Photo by Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Texas Rep. Kel Seliger Seeks Re-election

Texas Senator Kel Seliger announced today he’s seeking re-election.  

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Texas Democrats Remain Silent About Who Will Lead Their 2018 Ticket

The start of the 2018 election cycle is just around the corner and Democrats remain silent on who will be at the top of their ticket.  Political experts believe the party may now be frantic to find a candidate for the job, via Texas Public Radio.

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Celebrating Mexican Independence on the Border

On the evening of September 15th, 1810 Mexican priest Miguel Hidalgo started the Mexican War of Independence with a ring of church bells and a call to arms – the “Grito de Dolores”. More than two centuries later, the cries continue. At an event hosted by the Mexican Consulate, musicians, students and community members from Texas and Mexico gathered for Independence Day festivities in the border town of Presidio, Texas.

Folkloric dancers pose for photos at Mexican Independence Day celebrations in Presidio, Texas. Photo by Elizabeth Trovall.





The Valero refinery, seen from across the ship channel in Houston on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Photo by Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

EPA won’t release benzene levels collected post-Harvey; private tests show elevated levels

Environmental groups hired a private firm after the flooding and found higher than normal levels of dangerous chemicals in the air around a refinery, via Texas Tribune.

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Photo by Sasha von Oldershausen

Voices of the Border: Jesus Torres

Jesus Torres graduated from one of the last classes of Blackwell, a segregated school for children of Mexican descent in Marfa. The school closed its doors in 1965. His experience at Blackwell would inspire him to become a teacher himself. This is his story.


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People line up outside of the University Co-op in Austin to vote last November. State law requires high schools to hand out voter registration applications to eligible students twice a school year. Photo by GABRIEL CRISTÓVER PÉREZ / KUT

It’s Texas Law To Help High School Students Register To Vote. Why Isn’t It Happening?

Texas hasn’t been enforcing compliance with a 30-year-old law requiring public and private high schools to hand out voter registration applications to eligible students at least twice a school year, civil rights groups say.

It’s basically up to high schools to make the law work. But only 6 percent of schools in Texas are asking the state for registration forms, says Beth Stevens, voting rights director with the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP). Advocates say state officials need to do more.

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Texas Company Acquires Acreage in the Permian Basin

A Woodlands, Texas-based oil and gas company has made its first reported acquisition and the young company is taking root in the Permian Basin.

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The Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C., on June 7, 2017. Photo: Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Supreme Court puts redrawing of Texas political maps on hold

In separate orders issued Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked two lower court rulings that invalidated parts of the state’s congressional and House maps where lawmakers were found to have discriminated against voters of color, putting on hold efforts to redraw those maps, via Texas Tribune.

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Aurcana Silver Exploration Drilling Continues in Shafter Ghost Town

The Vancouver-based Aurcana Corp. is drilling exploration holes at the company’s mineral deposits in Shafter, Texas. Four of six total exploration core holes have been completed. The drilling program tested silver and gold deposits.

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Marcela Reyes in her Plaza Latina art space.

Garland Artist Marcela Reyes Works to Make Undocumented Immigrants More Visible

When Marcela Reyes’ family immigrated to the U.S. she didn’t want to come. Now the 29-year-old multimedia artist is pursuing an MFA at UT-Arlington and working to make people in her community more visible, via KERA.

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Smoke billows from the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Department of Defense

Texans in Congress remember close calls and lives changed on 9/11

On that fateful day in 2001, Texans now in Congress were scattered across Washington, D.C. in buildings feared as potential targets for a terrorist attack, via Texas Tribune.

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Photo: Magellan Midstream Partners

Magellan Announces New Pipeline Infrastructure

Oklahoma-based Magellan Midstream Partners is adding to its core of pipelines in the Lone Star State. The new pipeline will originate in the Delaware Basin and transport crude -oil and condensate.

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One Year After the Alpine High School Shooting

It’s business as usual at the Alpine High School band hall where smiling students rehearse. It wasn’t far from here that a freshman student took her own life after first shooting and injuring one of her peers. The young female shooter had moved to the area just six months before the incident.

