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U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Flickr/Public Domain

Only 330 miles separate Cuba from the southern tip of Florida—roughly the distance from Plainview, Texas, to Dodge City, Kansas. Yet only 359 Cubans made the treacherous trip in 2013, reports Texas Standard. That doesn’t mean they’ve stopped coming, though. Many Cuban refugees make the safer journey to Ecuador, where there are no visa requirements. Then their journey takes them up through Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and finally the United States.

State's Rural-Urban Divide Remains Problematic

Nov 4, 2015
Gerald Thurman / roadtripamerica.com

From Kansas Agland:

TOPEKA − Kansas’ rural-urban divide shows no signs of abating, economists and advocates said this past week — drawing attention to the economic stress placed on the state’s least-populated areas.

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

GRIGSTON – There were plenty of signs to tell the South American trade buyers that – at least this fall – milo is king in western Kansas.

Mountains of milo dot about every Kansas elevator along Highway 96. What hasn’t been cut of the thick russet crop spreads across their route from Liberal to this tiny Scott County spot along the highway.

Sandra J. Milburn / Hutchinson News

Jamie and Tim Kaminkow of Moundridge, Kansas, have found a novel way to make their farm meaningful to the larger population this fall, reports The Washington Times. After planting 8,000 pumpkins this summer, the Kaminkows have invited children from nearby cities to their farm to learn about agriculture.

Slideshow: Scenes from a Kansas Family Tradition

Oct 28, 2015
Lindsey Bauman / The Hutchinson News

The Hutchinson News reported this week on an annual family tradition. The Drake family of Hutchinson has been holding a pumpkin carving contest for 15 years. This year the contest drew 19 family members to the garage of Richard and Toni Drake to compete.

“My kids are crazy-competitive,” Toni Drake said. “They go out for blood.”

Neighbors Gaylon and Sherry Gaines served as judges.

Akash Ghai / NPR

For years, NPR’s Marc Silver has been trying to keep the memory of his mother-in-law alive by cooking up her old recipes on holidays. But this was no easy task, as many of Jan Dale’s recipes seemed to have died with her in 2005. That is, until Marc found her spiral-bound cookbook. The book was filled with notes and marginalia in Jan’s perfect 1950s handwriting.

Poncie Rutsch / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Fort Morgan is a town of about 11,000 people tucked into the farmland of northeastern Colorado. Among its residents are people of Latino and European ancestry, and more recent immigrants, including refugees from eastern Africa.

Hispanic Population on the Rise at WTAMU

Oct 21, 2015

The Hispanic population at West Texas A&M University is growing, according to The Canyon News. And the university’s largest Hispanic organization, The Hispanic Student Association, is making itself known on campus and in town. Paola Duarte-Marin, reporter for Telemundo and freelance professor at WTAMU, says she’s proud of the work the organization is doing on campus.

A Kansas Senator Returns Home to Dodge City

Oct 19, 2015
Mark Vierthaler / Dodge City Daily Globe

Pat Roberts, a native of Dodge City, returned home last week. For the US Senator from Kansas, coming home is an opportunity to recharge his batteries, reports the Dodge City Daily Globe.

During his visit, Roberts participated in a brick ceremony at The Depot. "It's always a blessing to be home in Dodge City," Roberts said. The senator added that coming home gives him a chance to hear what’s on the minds of his constituents.

A Kansan Who Arrived in a Covered Wagon Turns 100

Oct 7, 2015
Gloria Tucker / Dodge City Daily Globe

This week The Dodge City Daily Globe reported the remarkable story of Mabel Roberts Keller. Mabel crossed with her family into Kansas from Oklahoma in 1919. She was one of the last Kansans to arrive in a covered wagon. On September 28th, Mabel Keller turned 100 years old at her residence at Hill Top House in Bucklin.

Ten Wonderful Places to Visit in Kansas During Fall

Oct 2, 2015
Jason Probst / Hutchinson News

The first day of fall has arrived, and The Hutchinson News has published a list of ten great places to visit in Kansas during autumn. If it ever starts to feel like fall, that is.

Jacob Byk / Huthinson News

From Kansas Agland:

FREDERICK - The few residents left in Kansas' second smallest town have not made a decision on its fate.

As far as Frederick City Clerk Melode Huggans knows, no one has even discussed it.

Jacob Byk / The Hutchinson News

Amy Bickel and Kathy Hanks talk about what they've found at the Kansas State Fair, the making of a ghost town, and the original local food supplier.  

Kansas to Take in 777 Refugees

Sep 28, 2015
AP photo

Kansas is expected to take in 777 refugees this year, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. Of that number, 90 will settle in southwest Kansas, mostly in Finney, Ford and Seward counties. Various organizations throughout Kansas are working with the refugees, helping them to start over in the heartland.

Author Urges Westerners to Get out of Their Cars

Sep 22, 2015
AP photo

For over half a century travel in the American West has been defined by the automobile. But one author decided to find out what it would mean to travel in the West without a car.

Yoga on a Kansas Farm Proves Enriching

Sep 21, 2015
Mark Pettijohn

Over the past few years in early September, Kansas farmer Mark Pettijohn has found an interesting way to invite the surrounding community onto his farm. Labor Day at the Pettijohn farm has become Yoga Day. Pettijohn recently wrote of his experiences in Kansas Agland. Each year, the farmer encourages all levels of yogis and families to attend the event. His kids cut sunflowers from his farm and provide one to each guest.

Texas to Receive Syrian Immigrants

Sep 16, 2015
UNHCR

Texans could soon be greeting some new neighbors from the other side of the world. According to The Texas Tribune, as strife in the Middle East continues to grow, the Lone Star State could see an influx of Syrian refugees fleeing their war-ravaged country. In fact, the resettlement has already begun, as 123 Syrians have come to Texas since last October. But that number is small compared to what’s coming.

US Farmers Markets Evolve with Changing Times

Sep 10, 2015
Meagan Perosha / Civil Eats

Farmer’s markets are thriving in the US. As of last year, there were over 8,000 of them across the nation. But these American institutions have changed a good deal over the past decades, notes Harvest Public Media.

For example, while many farmer’s markets are thriving, they are no longer the only way to sell local food. Consumers now turn to grocery stores, delivery services, and community supported agriculture, or CSA, programs.

Steven Acerson / New York Times

The New York Times recently reported on a growing problem in America’s backcountry. Hikers and backpackers in the nation's public lands are increasingly coming into contact with recreational target shooters.

Future Uncertain for a Tiny Kansas Town

Sep 2, 2015
KAKE.com

In regional news, the future of the tiny town of Frederick, Kansas, is in jeopardy. According to Wichita news station KAKE, no one voted in the town’s recent election. Now, with no leadership, the town faces a rocky road ahead. Frederick is located in Rice County and only has nine residents. With no leadership and no budget, the town won’t have any money in the new year. Even worse, now the town doesn’t even have the option to dissolve.

The Oklahoma State Fair: What's on the Menu?

Sep 1, 2015
KFOR.com

In regional news, the Oklahoma State Fair is approaching. News station KFOR reports that fair officials have just released a list of foods that will appear at the fairgrounds.  

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.

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