This Year’s Top News Up in The Panhandle

From religion and Republican politics to higher education, here are the some of the year’s biggest stories from the Amarillo Globe-News.

By Rhonda FanningDecember 23, 2015 10:33 am

Yesterday, the Standard featured the biggest news stories that effected the Rio Grande Valley this year.

Today we’re checking in with the northern plains of the Texas panhandle. Barton Cromeens, editor and vice president of audience at the Amarillo Globe-News, talks about the year in review.

“There are a couple of stories for us that . . . folks want to feel that they’re connected to the world outside and have a feel for the national issues,” he says.


According to Cromeens, a group of 34 people from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo attended the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, while some also travelled to Washington, D.C. for the papal visit.

“A lot of it are the issues that . . . the pope brought to the table, such as annulment issues this last year in marriage, absolution for abortion – the way that was going to be handled was another issue,” he says.

Outside of the pope’s visit from a religious standpoint, Cromeens says the ordaining of gay clergy was another big story in Amarillo. Three local Presbyterian churches withdrew from the national Presbyterian denomination.


“Folks are going towards the soundbites,” Cromeens says. “We live in a Republican hotbed and they identify with a lot of the same punditry or same talking points as what you hear from the national campaign.”

So, does GOP candidate Trump sell well in Amarillo?

“I think overall, you see folks wanting some form of change,” Cromeens says. “I don’t know that his politics, necessarily, are the best sell, but there are certain key points he hits that people identify with.”

For Cromeens, Second Amendments rights are more of a concern in the community than the threat of terrorism.


A recent proposal from Texas Tech revealed that the university is planning to open a veterinary school in the Panhandle.

“It’s doing its legwork, looking for the possibility an that Amarillo will be an idea location for a veterinary school,” Cromeens says.

The question, he says, is how far the politics in higher education will go, considering that Texas A&M currently has the only veterinary school in the state of Texas.