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Commentaries

Map of the Santa Fe Trail, courtesy of the National Park Service
Rex Buchanan Friday, September 7th, 2018

Residents of Morris County are working to identify and preserve the spot where the Santa Fe Trail crossed Rock Creek, about five miles east of Council Grove. Preservation efforts are being helped by a grant from the National Park Foundation. Commentator Rex Buchanan recently explored the area, which has changed considerably since the time when thousands of wagons traveled through the Flint Hills.

Bobbie Athon Friday, August 31st, 2018

Few Kansans in the 19th Century worked as hard to advance the cause of women as Clarina Nichols. She was also active in the abolition and temperance movements. But this important suffragette has largely been forgotten. Coming up on KPR, Guest Commentator Bobbie Athon helps us remember Clarina Nichols, a passionate advocate for woman's rights in the earliest days of Kansas.

Underwater cave divers (file photo)
John Richard Schrock Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

The rescue of young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand provides lessons for school children everywhere, even in Kansas.

 Image Courtesy Daniel Field
Rex Buchanan Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Kansas is famous for its fossils. One of the best known is the "fish inside a fish" fossil. Commentator Rex Buchanan tells us about another Kansas fossil, a recent discovery that has changed the way scientists look at birds and even evolution.

Clyde Cessna sitting in the cockpit of an early monoplane (Photo from the Kansas Historical Society)
Bobbie Athon Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

The world's most popular aircraft comes with a Kansas name: Cessna. The company makes three of the most-produced airplanes in the world. In fact, the best-selling aircraft of all time is the Cessna 172 Skyhawk. The first flight for that airplane was June 12, 1955 - 63 years ago today! Guest Commentator Bobbie Athon tells us about the rural Kansas man who started the company that grew into an aviation empire, Clyde Cessna.

North on the Wing, by Bruce Beehler, is a new book about songbirds and their migration along the Mississippi River.
Rex Buchanan Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Bird species around the world migrate thousands of miles each year. Despite lacking a smart phone and Google Maps, they still manage to get where they're going. North on the Wing is a new book about songbirds and their migration along the Mississippi River. That may be some distance from Kansas, but Commentator Rex Buchanan says even bird-lovers from this neck of the woods will enjoy reading the book, written by Bruce Beehler.

The Arkansas River as it flows near Great Bend.  (Photo by University Press of Kansas)
Rex Buchanan Friday, May 18th, 2018

The Arkansas River is the state's third-largest river. But in many places, the lack of water can make it hard to tell it's a river at all.  Max McCoy, journalism professor at Emporia State University, recently took a trip down the Ark - more than 700 miles of it - and then wrote about it.  Commentator Rex Buchanan tells us about this new book: Elevations: A Personal Exploration of the Arkansas River.  

It's been 10 years since a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck west central China.  The Wenchuan or Sichuan Earthquake struck on May 12, 2008, killing nearly 100,000 people.
John Richard Schrock Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Ten years ago this month, a massive earthquake rattled areas in west-central China, killing nearly 100,000 people.  Commentator John Richard Schrock, who has taught and lectured in China for decades, was in the country when the disaster struck and recalls how that nation responded.

Purple-ish-blue flowers for Mother's Day (Photo by J. Schafer, who doesn't know the name of these flowers))
Julene Bair Friday, May 11th, 2018

Don't forget mom!  This Sunday is Mother's Day.  Guest Commentator Julene Bair grew up in western Kansas as "Daddy's little girl."  But these days, things are different.  In this essay, she explains why she's been thinking more and more about her mother. 

This patch of ground in Logan County represents a typical western Kansas wheatfield.  When rainfall is scarce, irrigation is used to grow wheat, corn and other crops in western Kansas. (Photo by J. Schafer)
Rex Buchanan Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Water levels in the Ogallala Aquifer have been in decline for decades.  Irrigators have been pumping out water faster than it can be replaced.  But experts say there may be a way to reverse this trend.  Coming up on KPR, Commentator Rex Buchanan tells us about efforts to save the vast reservoir... before the wells all run dry.

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