Pardon Our Aural Dust – We’re Moving!

Update December 19: Web streaming is back!

Thanks for bearing with us through the move as construction continues at our “New Home on the Range” in Marfa – the new headquarters for Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio.

Web streaming is now back up – tell your friends!

NPR and most syndicated programming (Science Friday, This American Life, etc.) continues on the dial at 93.5 FM.

We’ll be on the air with a mix of Talk at Ten interviews and special holiday programming through Christmas week. Our regular local host for Morning Edition will also be gone through the week, but we’ll still have news and information in the mornings for most of the week.

With the holidays coming up, we’re giving our dedicated volunteer music DJs a break for the rest of December. We expect to have your favorite evening music shows back on the air in January.

Meanwhile, construction continues at the new studios. Stay tuned for details on an open house we’ll be hosting to celebrate the move!

We sincerely apologize for the delays and the programming interruptions, but we again ask for your patience and continued support of non-profit public radio in West Texas.

There’s still time to make a special year-end contribution to Marfa Public Radio to help us offset the costs of the move. It’s an expensive undertaking for a small radio station in a small town, but with your help we can build a lasting legacy for news, art and cultural programming in Far West Texas.

Surveying the Sandia Springs Wetland, Reeves County, Texas, 2011. (Megan Wilde)

Surveying the Sandia Springs Wetland, Reeves County, Texas, 2011. (Megan Wilde)

In West Texas, A Little Water Goes a Long Way

In Far West Texas, a little water goes a long way. Balmorhea ranchers Don and Ellen Weinacht learned that in 2001, when they turned over part of their cattle ranch to create a wetland for migrating birds. Now, three years later, their investment is paying off. For Marfa Public Radio, Megan Wilde has more.

A few miles east of Balmorhea, semi-trucks grumble along I-10 and tractors grunt across the patchwork of hay, alfalfa and cotton fields that surround this agricultural community. But on one four-acre tract, a hundred snow geese rest and gossip in a series of shallow ponds. Here, at the Sandia Springs Wetland, Reeves County rancher Ellen Weinacht is growing a different crop than her neighbors.

Well they first thought we were nuts. I mean, they don’t explain to me why they’re farming whatever they’re farming. I’m not explaining to them why we’re farming birds.

Not just any birds. Weinacht and a team of volunteers created these ponds to cultivate food and shelter for 25 often-overlooked masters of migration. In the process, they’ve restored a piece of what was once one of the state’s largest inland oases, and discovered doing nature’s work is a lot harder than they thought.
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A pump jack in the Permian Basin. Energy interests there are buying water rights to land near Balmorhea. The sales have divided a legacy homesteading family. (Blake Thornberry via Flickr)

A pump jack in the Permian Basin. Energy interests there are buying water rights to land near Balmorhea. The sales have divided a legacy homesteading family. (Blake Thornberry via Flickr)

Balmorhea Water: A Family Divides Over Water Sales To Permian Basin

The 75 heirs of a legacy Texas homesteading family are divided.

One side wants to keep the water under a total of 11 thousand acres just north of Balmorhea, the other side is selling their water for fracking.

It’s a scenario playing out across west Texas as water rights become increasingly valuable.

“He’s bought up a lot of the family’s rights.”

Kendall McCook of Fort Worth is one of the dozens of heirs to a sprawling piece of west Texas. He described his concerns about a middleman who is buying water from one set of heirs.


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Edna Lu the tea bus. (KRTS/Ryan Kailath)

Edna Lu the tea bus. (KRTS/Ryan Kailath)

“The Tea Guy” Questions Relationships and Money in His Traveling School Bus

This is a story about how a simple cup of tea can bring people together and perhaps even get us to think more intently about the way money defines – and sometimes distracts us from – personal relationships.

Guisepi Spadafora has been roaming the country in a repurposed school bus, hosting free tea parties for strangers. He passed through Marfa on his travels, offering free tea to friends and acquaintances alike.

KRTS interns Ian Lewis and Mia Warren sat down for a cup.


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Two Juárez police officers guard a crime scene. Mexico's president has proposed putting local police under the supervision of state police. Criminologists on either side of the border say the proposal ignores the reality that some local police forces, among them Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana, are today more professional than their state counterparts. (Lorne Matalon)

Two Juárez police officers guard a crime scene. Mexico's president has proposed putting local police under the supervision of state police. Criminologists on either side of the border say the proposal ignores the reality that some local police forces, among them Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana, are today more professional than their state counterparts. (Lorne Matalon)

As Outrage over Iguala Continues, Mexican President Calls for Police Reform

Mexico’s president wants to change his country’s constitution to replace local police with state police. He also wants legal authority to take over municipal governments infiltrated by organized crime.

But ongoing protests and recent polls suggest Mexicans aren’t convinced the change will make a difference.

The move follows disgust in Mexico over a long delay by the federal government to investigate the murders of 43 college students.


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Josefina Lizarraga talks to people about ways to eat quince and other goods from the Mission Garden at the downtown Farmer's Market. (Kate Sheehy)

Josefina Lizarraga talks to people about ways to eat quince and other goods from the Mission Garden at the downtown Farmer's Market. (Kate Sheehy)

Harvesting History In The Southwest

A part of Arizona’s history all but disappeared when the United States-Mexico border was created about 160 years ago.

Recently, National Parks and museums on both sides of the border have begun working together to revitalize and preserve a living history that gives people a way to connect to their roots.

