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Valerie Brown-Kuchera

When Joel and I got married several years ago, he had never attended an estate auction.  Weirdly, he wasn’t even interested in digging through other people’s old junk! Like the good wife that I was, I immediately began conversion therapy. 

Sam Burnett, the president of the Amarillo Area Transgender Advocacy Group (AATAG) and Sandra Dunn, founder of the Amarillo Area Transgender Support Group (AATSG), stopped by High Plains Morning to share about the 10th anniversary of the International Transgender Day of Visibility on Sunday, March 31st—and they’re hosting a first-ever

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Miscommunication can provide some hilarious moments in marriage. Frequently, Joel and I can have entire conversations, make detailed plans, and agree on solutions to problems, only to realize a few days later that one participant (or at least I thought he was a participant) in the conversation has no recollection of the exchange at all.  And he claims the only time I really tune in to his vocalizations is when he’s snoring. 

Texas is lacking in low-income housing, according to a new study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The availability of affordable rental housing for extremely low-income renters in Texas – those making below the federal poverty level or 30 percent of an area's median income – was 29 homes available for every 100 renters. The national rate is 37 homes.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I spend a lot of time poking fun at my husband Joel.  We have a great time together.  He’s always a good sport.  Don’t assume he doesn’t give as good as he gets, just because he doesn’t talk about his life on the radio every week. 

But the other morning at about 6:00, on about the 379th day of ice and snow this winter, I glanced out of my upstairs window to see how bad the roads were going to be.  I looked down at my car on the street below, clearly visible with our yard light reflecting off the fresh snow. 

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Speaking of board games, why do 12-year-old boys love Monopoly so much?  After a 30-minute negotiation about whether the kids have to play a board game with their parents, our family then spends another 30 minutes trying to decide which game to play. Invariably, my son Dashiell lobbies for Monotony – I mean Monopoly.

Katie Sauceda of Keller roped lots of classic Texas icons into her entry for the 2019 Big Tex Boot Design Contest. But she incorporated a couple of unexpected goodies into her artwork, too.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

My world works better if things are in their places.  My anxiety is considerably less if the items in the junk drawer are alphabetized. 

I did not, however, choose to alphabetize our board game storage. Initially, I did alphabetize, but all of the boxes are different sizes, and that method of filing resulted in haphazard, wobbly stacks.  Incidentally, why on earth don’t game companies band together, for the betterment of humanity, and make all game boxes the same size? 

Thanks so much to David Lovejoy for stopping by High Plains Morning today to share information about the Amarillo Branch NAACP's two fabulous events happening this weekend. All are welcome, so check them out this Friday and Saturday.

Populations are declining in more than  one-third of rural counties across the country. Colorado’s counties are bucking the trend, thanks to a number of factors identified by researchers in, a study published earlier this month.

Thanks to Jill Ludington for stopping by High Plains Morning today to share info about her event, LIVE OUT LOUD, which is this Sunday, February 24th at WTAMU’s Branding Iron Theatre at 3:30p. This panel discussion and storytelling session is an opportunity for folks across the TX panhandle to engage with local leaders from the LGBT+ community. “This is an opportunity for members of the LGBT+ community, their family, friends, and allies to come to together,” Jill says.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Although I talked about nicknames a few episodes ago, I have an update. Joel’s new nickname for me is Large Curd.  I’m just about as impressed with this one as I was Val Movement from back in grade school.  Let me explain.

A place expecting an influx of refugees has a choice to make: throw up barricades or throw open its arms. A new documentary called "Strangers in Town" shows what happened when Garden City, Kansas, chose the latter.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

The desk chair in our study is vintage.  It’s one of those old oak banker’s chairs with the vertical slats on the back, a scooped seat, and four casters.  It’s a beautiful piece to look at, made even more attractive by the fact that I paid ten dollars for it an auction.

In the last year or so, what the chair offered in visual appeal, was being overshadowed by how incredibly noisy the chair was.  It popped when I sat down, it squeaked when I leaned back, it groaned when I shifted from side to side, and it let out a very embarrassing noise when I rolled forward on the casters. 

The Trump administration has cut the number of refugees allowed to settle in the U.S., citing security concerns and a desire that they remain closer to their home countries. Last year, 981 found homes in Colorado — far fewer than in years past.

The change has created a degree of sadness among those hoping to bring their families here, said Kit Taintor, Colorado's refugee resettlement coordinator.

"There's a lot of refugees who live and reside in Colorado, and call it home, who have been waiting for the opportunity to rejoin with family members who are still overseas," said Taintor.

