Pardon Our Aural Dust – We’re Moving!

As you’ve probably heard by now, we’re gearing up to move into our “New Home on the Range” in Marfa – the new headquarters for Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio.

During the move, there will be interruptions to our regular programming schedule. We’ll be unplugging all the bits and pieces of the station, lugging them across the street and setting everything up from scratch.

The move will take a few days. As it stands, we expect to be on the air with our regular programming schedule through Monday, November 17. Starting Tuesday, November 18, we will be broadcasting an alternative programming mix as we get everything set up.

NPR programming will not be available for some of the duration of the move. 


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Views into Mexico across Big Bend National Park on a clear and hazy day. (NPS)

Views into Mexico across Big Bend National Park on a clear and hazy day. (NPS)

EPA Rejects Part of Texas Clean Air Plan, Proposes its Own

The EPA has rejected a Texas plan to cut emissions and improve air quality, in part because it doesn’t do enough to tackle visibility problems in the Big Bend and the Guadalupe Mountains.

The federal Regional Haze Program requires states to periodically submit plans for improving visibility in certain national parks and wilderness areas across the country.

On Monday, the EPA tossed out part of the TCEQ’s plan for doing that and instead proposed its own, saying the state’s long-term strategy “does not sufficiently address regional haze visibility impairment” in Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

The EPA also said the state’s plan wouldn’t lead to “reasonable progress” toward meeting a national goal for cleaner air in those areas by the year 2064. It did, however, approve Texas’ strategy for calculating and monitoring baseline visibility conditions.

Under the TCEQ’s 2009 goals, natural visibility would return to Big Bend by the year 2155 – and to Guadalupe Mountains by 2081.


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Governor-elect and AG Greg Abbott speaks on Obama's recent executive order during a press event on Nov. 24, 2014. (Bob Daemmrich)

Governor-elect and AG Greg Abbott speaks on Obama's recent executive order during a press event on Nov. 24, 2014. (Bob Daemmrich)

Abbott: Immigration Lawsuit Could Come in Two Weeks

A state lawsuit challenging President Obama’s executive order shielding as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation could come from Texas in the next two weeks, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said during a Monday press conference.

“Most everyone agrees that the immigration system in America is broken,” Abbott said. “Similarly, most agree that executive fiat is not the right way to fix it.”

Added Abbott: “The president must follow the law just like everyone else.”

Obama’s order means that undocumented parents of children in the country legally are eligible for a reprieve from deportation proceedings if they pass background checks, pay taxes and have been in the country for more than five years.

That could affect as many as 533,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas, about 40 percent of the state’s population. Another 92,000 reside with children who are not citizens but could be in the country legally.


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The banner reads Fue El Estado, translated as 'It was the state.' There's no indication the murders of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero went beyond the local level, but protesters say the alleged involvement of a mayor and police, both agents of the state imply that the Mexican state as an institution also bears some responsibility. (mioaxaca.com)

The banner reads Fue El Estado, translated as 'It was the state.' There's no indication the murders of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero went beyond the local level, but protesters say the alleged involvement of a mayor and police, both agents of the state imply that the Mexican state as an institution also bears some responsibility. (mioaxaca.com)

Mexico Marks Día De La Revolución: Patriotism, Protest And Revulsion

Mexico has marked the 104th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. This year, the day was transformed into a platform for nationwide protests. Anguish is mounting over the government’s response to the murders of 43 college students in September.

A mayor in central Mexico, José Luis Abarca Velázquez, his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda and police are accused in the crime. Several analysts maintain that Mexico is in turmoil now, that a society seen to be historically passive in the face of crime driven by the narco-political nexus in the country is incensed in a way that hasn’t been seen in generations.

It’s not just the crime itself that’s roiling Mexico. It’s the perception that the government’s reaction was slow. It took a month before the arrest of the mayor, the politician who allegedly orchestrated the deaths of 43 students.


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Cameron County Judge and presumptive Texas Secretary of Satate Carlos Cascos. (Courtesy Carlos Cascos)

Cameron County Judge and presumptive Texas Secretary of Satate Carlos Cascos. (Courtesy Carlos Cascos)

Incoming Texas Secretary of State Echoes GOP Leaders on Border Issues

For the first nomination of his incoming administration, Governor-elect Greg Abbott has tapped Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos to be the next Texas Secretary of State.

In Texas, the office oversees state elections, but also serves as the governor’s chief adviser on border and Mexican affairs. Cascos will also be the state’s Chief International Protocol Officer.

Given the way border security and immigration has dominated the political climate in Texas this year, Cascos is likely to play an important public role in the Abbott administration.

It’s no coincidence that Cascos was originally born in Matamoros, Mexico, is a longtime South Texas resident and has served on the Texas Border Security Council.