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Michael Marks/Texas Standard

In Southeast Texas, Harvey’s Toll Includes Cattle and other Livestock

It wasn’t just people that were affected by Hurricane Harvey. Cattle throughout south Texas were also put in harm’s way. But even though the water has receded, the storm’s full effect on the region’s livestock may not be known for some time. 

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Father Mike officiates a wedding in Presidio, Texas.

Voices of the Border: Father Mike

Father Mike is a pastor at the Catholic church in Presidio, Texas. He moved to the United States in the late 1980s from his hometown in the Phillppines. He’s since made West Texas his home. Living in the small border town has lent perspective to his own immigrant experience. This is his story.

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Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller testifies during a hearing of the state Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs on Dec. 8, 2015. He defended a proposal to hike fees on services and licenses his agency provides. Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Audit: Ag agency hikes on fees to Texas farmers and ranchers raised millions more than needed

In 2016, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller irked farmers, ranchers and lawmakers by dramatically raising fees for a wide range of services his agency offers. A new state audit says the higher fees generated millions more dollars than necessary in 2016, via Texas Tribune.

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Aerial views show severe damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Port Aransas, Texas, Aug. 28, 2017. Photos by Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon

Hurricane Harvey highlights the role of immigrant labor in Texas economy

By Caroline Halter

The Trump administration’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA was expected. But it comes as Hurricane Harvey recasts a spotlight on the role of immigrant labor in Texas.

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Demonstrators call on President Trump not to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, outside the Department of Public Safety on Aug. 29. GABRIEL CRISTÓVER PÉREZ / KUT

Trump Will Allow DACA To Expire – Unless Congress Authorizes The Policy

The Trump administration decided today to phase out the Obama-era program that protects from deportation people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, via KUT News.

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In El Paso, these Students Actively Wait for Trump’s DACA Decision

President Trump has decided to allow the Obama-era policy known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, to expire. The program has protected three-quarters of a million young immigrants, living here without papers. Some are students. There are many in Texas who will feel the sting of a new federal policy, especially in the city of El Paso.

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Geri-Ann Hernandez talks on the phone with the car insurance company for her Toyota Camry. She says the company told her it’s probably totaled. JORGE SANHUEZA-LYON / KUT NEWS

Houston Homeowners Face Another Daunting Task: Navigating The FEMA Aid Process

As the waters begin to recede in Southeast Texas, those affected by hurricane Harvey have more challenges ahead. One of those daunting tasks includes applying for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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AT&T Outage in the Big Bend Region

AT&T has reported a cut fiber optic line in the Fort Stockton area, which has caused a disruption in both land and cellular service. According to AT&T Government Relations, a crew is working on it and they hope to have service restored early this evening.

Courtesy of Frontera Bugalú

Cumbia: the Danceable Musical Tradition that Defies Borders

The tradition of cumbia spans three centuries and several continents. With origins in an African dance that came to Colombia through the slave trade, this musical backbone of Latin America knits together many different regional cultures through one common beat. Travel through space, time and the border on this rhythmic journey through the origins of cumbia and its presence in Tejano culture.

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New State Law Decreases Deterrents For Insurance Companies In The Wake Of Harvey

People in parts of Southeast Texas are slowing making their way back to their homes to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, with many pushing to file a claim with their insurance company before Friday.  Their urgency could be related to a Texas House Bill signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, via Texas Public Radio.

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UPDATE: Chemical Plant’s Smokes Not Toxic, Authorities Confirm; Pence To Meet With Harvey Victims in Corpus

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez confirmed that smokes from explosions at the Crosby plan are not a danger for community, via Houston Public Media.

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A pump jack at sunrise in the Permian Basin (Tom Michael / KRTS)

Harvey Closures Could Threaten to Strand Permian Basin Oil

More than 500 miles from the flooding in Houston, oil fields in the Permian Basin are dry – but that doesn’t mean that they won’t feel the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

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Translators are in high demand at Austin’s Delco Center shelter because almost half of all Houstonians speak a language other than English. Photo by Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT News

Here’s How Translators Are Helping Harvey Ecavuees

Translators are in high demand at Austin’s Delco Center shelter because almost half of all Houstonians speak a language other than English, via Texas Standard.

