Texas Panhandle

Today on High Plains Morning, we heard from Rachel Flores, Executive Director at the Amarillo Art Institute (AAI), about two upcoming exhibits in the Texas Panhandle this Spring. So if you’re an artist and want to submit your work, mark your calendar! There will be an exhibit hosted by The Art Center in Dumas, Texas in March. The works on display will be from students, members, and instructors of AAI. The deadline to submit is March 5 at 5:00 p.m.

Thanks so much to Tina Brohlin at the High Plains Food Bank for sharing an update on how things have been in the Texas Panhandle during the challenges of 2020. It’s a relief to know that our generous communities continue to come together to take care of those in need, and it’s a great reminder before the holidays to think about our neighbors who might be struggling. Hear our full interview on the link below:

For more information about the state of food insecurity in the region, here are a few statistics and fast facts from Tina:

While quarantine has seemingly slowed down many of our lives, one High Plains poet and author has been keeping very busy. Tonight at 7pm CT, Amarillo-based writer Chera Hammons launches her first novel, Monarchs of the Northeast Kingdom, with an online reading and discussion—and you’re invited.

“Equal suffrage, we beg for thee/ May we hide our wrongs in thee./May the ballot men have stole/ From their soiled hands be removed;/ If polluted, here’s the cure;/ Equal suffrage’ll make it pure./ ‘Vote for women’ is our cry;/ We will scream it till we die./ When we pass this earthly pale,/We may go to heaven or- well,/ Matters not our lot may be-/ Equal suffrage makes us free.”  

For live music lovers of the High Plains, this pandemic has been quite a challenge. While we are all trying to stay home and healthy, tucked away in our private spaces, our hearts grow ever fonder for the companionship and inspiration of getting lost in live performance. This Friday afternoon, arts communities to which we have grown accustomed.

Data is from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services
Robin Valenzuela

As of Friday, with some variance as to when cases were reported to city and state health departments, there are 73 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Texas panhandle, with a handful of counties seeing an increase over the past few days -- that as Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update about the state’s hospital capacity.

Thanks so much to Tina Brohlin of High Plains Food Bank for stopping by High Plains Morning today to remind Dalhart area residents about the enrollment event for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) this Thursday, August 29 from 9-11AM at the Good Samaritan Dalhart (104 Denrock). The event will allow eligible seniors age 60 and older to receive a monthly food box beginning in September.

Thanks so much to Joyce Knight, the Resource Development Director & Volunteer Coordinator at Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle, for stopping by High Plains Morning today to share information about their 20th Annual Salt & Pepper Luncheon that’s happening next Thursday, March 21st. For tickets and info, visit their website. They’re also on Facebook.

Here are the details:

4.0 Earthquake Rattles Amarillo Saturday

Oct 21, 2018
US Geological Survey

Residents of Amarillo and surrounding areas awoke Saturday morning to jostling beds and rattling walls, as a magnitude 4.0 earthquake shook the region.

Seismologist Jascha Polet told The Amarillo Globe-News that, “Without a more detailed analysis, it is difficult to state at this point […] whether this earthquake was tectonic in nature or associated with activities of the oil/gas industry.”

Today on High Plains Morning, we had a VERY full house. Tomorrow (September 1st) in Amarillo, the Yellow City Sounds Music Festival will rock Memorial Park on the main campus of Amarillo College from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m., so we welcomed some of the primary players into the HPPR Studio to tell us all about it.

Jonathan Baker

On Sunday night, a group of music lovers gathered in the backyard of a house on Teckla Street in Amarillo, to hear the songs of a Panhandle musician who has gained a national reputation in recent years.

Ryan Culwell’s new record, The Last American, dropped this week, and The Washington Post promptly declared that the album “captures an American moment’s essence.”

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.

Amarillo Unveils First Route 66 Sign

Jun 11, 2018
CC0 Creative Commons

Last week, Amarillo unveiled the first historic Route 66 sign along the famed route that traverses the city.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, State Sen. Kel Seliger and State Rep. Four Price were on hand to celebrate the sign’s reveal.

Dora Meroney is the president of the Old Route 66 Association of Texas, and she said she hopes to erect signs along the entire 178-mile stretch of the former highway in the panhandle.

From Texas Standard.

One of the staples of elementary school library shelves across Texas is Hank the Cowdog – the dog who fancies himself the “head of ranch security” at the M-Cross Ranch in the Panhandle. Since 1983, Hank has solved mysteries, fended off coyotes, and pined for the affection of the ranch’s collie, Beulah.

Update: Texas Panhandle Wildfires

Mar 19, 2018
Texas A&M Forestry Service / tfsgis.tamu.edu/currentfireactivity/

Over the weekend, several fires broke out across the Texas Panhandle.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the County Line fire that started in Hartley County on Thursday and spread into Oldham and Moore counties burned 15,682 acres. It is now 100 percent contained.

The second largest fire, the Old Muddy Road fire, began in Potter County Sunday and burned 4,480 acres as of Monday morning, at which time it was 65 percent contained.

Jason Boyett

A podcast about the Texas Panhandle has been gaining a good deal of attention in recent months.

Author Jason Boyett, who grew up in Amarillo, says he started the “Hey Amarillo” podcast for a couple of reasons. The project allows him to give back to his hometown, and it also provides panhandle residents with a chance to hear from people who live near them but aren’t necessarily like them.

