• P.J. Griekspoor

    An Inconsistent Message

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 27, 2011

    Today, Gov. Sam Brownback declared a disaster emergency in 21 Kansas counties that have been hard hit by drought through the fall and winter of 2010-2011. Almost all of them stand to lose most of the winter wheat crop and have insufficient moisture to plant a fall crop. At the same time, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, fired up on budget deficits and empowered by Rep. Ron Ryan's "brave" plan for budget reduction, suggest that federal funds for agriculture should…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Season of Skywatching Arrives

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 25, 2011

    I arrived in Wichita on April 18, 1990, a time when everybody was still talking about "the Hesston tornado." This massive twister stood out because it was the first "big one" in more than a decade and everyone was beginning to think maybe the climate had changed and Kansas was no longer destined to be home to the worst that "tornado alley" could deliver. It hit early, March 13, 1990. Most really bad ones come between April 15 and June 1. It wouldn't be long before I would have my own…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Hallelujah, RAIN!!

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 25, 2011

    As is often the case, some parts of the state are getting way too little rain and others way too much. But almost everybody got at least a bit of moisture over the Easter weekend and into today. Flash flood watches and warnings are out for the southeastern part of the state, where heavy downpours totaling four to six inches have caused creeks and waterways to flood, covering low-water bridges and closing roads. In Wichita, about three-quarters of an inch of rain fell between Sunday night…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    National Arboretum A Treasure

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 10, 2011

    The North American Agricultural Journalists are in Washington, D.C. for the organization's annual convention and awards banquet. I've been a member for 15 years or so and always look forward to the opportunity to be here and see and learn new things. Today, we toured the National Arboretum ahead of a short question and answer session with Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of agriculture. While the gardens are without doubt a sensory delight, we learned that the National Arboretum is…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Smoke 'Debate' Is Not An Honest One

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 8, 2011

    The ongoing "debate" about whether ranchers should burn the Flint Hills prairie in the early spring is getting on my very last nerve. News reports about health hazards from drifting smoke were all over the place yesterday after a couple of afternoons when smoke from prairie fires drifted over Wichita for a couple of hours. The smoke management plan worked out by state legislators, cattlemen, city officials and EPA last winter includes a ban on types of outdoor burning other than pastures…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    How Wild Can It Get?

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 3, 2011

    The weather wildness can't much wilder than it got today across Kansas. Starting out, high winds and HOT temperatures increased the fire risk over much of the state, and a wildfire that broke out in western Kansas near Satanta, forced the the evacuation of the town. In Wichita, a 90-degree high set a record this afternoon before 45-mph winds from the southeast switched to 41-mph winds from the northwest and dropped the temperature rapidly as rain and hail pounded down with the passage of…

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