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The National Day of the Cowboy is being celebrated in Amarillo on Thursday.

According to a press release from the American Quarter Horse Association, the seventh annual event is being held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at Amarillo’s American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum.  

Wikipedia

Social media users, join local photography sites to see what’s going on around the state. You won’t be sorry. Right now, a slew of oriole pictures: Baltimore, Bullock, and orchard,  fill scroll bars daily. Based on what I’m seeing, these pretty birds are everywhere. I love the captures of these saucy black and orange birds and reading photographers’ posts.

amarillo.com

Despite a slight drop in the rankings, Canyon is still one of the safest towns in Texas, reports The Amarillo Globe-News.

"I guess it’s fair to say that younger siblings follow their older siblings to college. There can be many reasons behind that. But, today I am going to tell you all why I followed my sister to college and how her journey affected my journey in ways that I would have never imagined."

Texas Standard

This week the radio newsmagazine Texas Standard asked a question that Panhandle folks have been wondering for years. Where exactly does West Texas begin? And why are those of us in the northernmost part of the state referred to as “West Texans”?

The answer, surprisingly , may have to do with oak trees.

Big Pool's big mural featured in time-lapse video

Jun 14, 2017
Valarie Smith / High Plains Public Radio

Garden City’s Big Pool is featured in a time-lapse video by the Wichita Eagle, showcasing its recent transformation.

Garden City artist Justin Brown recently gave the Big Pool’s bathhouse a facelift of sorts, spending day and night spray-painting a multi-colored mural on the exterior of the building that includes an abstract lion and elephant, a bird that appears to be emerging from blue and purple ocean waves, as well as a brightly-colored beach ball.

GERALD B. KEANE

A travel website has named Dodge City – that’s right, Dodge City – as the most beautiful town in Kansas.

Creative Commons

Before my students read a section of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca’s travel journal about his exploration of Texas, I had them write directions from their house to a nearby destination. It sounded like a simple assignment until I add these qualifiers. They couldn’t use man-made landmarks or addresses in their instructions, nor could they use vehicles or GPS systems. They were limited to foot travel, and they needed to depend on the sun and stars for directions.

People of the Plains: An Adjustment to Life

Jun 8, 2017

There are more lessons that we learned throughout our lives besides the ones we learned in school.

Samantha tells the story of Desha Hooks, her Resident Assistant in Cousins Hall student dormitory at West Texas A&M University. In Samantha’s first semester of college, Desha helped her break out of her comfort zone. Samantha says, “If it wasn’t for Desha, I would just be hiding in my room.”

KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

A southwest Kansas hospital is working with a local meatpacking plant to help immigrants in western Kansas get their driver’s licenses.

As The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, Kansas is launching a project that will help immigrants get driver’s licenses by offering them free translators while they are taking their exams.

CC0 Public Domain

A nostalgic essay about the good old days when all food was slow and TVs only received two channels recently caught my attention. It made me think about the differences between my childhood and my grandkids’.

www.kansastravel.org

What do General George Armstrong Custer, Elizabeth Bacon Custer, Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok have in common?  They were all at Fort Hays in its early years and they will all be returning to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of Historic Fort Hays at the “Salute to Fort Hays, 150 Years Guarding the Plains” event on June 17 and 18.

Lindsey Bauman / The Hutchinson News

Forget that trip to Disneyland with the family this summer.

Instead, more people should try to see Kansas through Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe’s eyes.

These two Kansas promoters see every town as a unique theme park that folks can travel to this summer.

“For those people who have explorer attitudes, Kansas has an infinite amount of spots to go,” said Penner, director of the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation. “Little things add up to a great adventure.”

Psychedelic garden guard

May 28, 2017
NATURE.MDC.MO.GOV

In the past week, I met a garden neighbor.  Apparently, this blue/green juvenile racerunner lizard moved from his burrow or wherever his last digs were into my 12 x 18 foot raised-bed garden.  Our hilltop is too rocky to support an in-ground garden, so we had to create our own little haven for tomatoes, peppers, onions, and okra.  Mr. Psychedelic must enjoy the insects that also call the Salsa in the Makings Ranch home, and he is now di ning al fresco under the tomato vines.

Anonymous Cow / Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to labor force growth and rates of certain crimes, Amarillo doesn’t measure up to similar cities, according to a new study reported by The Amarillo Globe-News.

The study, from a group called Avalanche Consulting, found that Amarillo has more violent crime and property crime than comparable cities like Lubbock, Chattanooga, and Rochester, Minnesota.

Country kid fun

May 19, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

Warm weather always reminds me that country kids know how to have fun. An eight-year old from the Denver area made me think about this when he entertained me with adventures he enjoyed at a trampoline and arcade business near his home. After he detailed hours of good times performing tricks and challenging friends, I wondered what my grandkids would remember about their country childhoods. Thank goodness, I spied two teens playing a crazy game of either hide-n- seek or paint ball war in between lined up hay bales along Highway 24.

