HPPR People & Communities


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The High Plains has its very own Indiana Jones, and he’s alive and well, reports Salina.com. Bob Levin, a resident of Smith Center, Kansas, is an amateur paleontologist. He’s spent a lifetime hunting fossils. Over the years, he’s amassed a collection of 6,000 artifacts.

People of the Plains: Behind the Mic

Feb 5, 2016

During the Fall Semester, HPPR and a communications class partnered together to spotlight the people who call the High Plains home. Cindee Talley had the opportunity to sit down with some of the students and talk with them a little about their life, school, and the project. 

From the piece entitled, "A Nod to Creation", Tessa Davis, Natalie Andrews and Kaitlin Johnson discuss more about their project and their plans for the future: 

Cindee Talley and Andreana Guajardo and Maricela Leal about pushing past the limit, and discovering their future selves. 

Zitona Qatar / Creative Commons

If you want to be truly happy, says The Rural Blog, you might consider moving to Hawaii. The Aloha State grabbed the top spot in the 2015 Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index. The poll ranked states based on a 100 point scale for various elements of a happy life, including Purpose, Social, Financial, Community, and Physical wellbeing.

How Agriculture is Helping These At-Risk Teens

Feb 5, 2016
Boys Grow / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

A puppy races down the gravel driveway to greet Tyson Hicks-Garlington. The 17-year-old teen rubs its neck as he greets his mentor of several years, John Gordon, Jr. They walk past goats and chickens inside an enormous pen, and stop before lush fields, where Hicks-Garlington introduces himself for the interview with steady eye contact and a firm handshake.

Prayer of a Bandito

Feb 4, 2016

Aaron Keller was born and raised in Pampa, TX. He always seemed to have a passion for motorcycles. This passion led him to joining the Bandito Motorcycle Club. In the club, Keller found himself in the position of president for two different regions. Keller found the club contradictory to his Christian beliefs, but he continued in the club. Keller began feeling like the club was ruining his life and his marriage. His wife had filed for divorce without him knowing. Through his pastor’s support, and the prayers of many people, Keller was able to restore his marriage.

A Nod to Creation

Feb 4, 2016


Through an interview with the creators of the online magazine of Field and Bone, Brittany and Evan Kelly, and excerpts from the magazine itself, we learned a little bit about where they came from, how they began Field and Bone, and where they plan to go in the future.

“We hope that Field and Bone is a catalyst for Spirit, body and mind. The goal is to inspire, encourage and equip people to change their community and their world for the better.” Evan Kelly.

The Limit Does Not Exist

Feb 3, 2016

You know, there’s a particular line in Thoreau’s “Walden” where it says,

“I do not wish to be anymore busy with my hand than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it.”

The Not So Normal Parenthood

Feb 3, 2016

Jennifer Sugg was a 16-year-old color guard when she found out that she was expecting a little baby girl. Unaware of what the future would hold, Jennifer was forced to face reality and make a decision that would affect the life of her as well as her sweet baby girl, Kaitlin. After months of Jennifer Sugg was a 16-year-old color guard when she found out that she was expecting a little baby girl. Unaware of what the future would hold, Jennifer was forced to face reality and make a decision that would affect the life of her as well as her sweet baby girl, Kaitlin.

Pushin' Paint

Feb 2, 2016



Three Ways to Draw Interest

Feb 2, 2016

Darrell Bledsoe was a figure in my life for several years.  He’s a good man who took time to teach me the guitar and work with the church I went to.  When this project came up, I decided to learn a little bit more about him to share with others, but more importantly, I wanted other people to look for similar figures in their lives.

This piece was performed and adapted by Keillan Johnson 

Ohana, the Story of Elija Lagafuaina

Feb 1, 2016

“I was a little troublemaker growing up. I was raised right but I always had the urge to rebel, especially against the rules. Because of that I was always getting in trouble at school” - Elijah Lagafuaina. Elijah always had a passion and talent for football. He saw it as an outlet.

From Kid to Punk to Man

Feb 1, 2016

“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.” ― Russell Brand.

