Ben Kuebrich | KCUR

Ben Kuebrich

Ben grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC and moved to Garden City to work for HPPR.

Fascinated by the brain, he spent ten years studying neuroscience and working in laboratories at institutions like Emory University, MIT, and the University of Tokyo. During that time Ben also fell in love with listening to radio and podcasts, and started his career in audio doing research and fact-checking for the podcast Science Vs. He hopes to bring the objectivity and rigour that he honed as scientist and fact-checker to his reporting at HPPR.

Ben says he enjoys TV, rock-climbing, and noodling around on the bass guitar, but he’s never done all three at the same time. He does, however, always enjoy learning something new and is always looking for stories, so feel free to send him an email.

You can also listen to his podcast Selects which highlights the work of independent podcast producers.

Amtrak may end passenger rail service through Dodge City, Garden City and destinations to the west.

The agency told a congressional delegation last week that it might shut down parts of the Southwest Chief route that runs across Kansas on its way between Chicago and Los Angeles. That news followed ongoing disputes about track maintenance and upgrades.

The U.S. House voted down an immigration bill Thursday that would have addressed one of the biggest concerns of American farmers: updating the agriculture guestworker visa program known as H-2A.

Flying east to west over Kansas, the land transforms from lush green to desert brown. Rectangular farm plots fill in with emerald circles, the work of center-pivot irrigation.

Outside Garden City, in the middle of one of those circles, Dwane Roth scoops up soil to reveal an inconspicuous PVC pipe. It’s a soil moisture probe that tells Roth exactly how much water his crops need. The device is one of many new technologies designed to help farmers make the most of every drop.

“All that you have to do is open up your app,” said Roth. “It’s going to tell you, you don’t need to irrigate or you’re going to need to apply an inch within  six days.”

Ashley Leal parks in front of the Plains, Kansas, Community Library. It’s about to close, but she doesn’t care. She pulls out her blue laptop.

“I’m ... using the Wi-Fi,” Leal says with a laugh.

Her home internet was so slow, she came to the library parking lot. Cars often idle there in the evening while their drivers tap into a plodding, but treasured, link to the internet.

“I’m just thankful that we have somewhere to go,” Leal says.

It’s the only free internet in this small western Kansas town. For many people, it’s the only internet, period. Surprisingly, part of the problem and the solution, for rural areas may lie in Netflix traffic.