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Evacuees seeking shelter from flooding wait in line to get into the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. | Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

Houston Mayor: Residents shouldn’t let “sanctuary cities” law deter rescue efforts

“I do not want you to run the risk of losing your life or [that of] a family member because you’re concerned about SB 4 or anything else,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday amid concerns a new immigration law will deter rescue efforts, via Texas Tribune.

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Roy Luck/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) Shell stopped operations at its 1,500 acre Deer Park Refinery in the Houston Ship Channel on Sunday.

Gas Prices Could Rise If Gulf Rigs and Refineries Don’t Come Online Soon

Energy companies shut down refineries and offshore rigs ahead of, and in response to, Hurricane Harvey. As a result, the region is producing about 3 million fewer barrels a day, or 15 percent of the total daily consumption of oil in the U.S, via Texas Standard.

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In Rural Texas, Tightening Budgets Make it Even Harder to Attract and Retain Teachers

The rural school districts here say they’ve been struggling. Since 2008, Fort Davis Independent School District in far West Texas has seen its budget nearly cut in half, down to almost $3 million. Tightening budgets have made it more difficult for the district to fill and retain teacher positions.

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Presidio County Appraisal District Fills Board Vacancy Left by Carlos Nieto

A special meeting of the Presidio County Appraisal District’s Board of Directors was held yesterday afternoon. One of the items on the agenda was filling the vacant slot left by former chairman, Carlos Nieto. Nieto had held a seat on the board for nearly 30 years, before being indicted on federal corruption charges in June.

There was only one nominee on the ballot: Alfredo Muñiz. Muñiz listed off his credentials: “Volunteer for the Presidio Volunteer Fire Department for over 30 years. Been on the school district – good god – going on, I wanna say 15 (years), a little over. I work with the school district in just about every capacity, as far as helping out. Sat on the city council for about 4 terms.”

Muñiz was nominated by the Presidio Independent School District, the same taxing entity that had chosen Nieto. When the vote came, it was unanimous. Muñiz was sworn in and started serving his term right after.

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DMR Volunteer Fire Department Adds Revamped Military Truck to Fleet

The DMR volunteer fire department is adding a transformed military tractor-trailer to their small fleet of firefighting vehicles. The department received the former military truck and a $20,000 grant for an attachable water tank that holds 700 gallons of water.

The vehicle will be used to fight fires in hard-to-reach, remote areas in the Davis Mountains. Local Fire Chief Ken Gossett says fighting fires in the DMR comes with unique challenges like rough terrain and high altitudes.

“We must respond on those notoriously bad roads and many times the locations with no roads,” said Gossett.

“I’ve responded to 911 calls where I had to stop and wait for dozens of turkeys to cross the road or a dozen burros, wild burros in the road we had to politely ask to get out of the way.”

The grant money for the water tank came from the Texas A&M Forest Service Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program.

The used military truck came from the Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program. It’s the second military truck to be converted and used to fight fires in the DMR.

Since 2005, the program has released more than 500 military trucks to volunteer fire departments across Texas.


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Fri. Sep 15 Interview: Andrea Aranow

On this edition of West Texas Talk, Guest host Tim Johnson sits down with legendary clothier, textile designer, and collector, Andrea Aranow.

Aranow has created fashion and studied textiles since the late 1960’s creating pieces of clothing for a long list of well-known clients, including Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis – She has traveled and lived all around the world in such places as London, Peru, outlying districts of China, and Japan.

In this,  the full, uncut interview – Andrea speaks about how she got into textiles, travelling the world, and Textile Documents, a business which sells pieces from her international collection to fashion companies as inspiration fro new designs.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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The Legacy of Pancho Villa

On this week’s episode of Rambling Boy, Lonn sheds light on the controversial and disputed legacy of Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa. This seemingly omnipresent Mexican hero (or thug depending on who you talk to) is also an important figure in the history of Texas, with a number of ties to the city of El Paso.

The Rambling Boy is broadcast Mondays after the 10 am newscast and again after the 7 pm newscast.
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Understanding the Risks and Realities of Africanized Bees

It sounds like science fiction. Africanized honeybees were bred in a lab. These hybrids were superior honey producers – but also proved ferocious toward perceived threats. They escaped quarantine in Brazil in 1957. By the 80s, they’d reached the United … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm.
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