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Introducing “Texas Standard” – News, Arts & Culture By Texans, For Texans

There’s a new weekday news, arts and culture program coming to the West Texas airwaves – Texas Standard.

Produced at KUT in Austin, with collaboration from public radio stations in big cities and small towns across the state, Texas Standard brings West Texas listeners a new source for expansive coverage of statewide, national and international news – from a distinctly Texan perspective.

Starting on Monday, March 2 – Texas Independence Day – you can catch the show live each weekday from 10 – 11 am.

In addition to carrying the program, we’ll also be regularly contributing to it – bringing the sounds, stories and unique personalities of West Texas to listeners across the state.

So, you’re probably wondering: “What does that mean for Talk at Ten?

Long-form interviews with community members, local organizations and interesting people from far and wide have been a staple of Marfa Public Radio since we launched – so that’s not going away.

Talk at Ten will be re-branded as West Texas Talk – and will continue at its 6:30 PM slot every weekday.

In the meantime, you can check out some of the of innovative radio journalism we’re bringing to West Texas next week. Our reporters have already been featured on the program in recent weeks.


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KRTS interviews Cowboy

It’s Not a Festival. It’s the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering

For the past 29 years, cowboy poets have gathered in Alpine on the campus of Sul Ross State University. It’s called the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering and it kicks off today.

Doris Daley has been coming to this event in Alpine for 13 years. It’s smaller, and she thinks homier, than similar events across the country.

And here at Alpine, Texas, it’s a gathering-up of old friends and new friends, a Western hug and a Western howdy. There’s nothing razzle-dazzle about Alpine. None of it is for show. It’s more like a family gathering.

And it’s not a festival – as organizers will tell you – it’s a gathering. One of them, Bill Brooks, says it’s really about the performers doing their thing. The audience just happens to be there.

Because we have been true to our mission since Day One. And that is to make it kind of a reunion; thus, the gathering name – for them – then invite the public to come hear them.


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Mexican Man Dies from Apparent Seizure in Border Patrol Custody

A 50-year-old Mexican man died earlier this month while in Border Patrol custody in Marfa, after suffering what Customs and Border Protection (CBP) described as an apparent seizure.

According to CBP the man, identified in Presidio County documents as Maros Baray-Magallanes, was taken into custody on February 17th around 5 p.m. after allegedly entering the U.S. illegally.

The incident began around 5:20 a.m. on February 18th, when according to witness testimony from on-duty Border Patrol Agent Gaberial Vega, Magallanes “became ill in his cell.” Agents performed CPR and called Marfa EMS, who arrived and also performed CPR, but were unable to revive the man.

He was pronounced dead about an hour later, at 6:13 a.m.

It’s not clear where Magallanes was taken into custody or how exactly he tried to enter the U.S. illegally.

The Presidio County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the death, along with CBP’s Office of Internal Affairs.

Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara has ordered an autopsy from South Plains Forensic Pathology in Lubbock. A preliminary autopsy is expected back within the next few weeks, but it could be months before the final autopsy results are available.

Raymond Skiles, the Park's wildlife biologist, has monitored the bird since the 1980s. (Ian Lewis / KRTS)

Raymond Skiles, the Park's wildlife biologist, has monitored the bird since the 1980s. (Ian Lewis / KRTS)

Big Bend National Park Continues Annual Trail Closure To Protect Peregrine Falcons

The peregrine falcons are returning to Big Bend National Park for their breeding season, and the Park, as they have done in previous years, has closed a small section of the South Rim trail of the Chisos Mountains to hikers, to give the birds a quiet and safe place to raise their young.

Every February, Raymond Skiles – the Park’s wildlife biologist – hikes up to the South Rim with trail closure signs, to keep hikers from getting too close to the peregrine falcon’s nesting area.


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A worker transfers crude oil from a truck to a pipeline that sends the oil to several states. The FBI says a recent case involving stolen oil has set a precedent. The courts ruled that the theft of oil by implication meant the oil was destined to cross state lines, meaning the weight of federal law can now be applied to cases that once were tried in state court. Tools and equipment stolen here have also been smuggled to borderland Mexico. (Lorne Matalon)

A worker transfers crude oil from a truck to a pipeline that sends the oil to several states. The FBI says a recent case involving stolen oil has set a precedent. The courts ruled that the theft of oil by implication meant the oil was destined to cross state lines, meaning the weight of federal law can now be applied to cases that once were tried in state court. Tools and equipment stolen here have also been smuggled to borderland Mexico. (Lorne Matalon)

Theft In The Oilfields Of Texas and New Mexico Traced To Borderland Mexico

The decline in the price of crude oil is translating into job losses in the oilfields of Texas and New Mexico.

