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Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I’ll never understand the content of modern kid videos.  Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up without a television, and I’m just out of touch with video media in general.  But seriously, what’s the deal with these “unboxing” videos? 

My son will watch Youtube videos of 35-year-old guys taking their latest Lego purchases out of a shipping box, and saying things like, “Dude, this is the latest iteration of the Millenium Falcon.  Unlike the 16th and 17th versions, which contained only 4726 and 4728 pieces respectively, this particular box contains 4732 pieces!

Bureau of Land Management

The Federal Bureau of Land Management is hosting a series of focus groups in the Texas Panhandle, hoping to forge a plan for what to do with the thousands of acres of public land just north of Amarillo.

As MyHighPlains.com reports, the Cross Bar Ranch will one day soon be opened to the public — all 12,500 acres of it.

Kansas officials will soon have an up-to-date map of broadband service availability across the state as a way to help close the coverage gap.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Joel does the dishes.  Always.  I’m ashamed to admit this because Joel works all day – as do I – and it doesn’t seem fair that he’s then left with the household chore that I despise most of all. I do struggle from time to time with the old-fashioned idea that doing the dishes is the wife’s job. As a big proponent of equal rights, I’ve decided to deal with the guilt. 

Colorado Rural Transit Being Stretched Beyond Capacity

Jul 30, 2018
Creative Commons

Many elderly and disabled rural Coloradans rely on transit to get to doctor’s appointments or even to go grocery shopping. 

As the Colorado Independent reports, Colorado logged 14 million rural transit trips in 2016 – more than any other state.

Because of greater demand, not enough buses and not enough drivers, the wait time for shuttles in eastern Colorado over the last two years has stretched from 24 hours to one week. 

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

You’ve heard about Joel’s hard-working side.  You’ve heard about his bumbling husband role.  You’ve heard about how sociable he is.  But you haven’t heard, unless he’s cornered you at the coffee shop, about his mischievous bent.  Joel is wont to play practical jokes.  And since he’s mastered the well-intentioned -- but forgetful -- guy part so convincingly, he’s ideally positioned to trick people.

The butt of his jokes might, initially, feel mild skepticism: Surely Joel can’t really think this travel-sized tube of toothpaste is Clementine’s prescription skin cream, can he?  Surely, he hasn’t been applying this for the last week instead of the cream from the drugstore.  And yet, the rash is still very angry . . .

Wikimedia Commons

Judges typically have two options when sentencing drug crimes: prison or probation.

But next month, Ellis County in western Kansas is opening Kansas’ 13th drug court in Hays.

From Texas Standard: 

Texas has almost a dozen medical schools, but it also has a rural healthcare worker shortage. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is set to vote tomorrow on whether to approve another medical school.

Huntsville-based Sam Houston State University thinks it can address Texas’ critical shortage of doctors in rural parts of the state. It’s seeking accreditation this week for its proposed college of osteopathic medicine.
Dr. Stephan McKernan is the associate dean for clinical affairs at the proposed school. He says the goal is to teach students from underserved, rural areas.

Esperanza Yanez can spot a sick cow just by looking at it.

"The head hangs down and they don't eat," says Yanez, who immigrated from Mexico two decades ago and has been caring for cattle ever since.

While learning to communicate with animals takes years of patience, Yanez says the true language barrier exists between the dairy workers and the veterinarians who rarely speak Spanish. Medical terminology can be confusing, and to avoid embarrassment, Yanez says she and other workers may feign comprehension.

While most civilian coffee sippers aren’t aware of the world’s many coffee competitions swirling around us, right now our High Plains home is serving as one of 10 cities across the US to host the 2019 US Coffeechamps Preliminaries. This weekend in Amarillo, local caffeine peddlers Krystal and Patrick Burns of Palace Coffee Company welcome the regional competition as a celebration of the best baristas and brewers on the scene today.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I’m starting out today with a shout out to the Kansas City musician, Kelly Werts, who composed the theme song for this show, “The Little House Rag.”  I’d like to thank Kelly for writing such a catchy little ditty.  You can hear more of his folksy music at wertsmusic.com. 

While we’re on the subject of music, I may as well fill you in on how different Joel’s and my musical tastes are.  A person who doesn’t like country music on the High Plains is practically committing sacrilege. 

High Plains Public Radio & the Amarillo Art Institute present the 3rd Annual Chase the Sunset: Art & Music in Palo Duro Canyon!

On Saturday, August 11th, HPPR & AAI invite kids of the High Plains to CHASE THE SUNSET with a celebration of art, music, & nature to bid the summer a final farewell.

From Texas Standard:

A legal services nonprofit based in San Antonio has gained a national profile – fast and in a big way: Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES. For many who are frustrated with the immigration policies of the Trump administration – especially family separation – donating to RAICES became a way to do something. The nonprofit ended up collecting more than $20 million through a Facebook fundraiser.

A new system for hiring agencies to coordinate adoptions and foster care placements in Kansas will continue to let some groups cite religious beliefs to exclude some prospective parents — including gay couples.

The Department for Children and Families earlier this week had left lawmakers confused about whether a new grant system would extend those religious protections to the agencies taking over statewide foster care and family preservation contracts.