This week, KUNC is sharing stories from our state's refugee community.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

The third project I tackled during my winter break was by far the largest, and one that I knew was going to take at least two full days.  I wanted to organize our DVDs. 

When I told my brother of my plans, he remarked, “You still have DVDs?”  Yes, I know that DVDs are going the way of 8-tracks and VHS tapes.  But we don’t subscribe to cable channels, nor have we joined any of those streaming movie services.  I realize this may be old fashioned and silly, but I can buy DVDs for 50 cents at garage sales, and I like, as listeners probably know by now, physical objects.  Even better, I like physical objects that can be alphabetized. 

A faithful listener reached out this week with a request: "As someone who lives out here 'in the middle of nowhere' with limited radio reception it would be SO helpful if your call letters for every station in your area was plastered everywhere."

Great idea.

The handy map above illustrates how to listen to High Plains Public Radio across the .. um ... High Plains. (Of course, you can listen to HPPR or HPPR Connect online anywhere by clicking here.)

Corinne Boyer / Kansas News Service

Saleh Mohammed fled his native Myanmar in 2015.

“Too much fighting over there,” he said.

As a member of the Rohingya ethnic minority, he was in particular peril. His life was in danger.

He settled in Garden City. Now 24, he may gain citizenship in a year. That, in turn, will put him in a position to bring over his family and free those loved ones from a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Remember how we discussed the snowballing strategy for tackling debt and long lists of projects?  Despite my initial difficulty with the first sewing task, presumably the smallest job on this list during winter break, I was determined to make this January one of the most productive ever.

Schedule Your Radio Valentine Today!

Jan 24, 2019

Tune in for HPPR RADIO VALENTINES! On Thursday, February 14 during High Plains Morning (9 am to Noon CT), Jenny Inzerillo will be airing Valentine Messages. Make sure your Valentine will hear one from you! For a donation of $20 or more, have your message of love broadcast on the air (20 words max.). But hurry: the deadline is 5 p.m. CT, Friday, February 8.

Are you ready for a MAC ATTACK, Amarillo?

Thanks so much to Laurie Howard (Development Director, The Hope & Healing Place & four-time event sponsor David Doan (Axigent Technologies Group, Inc.) for stopping by High Plains Morning to share info about their big fundrasing event THIS FRIDAY: The Big Cheese Mac & Cheese S'MACk Down—a comfort food cookoff and fundraiser.

Thanks so much to Colin Cummings (Six Car Pub & Brewery) and Amy Dixon (HMIS Program Coordinator at the City of Amarillo's Community Development Office) for stopping by High Plains Morning today. They shared information about the Coming Home Project, an initiative to help raise funds for area residents who are "chronically homeless." 

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Listeners know, I am not domestically inclined, but I am organized and thrifty.  So, I do have a few redeeming qualities. Optimism, however, isn’t one of those. Weirdly though, the one thing I do usually overestimate is how much I can accomplish in two weeks of winter vacation time.

Kevin Drapela and his wife, Cori-Beth Tuite, found themselves at a food bank Wednesday – something they never expected.

The IRS employees from Taylor were among the federal workers who attended a resource fair hosted by the Central Texas Food Bank in response to the ongoing government shutdown.

From Texas Standard:

Fiber: it's not just what's for breakfast anymore. Now, it also means a super-fast connection to the internet. In fact, a lack of fiber can be fatal when it comes to a particular city or town competing for business. Author Susan Crawford argues in her new book, “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution – and Why America Might Miss It,” that not upgrading internet technology and speed on a local level is doing real harm to the nation.

Crawford says fiber-based connectivity will change everything, from how fast we can access the internet to the way health care is delivered and where we’re able to work and live. But cable companies and other private providers of internet access have not invested in fiber.

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. 

Muscogee (Creek) Nation recently repealed a 2015 law guaranteeing freedom of the press. The tribe backtracked just before the new year, but free press proponents suffered another setback late Friday when Principal Chief James Floyd vetoed legislation that would have restored the independence of tribally-funded Mvskoke Media.

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 “WeFundTheWall.com” and features a picture of President Trump giving a thumbs up, is located on the north side of I-40 across from Westgate Mall.

For several years now, a state commission has been looking into ways to preserve and expand Amtrak's long-distance passenger rail line, the Southwest Chief. It travels through southern Colorado, with stops in Lamar, La Junta, and Trinidad. The group is also looking at the possibility of passenger rail along Colorado's Front Range.