Best of the West: Plains wildfires recovery slow; West best for graduates' jobs; see a flying car

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting April 24, 2017, that you don't want to miss.

Flying CarWatch a flying car in actionFarmers and ranchers on the plains in Kansas, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma are struggling to get back on their feet following wildfires and drought earlier this year. Nearly 2,100 square miles of land were burned, more than 20,000 cattle and pigs were killed, and $55 million worth of fences were damaged or destroyed. Read about how farmers are dealing with the aftermath.

Waters Keep Rising: Flooding in Idaho has residents on edge, and disaster declarations are in place for all state counties. This week, the Boise River hit its highest flow of the year, and experts are estimating the total cost of flood damage statewide to be $30 million.

Maintaining the Culture: New generations are preserving Native American culture and language in western states. In North Dakota, a curriculum (modeled after a similar program in Montana) based on interviews with native American elders is being integrated into classrooms.  In Colorado, members of the Arapaho tribe are embracing old- and new-school educational methods to keep their traditional language alive.

Western Schools, Job Markets Make Grade: U.S. News and World Report released its national Best High Schools rankings, and 13 of the top 20 schools are in western states. And for new college grads entering the workforce, 8 of the best U.S. jobs markets are in western states, according to a study by ZipRecruiter.

Cars Cruise Into Future: This week Waymo announced the expansion of a self-driving car program in Arizona. Hundreds of residents will utilize the free service in Phoenix. “This latest phase of Waymo’s testing will provide new transportation options for Arizonans who participate, and help pave the way for the expansion of this technology," said Gov. Doug Ducey. What's next? A Silicon Valley company called Kitty Hawk piloted a flying car above a scenic lake (see the video) about 100 miles north of San Francisco.

TIME's Most Influential: The CEO of an Idaho business has been named to the TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world for the first time, Hamdi Ulukaya is the founder of Chobani, which produces yogurt at the world’s largest manufacturing facility of its kind in Twin Falls.

ATTEND WGA'S ANNUAL MEETING: Influential pollster Frank Luntz and internationally renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker will be keynote speakers at the 2017 WGA Annual Meeting, hosted by Gov. Steve Bullock June 26-28 in Whitefish, Montana. (See Agenda, Register)

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