Texas Panhandle

Today on High Plains Morning, we had a VERY full house. Tomorrow (September 1st) in Amarillo, the Yellow City Sounds Music Festival will rock Memorial Park on the main campus of Amarillo College from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m., so we welcomed some of the primary players into the HPPR Studio to tell us all about it.

Jonathan Baker

On Sunday night, a group of music lovers gathered in the backyard of a house on Teckla Street in Amarillo, to hear the songs of a Panhandle musician who has gained a national reputation in recent years.

Ryan Culwell’s new record, The Last American, dropped this week, and The Washington Post promptly declared that the album “captures an American moment’s essence.”

Thanks so much to Lou Ann Garrett for stopping by High Plains Morning to share information about the 9th Annual Louise Daniel Women‘s History Luncheon and Women’s Equality Day Celebration, which will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, August 24, in the Great Hall of Polk Street United Methodist Church, 1401 S. Polk in Amarillo. This year, they’re honoring women in the oil and gas industry—past and present—in the Texas Panhandle.

CC0 Creative Commons

Last week, Amarillo unveiled the first historic Route 66 sign along the famed route that traverses the city.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, State Sen. Kel Seliger and State Rep. Four Price were on hand to celebrate the sign’s reveal.

Dora Meroney is the president of the Old Route 66 Association of Texas, and she said she hopes to erect signs along the entire 178-mile stretch of the former highway in the panhandle.

From Texas Standard.

One of the staples of elementary school library shelves across Texas is Hank the Cowdog – the dog who fancies himself the “head of ranch security” at the M-Cross Ranch in the Panhandle. Since 1983, Hank has solved mysteries, fended off coyotes, and pined for the affection of the ranch’s collie, Beulah.

Update: Texas Panhandle Wildfires

Mar 19, 2018
Texas A&M Forestry Service / tfsgis.tamu.edu/currentfireactivity/

Over the weekend, several fires broke out across the Texas Panhandle.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the County Line fire that started in Hartley County on Thursday and spread into Oldham and Moore counties burned 15,682 acres. It is now 100 percent contained.

The second largest fire, the Old Muddy Road fire, began in Potter County Sunday and burned 4,480 acres as of Monday morning, at which time it was 65 percent contained.

Jason Boyett

A podcast about the Texas Panhandle has been gaining a good deal of attention in recent months.

Author Jason Boyett, who grew up in Amarillo, says he started the “Hey Amarillo” podcast for a couple of reasons. The project allows him to give back to his hometown, and it also provides panhandle residents with a chance to hear from people who live near them but aren’t necessarily like them.

Recent guests include Amarillo mayor Ginger Nelson, a DACA recipient, and an NAACP board member, and a young entrepreneur.

High Plains Morning thanks our esteemed guests on Tuesday, who stopped by the studio to announce the $91,000 grant from the Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse Challenge to further nonprofit work for domestic violence survivors in the Texas Panhandle.

We welcomed KathyTortoreo, Director of Crisis Services at Family Support Services and Connie Garcia, Executive Director at Martha’s Home. Both of these women dedicate their time to combat the impact of domestic violence and homelessness on women in their local communities.  FSS and Martha's Home are one of thousands of organizations this year to receive Allstate’s support, which supports the organizations’ missions to empower women and children to create a violence-free world. ***(Our honorary guest was Rex Young, 20-year Allstate Agent in Amarillo, Borger & Pampa, who was not present due to illness. FEEL BETTER, REX!)

US Naval War College / Flickr Creative Commons

T. Boone Pickens is selling his ranch, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The 89-year-old energy magnate, a graduate of Amarillo High School, values his Mesa Verde ranch at $250 million dollars. The ranch stretches across 65,000 acres in the northeastern Panhandle.

Neil Starkey / amarillo.com

UPDATE: By late Wednesday night, CNN was reporting that the Texas wildfires were responsible for five deaths and 325,000 burned acres. Some of the lives lost in the Panhandle belonged to ranchers trying to save their cattle. Nationwide, fires this week have consumed over a million acres and killed seven.

ORIGINAL POST:

A new book takes readers on a fascinating journey into the heart of the Texas Panhandle. In Walking the Llano: A Texas Memoir of Place, Shelley Armitage invites readers to consider the unique character and geology of the Staked Plains. The book is a treasure of photographs, anecdotes, musings, philosophical wanderings, memories, and historical facts, all told through Armitage’s engaging and heartfelt prose.

