People Of The Plains: A Panhandle Education

Aug 3, 2017
Creative Commons CC0

Louise Baker was an educator in the state of Texas for 30 years. She grew up in New Mexico and that is where she went to college, which is where she met her husband, Kenneth Baker. They moved from city to city because of work. She has taught in Oklahoma City, Okla., Arlington, Texas, and finally in Canyon, Texas.

Baker always had a passion for teaching because that is what her father did, and she “never thought of doing anything else”.

We wanted to interview Louise because of the ever-evolving experiences she had during her teaching career.

In the middle of a cornfield in south-central Nebraska, an oasis of art is growing.

Art Farm, situated off a long dirt road outside the small town of Marquette, started back in 1993 as an artist residency program. Since then, it’s become a one-of-a-kind experience many artists can’t resist.

Wikimedia Commons

Rapid care in the golden hour after an accident or major health issue such as a stroke or heart attack offers hope to patients and their loved ones. For those who live in remote areas, time between the moment a cardiac incident or traumatic injury occurs and treatment begins depends on how swiftly emergency services arrive. For most of us living on the high plains, this means we depend on neighbor volunteers during crises.

People Of The Plains: A Love For The Game

Jul 26, 2017

“Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That quote is one of Halee Langen’s favorite quotes.

This is an adaptation of an interview that I had with Halee Langen in “A love for the Game” as told by M’Kenzie Garrett.

When you meet a person your initial reaction isn’t to ask them what battles they have overcome or how difficult it might have been for them to fight those battles. Sometimes, the extent of a hard time can be measured by a single painful experience, but other times it can be the smaller things that add up to bring the pain.

Kevin Rofidal

Former Kansas Senator and national Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole has been nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Lynn Jenkins jointly introduced resolutions to honor Dole on Monday, two days after his 94th birthday.

CCO Public Domain

Colorado has made it legal to break into a car, but only if it is to save the life of a child, cat or dog.

As The Denver Post reports, the new state law takes effect on Aug. 9 and provides legal immunity for people who break into a hot car to save an animal or a person, but doesn’t specify whether it’s from heat or cold.

Dincher / Wikimedia Commons

A West Texas native who was diagnosed with the fast-progressing disease known as ALS—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—has undertaken an epic journey to draw attention to the disease.

Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

What do High Plains folks hate the most?

There’s a new app called Hater that works like Tinder, except it matches users based on common things they loathe.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, according to the app’s users, the most common thing Texans hate is . . . “sleeping with the window open.”

This may come as a surprise, as there are so many things to hate in Texas, like rattlesnakes and poorly constructed tacos.

Lake Lou / Flickr

Learning more about how our ancestors lived fascinates me so I’m always up for any adventure that involves the past. A favorite place to explore old times is nearby Cottonwood Ranch at Studley, Kansas. First, the architecture is interesting. Even better, are its stories. The curator and his support team have skillfully preserved this English-style sheep ranch and its history. Fortunately, the original owner kept meticulous records that open windows into his world. In addition, the caretaker is a great storyteller for those inclined to listen. 

CC0 Public Domain

The demand for locally grown and produced foods in Colorado over the past 10 years has gone from being a mere trend to a lifestyle for many Coloradans.

This according to a recent survey conducted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), in collaboration with Colorado State University, about consumer attitudes toward agriculture.

People of the Plains: Coaching Without Words

Jul 19, 2017

Ryan Brigance, better known as Coach Ryan, is a coach, friend, and role model to several people. I am just thankful to be one of them.

Ryan was the owner and head coach of Amarillo Cheer Elite, or ACE. He opened the gym with his parents when he was 21, and sadly, closed it recently at the age of 36. He is newly married and now works as a hot tub mechanic and a part-time school cheer coach.

phillipsblackhawks.com

For The Amarillo Globe-News, John Mark Beilue has written a remembrance of a bygone place that still holds a lot of nostalgia for some former residents.

Phillips, Texas, was founded near Borger during the heyday of the oil boom in the 1930s. The town swelled in the 1950s with Baptist and Methodist churches and businesses like the Jolly Drug, the 66 Cleaners and the Ostrum Grocery.

