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Postal worker gets big surprise: Snake on the mailbox

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Rain, snow, sleet, even barking dogs are fine, but a Kansas postal worker had to draw the line when he found a red tail boa constrictor draped over a mailbox. The Kansas City Star reports that the letter carrier was...

 
 By Ken Miller    Regional    August 16, 2018

Storms blamed for deaths in Kansas, damage roads in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A strong storm system moving across the central Plains left a father and son dead in Kansas, damaged roads in Oklahoma and led to several water rescues in both states. Montgomery County, Kansas, Sheriff Bobby Dierks said...

 

Texas comptroller revises plan to protect lizard species

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas comptroller's office is seeking federal approval to reform a troubled state program designed to protect a rare lizard species in the petroleum-rich Permian Basin. Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar has requested the U.S....

 

Salina lake closed due to toxic algae bloom threat

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health and parks officials have closed a Salina lake because of a toxic blue-green algae bloom. The Salina Journal reports that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks...

 

Judge won't bar public from refuge that was once a nuke site

DENVER (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday rejected a request to bar the public from a Colorado wildlife refuge that was once part of a nuclear weapons plant. Environmentalists and community activists had asked the judge to issue a preliminary...

 

Disaster designation for 4 Oklahoma counties due to drought

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Mary Fallin's office says four counties in northeastern Oklahoma have been designated disaster areas because of drought, making farmers and ranchers eligible for federal assistance. Fallin's office said Friday that U.S....

 

5th lawsuit filed against EPA over 2015 mine waste spill

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A fifth lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over a mine waste spill the agency inadvertently triggered in 2015, polluting rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The lawsuit was filed...

 

Small earthquake recorded in northern Oklahoma

MEDFORD, Okla. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey reports a small earthquake was recorded in northern Oklahoma. The U.S.G.S. reports the magnitude 3.6 quake struck at 9:57 p.m. Tuesday near Medford, about 95 miles (153 kilometers) north of Oklahoma...

 
 By Char Miller    Regional    August 8, 2018

Farmers are drawing groundwater from the giant Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.) (THE CONVERSATION) Every summer the U.S. Central Plains go dry, leading farmers to tap into groundwater to irrigate sorghum, soy,...

 

Navajo Nation launches program to manage horse population

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is offering $50 for each surrendered horse to encourage the removal of unbranded, free-roaming horses from tribal land. The tribe's Department of Agriculture rolled out a voluntary horse sale and equine rew...

 

Newborn elephant at Houston Zoo welcomed, appears thriving

HOUSTON (AP) — Tilly reached her wrinkly trunk through the steel cables of the Houston Zoo's elephant enclosure on a recent morning, wiggling it side-to-side as if waving hello to the gathering crowd of visitors. The Houston Chronicle reports just...

 

EPA watchdog probing air-quality results issued after Harvey

WASHINGTON (AP) — An internal watchdog at the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it will review whether federal and state officials kept the public appropriately informed last year about potential air quality threats after...

 

Colorado sheriff urges travelers to lock car in bear country

CONIFER, Colo. (AP) — Travelers in Colorado are being urged to lock their cars when they're in bear country. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Colorado posted a video on Facebook that shows what can happen when a car is left unlocked and a...

 

Colorado Springs' 8-week-old giraffe euthanized

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado Springs zoo says it decided to euthanize its 8-week-old giraffe after veterinarians determined that her dislocated hip, infected leg and other health complications would severely impact her quality of...

 

Oklahoma earthquake lawsuit moves to class-action status

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Central Oklahoma residents won't get a trial this fall for a case against an oil company accused of triggering earthquakes that damaged homes and buildings. The Journal Record reports that a Cleveland County judge outlined...

 

Lawrence group to review ban on plastic bags, straws

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A local advisory board in Lawrence will look at whether the city can participate in reducing the amount of disposable plastics it uses. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the city's Sustainability Advisory Board voted...

 

Kansas health officials warn of dangerous blue-green algae

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials are warning the public about toxic levels of blue-green algae in more than a dozen lakes. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Friday that direct water contact through activities such as...

 
 By Ken Miller    Regional    July 26, 2018

11-year-old girl catches piranha relative in Oklahoma lake

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An 11-year-old girl has quite the fish tale: A rare pacu with human-like teeth chomped down on the worm at the end of her line while she was fishing with her grandparents and brother in an Oklahoma lake. But Kennedy Smith...

 

Extreme heat sizzles across the US Southwest

PHOENIX (AP) — Extreme heat sizzled across the U.S. Southwest again on Wednesday after ramping up electricity use so much in the Phoenix area that a major utility broke a record. The National Weather Service office in Phoenix said highs in...

 

Texas researchers seek to develop algae bloom warning system

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — Texas researchers are trying to develop an early warning system to help health officials handle "red tide" algae blooms that can cause breathing problems in humans. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi experts are...

 

Land managers defer drilling near Carlsbad Caverns

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Federal land managers have opted for more time to study the potential effects of oil and gas operations near Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico. A proposed lease sale first announced last spring had...

 

US agencies win fight over Yellowstone dam, endangered fish

DENVER (AP) — A federal judge rejected claims that a long-stalled irrigation dam in Montana would doom a primitive, endangered fish species, prompting U.S. officials to say Tuesday that a contract for the project will be awarded by the end of the...

 

Groups worry proposed power lines, towers will kill birds

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Wildlife groups fear a proposed river crossing for a $2 billion power line project that will funnel wind and solar energy from rural spots in New Mexico and Arizona to larger markets could be a death trap for migratory...

 

New Mexico man who fed wildlife at his home bitten by bear

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Officials say a 70-year-old southern New Mexico man who regularly fed wildlife at his home suffered multiple injuries when he was bitten by a bear as he stepped outside. The state Game and Fish Department says conservation...

 

Report: Much of Kansas corn crop in poor shape

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report says much of the Kansas corn crop is in poor shape. The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated that 21 percent of the corn grown in Kansas was in very poor to poor condition. About 29 percent...

 

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