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David Bowser / Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune recently took a look at how the oil bust is affecting the town of Perryton, in the far northern Texas Panhandle near the Oklahoma border. This isn’t the first oil nosedive the residents have seen. For many the downturn brings to mind the precarious 1980s. Back then, in 1987, the whole town threw an “oil-bust bash” to lift their spirits.

Prowers Journal

The National Park Service recently offered to manage Camp Amache in Southeast Colorado. But the site’s trustees in Granada are still weighing the variables they expect to encounter with the deal, reports The Prowers Journal.

Camp Amache is a former internment camp that was used to incarcerate approximately 7,500 Japanese-Americans shortly after World War Two. The location has been listed as a National Historic Landmark. Yet little remains of the original camp. There is also a small museum depicting life at Camp Amache during the war on Highway 50 in Granada.

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.

Theo Stroomer / New York Times

Llooking for something to do this weekend? Why not head out to southern Colorado and wrestle an alligator?  The New York Times recently profiled the Colorado Gators Reptile Park in the San Luis Valle. At the park, people of all ages engage in gator grappling.

Natalia Contreras / Caller-Times

I

n rural South Texas there’s a cemetery with names on the headstones like Davis, Baker and Harris. That in itself isn’t so odd. What is strange, reports The Guardian, is the types of names you won’t see. There are no Garcias here, no Lopezes or Hernandezes. That’s pretty unusual for a county where half the population is Hispanic.

Sasha von Oldershausen / Texas Observer

The Texas border town of Presidio has an unusual problem. Last year, reports The Texas Observer, Presidio buried at least 300 horses at a loss of almost $200 per animal. The city charges $22.50 to bury a dead horse, though the actual task costs a good deal more. The council has discussed raising the fee to $150. But that notion alarmed the owners of local stockyard businesses.

Tom Fox / Dallas Morning News

Last weekend The Dallas Morning News reprinted in full a New York Times article about what it means to be a Texan in the 21st century. The essay read, in part, “[Texans] believe that their way of life is under assault and that they are making a kind of last stand by simply being Texan.”

Thad Allton / Topeka Capital-Journal

Walk into the Kansas state capitol’s rotunda in Topeka, and you’ll be confronted by four colossal statues of famous Kansans. In this hallowed room, Amelia Earhart, Dwight Eisenhower, Arthur Capper and William Allen White gaze down in silence at visitors to the capitol. The sculptor for these 2,000-pound statues is still going strong, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Ty Judd and his friends recently went on an outing to round up rattlesnakes in the Oklahoma hills. Member station KGOU photographer Brian Hardzinski tagged along.

The snakes were delivered to Okeene’s rattlesnake roundup, one of five such festivals each year in Oklahoma.

Jae S. Lee / Dallas Morning News

Borden County, in West Texas, has a population of only 676 people—and it’s possibly the most gun-friendly location in the gun-crazy state of Texas. More than one in five people over the age 21 in the county has a license to carry a handgun, reports The Dallas Morning News. That’s far higher than the rate in Texas at large, where only one in 20 has a handgun license.

Allison Herrera / KOSU

The Trail of Tears is one of the most shameful and painful episodes in American history. But now, reports KOSU, the descendants of the original Trail’s travelers have found a poignant—and grueling—way to honor their ancestors. In the winter of 1838, 16,000 Cherokee Indians were marched at gunpoint from Georgia to Oklahoma. Their land was taken from them so that white settlers could develop the territory. 4,000 Cherokee died on the thousand-mile walk. In 1984, contemporary Cherokees began an annual bike ride over the original trail’s route.

US State Dept of Refugee Resettlement / Texas Observer

Amarillo has been increasingly in the spotlight about its abundance of refugees. In early April The Observer reported on how Amarillo has become the happy ending to thousands of refugees fleeing terror and persecution around the world. Amarillo has the most refugees per capita of any Texas city, but only ranks 41st in the nation. “People have come from Cuba, Vietnam, Somalia and Burma to start new homes in a place they never knew existed,” the Observer noted.

Tim Patterson / Texas Tribune

Americans are moving to Texas from other states in droves, reports The Texas Tribune. From 2005 to 2013, almost six million people moved to Texas, and five million of those came from one of the other 49 states. That means Texas grew by an average of 345 people per day during that period—and the influx hasn’t abated.

Brent Lewis / The Denver Post

More people are on the move in Colorado than in any other state, reports The Denver Post. In fact, one in 10 Colorado households lived in another county or state than they did the previous year, according to a study of 2014 tax returns.

Kevin Romero / Via AP

In an unconscionable act that has a community reeling, a nefarious thief has stolen 19 cases of provolone from an eatery in Pueblo, Colorado. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the loss amounts to $2,000 worth of cheese.

The thief broke through padlocks on a freezer at the Do Drop Inn to get to the cheese. The thief didn’t take anything else.

