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Friday Interview: Jean Valentine Talks About Her Poetry Collection, Door in the Mountain

Jean Valentine sits down today for a conversation in the KRTS studios. She will discuss her recently released collection of poems, Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003. On Saturday, January 31st at 6PM, Valentine will be reading selections from the book at the Marfa Book Company.

Valentine is a celebrated poet with strong ties to the Northeast. From 2008-10, she served as New York’s Poet Laureate and has also taught at a number of colleges in the region.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.

Testimony Starts At Midland Trial: Veterans Suing Over Deadly 2012 Accident

Union Pacific railway and military veterans involved in the deadly collision of a freight train with a parade float in 2012 are now facing off in a Midland court room.

On day one of testimony (Wednesday 28 Jan 2015) the court heard about the service the four veterans who were killed gave to their country.

They’ re Marine Gary Stouffer, Army Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, retired Army Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin and Army Sgt. Joshua Michael.

Michael earned two two Purple Hearts in Iraq. He threw his wife off a float as it was struck. Veterans and some relatives are suing the railway alleging it was negligent in operating the railroad crossing where its train hit a float.

There originally were 43 plaintiffs but eight families reached a pre-trial settlement with the railroad.


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(KRTS File Photo)

(KRTS File Photo)

End of the Road for the Tumbleweed?

You’re driving on the interstate on a windy West Texas day and all of a sudden out of the corner of your eye, you see something barreling across the road.  Before you can react, it hits your car.  You’ve just met the tumbling tumbleweed.

It’s an iconic image, and some believe tumbleweeds originated in the West, but they didn’t. They’re actually invaders from Russia, and are called Russian Thistle.

It’s considered a pest by farmers and landowners. According to Midland Naturalist Burr Williams, tumbleweeds are a plant that only grows where the soil is disturbed one way or the other.


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YACHT memebers Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans with host Tom Michael in the Marfa Public Radio studio.

YACHT memebers Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans with host Tom Michael in the Marfa Public Radio studio.

Thursday Interview: YACHT Discusses Latest Album “Where Does This Disco”

The electropop/alternative rock band YACHT talks with host Tom Michael about their latest album Where Does This Disco.

YACHT is composed of members Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans. The band grew up in Portland, Oregon, is based out of Los Angeles, California, and calls Marfa, Texas their “spiritual home.” The duo refers to these three places as the “Western American Utopian Triangle.”


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Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.

State Vaccinates Border Against Rabies

Millions of rabies vaccinations have been dropped from planes along the Texas-Mexico border this month. The vaccinations target wildlife, an effort by the Department of State Health Services to stop rabies from crossing the border. Today is the final day of the program.

At the Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport, a crew is loading tens of thousands of rabies vaccines into an aircraft. The plane will scatter the vaccines along the border from Presidio to Big Bend National Park. Almost three million packets of vaccines have been dropped statewide since mid-January— all the way east to the Gulf of Mexico. It is all part of the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program.
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Gap in the border wall, Fort Hancock, Texas-El Porvenir, Chihuahua (Lorne Matalon.)

House Leaders Postpone Contentious Border Bill Vote Indefinitely

House leaders in Congress have postponed indefinitely a vote on a border security bill, known as the “Secure Our Borders First Act.”

The bill would penalize the Department of Homeland Security if it fails to stop all illegal border crossings within five years.

The postponement comes as Congress faces a February 27th deadline to fund DHS.

The border bill is sponsored by newly-named Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul.

He’s a Texas Republican who calls the bill the “strongest border security bill” ever.

But Democrats, some conservative Republicans and union that represents U.S. Border Patrol agents disagree.


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Spirit of Discovery along the Rio Grande

For Jon Kalb, each step on the desert floor brings a measure of excitement with the possibility of discovering something new.

A retired research geologist with the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory (Texas Memorial Museum) at the University of Texas, Kalb has been visiting Big Bend for over a decade conducting paleontological surveys.

“Big Bend, with its arid landscape and minimal vegetation, is an ideal place to look for artifacts and fossils,” Kalb says.