And that means there’s renewed focus on an ongoing problem in the oilfields, and that’s the theft of oil, tools, piping and copper wire by laid off or disgruntled workers.

The FBI has a team working full-time to identify stolen oilfield equipment which in at least one case was smuggled to borderland Mexico.

“They live paycheck to paycheck,” said Midland County, Texas Sheriff Gary Painter driving past an oil well.


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Two planned pipelines would export natural gas from the Permian Basin across the border to Mexico. (Energy Transfer Partners)

Two planned pipelines would export natural gas from the Permian Basin across the border to Mexico. (Energy Transfer Partners)

West Texas to Mexico Pipelines On Track for 2017 Finish

A Dallas-based company looking to build two sizable natural gas pipelines from Far West Texas to Mexico says it plans to have both pipelines built and operating by early 2017.

Energy Transfer won a contract from Mexico’s electricity commission to build the manage the pipeline’s construction. It’s estimated the two 42″ lines could carry a combined 2.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

In an earnings call this week, the company’s CEO Kelcy Warren – also the owner of the Lajitas Golf Resort near Big Bend National Park – said the company’s making progress on meeting that timeline.

“We’re very excited about our business south to Mexico,” Warren said. “The next two projects that we were winners on, we’re looking at both of them to come on in the first quarter of 2017, and we are finalizing negotiations and everything is on track to that timeline.”

One of the pipelines would stretch from near the towns of Monahans and Pecos south through the Marfa area to Presidio. The other would travel from the same area west to the border near El Paso.

Some West Texans are worried about how the pipeline’s construction would impact roads and the environment, while some people across the border are wary of selling their land for development on the Mexican side.

The company’s also looking to expand its holdings in South Texas and other parts of the Permian Basin.

Cars and trucks heading east on Interstate I-10 east of El Paso pass through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas. The county, the first gatekeeper in the state legal system, is not accepting federally initiated drug cases sent to it from the checkpoint. (Lorne Matalon)

Cars and trucks heading east on Interstate I-10 east of El Paso pass through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas. The county, the first gatekeeper in the state legal system, is not accepting federally initiated drug cases sent to it from the checkpoint. (Lorne Matalon)

Texas County Declines All Federally Initiated Drug Cases From Sierra Blanca Checkpoint

SIERRA BLANCA, Texas – A border county in Texas with two U.S. Border Patrol highway checkpoints is refusing to prosecute drug cases previously sent to it from those checkpoints.

The county—and all four states bordering Mexico—wants funding from Washington, D.C. to handle cases that federal prosecutors decide to send to state courts.

But federal money has run dry.

A program that reimbursed California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas for prosecuting federally initiated cases hasn’t been funded since 2013.

The largest of the two federal checkpoints in the county is sometimes dubbed “Checkpoint of the Stars” because people such as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dog (aka Snoop Lion) and Fiona Apple have been arrested here after dogs detected marijuana.


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Prada Marfa near Valentine, Texas on February 18, 2015 (Travis Bubenik / KRTS)

Prada Marfa near Valentine, Texas on February 18, 2015 (Travis Bubenik / KRTS)

Renovation of Damaged Prada Marfa Art Installation Begins

Renovation of the badly damaged Prada Marfa art installation near Valentine, Texas has begun and will continue over the next few weeks.

The popular roadside art installation was vandalized by a Waco resident named Joe Magnano almost a year ago, an act Magnano claimed was meant to be its own kind of art and an act of protest.

Magnano pleaded guilty to criminal mischief charges in November, and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, plus $10,000 in restitution to Ballroom Marfa, the nonprofit art gallery that takes care of the installation.

Ballroom has estimated restoring the piece could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.

The gallery’s deputy director Katherine Shaughnessy says the restitution money likely won’t be enough to  cover the cost of completely restoring the piece.

That effort began this week with the careful removal of the installation’s awning, “Prada Marfa” emblem and glass.


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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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Texas_Standard_Centered_HD

Introducing “Texas Standard” – News, Arts & Culture By Texans, For Texans

There’s a new weekday news, arts and culture program coming to the West Texas airwaves – Texas Standard.

