Dr. Watson, Famous Sidekick

Jan 16, 2019
Sidney Paget from The Strand / Wikipedia

I have never been much of a mystery reader. To me, the usual—if prosaic—depths of the human heart have provided all the mystery and intrigue I need. I’ve never felt the need to look for too much drama.

Really, isn’t every person, and every novel, a mystery, in its way? I read fiction because it lets me imagine the inner lives of the people around me: our everyday heartaches and desires, and how those desires drive us to do what we do. The greatest mystery to me, in many ways, is you. Who are you? What makes you tick?

Leslie VonHolten Explores Mystery Classics

Jan 16, 2019

Listen each Wednesday, January 16 through February 6, to hear Leslie VonHolten explore classic mysteries featuring the iconic Sherlock Holmes. BookBytes are heard at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and again at 6:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.

A native of Wellsville in Southeast Kansas, Leslie's sense of home was strengthened while her family was stationed in Germany for the U.S. Army.

Corinne Boyer

More snowfall blanketed Southwestern Kansas over the weekend.

A wet snowstorm produced “impressive amounts of snow,” according to Bill Turner, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.


Listen each Monday - January 14 through February 4 - to hear Jonathan Baker explore the world of crime. BookBytes are heard at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and again at 6:44 p.m. during All Things Considered. 

Jonathan Baker recently returned to the High Plains from New York City, where he was the assistant to the editor-in-chief at W. W. Norton & Co. At Norton. Baker worked with a wide variety of authors, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael Lewis, and Larry McMurtry. 

Scene of the Crime

Jan 14, 2019
ALICE POPKORN / Flickr Creative Commons

I’m Jonathan Baker, a journalist and crime writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’m here to talk to you about our Radio Readers Book Club topic, on crime and suspense books. 

We’ve got a busy spring for all you mystery lovers out there on the High Plains. Over the next three months, we’ll be discussing an overflowing cornucopia of dark deeds and dastardly villains, with regular radio essays—which we call “Bookbytes”—being read by nine different discussion leaders.

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Texas' top three leaders are eager to show they're on the same page as the 86th legislative session begins.

From The Texas Tribune:

Texas' top three elected leaders are looking to show a united front as the 2019 legislative session begins — and start fresh after the drama of last session.

Who What Where Nguyen Why / Wikimedia Commons

The financial woes of a prominent West Texas Museum have been receiving a lot of statewide attention over the past couple of weeks. The Panhandle-Plains Museum, on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, appears to be in serious financial trouble.

First, the museum was the focus of a feature in the Texas Observer entitled “Plight at the Museum: The best Texas history museum you’ve never heard of is staring down a financial crisis. Will it survive?”

HPPR's Living Room Concert Series continues with our first shows of 2019! Don't miss the sweet harmonies and inspirational soul of Kansas-based Paul & Lezlee (of En Power & Light), live in Garden City. Then, kicking off the series in Amarillo, catch The Division Men, a Texas-bred, husband-and-wife duo bringing "acoustic desert noir" to the High Plains. Read more below!


Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Nicknames come about in interesting ways. I have relatives who have received nicknames based on the color of their hair, something funny they said as small children, and, unfortunately, their size.  My very tall and imposing grandma was called Tiny, a name she despised.  A great uncle went by Sauce.  I thought it was because he drank a lot. When he died, his obituary revealed his real name, which I had never heard until then: It was Alfredo. 

Luke Clayton

In this week's High Plains Outdoors, Luke recaps a yellow bass fishing trip he went on last week.

Yellow bass, sometimes called 'barfish' are excellent eating and provide great sport when using light spinning tackle.

"Yellows' can be caught on a wide variety of downsized baits or one-third sections of minnow.

In Texas, there is no limit on yellow bass and these little fish are excellent eating.

Tune in and hear all about this past week’s outing that Luke enjoyed with Stubby Stubbfield, Jeff Rice and Shannon Wheeler on Lake Fork in East Texas. 

The theme of the HPPR Radio Readers Book Club's 2019 Spring is It's a Mystery to Me!

Titles include:

The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas & Mark Olshaker

Panhandle Twenty 20

As the new census approaches in 2020, Amarillo continues to lag behind many cities of similar size when it comes to educational attainment.

Our Turn At This Earth: Descartes' Legacy

Jan 10, 2019

In my late twenties, I became enchanted by the mountainous deserts of the West. Whenever I could get a little time off from my work as bookkeeper for a San Francisco accounting firm, I would load up my old Toyota Land Cruiser with food, tools, and a few clothes, fill the Jerry cans I’d mounted on the Cruiser with gas and water, and head for a place that looked intriguing on the many U. S. Geological Survey topo maps I’d collected.

It's a  new year, so what better time to start planning a vegetable garden? Today's episode of Growing on the High Plains will dig deep into best practices for gardeners in our region. While our seasons can be unique, there's one guiding gardening rule that always rings true: ROTATION! ROTATION! ROTATION!

