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A Journey around Colorado's Ghost Towns

Jul 29, 2015
Diddley Squat / ghosttowns.com

Looking for something fun to do this summer? Why not grab a camera and go hunting for Colorado’s forgotten past? The website ghosttowns.com has a Colorado section, with helpful interactive maps, where you can learn about towns like Tuttle, in Kit Carson County, which was a US Post Office for the Pony Express, or Boggsville in Bent County, which was the final home of Kit Carson, or Chivington in Kiowa County, where the old dilapidated schoolhouse still stands out on the open plains.

Iconic "Tex Randall" Statue in Canyon to be Restored

Jul 26, 2015
Jonathan Baker

“Tex Randall,” the iconic 47-foot cowboy in Canyon, will be repaired soon, reports the Amarillo Globe-News. The Canyon Main Street program has raised $350,000 to complete the restoration, which will begin this fall.

yogisden.us

Last week Alan Bates, of Tulsa, and family, "ventured out to the big skies of western Oklahoma" and came upon a Western-style pool party. He couldn't leave without snapping a few pictures. 

You can see more photos at Alan's blog.

Historic Buildings in Amarillo to be Demolished

Jul 14, 2015
Amarillo Globe-News

A construction company in Amarillo has announced that it will be demolishing two historic structures this week, reports Amarillo.com. Sunbird Construction will tear down the Jackson Square Apartments, built in 1926 on the corner of South Jackson Street and Southwest 16th Avenue. The company will also destroy a home of approximately the same age to the south of the apartments.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Community newspapers throughout Kansas are switching to weekly editions, reports Wichita member station KMUW. Many of these newspapers, such as the McPherson News and Information, provide local residents with their only source for local news.

Jonathan Baker

Novelist and essayist Jonathan Baker recently returned home to Canyon, Texas, after living in New York City. He was struck by the differences and unexpected similarities between the Big Apple and small-town West Texas. Baker published an essay about his observations in the magazine Colloquium, and he was surprised when the essay went viral.

Rodeo Bullfighters Aren’t Clowning Around

Jul 11, 2015
Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

 

Rodeo season is getting into full swing and at most rodeos, bull riding is the main event. But when the bull ride ends, the work begins for rodeo bullfighters, and a young bullfighter is making a name in the business by putting himself in the middle of the action.

Derrick Ho / The Oklahoman

In the late 19th century, with rigid prohibition laws enacted in Kansas, cattlemen flocked to the thin strip known as “No Man’s Land,” now the Oklahoma Panhandle. When the Santa Fe Railroad arrived in the 1880s, it brought with it droves of cowboys looking for liquor and women, and Beer City was born. Among the entrepreneurs who   came down from Liberal to serve the needs of these cowboys was Nell “Pussy Cat” Jones.

Creative Commons

 The Huffington Post has provided an engaging overview of the Oklahoma Panhandle, otherwise known as “No Man’s Land.” The article details unique Oklahoma Panhandle events such as the Cow Chip Throwing Competition, held each April in Beaver, and the Posthole Digging Competetion, which takes place the first weekend in June each year in Boise City.

Public Domain

Legends of America has published an interesting retrospective of Nicodemus, Kansas, the only Western town founded by African Americans after the Civil War that still remains. Nicodemus was established by ex-slaves, who had fled the South seeking of place to restart their lives. Founded by a land developer from Indiana and an African American clergyman named W. H. Smith. The first settler was another clergyman, the Reverend Simon Roundtree.

Creative Commons

In honor of Independence Day, the website wallethub.com has completed a study to determine which US metro communities most resemble the nation at large. The website compiled data including age, gender and income as well as more complex measures such as household makeup and housing tenure.

After Lightning Strike, A Kansas Town Fades Away

Jun 30, 2015
Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

The Hutchinson News reports the story of Esther and Dean Lamm of Bristow, Kansas. If you haven’t heard of Bristow, you’re not alone. Nothing remains of the town but an old cemetery; the rest has been consumed by wheat fields. Esther and Dean were married on July 21, 1957, in the Bristow Methodist Church in Osborne County.

Lindsey Bauman / The Hutchinson News

The Hutchinson News has reported a deeply touching story about a mother in Ulysses, Kansas, who finds herself in a struggle for her life. Becky Teeter was always the tower in her household that everyone leaned on. She and her husband Monty adopted two children in the eighties, and their family grew in strength and love over the years. Monty realized his dream of owning his own irrigation company.

Rural Job Growth Rebounds

Jun 25, 2015
Marcella Gadson / Google Creative Commons

After a decline earlier this year, job growth in rural America is back on track, reports The Daily Yonder. This April saw 232,000 more jobs in rural counties than during the same period a year ago. In addition,  the unemployment rate in rural areas has fallen from 6.2 percent a year ago to 5.4 percent in that time.

"Resting" Barbecue Improves Flavor

Jun 25, 2015
Joshua Bousel / Flickr

For many years barbecue aficionados have had a problem. After the meat had finished cooking, every method of keeping the barbecue warm throughout the day until it could be served resulted in dry meat. Steam tables turned it to mush, heat lamps zapped the moisture from it, and leaving it in a pit cooked the meat even further and dried it out.

A Remembrance of Black Wolf, a Forgotten Kansas Town

Jun 24, 2015
Legends of Kansas / Public Domain

The Legends of Kansas website has posted a fascinating history of a Kansas ghost town known as Black Wolf, which was situated on the north bank of the Smoky Hill River. Located halfway between Ellsworth and Wilson, the town began as a station on the Union Pacific Railroad.