Produced at KUT in Austin, with collaboration from public radio stations in big cities and small towns across the state, Texas Standard brings West Texas listeners a new source for expansive coverage of statewide, national and international news – from a distinctly Texan perspective.

Starting on Monday, March 2 – Texas Independence Day – you can catch the show live each weekday from 10 – 11 am.

In addition to carrying the program, we’ll also be regularly contributing to it – bringing the sounds, stories and unique personalities of West Texas to listeners across the state.

So, you’re probably wondering: “What does that mean for Talk at Ten?

Long-form interviews with community members, local organizations and interesting people from far and wide have been a staple of Marfa Public Radio since we launched – so that’s not going away.

Talk at Ten will be re-branded as West Texas Talk – and will continue at its 6:30 PM slot every weekday.

In the meantime, you can check out some of the of innovative radio journalism we’re bringing to West Texas next week. Our reporters have already been featured on the program in recent weeks.

Continue reading

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(Texas Cowboy Poetry)

Fri. Feb 27 Interview: Live from the 29th Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering is a annual West Texas tradition held at the Sul Ross State’s Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine. Once again, Marfa Public Radio will broadcast live from the event  for Talk at Ten on Friday, February 27th.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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A Border Patrol veihicle drives past vehicle barriers near Deming, NM. (Jim Greenhill via Flickr/Creative Commons)

DHS Employees Prepare For Possible Shut Down

PHOENIX – The president’s plan to use executive action to help an additional 4 million or so unauthorized immigrants get work permits has its share of opponents.

Among its critics is the union representing some 18,000 Border Patrol agents, the National Border Patrol Council.

Agent Chris Cabrera is with the union in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, which is the busiest part of the border.

“We are out here risking our lives every day,” Cabrera said. “And for someone to come in and throw a de facto amnesty on the table, it just goes against our basic mission as an agency.”

But a fight in Congress over the president’s immigration executive actions is now impacting Cabrera and his colleagues’ wallets.

The Department of Homeland Security, which includes Border Patrol, will run out of funding on Friday.

House Republicans’ funding measure for DHS adds on a provision to end the president’s immigration programs. But Democrats won’t agree to that.

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Poet Doris Daley, Singer/Songwriter Eli Barsi, and Bass Player John Cunningham at the Marfa Public Radio studios. (KRTS/ Tom Michael)

Thu. Feb 26 Interview: Eli Barsi and Doris Daley

Poet Doris Daley and singer/songwriter Eli Barsi join our host Anna Rose MacArthur in the studio to talk about Cowboy Poetry and this weekend’s 29th Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Daley and Barsi discuss the representation of the New West in Cowboy Poetry and the space for women and people who do not indentify with the male gender within this art form. Daley and Barsi also perform original pieces of their work, previewing what audiences will experience this weekend.

Daley and Barsi will be performing Friday and Saturday at the 29th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The event is occurring this weekend at Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas.

Listen to more Cowboy Poetry tomorrow morning from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM here on Marfa Public Radio as we air a live broadcast of the gathering.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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(Photo credit: Woody Welch)

From Oil Boom, McDonald Observatory Faces An “Existential Threat”

Since its first telescope was dedicated in 1939, astronomers at McDonald Observatory have enjoyed some of the darkest skies in the country. Researchers apply months in advance for an opportunity to gather data there. And they come from all over … Continue reading

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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A Border Patrol truck traveling on US 90 between Alpine and Marfa. (Armand Morin)

Border Agents Would Work through a Homeland Security Shutdown

As the showdown in Washington over funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gets closer to a Friday deadline, two lawmakers in Virginia are pushing a last-minute bill that would guarantee that border agents and other homeland security employees receive backpay if a deal isn’t reached by the deadline.

Republican Representatives Don Beyer and Rob Wittman introduced the “DHS Employee Retroactive Pay Act” on Tuesday.

The lawmakers say the bill’s aim is to provide “a degree of certainty” for the department’s employees, who for the most part would be expected to work through a homeland security shutdown.

“[Border Patrol] agents are exempt from furlough, so they will continue to do their jobs,” says Bill Brooks with the Border Patrol’s Big Bend Sector.

Gil Kerlikowske – Commissioner for the Border Patrol’s parent agency Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – is pushing for Congress to come up with a funding solution, saying a shutdown would have “significant” impact on cross-border trade, and on DHS employees directly.

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