US Drought Monitor / myplainview.com

The encroaching drought situation in the Texas Panhandle is quickly becoming critical, says myplainview.com. The latest Water Weekly chart on soil moisture conditions, released Monday by the Texas Water Development Board, shows almost the entire Panhandle-South Plains region now under deficient soil moisture conditions.

amarillo.com

Last week the Amarillo Globe News remembered a man who had a powerful and lasting impact on the Texas Panhandle. Roy Turner died this month at age 88. Turner was one of the individuals responsible for helping create Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. Founded in 1939, Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch has served area youth who otherwise would not have a home. In the 7 decades since its inception, Boys Ranch has become an iconic part of the Texas Panhandle.

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. 

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.”

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.

Harry Pears / Creative Commons

More wind power is headed to the High Plains. A Spanish steel company has announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in the Texas panhandle, according to the Houston Chronicle. GRI Renewable Industries said it intends to build a wind tower plant in Amarillo that would employ 300 people and build 400 towers a year.

Video of a tornado churning across the Texas Panhandle

Apr 23, 2015

Last week brought some severe weather to the region. A video from social media shows the twister on Thursday in the Texas Panhandle. There were 11 tornado reports submitted to the National Weather Service on Thursday afternoon. Four in the Texas Panhandle and far western Oklahoma.

Texas Panhandle No Longer High and Dry

Apr 15, 2015
Amarillo Globe News

Half of the dry counties in the state of Texas have been in the Panhandle; however this number has dropped significantly over the past decade. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission began tracking Texas counties that allow alcohol sales in the late 30’s, back then only 8 out of the 26 counties in the Panhandle were “Wet”.

Josh Davis / rollingstone.com

Sometimes you’ve got to leave home… to see home.  That’s how Rolling Stone says it was for Ryan Culwell. 

Rolling Stone’s Andrew Leahey writes:

randallcounty.org

Texas Panhandle commissioners agreed to give a big tax break to Chermac Energy reports the Amarillo Globe-News.  Randall County commissioners recently voted to allow the proposed wind farm to pay about half of what it would in property taxes over the next ten years.

Chermac Energy gets a 100 percent tax abatement in exchange for paying $3.4 million over the same ten year period.

A couple more steps have to be taken before the decision is final.  The county has to send notification of the agreement to other taxing entities, and then a final vote will be held.

amarillo.com/

Veterans in the Texas Panhandle got the OK to build a state-of-the-art museum and education center.  Randall County commissioners voted to allow construction of the Texas Panhandle War Museum and Education Center according to the Amarillo Globe News.

Goodbye to the last of a generation

Jul 28, 2014

The Texas Panhandle bids farewell to a quiet man, Henry Carroll LaMaster. A quiet man, who came from a pioneering family of humble service and education that did two things no other family in the Panhandle accomplished.

nbcnews.com

If you ask Dale Artho about climate change, and the predictions scientists are making, he’ll say there’s no point in discussing the doomsday prophecies.  It’s already happened in Vega, Texas.  He can give you details. 

wyomingtalesandtrails.com

In the fall of 1904, the neighbors of the Texas Panhandle got together to drive their cattle to Liberal, Kansas.  A blizzard caught them, and they were gone for three weeks.  Listen to Dave Miller tell of a  Christmas morning surprise-- complete with pies.

Texas Wind Energy Production: West Texas Leads

Aug 20, 2013
State Impact Texas

Texas leads the nation in wind energy production, and a lot of that wind power comes from the panhandle.  A recent article from State Impact Texas features a map showing annual wind energy production by county. 

If you’d like to see wind energy production around the world, The Wind Power, is a wind industry website that maintains a database of all wind farms. 

Texas Panhandle Communities: Weather Warning Systems

Jul 8, 2013

  While communities in the Texas Panhandle work to improve severe weather warning systems and equipment, experts say the best plan is your own.  

Jerod Foster

Motivated by water district regulations and a falling water table, a handful of farmers in the Texas Panhandle are participating in a water conservation project.  Farmers like Harold Grall, are implementing technology and changing farming practices to reduce water use and remain profitable reported The Texas Tribune.  

Recent rains have caused flash floods, washed out farming terraces, and helped dryland crops, but the U.S. Drought Monitor says it won't change the summer outlook.

A Christmas Blizzard

Dec 17, 2012

We’ll celebrate the Christmas holiday by recounting a Christmas blizzard of long ago, when Santa traveled across the open range of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.  It seems that jolly old St. Nick joined some ranch hands in a snowstorm, and he left a special gift in the chuck wagon that he made himself.  

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