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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.

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.

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