How Some Small Towns Are Achieving 'Brain Gain'

Jul 17, 2018

When communities watch young people grow up, go off and never return, remaining residents and politicians often bemoan there’s been a “brain drain” — especially when such population loss means schools and businesses close.

High Plains Morning was honored to speak with Denise Cross (Treasurer/Financial Advisor & Volunteer) and Stefanie Rodarte-Suto (Volunteer & Presenter) at ONE-Amarillo, an area nonprofit committed to stop human trafficking in the greater Amarillo area by educating, empowering, and engaging with those at risk, survivors, and compassionate volunteers in our community that are willing to help.

Amarillo Globe-News

A legend in the world of High Plains journalism retired this weekend. Jon Mark Beilue’s first byline appeared in the Amarillo Globe-News 37 years ago, and the Groom native has been a steady voice of reason in the Texas Panhandle ever since.

Beilue began his career covering class 5-A football games for what was then the Amarillo Daily News, fresh off his graduation from Texas Tech.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Recently, I began to notice that purveyors of print material and packaging designers have started using much smaller fonts than they used to.  This annoyed me, as any consumer study will clearly show that people don’t like to have to squint to make out instructions, recipes, and article content. 

One evening, as I was trying to read a major national newspaper, I made an offhand comment to Joel about this disturbing trend. 

The 2018 Fall Read's theme is Let’s Talk – Aging, Death & Dying.  You'll find thoughts and ideas about books from Radio Readers through a series of BookBytes posted below. If you'd like to contribute a BookByte, simply contact Kathleen Holt for more information. 

Hannes' Ark River Adventure

Jul 5, 2018
Ben Kuebrich / HPPR

For 30 years, former Johnson County, Kansas Manager Hannes Zacharias wanted to kayak the entirety of the Arkansas River -- from Colorado all the way to New Orleans.

He’s finally doing it, but there’s one problem -- a big stretch in Western Kansas is completely dry.

Ben Kuebrich / High Plains Public Radio

This last weekend, Dodge City was one of the hundreds of cities across the U.S. to hold “Families Belong Together and Free” rallies to protest against children having been separated from their parents at the border.

The event was organized by the Dodge City Catholic Diocese and featured speeches by religious leaders and songs and prayers in both English and Spanish.

Dennis McKinney, former Kansas State Treasurer, also spoke at the event. He said the border needs to be secured, but that there’s no need to split families.

Jonathan Baker

The small town of Canyon, Texas, will swell to the size of a small city this week, as it hosts one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the state

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the town of just over 13,000 will grow to a population of 40,000 or even 50,000 over the two days of the extravaganza. It all begins on Tuesday night, with an outdoor concert at the First United Bank Center, when the Josh Abbott Band will play.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

We’ve been talking about fears the last couple of weeks.  I’ve shared some of the phobias my teenager and my middle-schooler have inherited from their mother, who has more than enough to go around.  I’d be remiss if I left out my littlest child, Clementine.  I would say the jury is still out on her, since she’s only five.  But that wouldn’t be true.  I don’t think she fears a single thing.  


A tradition that's almost a century old in the Texas Panhandle is coming to an end.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the Tri-State Fair's board of directors has decided to end the parade that kicks off the nine-day celebration every year in September.

Roman Leal

Last week, the Texas Panhandle was abuzz about a billboard. The sign didn’t mince words, simply asking “LIBERALS" to "please continue on I-40 until you have left our Great State of Texas.”

In an editorial in The Amarillo Globe-News, Jon Mark Beilue called the sign, “childish and immature, noting that the sign only “add[ed] to the division in the country.”

After the backlash, the sign was promptly taken down.

A team of lawyers has volunteered to make sure immigrant children in Topeka separated from their parents have the legal help they need to reunite with their families.

Former U.S. attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom said Monday he’s assembled team of at least 10 lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries volunteering help to immigrant children staying at The Villages, a shelter in Topeka that’s been taking in children separated from their parents when they crossed into the United States.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Last week, I talked about how maternal fears impact offspring, even when those children haven’t been specifically conditioned to be afraid.  It’s almost as if they absorb their mother’s abject terror or ingest it in her breast milk.  It’s funny -- I’m not afraid of this program -- but they seem to be.  I would have no idea where they picked up that fear.  Surely their stepdad doesn’t fear it. 

This week, High Plains Morning spoke with the delightful Mollea Wainscott, Special Projects Coordinator for Housing at the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation. We were inspired by her passion for revitalizing abandoned, "blight" housing, making it functional and available for low-income families.

High Plains Morning was honored to host Tejay Adams, the founder of the Amarillo-based nonprofit Stand Against Suicide. He's hosting a rally this Sunday, June 24th, at 34th & Georgia in Amarillo from 2:00 to 4:01pm, to bring visibility to the public health crisis of suicide in our region. You can  RSVP here.

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

I have many fears - probably more than most people, I’m afraid.  Do I have more than most?  I do, don’t I?  I hope my kids don’t inherit this flaw.  They will.  Won’t they? 

Hey, my anxiety is justified!  Research shows children really do inherit phobias from their mothers.