Kansas

HARTFORD, Kansas — Some of Kansas’ major reservoirs are filling up with sediment, and if something isn’t done to address the issue, parts of eastern Kansas could see water shortages and insufficient flood control as soon as 30 years from now.

To help slow down the slow, but consistent, reduction of usable water storage in Kansas’ reservoirs, the Kansas Water Office is trying to help farmers in critical areas upstream of the lakes to reduce the water running off from their fields.

But if that isn’t widely accepted, state officials say taxpayers may have to pay millions more just to keep the water flowing.

Updated Nov. 15 with statement from the governor: Attorneys for Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly have asked a federal court to remove her from a class-action lawsuit over the state’s troubled foster care program, arguing that she doesn’t actually oversee the system.

The move comes as parents and advocates say that the system continues to traumatize the thousands of children in its care.

Kansas native Scott Thomas' writing style has been described as Midwestern Gothic. His new book "Violet" easily fits the definition of gothic horror, even if it doesn't match the genre's usual characteristics.

European gothic tales involve castles, wherein lie the sins and dark secrets of the aristocracy — beheadings and betrayals. In Southern gothic, Spanish moss-obscured plantation mansions hide the secrets of the slave owners. The Midwest isn't exactly famous for a particular style of structure that would lend itself to the gothic.

During the settlement of the West, one in four cowboys were black. But their contributions have long been overlooked by the mainstream historical record.

One need only look at the backlash over 2019's biggest single, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road," to see how overlooked black cowboys have become.

When Wrangler jeans teamed with the rapper, the company faced criticism over what some claimed was cultural appropriation—that the cowboy image was the province of white America.

In conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month in September, HPPR was so excited to host a native of Garden City, Kansas—who’s also an award-winning authorDennis Raphael Garcia.

A mural showing a stagecoach crossing a snowy, windblown Kansas landscape once graced the walls of the Olathe post office. Albert T. Reid's "The Mail Must Go Through" was created as part of a New Deal-era program that put 29 pieces of art in 26 Kansas post offices. 

The story behind these pieces of art, and the conflicts arising from the democratic process that led to their creation, are the subject of "A New Deal for Public Art in the Free State," a documentary by Kansas City filmmakers Kara Heitz and Graham Carroll.

A task force begins work next month on updating the Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Plan.

A statewide plan to address anticipated growth in the number of Alzheimer’s patients was released earlier this year but was never implemented.

Vegetarians have their reasons for not eating meat. But "I am an optimist" doesn't have a regular spot on lists more typically focused on health and environmental benefits.

Optimism was, however, the Englishman Henry Clubb's rationale more than 100 years ago, when he enticed dozens of people to move to the radical territory of Kansas to start a vegetarian settlement in what is now Allen County.

It didn't go well.

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Kansas has cracked the top 20 in CNBC’s “top states for business” rankings.

As The Kansas News Service reports, the legislature’s 2017 repeal of former Republican Governor Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts in is the main reason for the state’s climb from 35th to 19th in the rankings.

A new website tracking property seizures by Kansas law enforcement went live on Monday.

Kansas has agreed to change its policy and allow transgender people born in the state to update the sex listed on their birth certificates.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Friday entered into a consent decree that ends a lawsuit brought by four native Kansans and the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, Inc. (K-STEP).

The policy change is significant because birth certificates can determine access to education, employment, health care, travel and the ability to obtain other identification documents.

A Kansas law that caps jury awards for noneconomic damages — things like pain and suffering — violates the right to a trial by jury, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

“This is huge,” said attorney Thomas M. Warner Jr., who represented Diana K. Hilburn, the plaintiff in the case. “We’ve had these caps on the books since 1986 in Kansas. Basically, the politicians decided that they would be in a better position to determine the amount of damages for noneconomic damages than juries. And so this decision allows juries to make that decision again.”

Education officials in Kansas are taking a two-pronged approach to reducing teacher shortages: raising pay and fast-tracking teaching assistants and other professionals to the front of the classroom.

(This story was updated at 5:15 p.m.)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plans Thursday to move headquarters of two large research agencies from Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City area, promising the region more than 550 research jobs.

Sometimes Kansas' new poet laureate feels isolated and in transition. Huascar Medina's mother is Panamanian and his father is Puerto Rican, but Medina was born at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Texas, and is an American.