During my internship at HPPR, I had the opportunity to speak with Joni Carswell, the CEO and President of the Texas-based conservation foundation Texan By Nature. Founded by former First Lady Laura Bush in 2011, Texan By Nature aims to unite business and conservation leaders who believe the well-being of Texas is dependent on the conservation of our natural resources.

Jonathan Baker

Another controversial billboard has appeared in Amarillo, this time in support of President Trump’s efforts to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

As KVII reports, the electronic billboard, which reads simply “” and features a picture of President Trump giving a thumbs up, is located on the north side of I-40 across from Westgate Mall.

President Trump is addressing the nation about border security tonight at 8 p.m. (Central). Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer will give a joint response immediately following. The government is partially shut down, with Trump in a stalemate with Democrats over funding for a wall along the southern border. Watch his remarks live tonight:

All right, HPPR Radio Readers! It's time to crack open those mystery novels as we move into the 2019 Spring Read: It's a Mystery to Me! This season will surely delight with a huge list of stories, covering classic noir novels, true crime nonfiction, vintage whodunnits, regional mysteries, and so much more.

Ben Hasson / The Texas Tribune

Law enforcement leaders say civil asset forfeiture is a necessary tool for fighting crime, but several lawmakers see it as a violation of Americans’ civil liberties. Texas legislators are poised to take up the issue once again in 2019.

From The Texas Tribune:

Public Domain via Pixabay

Oklahoma’s Legislative session won’t begin for another month, but an Oklahoma Senator has already proposed a bill to raise the minimum wage in the Sooner State.

As KFOR reports, Senator George Young, a Democrat from Oklahoma City, has filed a bill that would raise Oklahoma’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.50 per hour, starting in 2020.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

The transition to a new year brings resolutions to change for the better. Our family members typically make a resolution or two, but we aren’t ones to write out our intentions in blood.  Maybe if we did, I’d have an easier time keeping them, but as it stands, apparently, I have unresolvable issues. 

Luke Clayton

This week, Luke talks about the trusty old lever action 30-30 and how he has recently replaced a scope on his rifle with a quality Williams peep sight.

Thanks to eye surgery a little over a year ago, Luke can again see well enough to shoot iron sights, possibly as well as when he was a teenager.

Dennis Bonnen Has Spent Half His Life In The Texas House. Is He Ready To Run It?

Jan 4, 2019

Originally published on January 3, 2019 1:58 pm

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

Ten votes.

That’s the razor-thin margin by which a young Dennis Bonnen — two years out of college — made it into the 1996 Republican primary runoff for House District 25.


Thanks to the generosity of HPPR's supporters, High Plains Public Radio made its December 2018 fundraising goal of $50,000. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the listeners who helped us kick off the new year in the right way.  If you didn't get a chance to support HPPR before the start of 2019, don't worry. You can still pledge to public radio on the High Plains by clicking here.


Our Turn At This Earth: Primal Bonds

Jan 3, 2019
Public Domain

High Plains Public Radio will be re-airing the past year's episodes of Our Turn At This Earth beginning Nov. 22, 2018.

In the meantime, Julene Bair is working on a whole new set of episodes, so stay tuned!

As a child on my family’s Kansas farm, I often whiled away entire mornings stalking a mother cat until she led me to her hidden litter of newborn kittens, or burrowing into my mother’s lilac bushes in pursuit of a baby cottontail.

LIVE VIDEO: House Democrats' First Day

Jan 3, 2019

The 116th Congress is beginning its first session today (Thursday 1/3), and Democrats are now in control of the House of Representatives. Watch the first day of actions live, including the election for House Speaker, which Nancy Pelosi is expected to win, and debate on new House rules.


I am a bit of a basket case on today’s edition of Growing on the High Plains, as I discuss trugs and hods – two types of baskets used in gardening.

I also reminisce about gathering eggs at the behest of my grandparents – in egg carriers I still use to this day to transport fresh produce from my garden to my kitchen.


Originally published on January 2, 2019 7:59 am

When the next Congress begins tomorrow, the House will flip from Republican to Democratic control for the first time in eight years. For most of the Texans in Congress, it is likely to be a jarring transition.

“I know nothing but having a Republican from the White House all the way across the board,” said U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, a Lubbock Republican finishing up his first term. “This’ll be a great test of all of us, but especially my leadership – can I continue to be productive?”

Public Domain via Max Pixel

As the federal shut down continues, plains states could be affected in unexpected ways.  

Thousands of federal employees have stopped working, while thousands of others are working without pay—at least temporarily.

In some parts of Texas, U.S. Department of Agriculture offices have already closed their doors due to lack of funding.

The USDA says it plans to “shutter every local and state farm service center across the U.S.”

For the year 2018, three out of the five states in the High Plains Public Radio listening region fell into the bottom half of national rankings when it comes to overall health. And Oklahoma once again performed particularly poorly in the rankings.