Barclay Gibson

While many towns in the Texas Panhandle have grown over the last century, others have dwindled in population, and some have been almost completely forgotten. The website texasescapes.com has a section dedicated to the ghost towns of the panhandle, where you can learn about the forgotten past of the Llano Estacado.

OKCPS Emerson

The online magazine Slate this week provided readers with a fascinating view into America’s educational past. Workers renovating a high school in Oklahoma City came across a number of blackboard lessons that had been frozen in time. The blackboards, which had been covered by new chalkboards in 1917, still retained lessons and drawings on math, reading, music, handwriting, personal hygiene, pilgrims, and God.

The Prowers Journal

The Prowers Journal reports that historical preservationists have begun restoring the Camp Amache Japanese internment camp near Granada in Southeast Colorado, which held over 4,000 Japanese Americans during the Second World War. Workers have completed reconstruction of a water tower and a guard tower, and now work has begun on a barracks facility. The preservationists hope to accumulate 10,000 bricks in order to complete the project, and they are gathering as many used bricks as possible.

musicfog.com

An Amarillo native is the official state musician in 2016.  Joe Ely was one of eight artists appointed by the Texas Legislature according the Amarillo Globe News.  Ely began his musical career in Lubbock.

Ely says he’s humbled, and as a songwriter has always felt extremely fortunate to have grown up in an inspirational place with such a rich, compelling history filled with some of the most fascinating characters in the world.

Ely will serve a one year term.

Best & Worst States for Working Moms

May 6, 2015
www.wallethub.com

In the world of working moms the High Plains region spans the center of a survey of equality and support for mothers to hold their own in the workplace. With Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma ranking in the mid to low range at number 24, 33 and 42 respectively as the best and worst states for working moms.

The True Colors of Racisim

May 5, 2015
The Washington Post

Contemporary technology provides a unique and much more accurate way survey taboo subjects like racism. Using the search engine Google, Washington Post journalist Christopher Ingraham poses the question, “Where do America’s most racist people live?”

Mapping Migration in the United States

Apr 29, 2015
Gregor Aisch and Robert Gebeloff / New York Times

The New York Times has generated a series of interactive maps that details the human migration patterns of each state. The maps show the percentage of residents born in each state, other states as well as outside the U.S.

cbsnews.com

The National Teacher of the Year is an educator from Palo Duro High in Amarillo.  Shanna Peeples is the first Texas teacher to win the award since 1957. 

Peeples works in an environment where 85 percent of students live below the poverty line and where more refugee children are enrolled than in any high school in the district reports the Amarillo Globe News.

The landscape of southwestern Kansas is colored mostly shades of brown… dotted with circles of green…. with the distinct interruption of feedlots. But, in the small town of Ulysses, there’s a place that nurtures creative souls. Some call it “brush storming.” Local artists gathering around a table working on projects while they chat about life and ask each other for artistic advice. It’s like an old-fashioned quilting bee. The Main Artery also showcases the work of artists, but it’s more than a gallery says Tracy Teeter. She purchased the business in January. It’s also a creative workspace.. a place to perfect your skills… and gather with friends. The gallery started with 11 members over a decade ago. Today there are 21 different artists from a 100 mile radius.

StateImpact Oklahoma

There are a handful of people still around who remember the darkness that feel over Oklahoma 80 years ago. Black Sunday was commemorated at the Oklahoma Capitol by Dust Bowl Survivors recently.

Survivor Pauline Hodges, who was only 5 at the time, recounts the onset of the storm at the Capitol, “It looked like night. There was so much dirt in the air and that made it so black.”

Amber Waves of Change: Homecoming (Part 4)

Apr 7, 2015
Photo by David Guth

What is it that keeps a community afloat in the face of dramatic population decline? In his final chapter on the concerns in rural America, University of Kansas Journalism Professor David Guth reveals that family ties and aggressive community planning keep the High Plains populous.  From Kansas Public Radio,  see how communities are managing to hold their own. 

Amber Waves of Change: Rural Newspapers (Part 3)

Apr 7, 2015
(Photo by David Guth) / Kansas Public Radio

The struggle to survive for small town local media is in direct correlation to the dwindling population.

In the third installment of the four part series on issues facing rural America, from Kansas Public Radio, Professor David Guth addresses the apparent, imminent demise of rural newspapers. As well as what challenges rural publishers are facing, where the decline of subscribers and advertisers is equal to a slow march towards demise.   

Big Texas

Mar 30, 2015
KUT.org / KUT.org

It would appear that the old adage "Everything is bigger in Texas" can now be applied to the Lone Star State itself. From NPR affiliate KUT of Austin Texas, Reporter Laura Rice, "Texas has gotten used to topping lists about booming business and population growth."

Data collected from the 2013-14 census indicates rapid growth across the state. "In a lot of cases, Texas leads a lot of the growth area statistics primarily because Texas itself is very, very large." U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates Branch Chief Ben Bolender.

Brown Creeper Therapy

Mar 19, 2015

The months after Christmas until mid-to late March are the most difficult of the year in my opinion.  Spring and summer have always warmed my heart as well as my back as I bend over tomato plants in the garden or flowers in their beds. Over time, I have learned to love fall with all its color and pre-cold weather symphonies even though I know what comes next.  But winter—I struggle with.  It takes effort to celebrate long, colorless days.

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