"I'm no longer from Puerto Rico or Panama, but sometimes I don't feel I'm American enough either, you know? My Spanish isn't the best, and sometimes I struggle with my English, so I live in the in between," says Medina, who has lived in Topeka for almost two decades.

Major flooding on stretches of the Missouri River from Nebraska and Iowa through Kansas and Missouri resulted in several breached levees and significant damage to cities, towns, and farmland in March. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the threat of even more flooding isn’t over yet.

The word audacious has a double meaning.

Depending on whom you talk to, either definition might apply to the way the Kansas Farm Bureau is proposing to rescue farmers and ranchers priced out of the health insurance marketplace set up under the federal Affordable Care Act.

It’s either a bold and daring move. Or, it’s presumptuous, bordering on brazen.

The powerful ag lobbying organization is petitioning lawmakers for what amounts to carte blanche authority to develop and market health coverage free of state and federal oversight.

When Kansas State University Professor Sunanda Dissanayake and other researchers studied traffic fatalities in Kansas, they expected to find that more people had died on the roads.

After all, the state had increased speed limits on some highways to 75 miles per hour. Higher speeds lead to more severe crashes. But they did not expect such a deadly result.

Break out your boots.

Nineteen Kansas state parks, including Cheney and El Dorado, are hosting New Year’s Day hikes.

Park rangers will lead hikers through dense woodlands, sweeping prairie grass and along the shores of lakes.

Jill Johnson, an administrator at El Dorado State Park, said the hike at her park has “lots of trees” and plenty of birds.

“This time of year we see some eagles,” Johnson said. “So (we will be) kind of just taking nature in, pretty much.”

Radio Readers Book Club Holiday Tradition Listen Now!

Dec 22, 2018

Tune in tonight for an HPPR Radio Readers Book Club holiday tradition: the two-hour broadcast of a High Plains author's delightful Christmas story: A Carol Dickens Christmas, featuring a fresh reading by the book's author, Thomas Fox Averill

BROADCAST SCHEDULE: 

Saturday, December 22th—  7-9pm CT

Monday, December 24th— 7-9pm CT

Richard Jones, who spent nearly 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, is getting $1.1 million from the state of Kansas. It’s the first payment made under the state’s new mistaken-conviction statute.

The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday adopted new standards for school safety.

The state Legislature ordered the guidelines in May in response to the school shooting debate.

Tune in tonight for an HPPR Radio Readers Book Club holiday tradition: the two-hour broadcast of a High Plains author's delightful Christmas story: A Carol Dickens Christmas, featuring a fresh reading by the book's author, Thomas Fox Averill

BROADCAST SCHEDULE: 

Saturday, December 22th—  7-9pm CT

Monday, December 24th— 7-9pm CT

Ammodramus / Wikimedia

Northern Cheyenne descendants and some descendants of the U.S. Cavalry will gather at Lake Scott State Park to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork Thursday.

According to a newsletter from the El Quartelejo Museum, the battle between the Northern Cheyenne and the U.S. Army took place on Sept. 27, 1878.

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.

Wichita Public School teachers are receiving a more than a 3.5 percent increase in salary. In Topeka, the increase is nearly 8 percent, that district's largest in 26 years.

School districts across Kansas are raising salaries, restoring cut positions and adding new jobs.

Kansas is set to roll out a modified license plate Aug. 1. It's not the look of the plates that will be changing, so much as the process by which they are produced, a move that state officials say will save money.

A division of the American Library Association voted unanimously Saturday to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's literature award over concerns about how the author referred to Native Americans and blacks.

The Association for Library Service to Children says the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award will now be known as the Children's Literature Legacy Award.

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While Kansas is often the topic of jokes – including its appearance in National Lampoon’s Vacation – the small Kansas town of Coolidge, near the Colorado state line, has become a popular stop for westward travelers.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, Coolidge is one of those towns you can drive through – on gravel roads in this case - in less than a minute. And in the National Lampoon movie, was painted as “Hickville, USA.”

For years, reporters in the Kansas Capitol press corps and advocates for open government pressed legislators to hide less of the workings of state government from public view.

Now, the Kansas Legislature appears ready to approve changes that would pull back the curtain — at least a tad.

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