Christopher Connelly / KERA

Meteorologists say basements are one of the best places to take shelter during a tornado. But for some reason, Texas has a woeful lack of basements, according to KUT Austin. Some say the lack of cellars is due to the expansive soil in Texas. When Texas dirt gets wet, it swells. Then it shrinks again in the summer. That makes building basements difficult.

CGP Grey / Wikimedia Commons

From Kansas Agland:

For ranchers Stanley and Carol Post, the recent mystery on the central Kansas prairie conjures up memories of their own bovine homicides 40 years ago.

Center for Rural Affairs

As the holiday season ends and many of us settle back into our routines, we often take a collective sigh of relief. Christmas can be a stressful time for so many of us. It means hectic travel, crowded stores, family squabbles. But John Crabtree at The Center for Rural Affairs recently received a reminder of the importance of the season. Kolt Smith, the six-year-old son of one of John’s colleagues at the Center for Rural Affairs, wrote John an essay.


When it comes to a healthy work-life balance, Garden City, Kansas, has it pretty good. Zippia.com recently ranked the cities in Kansas with the best work-life balance, and Garden City tops the list. Rounding out the top five were Hillsboro, Hesston, Olathe, and Derby.

Penn State/pennstatenews / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma women working full time in 2014 earned about 78 percent of their male counterparts, reports NewsOK. The data comes from estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There was no improvement from last year’s ratio, which was also 78 percent. Oklahoma has a worse percentage than the nation overall. In the U.S., women's median weekly pay was about 82 percent of the pay for men.

Tips to Keep Your New Year's Resolution Going Strong

Dec 31, 2015

We love making resolutions around this time of year. But we also know that our good intentions often collapse. Quartz.com has some helpful hints this New Year to keep your resolution going strong. In her book Better than Before, Gretchen Rubin suggest five tips to help you create new habits.

First, monitor yourself. Keep a journal of your progress, for example.

Oklahoma Approaching Four Million Residents

Dec 30, 2015

Oklahoma’s population inched closer to the four million mark this year. According to Census Bureau estimates the state’s population currently rests at just over 3,900,000.

Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

A contingent in America has recently decided that the U.S. would be better off if we tried to slow the diversification of our population. But Atlantic offshoot Quartz.com reports there is a sea of evidence that suggests otherwise.

The Many Ways We Are Injured During the Holidays

Dec 28, 2015
National Electronic Injury Surveillance System

The numbers blog fivethirtyeight.com posted some interesting facts about all the different ways we get injured during the holidays. Every year during the most wonderful time of the year, people head to the emergency room in droves.

Remembering the Important Things on a Family Farm

Dec 26, 2015
deanfotos66 / Flickr Creative Commons

Elisha Smith of the Center for Rural Affairs recently moved her family a few miles down the road to the family farm where her husband was born and raised. One thing she looks forward to in the new home is having less. During the moving process it became painfully apparent that the Smith family had way too much unnecessary stuff. Elisha says it’s her quest this holiday season to find ways to buy less materialist items and give from the heart … and support her local rural community.

Views of Christmas in U.S. Changing

Dec 22, 2015
Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center has published a new survey that reveals changing about American attitudes toward Christmas.

Tips to Avoid a Holiday Meltdown

Dec 21, 2015
Getty Images

If your holiday gatherings regularly feature mashed potatoes being flung across the room because someone mentioned Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump, member station KUT is here to help. The folks down in Austin have compiled a list of helpful listener ideas to keep your holiday dinner from descending into a no-holds-barred cage match.

One listener said her family keeps a duck quacker by the table. Whenever someone brings up politics, they blow the quacker, and the topic is dead.

K.G.Photos / Flickr Creative Commons

The wonks over at the economics blog fivethirtyeight.com have devised a strategy for you to win your white elephant gift exchange using game theory. White elephant, also known as Yankee Swap, is a holiday gift-giving game where participants have the opportunity to steal a gift or to open a new one.

As you might already have figured out, the best way to win is to go last. But alas, order is chosen at random.

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.