A variety of crops brought over by European missionaries connect Mexican and Native American culture in the Sonoran Desert.


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Rancher Jeff Williams walks in his rice field near Ft. Stockton, Texas. (Lorne Matalon)

Rancher Jeff Williams walks in his rice field near Ft. Stockton, Texas. (Lorne Matalon)

Underground Water in Texas: Plan to Export is Challenged

Farmers and ranchers who have been battling the drought for years have found themselves sitting on an increasingly valuable resource – their own underground water.

Now, a case over water rights that will resonate across the southwest is before the courts in Texas.

At stake: can ranchers and farmers export their water, especially to Mexico, while the U.S. suffers through some of the driest times on record?


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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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Pardon Our Aural Dust – We’re Moving!

Update December 19: Web streaming is back!

Thanks for bearing with us through the move as construction continues at our “New Home on the Range” in Marfa – the new headquarters for Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio.

Web streaming is now back up – tell your friends!

NPR and most syndicated programming (Science Friday, This American Life, etc.) continues on the dial at 93.5 FM.

We’ll be on the air with a mix of Talk at Ten interviews and special holiday programming through Christmas week. Our regular local host for Morning Edition will also be gone through the week, but we’ll still have news and information in the mornings for most of the week.

With the holidays coming up, we’re giving our dedicated volunteer music DJs a break for the rest of December. We expect to have your favorite evening music shows back on the air in January.

Meanwhile, construction continues at the new studios. Stay tuned for details on an open house we’ll be hosting to celebrate the move!

We sincerely apologize for the delays and the programming interruptions, but we again ask for your patience and continued support of non-profit public radio in West Texas.

There’s still time to make a special year-end contribution to Marfa Public Radio to help us offset the costs of the move. It’s an expensive undertaking for a small radio station in a small town, but with your help we can build a lasting legacy for news, art and cultural programming in Far West Texas.

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Sujiro Seam

Tue. Dec 16 Interview: Sujiro Seam, Consul General of France

For today’s Talk at Ten, we speak with Sujiro Seam, the Consul General of France in Houston.

Seam was appointed Consul General in Houston on 17 June 2013. He was educated at the Paris Graduate School of Management (École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris), Paris Institute of Political Studies (Institut d’études politiques de Paris) and the National School of Administration (École Nationale d’administration).

In 1998, Seam joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this interview, he talks about the responsibilities of a French consul, U.S.-France relations and his impressions of West Texas.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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(U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

2 Suspects in Custody, 1 in Hospital after Shootout with Border Patrol and State Authorities

Update Monday 9:30 pm:

Two female suspects are in custody and one man is in a hospital after multiple robberies in southeastern New Mexico and multiple shootouts with law enforcement in a remote part of rural Hudspeth County on Sunday.

The male suspect was injured after firing multiple shots at authorities with Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas DPS. Those agents returned fire, striking the man several times.

Shots were also fired at a Border Patrol agent earlier in the day, but no other injuries were reported.

Hudpseth County Sheriff Arvin West tells KRTS the three people – believed to be New Mexico residents – had taken part in a “robbing binge” in New Mexico, having burglarized a Bealls department store and participated in multiple carjackings before fleeing to West Texas and attempting to cross the Rio Grande into Mexico.

The identities of the suspects haven’t yet been released, but West estimates they were in their 20s. West says the situation was over by about 6 p.m. Sunday evening.

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(University of Texas Press)

Mon. Dec 15 Interview: Michael O’Brien on the “Face of Texas”

Today we speak with Photographer Michael O’Brien, author of The Face of Texas, a collection of photo portraits of noteworthy Texans ranging from John Graves and Larry McMurtry, to iconic West Texans like the Largent Family and famed Texas musicians like George Strait and Beyoncé.

Former Life reporter Elizabeth O’Brien offers written vignettes and histories to accompany the photographs of “Texans both native and naturalized.”

We spoke with O’Brien about the collection and his times spent with ranchers, artists, celebrities, writers and more.

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Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Writer Cecilia Ballî with GM Tom Michael, December 12, 2014. (KRTS photo)

Fri. Dec 12 Interview: Cecilia Ballí on our Changing Borderlands

Cecilia Ballí, a journalist and cultural anthropologist, is the first-ever live interview in the new headquarters for Marfa Public Radio at 106 E. San Antonio. A keen observer of borderland culture, she is here in Marfa, Texas, on a Lannan Foundation residency.

Ballí has published long-form narrative journalism for 15 years, as a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly and a freelance contributor to Harper’s Magazine. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and taught on the UT Anthropology faculty for six years. Her work has been anthologized, and she is working on a book on the border fence. She was awarded a 2015 Jesse H. Jones Dobie Paisano Writing Fellowship.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Former El Paso Mayor William Tilney (KRTS File Photo)

Tue. Dec 9 Interview: Former El Paso Mayor William Tilney

William “Bill” Tilney has been deeply entrenched in border politics and policy for decades. He was El Paso’s mayor from 1991-1993, and was appointed to the Texas-Mexico Advisory Board by Governor Ann Richards in 1992.

Before that, Tilney served as American Consul General in Ciudad Juárez from 1981-1985. He was also hired as a liaison to Mexico for El Paso County, to help facilitate the new international border crossing in Tornillo, Texas.

Tilney spoke with Fronteras Desk Correspondent Lorne Matalon.

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