Announcing the nomination, Abbott said Cascos will “inspire the next generation of Hispanic leaders,” and pending the senate’s approval, would work to promote the governor-elect’s vision of the Rio Grande Valley as vital to the economic success of the rest of the state.

The appointment is also a symbolic gesture from the Abbott administration, aimed at least in part at bringing more Hispanic voters into the GOP’s base. Cascos’ parents immigrated to the U.S. when he was a child, and the family pursued legal paths to citizenship when he was still young.


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Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
Traffic arrives at the newly-opened Tornillo International Port of Entry in El Paso County on Monday, Nov. 17. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Traffic arrives at the newly-opened Tornillo International Port of Entry in El Paso County on Monday, Nov. 17. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

New Tornillo Port of Entry Opens as Construction Continues

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Monday the opening of a new international border crossing near the small border town of Tornillo, TX.

Construction on the new, six-lane port of entry has been underway since July of 2011, when CBP announced a $96 million project to replace an existing two-lane entry point in nearby Fabens.

At the time, CBP cited a forecast for growing cross-border trade as the motivation behind the new port.

The new Tornillo crossing would be a step forward in cross-border economic partnerships, but would also represent “joint efforts in standing guard at our nation’s doorstep,” the CBP said in 2011.

On the other side of that door, the Mexican town of Guadalupe – just across the Rio Grande from Tornillo and Fabens – has suffered from brutal drug war violence.

In 2012, Texas Observer reporter Melissa del Bosque dubbed Guadalupe and the surrounding Juárez Valley “The Deadliest Place in Mexico.”


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Steve Holzer Painting

Marfa Community Remembers Steve Holzer

Marfa resident Steve Holzer passed away in late September after a battle with cancer. Out-of-town family gathered with local friends on Saturday, November 15, at the Lumberyard in Marfa to celebrate his life.

He is survived by his wife Daeryl, who addressed the wall-to-wall crowd in front of a video that ran through images of Steve’s life.

Steve would never miss a good party and this is a good party.

She asked everyone to shout-out one word that described their memories of her husband and to say it in unison. Many others spoke, and local musicians and DJs played into the night.

Holzer was a carpenter and an artist, who focused on the nexus between science and art. Here he is in a 2008 interview on KRTS:

Well, as a very young man I had a great interest in science, but later discovered that artists had much more latitude in the world about what they could say and do. In general, scientists have a funny attitude about art. They kind of laugh at our romantic relationship with the world.

Holzer lived in the South, the Midwest, and in the West. He always wanted to move to Marfa. On his first day there in 2006, Holzer stopped by the radio station, in the first days of its construction, to ask what was going on. “We’re building a radio station,” General Manager Tom Michael told him. He responded, “I’ve got tools in the truck and I can help.” He stayed all week long.

Julia Poplawsky, 26 years old and butcher at Dai Due Butcher Shop & Supper Club in Austin, and her assistant Ashley Chaney, 28, work to prepare cuts of beef on Nov. 11, 2014. (Todd Wiseman)

Julia Poplawsky, 26 years old and butcher at Dai Due Butcher Shop & Supper Club in Austin, and her assistant Ashley Chaney, 28, work to prepare cuts of beef on Nov. 11, 2014. (Todd Wiseman)

Texas Beef Council Turns Focus to Younger Eaters

It has been 22 years since the racing violins and xylophonic beats of composer Aaron Copland’s “Hoe-Down” from his ballet “Rodeo” poured out of television sets, making “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” one of the most recognizable advertising campaigns of the early 1990s.

Since then, public affection for beef — and traditional television — has waned, particularly among members of the millennial generation, who are less inclined to eat meat and more likely to encounter advertising on phones and computer screens.

In Texas, where cattle are almost as important to the state’s image as its economy, beef producers are trying to grasp both horns of that dilemma.

After a dinner of beef brisket on a warm fall evening in north San Antonio, members of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association sat back and listened to Jason Bagley of the Texas Beef Council outline how the trade group is moving away from print, television and radio ads.

To attract young families, Bagley said, the Beef Council is turning to food and recipe apps, its website and tailored cooking events.

“Times have changed from where we tried to reach everybody in a TV commercial or TV spot at night,” Bagley explained, referring to the popular 1992 ad narrated by the actor Robert Mitchum.


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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!

As you’ve probably heard by now, we’re gearing up to move into our “New Home on the Range” in Marfa – the new headquarters for Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio.

During the move, there will be interruptions to our regular programming schedule. We’ll be unplugging all the bits and pieces of the station, lugging them across the street and setting everything up from scratch.

The move will take a few days. As it stands, we expect to be on the air with our regular programming schedule through Monday, November 17. Starting Tuesday, November 18, we will be broadcasting an alternative programming mix as we get everything set up.

