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Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Excess fertilizer and pesticides have flowed from farm fields into our waterways for years. While federal regulations have successfully cut back some water pollution, they have little muscle in combating one of the Midwest’s biggest environmental problems.

On a gray day, just as the rain begins to fall, Roger Zylstra stops his red GMC Sierra pick-up truck on the side of the road and hops down into a ditch in Jasper County, Iowa. It takes two such stops before he unearths amid the tall weeds and grasses what he’s looking for.

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Karin Slaughter’s The Kept Woman is the latest in a series of books featuring Will Trent. All the makings of a classic Slaughter thriller are there: a murder, a villain, and Trent’s continued internal struggles. Slaughter recently phoned KMUW to talk more about the book, and about Will Trent.

Jedd Beaudoin: Tell me a little bit about where The Kept Woman began for you.

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The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in the latest lawsuit over school funding. At issue is whether the state is spending enough on schools.

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The Kansas Insurance Department has launched a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. The initiative begins with the state’s seven public universities.

Wichita State University and the other schools are competing to get students, faculty, alumni and community members to take a pledge to stop texting while driving.

Katie Deutsch, of WSU’s Student Government Association, says there will be events on campus to promote the competition.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will head to court again this week in a lawsuit over the state’s voter registration laws. At issue are thousands of people who registered to vote at the DMV but did not provide a proof-of-citizenship document required under Kansas law.

After a federal court ruling earlier this year, Kobach said those Kansas DMV voters could only cast ballots in federal races; their votes in state races would not be counted.

German pharmaceutical giant Bayer has reached an agreement to buy St. Louis-based Monsanto, the global powerhouse in genetically engineered seeds. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports on what that means for Midwest farmers.

The merger is the third pairing of top seed and chemical companies in less than a year. Phil Howard of Michigan State University says slower sales in recent years have pushed the companies to consolidate, and he says bigger firms wield more political power.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

Living in the Platte River Valley in central Nebraska means understanding that the water in your well may contain high levels of nitrates and may not be safe to drink.

“When our first son was born in 1980, we actually put a distiller in for our drinking water here in the house,” says Ken Seim, who lives in the Platte Valley near the town of Chapman, Nebraska. “And at that time our water level was a 12 parts per million.”

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

The candidates for Kansas’ 4th Congressional District took part in a debate last night.

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The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering disaster loans to several Kansas counties affected by severe storms and flooding earlier this month.

The low-interest federal loans will be available in Sedgwick, Butler, Cowley, Harper, Kingman, and Sumner counties. The SBA declared a disaster in those areas after heavy rains caused flooding in cities throughout southern Kansas.

Carla Eckels

Dozens of people attended a political forum at Wichita’s Tabernacle Bible Church on Sunday that featured candidates for state Legislature.

Candidates weighed in on various issues such education, job growth, Medicaid expansion and the state's public employee pension system, KPERS. Former teacher J. Michelle Vann, a Democrat running for Kansas Senate District 31, told the crowd it's important to fully fund the state's education system.

"If we don’t invest in our children, if we don’t invest in our public education, we will pay in the penal system," she said.

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