WWW.OURHENHOUSE.ORG

Something’s been eating my strawberries. Yes, the luscious berries that we planted two springs ago and carefully nurtured so we’d have fresh fruit over our ice cream and cake or sliced to sweeten a fresh spinach salad. Since they first began blooming in May, I’ve harvested about 15 scarlet bursts of flavor that hip hop on my taste buds. Last week, I went to pick some for supper and discovered I’m not the only one that likes this spring treat.

City of Garden City, KS

Two independent film makers are in production on a new documentary film focusing on Garden City.

According to a press release, film makers Bob Hurst and Tess Banion – in collaboration with lifelong Garden City resident and former mayor Nancy Harness - are exploring the history of Garden City, Finney County and the many immigrant groups that have come to call the area home over the last 100 years and beyond. 

COURTESY / COADY PHOTOGRAPHY

The western Kansas horse that ran in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby finished in eighth place.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, McCraken, owned by Leoti’s Janis Whitham, finished eighth after going off at 6-1 – the third best odds of the 20 horses that ran in the coveted race. 

After starting in the 15th gate, the three-year-old broke to the middle of the pack but never had a spurt to get to the front.

Troglodyte Miscue

May 5, 2017
LEARNER.ORG

Kids love to find words that get under the skin of siblings or enemies. This term gains power due scatological or other socially inappropriate connotations. For me, the word troglodyte, meaning knuckle-scraping Neanderthal, carried great import.. What could be more insulting?

Imagine my surprise to discover a word I secretly called my worst enemies was part of the scientific name of one of my favorite birds, the house wren.

COURTESY / COADY PHOTOGRAPHY

The western Kansas horse running in the Kentucky Derby is described as a “handful” but one that could very will win the coveted race.

As The Wichita Eagle repors, McCraken, named for the Kansas town of McCracken, belongs to Janis Whitham of Leoti. Her son, Clay Whitham, describes the 3-year-old horse as a closer.

“He’ll hang back in the pack – and then, after that second turn, he’ll make a move," he said.

Kentucky Derby hopeful has western Kansas ties

Apr 24, 2017
Courtesy / Coady Photography

*This story first appeared in High Plains Journal on April 23, 2017. 

Patience and racehorses do not necessarily coincide. But for a western Kansas family, patience has paid off.

Janis Whitham of Leoti, Kansas, has a horse headed for the Kentucky Derby—if he stays well and continues to train soundly, according to Whitham’s son Clay. Their 3-year-old colt, McCraken, is currently at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, with trainer Ian Wilkes training for a Derby start.

First day at the park

Apr 24, 2017
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.

Mongo

“But--I didn’t start it,” are words parents and teachers hear regularly. Over decades, I’ve learned that seeing one kid hit another doesn’t mean that child began the fuss. Usually he or she is answering another youngster’s actions. The bad news is I saw what I saw, so I have guide that person back to acceptable behavior at home or in a classroom. A lesson I try to teach is that reacting often draws unwanted attention. 

Dodge City micro-brewery expected to open in June

Apr 13, 2017
Gerald B. Keane

The first micro-brewery in Dodge City and one of the only ones in southwest Kansas is pushing for a June opening.

As The Dodge City Globe reports, Dodge City Brewing  is currently under construction near Third Avenue and Spruce Street.

Once open, the brewery will offer more than 30 recipes and currently has six featured beers including Space Cowboy, Demon Red Ale, Pete’s Brown Ale, Uncle Johnny’s Cream Ale, Samurai Cowboy and Maurice Wit.

Ammodramus

Combine past information with storytelling and you get history, which both entertains and offers examples of actions that improve lives. Kansas has experienced thousands of years of learning how to set up functional communities. At least 155 years of those include practice establishing permanent towns operated by local and state governments.

CC0 Public Domain

Youngsters nowadays have tough choices when it comes to playing. For those of us who are living our second half of a century, the p word meant wandering outdoors to look for trees to climb, finding neighbor kids willing to put together a newly invented street game, or digging up some dirt suitable to build forts or create giant war zones for green plastic army men.

Irish in Kansas

Mar 24, 2017
Creative Commons CC0

A childhood friend recently posted the title of this column on her Facebook page as a meme. It made me smile as I thought about the latest St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Even those who don’t have a drop of old  Ireland in them enjoy celebrating with corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, green beer, Irish parades, shamrocks, or leprechaun tales. This adoption of Irish customs, even temporarily, is a recent occurrence. In the mid to late 1800s, those of Irish heritage found more heartache than ready acceptance.

David Koehn / NET News

“For most of our trafficking victims this is kind of where we're going to start,” says Jamie Manzer, as she gives a tour of the SASA (Spouse Abuse Sexual Assault) Crisis Center, where she worked until recently.

SASA helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence. That includes women being trafficked: sold against their will for sex. Like a lot of social service agencies, the SASA office used to be something else, but they’ve made the best out of oddly shaped space and rooms.

The Oklahoman

Undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma have evidently become so frightened that many have stopped attending church, citing dread of being deported should they appear in public.

Members of the clergy recently told The Oklahoman that they’ve seen a drop in attendance since news of deportations have spread across the country.

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