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At Horse Thief Reservoir, the "Glampers" Have Arrived

Aug 28, 2015
romantichomes.com

Spring rains have been a boon to campers at Horse Thief Reservoir in southwest Kansas. The lake level is the highest it’s ever been. And now the water is bringing a new kind of camper to the site. The Hutchinson News reports that the lake is seeing more and more “glamour campers,” or “glampers.” Glampers are visitors who travel in small, neatly appointed vintage campers.

When Farmers Vacation . . . They Visit Other Farms!

Aug 27, 2015
Thinkstock / DCProductions

When farmers take a vacation, where do they go?  With so much daily work that needs to be done, it can be hard to justify a holiday. So often, farmers find themselves visiting another farm! And what do they find? Other farmers are trying to do the same things they are, but under different circumstances—and they discover some interesting differences. As reported on FarmFutures.com, recently Illinois farmer Maria Cox made the trek to Lucas, Kansas.

Are These Really the Best Places to Live in America?

Aug 21, 2015
USDA Economic Research Service. Published Aug. 14, 2015 / CHRISTOPHER INGRAHAM/THE WASHINGTON POST

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog recently grappled with a federal report that determined the best and worst places to live in America. The study made its determinations from the standpoint of scenery and climate. The report looked for several factors including mild winters, temperate summers, topographic variation, and access to a body of water.

The Rural Blog

Declining revenue may have forced many Kansas newspapers to go weekly, but that doesn’t spell the end of the small-town Kansas newspaper. In fact, some towns are even starting up new weekly newspapers, reports the Rural Blog. Examples include the newly formed McPherson News and Information and the in-progress Newton Now. Joey young says he’s starting the Newton Now as an alternative to corporate newspapers that concentrate on national and world news.   

Marjan Lavareski / Flickr Creative Commons

StoryCorps has a big homework assignment for students as they head back to school this fall.

A Tireless Conservationist Bids Kansas Adieu

Aug 12, 2015
Travis Morisse / The Hutchinson News

Tim Christian and his wife Cozette are packing everything into a camper and heading West. For the past ten years, Tim has coordinated the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, a non-profit that helps Kansas ranchers regenerate grazing resources. His efforts in the state have been exceedingly successful, says Kansas Agland. And you can see the difference.

Flickr Creative Commons

Residents of Seward County, Kansas, are learning to pick vegetables—and having a wonderful time doing it. The four-acre garden plot at Seward County Community College has become a place for the citizens of Liberal to gather and enjoy the summer weather. The garden, known as Prime Pickin’s, was cultivated as part of the college’s Sustainable Agriculture program.

Survivor of Indianapolis Torpedo Recalls Disaster

Aug 7, 2015
Amarillo Globe-News

Amarillo.com has reported on a hero living in the Texas Panhandle.

Past midnight on July 30, 1945, Cleatus Lebow was drinking lemonade and talking with some of the other guys on the USS Indianapolis. Then came the explosion. “We all knew it was a torpedo,” says Lebow, who was 21 at the time. Suddenly swimming in shark-infested waters, he had been thrown into the most deadly tragedy in U.S. Naval history. Still, he felt a reassuring calm.

Amarillo Educates Law Enforcement on Human Trafficking

Aug 6, 2015
Creative Commons

Six children were rescued from sex traffickers in Amarillo in March, reports Amarillo.com. Now the city has brought in an expert on human trafficking to educate law enforcement about the issue.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Grant Gerlock at Harvest Public Media has written a dispatch from the Pierce County Fair in Nebraska, where he checked in with Emily Lambrecht, a 17-year-old 4-H and FFA exhibitor who has spent months preparing for the fair. Lambrecht has been showing animals since 2009, and this year she once again showed calves from her family’s herd. Emily has trained the animals to walk with a rope halter, like a dog on a leash.

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.

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