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

Schools in rural school districts often don’t have the budget or the teachers to offer students all of the courses they would like to take. One rural district in a Missouri county decided to offer credit for online classes in an effort to give its students the educational opportunities it can’t otherwise afford.

Public Domain

Two more farmer’s markets recently got underway in the Texas Panhandle, according to The Amarillo Globe-News. All kinds of treats and vegetables will be available this summer in Amarillo and Canyon—from locally produced clothing and art to locally grown produce.

CC0 Public Domain

Add a bucket, crank, rock salt, ice, canister, milk, cream, vanilla, sugar, eggs, and arm strong power to take any summer celebration over the top. As a kid, I loved arriving at a gathering where men sat or knelt circled around a good size wooden or plastic bucket and each took a turn cranking a long metal handle. Oftentimes, a child perched atop the bucket to stabilize the turning device. I knew when I saw this, it didn’t mean the guys were just telling good stories. It meant we’d soon be eating homemade ice cream.

People of the Plains: A lesson for the future

Jul 5, 2017
Courtesy

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”- Ann Landers

From The Dust Bowl to World War II, Eufemio Velasquez has had his hands in a whole lot of life and a whole lot of history. In the five years since he welcomed me into the family, I have learned more about the history of this nation than I ever could have possibly learned from textbooks in school and more about life than I could have ever realized at my own age.  

Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

One of the world’s most prominent international publications has published a look into the peculiar politics of southwest Kansas.

The English newspaper The Economist this week released a special report on Kansas, which it calls “the birthplace of populism.” In particular, the paper delved into the unique local political flavor of Liberal, Kansas. Despite its name, the town went for Donald Trump in a big way last November.

Prairie Tayles: Fourth of July Fun

Jun 30, 2017
CCO Public Domain

“Gramma, wuuuhms (worms), pops!” giggled my three-year-old granddaughter, calling from western Kansas. It’s early July, so I realize her parents have taken her to buy childhood firecrackers such as black snakes and those little poppers that I, our daughters, and now our grand love to throw on hard ground. Sure enough, my little caller’s mother confirms that’s what happened. This is G’s first year to enjoy these holiday favorites, and she wanted to share her excitement.

People of the Plains: Wings

Jun 28, 2017

Tom Morris is a 97-year-old WWII veteran from Amarillo, Texas.

Starting out his life, he worked hard, dedicating his time to the railroad when he decided to better himself and attend the University of Texas Law School. While enrolled in school the war started and he instantly knew that his time and talents were needed to help serve the country.

Public Domain

Determined residents and local officials have helped turn the tide on a declining population in a northwest Kansas community.

As High Plains Journal reports, the U.S. Census of 2010 reflected that Quinter, Kansas had experienced a 4.5 percent population decline and that Gove County’s population declined 12.2 percent since 2000.

Aubri Thompson has already had her share of challenges by age 21: She left the foster care system without a designated caregiver, lived without a steady home for more than a year and became a single parent before finishing college.

Thompson lived in the Kansas foster care system from age 14, when she was reported as a runaway, until she “aged out” at 18. During that time, she moved 21 times, staying in foster homes, group homes and mental health treatment facilities.

Former southwest Kansan's play headed to Broadway

Jun 26, 2017
Courtesy

A former southwest Kansan’s play is Broadway-bound.

As The Hutch News reports, 31-year-old Shane Howard grew up on the dry high plains of western Kansas, where he tapped a reservoir of inspiration for his play, “In Pursuit of Peace,” for the upcoming Broadway Bound Theater Festival in New York City.

Howard told The Hutch News the play has a western Kansas theme.

“This is a love story between a father and son, and how they deal with their relationship,” he said.

New truck stop coming to Lamar, Colorado

Jun 26, 2017
The Prowers Journal

Lamar, Colorado will be getting a new truck stop soon.

As The Prowers Journal reports, the franchise Pilot Flying J will begin construction on a Pilot Travel Center, which will be located on land just north of Avenida Colonia and to the east of Highway 50, some time next month. 

The Lamar City Council approved the needed annexation of the TL Tucker property and there was no opposition to the project at a June 12 public hearing held during the council’s regular meeting.

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