Recent guests include Amarillo mayor Ginger Nelson, a DACA recipient, and an NAACP board member, and a young entrepreneur.

High Plains Morning thanks our esteemed guests on Tuesday, who stopped by the studio to announce the $91,000 grant from the Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse Challenge to further nonprofit work for domestic violence survivors in the Texas Panhandle.

We welcomed KathyTortoreo, Director of Crisis Services at Family Support Services and Connie Garcia, Executive Director at Martha’s Home. Both of these women dedicate their time to combat the impact of domestic violence and homelessness on women in their local communities.  FSS and Martha's Home are one of thousands of organizations this year to receive Allstate’s support, which supports the organizations’ missions to empower women and children to create a violence-free world. ***(Our honorary guest was Rex Young, 20-year Allstate Agent in Amarillo, Borger & Pampa, who was not present due to illness. FEEL BETTER, REX!)

T. Boone Pickens Has Put His $250M Ranch Up For Sale

Nov 30, 2017
US Naval War College / Flickr Creative Commons

T. Boone Pickens is selling his ranch, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The 89-year-old energy magnate, a graduate of Amarillo High School, values his Mesa Verde ranch at $250 million dollars. The ranch stretches across 65,000 acres in the northeastern Panhandle.

Neil Starkey / amarillo.com

UPDATE: By late Wednesday night, CNN was reporting that the Texas wildfires were responsible for five deaths and 325,000 burned acres. Some of the lives lost in the Panhandle belonged to ranchers trying to save their cattle. Nationwide, fires this week have consumed over a million acres and killed seven.

ORIGINAL POST:

A new book takes readers on a fascinating journey into the heart of the Texas Panhandle. In Walking the Llano: A Texas Memoir of Place, Shelley Armitage invites readers to consider the unique character and geology of the Staked Plains. The book is a treasure of photographs, anecdotes, musings, philosophical wanderings, memories, and historical facts, all told through Armitage’s engaging and heartfelt prose.

Drought Conditions Spread Across Texas Panhandle

Apr 5, 2016
US Drought Monitor / myplainview.com

The encroaching drought situation in the Texas Panhandle is quickly becoming critical, says myplainview.com. The latest Water Weekly chart on soil moisture conditions, released Monday by the Texas Water Development Board, shows almost the entire Panhandle-South Plains region now under deficient soil moisture conditions.

Texas Panhandle Remembers a Local Treasure

Mar 11, 2016
amarillo.com

Last week the Amarillo Globe News remembered a man who had a powerful and lasting impact on the Texas Panhandle. Roy Turner died this month at age 88. Turner was one of the individuals responsible for helping create Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. Founded in 1939, Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch has served area youth who otherwise would not have a home. In the 7 decades since its inception, Boys Ranch has become an iconic part of the Texas Panhandle.

People of the Plains: Behind the Mic

Feb 5, 2016

During the Fall Semester, HPPR and a communications class partnered together to spotlight the people who call the High Plains home. Cindee Talley had the opportunity to sit down with some of the students and talk with them a little about their life, school, and the project. 

From the piece entitled, "A Nod to Creation", Tessa Davis, Natalie Andrews and Kaitlin Johnson discuss more about their project and their plans for the future: 

Cindee Talley and Andreana Guajardo and Maricela Leal about pushing past the limit, and discovering their future selves. 

The Limit Does Not Exist

Feb 3, 2016

You know, there’s a particular line in Thoreau’s “Walden” where it says,

“I do not wish to be anymore busy with my hand than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it.”

Jonathan Baker

Novelist and essayist Jonathan Baker recently returned home to Canyon, Texas, after living in New York City. He was struck by the differences and unexpected similarities between the Big Apple and small-town West Texas. Baker published an essay about his observations in the magazine Colloquium, and he was surprised when the essay went viral.

Harry Pears / Creative Commons

More wind power is headed to the High Plains. A Spanish steel company has announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in the Texas panhandle, according to the Houston Chronicle. GRI Renewable Industries said it intends to build a wind tower plant in Amarillo that would employ 300 people and build 400 towers a year.

Video of a tornado churning across the Texas Panhandle

Apr 23, 2015

Last week brought some severe weather to the region. A video from social media shows the twister on Thursday in the Texas Panhandle. There were 11 tornado reports submitted to the National Weather Service on Thursday afternoon. Four in the Texas Panhandle and far western Oklahoma.

Texas Panhandle No Longer High and Dry

Apr 15, 2015
Amarillo Globe News

Half of the dry counties in the state of Texas have been in the Panhandle; however this number has dropped significantly over the past decade. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission began tracking Texas counties that allow alcohol sales in the late 30’s, back then only 8 out of the 26 counties in the Panhandle were “Wet”.

Josh Davis / rollingstone.com

Sometimes you’ve got to leave home… to see home.  That’s how Rolling Stone says it was for Ryan Culwell. 

Rolling Stone’s Andrew Leahey writes:

randallcounty.org

Texas Panhandle commissioners agreed to give a big tax break to Chermac Energy reports the Amarillo Globe-News.  Randall County commissioners recently voted to allow the proposed wind farm to pay about half of what it would in property taxes over the next ten years.

Chermac Energy gets a 100 percent tax abatement in exchange for paying $3.4 million over the same ten year period.

A couple more steps have to be taken before the decision is final.  The county has to send notification of the agreement to other taxing entities, and then a final vote will be held.

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