HPPR People & Communities


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


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

DID YOU KNOW: Every 98 seconds, another person experiences sexual assault? Sexual violence affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Services in the US are making progress — the number of assaults has fallen by more than half since 1993…but even today, only 6 out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison.

Last week in Waco, two teams met to play for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools’ (TAPPS) six-man football division final. The paths they took to get there couldn't be more different.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

The Sunday drive: a peaceful, rural tradition in America.  The family loads up in the automobile and meanders through the pastoral landscape, talking quietly about the view outside the unrolled window. If it’s winter, I’ll pack a thermos of hot cocoa.  If it’s summer, we’ll stop and get a cherry limeade as we roll back into town. (Rewind sound effect).

“Hop in, everybody!” I said lightly a couple of weeks ago.  “We’re going on a Sunday drive!”

Public Domain

The Amarillo Sod Poodles have announced their name, but the Texas Panhandle’s new baseball team still has much to do before opening day, now scheduled for April 8 of next year.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the team plans to announce a mascot-naming contest in the coming weeks. In addition, the team’s ownership will sell the ballpark’s naming rights later this month, and the team’s uniforms will be revealed in January.

Thirty years ago, I attended the Nov. 30, 1988, news conference where then-Kansas State athletic director Steve Miller introduced Bill Snyder. At the time, no one envisioned a football coaching career that would ultimately place Snyder in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Perhaps there’d be modest success that Vince Gibson and Jim Dickey enjoyed during their respective tenures with the Wildcats? Sure, that couldn’t be ruled out. But no coach dating back to the first year of the program in 1896 could sustain any degree of consistent success, and Snyder’s first season was difficult, a 1-10 record. That — and K-State football — changed.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

As in many a typical family, everyone at my house has a different level of body heat regulation.  This, coupled with the fact that we live in a large, old, drafty house, can make for some interesting arguments. 

From Texas Standard:

At first glance, Jews and Latinos may appear to have very little in common. That impression may begin to change somewhat on Tuesday with the launch of a new organization that brings the two groups together. It's called the Texas Latino-Jewish Leadership Council, and it's modeled after a fairly new national group by a similar name. Southern Methodist University professor Luisa del Rosal is a founding member of the group, and says members of the Jewish and Latino communities have a lot in common.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I believe my children subscribe to the medieval idea that a good solid layer of filth protects from illness and evil spirits.  I agree to some extent, as my kids are remarkedly healthy.  Based on some of the behavior I’ve witnessed, however, the protection from evil spirits is up for debate.  

Eating crickets might improve the microbiome — the good bacteria found in the gut that wards off illness, according to a recent six-week study at Colorado State University.

Steven Depolo / Flicker Creative Commons

Last week, after a long and controversial process, the new Amarillo baseball team announced that it had finally settled on the nickname “Sod Poodles.”

The news was met with much cheering and no small amount of grumbling among baseball fans on the High Plains.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

**This episode of Little Spouse On The Prairie received a 2018 Honorable Mention from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters --- Enjoy!**

The funny stories on the rural plains just keep happening. Joel has started claiming that when he does something funny, he’s only being helpful by providing material!  Today’s sketch is called, “Honey, Where are My Keys?” 

Much thanks to Garden City’s own Olivia Hanigan, a gifted high school student who was recently selected as one of 45 international World Science Scholars. I was delighted to speak with her about this incredible achievement over the phone, and the interview aired on High Plains Morning today.

Amarillo Professional Baseball

The new Amarillo baseball organization has announced that its nickname will be the Amarillo Sod Poodles.

As MyHighPlains.com reported, the controversial name beat out four other contenders: the Amarillo Jerky, the Boot Scooters, the Long Haulers, and the Bronc Busters. Since the name finalists were announced months ago, the choices have divided the Panhandle. Baseball fans across the High Plains were disappointed that local residents weren’t given better names to choose from.

This week's Colorado Edition is devoted to stories of veterans and their families -- tales of torture, courage, perseverance and love.

KUNC’s military and veterans reporter Michael de Yoanna guides us on a journey that spans several wars, from Vietnam War to Afghanistan.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

The cupboards are generally bare at my house.  I’ll buy a delectable snack and stash it for a future treat.  Then, quite sometime later (like at least 15 minutes), I will go to retrieve the snack.  Imagine my utter desolation when I find my hoarded treat has been nicked. 

For the first time in seven years, rural America’s population is growing.

The annual U.S. Department of Agriculture report “Rural America at a Glance” found the increase — only 0.08 percent — mainly in scenic rural areas like the Rocky Mountains, more densely populated rural areas and rural communities that are within about an hour’s drive of a major city. Essentially, places where people still have access to urban amenities or can go hiking, biking, fishing or skiing.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

A person can get used to anything.  Oh, don’t worry. I’m not going to get all philosophical today.  I’m not going to be talking about Stockholm Syndrome.  (I’ll save that topic for another episode, since I have indeed, fallen in love with my children.) 