The intensely faulted terrain of the Sierra Viejas stretching northward from Candelaria is reminiscent of Africa’s Great Rift Valley where Kalb spent much of his professional life.


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Become a Community Correspondent, learn new skills and make new friends.

Become a Community Correspondent, learn new skills and make new friends.

Become a Marfa Public Radio Community Correspondent

Never miss a city council meeting? Always finding interesting stories in the Big Bend? Go to a lot of community events or concerts? If you’re interested in sharing your knowledge and experience with Marfa Public Radio listeners, become one of our volunteer Community Correspondents.

We’re looking for engaged citizens from across the Big Bend. A Community Correspondent assists Marfa Public Radio with news gathering and producing stories from the community you live in.
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The entryway to Guadalupe Mountains National Park (jb10okie // Flickr)

Artist Residencies at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

On this week’s episode, Nature Notes shines a spotlight on a collaborative artist-in-residence program taking place at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. We explore how the recently-established program speaks to the special connection that artists have always had with America’s National Park System.

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm, and again on Thursdays at 7:06 pm.
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Douglas Scharnberg points to his Terlingua home on the Marfa Public Radio map.

Tue. Jan 27 Interview: Douglas Scharnberg of Terlingua Talks About Southern Music in Fort Davis & Fort Stockton

Guitarist and singer Douglas Scharnberg joins us in the studio ahead of his lecture-performance tonight (January 27) at 7 PM, at the Jeff Davis County Library in Fort Davis, and on Thursday at the public library in Fort Stockton. His talk, Southern Winds, looks at the influence of Southern musicians on the Big Band era.

A resident of Terlingua, Scharnberg first arrived in the Chihuahuan Desert in the late 1980s. Trained at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, he draws on the traditional styles of country and jazz from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, combining bass, chords, and melody in his playing style.

On Talk At Ten, he speaks about his influences (Les Paul, Mason Williams, and Chet Atkins), his musical roots in Western Kentucky, his interest in Southern Music, and his unique cosmic-mathematical approach to creating songs. It’s Big Band in the Big Bend, with a look at Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, and others.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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McDonald Observatory

West Texans Study the Large Asteroid Passing the Earth on Monday

Despite some cloud coverage Monday night, many amateur astronomers in West Texas will be looking for a passing asteroid.

Using telescopes – and even just strong binoculars – tonight astronomers will be focusing their lenses on Asteroid 2004 BL86. The large asteroid – thought to be about a half-mile wide – is passing by Earth today at a distance of less than 750,000 miles.

Relatively speaking, that’s very large asteroid and a very close fly-by of planet Earth. In fact, it will be the largest asteroid expected to pass this close until 2027.

Dr. Judit Gyorgyey Ries is a professional astronomer who studies asteroids at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis. Ironically, she won’t be observing it on the 82-inch telescope. But other astronomers have been gathering data all day with different instruments.

In the attached audio report, she tells Tom Michael where and when to see the asteroid, and how astronomers are reacting to the asteroid’s close pass.

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Dr. Stephen Odewahn

Mon. Jan 26 Interview: KRTS Astronomy Series: Stephen Odewahn

On the last Monday of each month, KRTS’s Talk at Ten features a conversation with an astronomer from the McDonald Observatory. For this episode, Ian Lewis spoke with Dr. Stephen Odewahn at the Otto Struve telescope at the McDonald Observatory.

Odewahn is a research scientist and resident astronomer at the McDonald Observatory. He studies galaxy morphology, the forms of galaxies, and how different types of galaxies evolve. Odewahn works on computer systems that classify thousands of images of galaxies, creating a large library of galaxies that provides astronomers with information about the way that galaxies have formed and evolved.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Rambling Boy logo

The Battleship Texas

Today on Rambling Boy, Lonn remembers the Battleship Texas, a veteran of both World Wars originally commissioned in 1914. Today, the Battleship Texas is a major state tourist attraction.

The Rambling Boy is broadcast Mondays after the 10 am newscast and again after the 7 pm newscast.
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