Luke Clayton

Luke's guest on High Plains Outdoors this week is one of his long time friends Joe Dunn. Joe is a Chaplain for Victim Relief Ministries and also uses his BBQ skills and... his gigantic smoker nicknamed The Beast, to feed homeless folks and anyone in need of a great BBQ meal. 

Joe gives some cooking tips that is sure to help your next BBQ turn out great. Joe's wife Donna works with her husband and through the years, the duo have prepared thousands of meals for people in need. 

Andrew Whitaker / Hutchinson News

Huddled out on the Kansas plains, 25 miles west of Dodge City, you’ll find a town named for an ancient ruler of the Aztec empire. In fact, the main street in Montezuma is even called “Aztec.” The Hutchinson News recently profiled the town, which is a wonderful example of how rural communities can not only survive in today’s heartland—they can thrive. The town is a treasure trove of unexpected places and quirky characters.

Manda Bricker / Kansas Agland

 From Kansas Agland:

The lone heifer was the star of Pratt Livestock's Thursday sale, raising more than $90,000 in funds for the Gyp Hills wildfires.

"People have been very generous," said Jake Lewis, the auction market's general manager.

Producer Dave Clawson, of Plains, donated the heifer for the noon bidding.

Lindsey Bauman / Hutchinson News

You’ve got to make an effort to get to Pretty Prairie, Kansas. It’s not located on a major highway or interstate. But the trip is worth the effort, notes The Hutchinson News.

Kansas Heritage Center/hpj.com

High Plains residents may recognize the name Herb Clutter as the patriarch of the family that was brutally slain in Truman Capote’s true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood. But for folks in Southwest Kansas, the substance of Herb Clutter’s life is of so much more importance than its unfortunate conclusion.

Barbara Damrosch / Washington Post

This spring folks on the High Plains might consider feeding their soil a seafood dinner. When we make soup, it might seem easier to just dump an envelope of dehydrated powder into the pot. But using real leeks and thyme isn’t hard, and it results in a richer and tastier meal. Your soil acts in much the same way, says a recent column in The Washington Post.

zippia.com

The career website Zippia recently crunched the numbers to determine the smartest states in America. The company compiles US Census data to determine the percentage of adults over 25 with at least a college degree and the percentage of current high school dropouts aged 16-19.  

ABC News

he troubles of Apple CEO Tim Cook may seem a world away to rural folks on the High Plains. But consider this: Cook grew up in the 1960s in rural Robertsdale, Alabama. And while this straight-talker and openly gay man is at the center of one of the world’s largest controversies, it’s worth noting that Cook’s ideas about right and wrong were forged in small-town America.

Office of Senator Al Franken / Minneapolis Star Tribune

Back in August a Washington Post reporter made a few snarky comments about a rural Midwestern county. Christopher Ingraham wrote, "The absolute worst place to live in America is (drumroll please) Red Lake County, Minn.” In response, the residents of Red Lake County invited Ingraham to visit.

amarillo.com

Last week the Amarillo Globe News remembered a man who had a powerful and lasting impact on the Texas Panhandle. Roy Turner died this month at age 88. Turner was one of the individuals responsible for helping create Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. Founded in 1939, Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch has served area youth who otherwise would not have a home. In the 7 decades since its inception, Boys Ranch has become an iconic part of the Texas Panhandle.

http://www.chron.com

Folks in Groom, Texas, may have a spiritual bone to pick with the Texans down on the coast. For over 20 years, Groom has been home to the largest freestanding cross in North America. But if all goes to plan, one day Corpus Christi will be home to the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere, reports The Houston Chronicle.

Source: WalletHub  

American state capitals aren’t always the most exciting places in the nation. Often, these cities serve as seats of government, and not much more. Think Carson City, NV, or Charleston, WV. But the economic website Wallethub has found that many state capitals are, in fact, thriving—and they’re great places to live. The site has now ranked the best and worst state capitals to live in, and High Plains states did fairly well in the rankings.

In fact, Austin, Texas, is listed as the most livable state capital in the country, and Lincoln, Nebraska, came in second. Colorado cracked the top 15, with Denver coming in at number 13. Topeka had a decent showing, landing at number 20, just ahead of Oklahoma City at number 21.

dailymail.co.uk

Craig Cobb doesn’t seem to be too well liked on the High Plains. The man has been searching for a city in which to create an all-white enclave. And, as The Dickinson Press reports, he’s met the same response in Nebraska and Kansas as he did in North Dakota: Not here.

Alan Greenblatt / NPR

It’s Lent, and that means Catholics are looking for alternatives to their beloved beef. Sometimes, that can lead to interesting choices. Many Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays in observance of the season of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter, notes SDPB radio. But the church has made sometime interesting exceptions at times, in some places.

Sandra J. Milburn / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

It begins in a pasture, just as the sun rises on a February morning.

This is where steaks are born.

Brandon Siemens found the black heifer lying in blanket of green rye near her mother. He gave it a tag number – 802 – and rubbed its sides, coaxing the newborn onto its wobbly legs.

“She must have had her this morning,” Siemens said as he got back into his pickup.

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