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

There are a couple of social theories out there about the timing of the great discoveries and inventions throughout history. The Heroic Theory of Discovery posits that the individuals who came up with the history-changing, earth-shattering innovations are “heroic” in nature.  They are these rare geniuses who come along only once in an entire historical period. 

People Of The Plains: One Step At A Time

Oct 27, 2018

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” - Henry Ford

From day one, Pastor Erron Mercer has been told that he was incapable of doing things. He was told he would not live to the age of ten. He was told that he would not be able to walk without the assistance of a cane or walker. Doctors told him that he would never have children.

Today, Addy from Six Car Pub & Brewery stopped by to tell us about "the funnest run you'll never remember!"  They're hosting the Downtown Draft Dash on Saturday, Oct. 26th from 3p - 6p.  It'll be at the brewery (625 S.

Times are tough for many of our area residents. However, don't just sit around and STEW about it! Make a direct impact at this year's EMPTY BOWLS in Amarillo, happening Thursday, Oct. 25th at the Southwest Church of Christ (4515 Cornell St.).  For a $10 donation, you can choose a handmade ceramic bowl keepsake, designed and donated by local potters, and slurp to your heart's content—and it's all for a great cause.

There will be up to 40 different soups, stews, chowders, chilis, and more. This year, your donation will support Snack Pack 4 Kids, which provides weekend sustenance for kids facing food insecurity over the weekend.  

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-1 on Tuesday to undo Obama-era rules intended to help small companies provide faster wireless internet service.

The FCC said the decision will foster more investment and use of the 3.5 gigahertz band, a radio frequency spectrum that can be used for 5G internet service.

But small wireless internet service providers said the decision could shut smaller players out — limiting their ability to bid on licenses and deliver broadband in rural areas.

Michael McEnany always knew he wanted to be a farmer. Both of his grandfathers were, and he “always loved tagging along with my Grandpa Ed.”

Both of his parents chose ag-related careers, but neither of them went back to the farms they’d grown up on. Still, McEnany’s done nothing but farm for more than a decade. Starting part-time in college, he worked his way up to a full-time, year-round job on Steve Henry’s corn and soybean operation in Nevada, Iowa.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

All the talk at High Plains Public Radio about the upcoming wine club launch has gotten me thinking about my limited experience with choosing wines.  Joel isn’t much of a drinker.  Truth be told, neither am I.  I may be a far cry from a sommelier, but recently, I learned that I can drink Joel right under the table.  

A Hutchinson company helped set the scene in the new movie “First Man.”

The film tells the story of astronaut Neil Armstrong and NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon.

Scenes from the mission control room feature consoles from the Cosmosphere museum in Hutchinson. A team with the museum’s SpaceWorks division refurbished 13 consoles for the movie.

Robert Wideman adjusts his glasses and runs his hand through his gray hair. He's sitting at his desk in his Fort Collins home looking at a grainy, sound-less film.

"I've never seen this," Wideman said. "Never."

It's from March 4, 1973. That's the day that Wideman and dozens of other prisoners of war were released in Hanoi, North Vietnam. KUNC found the rare historical footage in reporting this story.

Garden City's Diversity Blooms In New Film

Oct 8, 2018
Courtesy / strangersintownthefilm.com/

A film about Garden City’s diversity will be aired at a free, public screening this week. 

The film  STRANGERS IN TOWN will premiere at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Garden City High School.

According to its website, Strangers In Town The film tells the story of how global migration unexpectedly transformed and enriched Garden City, Kansas. 

Immigration brought great challenges to the community, including demands for housing, social services, education, and infrastructure.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

As listeners know by now, I like stuff.  Little figurines, doodads, knick-knacks, and tchotchkes of all kinds are special to me.  Maybe this fascination with collections stems from my childhood when I didn’t have many extras.  Maybe it’s an early symptom of a hoarding disorder.  

Whatever the reason, I like to sort similar items and display them all together.  My inner self seems to be saying, “Look!  I couldn’t afford a rolling pin 20 years ago, and now I have 19!”  Never mind that I’ve never rolled out dough in my life.

On a summer evening, police Sgt. Anthony Gagliano patrols the long, open streets of Fort Morgan, Colorado. He’s lived here for the last 16 years, almost as long as he’s been on the force. There’s one thing he knows sets apart this rural city of about 11,000: the diversity.

Despite the second-to-worst season in Kansas City Royals’ history (58-104), manager Ned Yost wants to stick around for at least one more year.

And he’ll do just that, agreeing to a one-year extension Sunday for an undisclosed amount to manage in 2019.