NPR programming will not be available for some of the duration of the move. 

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A team of volunteer immigration attorneys works long hours on the cases of women and children detained at a federal facility in Artesia. (Mónica Ortiz Uribe)

Attorney: Immigrant Transfers Out of Artesia Detention Center To Begin Immediately

An attorney representing immigrant women and children detained in New Mexico says her clients will be transferred to a facility in Texas starting today. The news came a day after the federal government announced the New Mexico facility will close by the end of December.

Christina Brown got a phone call Thursday night, just as President Obama was beginning his nationwide address on immigration. Brown heads a group volunteer attorneys who represent immigrants held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia. She said the call was from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, alerting her that 24 of her clients would be moved to a facility in Texas Friday morning.

“They are being transferred away from their attorneys who have been developing their cases for a very long time,” she said.

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President Obama speaks at Fort Bliss, El Paso in 2011. (DVIDSHUB via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

President to Speak on Possible Immigration Action Tonight

President Obama will speak tonight at 7 p.m. on possible executive action to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

Obama says action is needed to fix the country’s “broken” immigration system, although he’s been hesitant to act on the issue without the consent of Congress until recently.

“Unfortunately, Washington has allowed the problem to fester for too long,” Obama said Wednesday in a video message from the White House.

Reports say Obama will announce a plan to temporarily shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, and to allow some with no criminal records to apply for work permits to stay in the country legally.

Republicans don’t disagree that the immigration system is broken, but they do say any executive action on the issue would mean bleak prospects for bipartisan compromise in the future.

At a press conference announcing his pick for the new Texas Secretary of State, Governor-elect Greg Abbott said he’d be willing to consider a lawsuit against the president.

“If the president uses what seems to be his version of dictatorial powers to impose on Americans a law that is not passed by the U.S. Congress,” Abbott said, “I think any and all action should be taken to try and stop it – including legal action.”

Incoming Secretary of State Carlos Cascos, who will also serve as Abbott’s senior adviser on border and Mexican affairs, says he’d back such a lawsuit, if it came to that.

Note: We will likely not be able to carry the president’s speech, as our NPR feed is still down because of the move to our new studios. The White House will live-stream the speech here at 7 p.m.

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A protestor in Mexico City carries a sign reading "What if your child was the 44th?" (Alex Torres via Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Tensions over Iguala Massacre High as Protestors call for National Strike

The disappearance and likely murder of 43 students from a teachers’ college in Mexico has triggered protests that some say could lead to a political earthquake the likes of which the country hasn’t seen in generations, maybe even since the Mexican Revolution.

Leaders of civil movements in Mexico are calling for a national day of protest on Thursday that could include strikes by union-affiliated workers.

Mexico analyst Andrew Selee of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. says the crisis gives hope that the country’s political class may finally tackle the known links between organized crime and government that many Mexicans blame for the students’ death.

“There are some foundations of rule of law dealing with corruption that have not been dealt with as actively as they need to be, and Mexicans are calling on their government, on all the political parties, to do something about this,” he said.

Selee says protestors are calling on Mexico to “return to doing nuts and bolts public security reforms” in the courts and among police forces, and to tackle what he calls the “nexus between organized crime and political power” that exists in the country.

The story began on September 26, when a drug gang – with the help of police officers – allegedly kidnapped and murdered the 43 students, burning their corpses before throwing them into a river.

Reporters Without Borders said this week that at least seven journalists were attacked by Mexican police in the state capital of Chilpancingo during protests over the students’ disappearance. The journalists claim police threw rocks at them while they were attempting to cover the protests.

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Bill Callahan. (Credit Erika Wall).

Tue. Nov 18 Interview: An Interview with Bill Callahan

Host K. Yoland spoke with the musician Bill Callahan while he was in Marfa performing at the Trans-Pecos Music Festival this past September.

In this interview, a rarity for Callahan, the American songwriter talks about his latest works, touring, and his epistolary novel, Letters to Emma Bowlcut. 

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Lilibeth André. Credit: Alpine Artwalk.

Mon. Nov 17 Interview: Chalk Artist Lilibeth André

On this episode of Talk at Ten, host Tom Michael spoke with Lilibeth André, a Houston based artist who works in various mediums, including oil pastel, acrylic paints, watercolor, and chalk.

This year during the Alpine Artwalk, November 21st and 22nd, André will be creating a large sidewalk chalk art piece at Brown Dog Garden.  Along with a few local artists, André will work on Friday and Saturday from 10A.M. to 3P.M to draw a historic Murphyville scene on the sidewalk.

To see more of André’s work, visit her website at http://www.lilibethandre.com.

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