HPPR People & Communities


‐present day pioneers & innovators‐leaders‐veterans‐characters 


‐demographics‐in/out-migration‐community development‐community organizations & enterprises‐social capital‐social entrepreneurism

Bigfoot Legend is Big Business in Southeastern OK

Dec 18, 2015
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The legend of Bigfoot in Southeastern Oklahoma is growing—and rumors of the creature are attracting more tourists, reports StateImpact Oklahoma. Bigfoot stories go back generations in this area. There was even a low-budget 1972 horror movie called The Legend of Boggy Creek, about a creature across the border in southern Arkansas.

While Colorado Booms, Many Eastern Counties Struggle

Dec 9, 2015
Colorado Public Radio

Colorado consistently ranks highly on lists of best places for businesses. And the state’s unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, the lowest in eight years and almost two percent lower than the national rate. However, some Coloradans aren’t sharing in the good times, including much of the eastern part of the state. Colorado Public Radio has published an interactive map that allows Coloradans to see how well their county is doing compared to neighbors.

How Many Texans Resemble You?

Dec 4, 2015
Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune posted a unique interactive element on their site this week that allows readers to investigate how many other Texans resemble them. Users can fill in blanks for sex, age and race and see what the rest of the Texan population looks like compared with their own metrics.

Why Did Heritage Tourism Fail in SE Colorado?

Nov 30, 2015
National Park Service

Over the past few years, a new idea sprang up to help bring Southeast Colorado out of the economic doldrums. The effort is known as heritage tourism, and it was expected to make a big difference in the area. So, what went wrong?

Pew Research Center

According to a new Pew report, beliefs in the freedom of the press vary substantially by country, reports NiemanLab.org. Large majorities across the globe believe that people should be able to criticize their governments publicly. But the situation gets trickier when issues grow more specific. When it comes to the right to print things that are offensive to minorities or religious groups, countries are divided.


From ruralhousewives.com:

There’s something different about this place and I enjoy it very much. The atmosphere, the people, the way of life…it’s just nice. Maybe I like it so much because I’m not from here? Maybe because I’ve lived in the city so I have that point of view as well. Either way, I want to share why I love Western Kansas so much!

"Land Mines" to Avoid This Thanksgiving

Nov 25, 2015
Ryan McVay / Getty Images

  The Huffington Post has published a list of a few “land mines” to avoid this Thanksgiving. These are things you should avoid doing if you want to maintain your sanity over the holiday. First, don’t believe that Donna Reed is real. No family ever really gets along that well. There is very little you can do to control your relatives, but you can control how you respond to them. Next, don’t overstay your welcome. Some hosts may not want you in the kitchen helping.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The rural areas in the U.S. where immigrant workers that pick crops like cotton and melons find work often lack the social services and affordable housing vital to integrating new arrivals into a community. That means many farmworker families end up in dilapidated buildings, which can come with health risks.

Migrant workers planting roots

A Kansas Legend Comes Home

Nov 16, 2015
Travis Heying / The Wichita Eagle

Legendary Kansas Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker has returned home for good, reports The Wichita Eagle.

Kassebaum was the second woman to be elected senator in her own right, not preceded by a husband or appointed to fulfill an unexpired term. She served proudly in the US Senate from 1978 to 1997. Through the entirety of her re-election campaigns, she won more than 70 percent of the vote.


Living rural means viewing stars without light clutter, neighbors helping neighbors in good times and bad, and signaling every driver you meet with a two-fingered wave. It also means shopping takes effort, and running a successful business takes even more. Despite difficulties, creative folks find ways to provide services others need. I could rave for pages telling why I like shopping local where I feel welcome and my commerce keeps money in the region. I love my small town bank, mechanic, stylist, grocery, drug, and hardware stores.

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

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

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.