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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. 

People Of The Plains: Making A Way

Sep 30, 2018

“I am thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength.” -Alexandra Belle.

Strength often comes from overcoming obstacles. 

Kayla Moody is the epitome of strength. She did not come from wealth or privilege, but she still found a way to succeed. Her character, her faith, and her journey is an inspiration.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I’ve never understood the point of denying one’s age, especially among people with whom I graduated. I mean, one of the main reasons I attend my class reunions is to gawk at my decrepit former classmates and thank the dear lord I’m holding it together so incredibly well. 

Jason Boyett

A podcast that has quickly become a cultural institution in the Texas Panhandle reached its one-year anniversary this month.

As of this week, Jason Boyett has interviewed 52 different people for his popular  “Hey Amarillo” podcast.

The Trump administration last weekend publicly released a draft of new rules for people hoping to immigrate legally in the U.S. Overall, the changes would disproportionally affect mixed-status families with low incomes in Texas.

Angie Gomez has seen and heard plenty of stories about how hard it is for unauthorized immigrants and migrant farmworkers in rural areas to find lawyers to help them apply for or change their legal status.

The Kansas City Chiefs' first home game of the season brought a packed stadium, loud fans — and the rollout of a new tailgaiting policy.  

The Chiefs announced last month the new rules, which require fans in the parking lots to either enter the stadium or leave at kickoff, not allowing for people to watch the game or keep partying. So far, the rules have not gone over well, and fan reactions on Sunday were no exception.

People Of The Plains: Look Good, Feel Good, Smell Good

Sep 23, 2018

When you grow up poor in one of Texas’ poorest counties, a life of happiness and wealth can be difficult to fathom. 

“You look back and wonder ‘was it hard having no dad?’ Yeah, it was, but my mom did the best that she could with six of us, but when I grew up, I was not gunna struggle, I was gunna own a vehicle big enough for all of my kids, and I wanted more than what my mom could provide for us.”

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Joel recently retired.  This well-earned rite of passage coincided with a few life changes for me as well.  After much discussion, we decided the time was right for me to enter a new job and start a rigorous degree program. Having Joel at home to walk Clementine to kindergarten, do a few repairs around the house, and importantly, do the cooking and housekeeping, would make it possible for me to achieve some personal goals. 

Journalist Sarah Smarsh grew up in what she calls a working-poor family in south central Kansas. Her new memoir, Heartland, is out Tuesday. It’s a look at Smarsh’s childhood through the lens of the national politics and the forces of poverty.

KMUW’s Beth Golay talked with Smarsh at our studios.

Watchdog groups say changes to the 2020 census could make it harder to accurately count people living in rural areas, which could ultimately lead to future funding shortfalls.

People Of The Plains: I Lost Him In Afghanistan

Sep 16, 2018


Paty Bedoy had no idea her life would change after seeing her husband Genaro deploy for what would be his last time after being home for the birth of their daughter.

Her life took a dramatic turn after Genaro died in Afghanistan. A young married couple who were looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together had that cut short.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Joel either eats or saves every morsel of leftover food.  And, though I much prefer that he simply pops the last three tater tots in his mouth as we carry the dishes to the kitchen, if for some odd reason, there is even one crumb left, Joel will keep it.  I try to surreptitiously throw away the two shrimp and three macaronis left in the dish before Joel preserves with the idealistic dream that someone will eat these items for lunch tomorrow. 

Hundreds Of Separated Families May Get A Second Chance At Seeking Asylum

Sep 14, 2018

Hundreds of migrant families who were separated at the border may have a second chance at seeking asylum in the United States after the federal government late Wednesday reached an agreement with those families’ legal representatives.

The Kansas Food Bank is expanding.

Construction is set to begin this week on a 21,000-square-foot addition to the food bank’s existing warehouse near downtown.

Brian Walker, president of the food bank, said the current space doesn’t have enough room for the food bank’s nearly 5,000 yearly volunteers -- a number, he said, that continues to grow.

The $5 million expansion will include a space for the volunteers, who currently work in the main warehouse.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Alexander Graham Bell famously said, “When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”  We don’t have this problem in our house, because no doors are ever closed.  Cupboards, drawers, toothpaste tubes, toilet seats, milk jugs, toy chests and mouths -- all are fated to remain ever gaping.

One parenting article I read said that people who constantly leave doors and drawers open may suffer from attention and memory issues.  Not shutting doors could also symbolize a deeper difficulty in bringing closure to more serious situations.  "I may be going back to that drawer or cabinet later for something, so I'll leave it open for now," is evidently the subconscious thought.

A lack of referees may make Thursday – and even Saturday – games a regular occurrence – in a state known for "Friday Night Lights."

The gap in refs may be attributable to a seemingly mythical prospect in Texas: There's too much football, so high schools share stadium space.

Colorado Voters Will Make Big Decisions In November

Sep 4, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

In two months, Colorado voters will make big decisions that will shape both Colorado and the rest of the nation for years to come.

As The Denver Post reports, if Republican Walker Stapleton is elected governor, it will be the state’s first Republican in 12 years to hold the seat. On the other hand, if Democrat Jared Polis is elected, the state will take a step closer to becoming a Democratic stronghold. 

Here are a few other storylines to watch during the midterm elections.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Listeners, you already know that I have a bit of a time quieting my mind.  I race from one topic to another, trying to quickly jot things down before I forget.  I have a list app on my phone, I carry a small notepad, and I’ve been known to write on my own skin.

If someone is yelling, singing, or conversing with me while I’m making a list, that distraction causes . . . glitches.  I’ve opened up my little notepad to find the following to-do list: “Get milk, iron slacks, don’t eat that – it will make you sick, buy Joel’s birthday gift, and scratch my back.”

People Of The Plains: Fortitude, Faith And Fitness

Aug 31, 2018

Sharon Hayes

Wife, mom and grandmother Sharon Hayes has taught fitness classes for 36 years and has been a teacher for 17 years.

She won her battle with breast cancer and is currently living out an incredible life and she doesn’t take any moment for granted.

She loves and enjoys life. She has four dogs, one cat, and 23 chickens.

She loves driving her Harley Davidson three-wheeler or riding with her husband on his Harley.

Thanks so much to Laurie Howard, Development Director at the Hope & Healing Place, for stopping by HPPR to talk about the "Wings of Hope: Butterfly Release & Remember." 

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

We scheduled our family vacation during county fair week this year, in hopes that an exciting trip would distract from the annual expensive foray into the deep-fat-fryer of rural tradition.  My kids have never been involved in 4H (we have more than enough aitches in our lives as it is without adding four more), so we have no obligation to attend. 

The Colorado Rockies are packed with natural beauty, huge vistas, pretty flowers and adorable critters.

But when I backpacked the 160-mile Collegiate Loop on the Colorado Trail last month, I discovered a great little community of strangers out on the trail. Here are just a few of the notables I met on the trail.

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.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Some people take using the restroom in peace for granted.  Before I had kids, I never gave much thought to expelling my own waste.  In fact, multitasking was often a natural pairing with using the restroom.  I could mentally compose a grocery list, for example, while simultaneously doing my business. 

Syed Jamal, a Lawrence, Kansas, scientist arrested in January for overstaying his visa, will be able to present his case to an immigration judge, preventing his imminent deportation.

Attorneys for Jamal, who was born in Bangladesh, announced Tuesday that the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled last week to send his case back to an immigration judge.

“It gives us a chance to have our day in court,” said Alan Claus Anderson, Jamal’s neighbor and part of his legal team.

It also blocks Jamal’s imminent deportation.