Two drivers, both dual U.S.-Guatemalan citizens leave Texas for a week long trip through the Mexican states of Tamauplias, Veracruz and Chiapas. Both say their desire to provide for their families in Guatemala trumps security concerns about traveling through Mexico. (Lorne Matalon)

Two drivers, both dual U.S.-Guatemalan citizens leave Texas for a week long trip through the Mexican states of Tamauplias, Veracruz and Chiapas. Both say their desire to provide for their families in Guatemala trumps security concerns about traveling through Mexico. (Lorne Matalon)

From Texas Junkyards to Guatemala: Caravans Sustain One Local Microeconomy in Central America

MARFA, Texas–Old cars that have little resale value in the United States are being towed in caravans that begin in California, Arizona and Texas and end up in Guatemala.

The cars are also loaded up with old bicycles, recycled car batteries and clothing that have been jettisoned in the United States.

The vehicles are fixed up in Guatemala and sold across Central America.

The process represents a small but sustainable economy in one particularly impoverished section of Guatemala on that country’s northern border with Mexico.


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Vilis Inde and Sarma Liepins at Marfa Public Radio Studios (KRTS / Ryan Lentini)

Vilis Inde and Sarma Liepins at Marfa Public Radio Studios (KRTS / Ryan Lentini)

Tuesday Interview: Rainis Days, Latvians Come Together in West Texas to Celebrate a Literary Giant

Today’s West Texas Talk guests are Vilis Inde and Sarma Leipins. Inde is a Marfa resident and the award-winning translator of the english-language version of the Latvian epic play, “The Golden Horse” by Rainis, a seminal literary figure in Latvia. Sarma Liepins is the former President of the American Latvian Association Cultural Foundation.

Inde and Liepins are lead organizers of the Rainis days event which ran in Marfa this past weekend. The event commemorated the 150th birthday of Rainis and it attracted many Latvians from all over North America.

West Texas Talk is broadcast at 6:30 pm each weekday.
Early Monday morning view of a grass fire burning in the Puertacitas Mountains between Marfa and Fort Davis. (Tom Michael / KRTS)

Early Monday morning view of a grass fire burning in the Puertacitas Mountains between Marfa and Fort Davis. (Tom Michael / KRTS)

Wildfire Burning in Mountains South of Fort Davis

This is a developing story. We’ll update this post with information as we receive it.

Monday, March 30, 3:30 pm

The wildfire in the Puertacitas Mountains south of Fort Davis and north of Marfa has essentially come under containment, as of Monday afternoon. The grass fire, which consumed some 700 acres, is expected to burn out. Area ranchers will continue to monitor it.

Monday, March 30, 10 am

The grass fire burning in the Puertacitas Mountains south of Fort Davis and north of Marfa had at last report grown to between 600 and 700 acres in size, but was 60% contained Monday morning, according to Jim Fowler with the Fort Davis Volunteer Fire Department (FDVFD).

“Most of the burning is occurring near the peak of the mountain,” Fowler said. Crews are now returning from fighting the fire but will continue to monitor it.

“All fire department personnel have come off the line and are returning to the station,” Fowler said. “The rancher will continue to monitor the fire.”

Firefighters were briefly dispatched back to the scene at 10 a.m. this morning, after having left the fire at 4:30 for a few hours of sleep. Crews were on hand throughout Sunday night.

The fire grew from an initial size of about 100 acres Sunday evening. It was burning Monday morning in the Puertacitas Mountains five miles away from the Mano Prieto subdivision, but Fowler has said there is “no danger” to area residents at this time.

“Cooler temperatures and high humidity have kept the fire down,” Fowler said.

Monday, March 30, 7 am

The flames have been mostly concentrated at higher elevations. Though Fowler says there has been some minor burning of grasses below the mountain tops, there still is no immediate danger to area residents.

In our original posts (below), we reported the fire was mostly contained on its southern and western flanks, and more actively burning on its northern and eastern flanks. Fowler tells us this morning that has since flipped – fire crews are now focused on controlling the southern and western flanks.


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The Marfa RoboHorns - students on the robotics team from Marfa High School - board to bus for regional competition in Lubbock, March 2015.

Marfa advances to Robotics World Championship in St. Louis

With horns honking, a fleet of vehicles welcomed the Marfa RoboHorns into Marfa early Sunday morning after the robotics team advanced out of the regional round in Lubbock, on Saturday (March 29).

At Saturday’s competition Marfa RoboHorns competed along with 47 other teams, representing 100 regional or district competitions.

In robotics, a team of players has to execute a task – like moving an object from one place to the other – despite a variety of obstacles.

At these competitions, teams compete in alliances in groups of three. During the qualifiers, the top eight teams earned the opportunity to pick their alliance partners.

Although Marfa was ranked 26th during this round, they were chosen by the 5th-rated team, the RoboRaiders from Texas Tech, along with the All-Sparks from Dallas Jesuit.

Unfortunately, that Marfa alliance lost the first and third match, and so didn’t win the best two out of three to advance to the finals. The alliance did advance, however, due to wildcard selection.

The championship robotics competition will be held April 23-25 in St. Louis, Missouri, where 600 teams from around the world will be represented. The Marfa team expects to perform to an audience of 40,000.

Marfa was the only team with a female captain, Eva Guevara. Gavin Livingston was the driver who operated the robot. Other team members include Chris Ibarra, Cesar Torres, Anissa Lujan, Giselle Lujan, and others.

Michael Endl (UT Austin).

Michael Endl (UT Austin).

Monday Interview: KRTS Astronomy Series: Michael Endl on the Search For Other Earths

On this episode of our Astronomy Series, Ian Lewis speaks with Michael Endl, a research scientist at the McDonald Observatory and a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin. Endl works to characterize planets found by the Kepler spacecraft that is in orbit around our Sun, and speaks about the search for other earth-like planets in our galaxy and the possibilities of other life in our galaxy.

West Texas Talk is broadcast at 6:30 pm each weekday.
KRTS News logo

Following Multi-State Man Hunt, Suspect in Jeff Davis County Murder Turns Himself In

March 26, 10 am

Following a multi-state man hunt, Harlin A. Pierce has turned himself into authorities in King George County, Virginia. The 18-year-old was sought as a suspect in the murder of his father, Anton G. Pierce, near Fort Davis, Texas.

For KRTS News, Lorne Matalon spoke with Rod Ponton, 83rd District Attorney, who said Harlin Pierce turned himself in “on the suggestion of a friend.”

Ponton said Pierce had apparently been en route to his mother’s house in northeastern Virginia before turning himself in. Ponton revealed new details about the alleged killing.

“It does appear that Anton Pierce was killed with a single gunshot wound to the head, probably in his sleep,” he said.

Ponton said Thursday morning that the 18-year-old was in custody in Virginia, awaiting extradition procedures to be transferred to Jeff Davis County in Texas for prosecution for murder.

For days, law enforcement was actively searching for Harlin Pierce of Jeff Davis County in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. An arrest warrant was issued for the 18-year-old on Thursday, March 19.

The killing allegedly occurred in the Davis Mountains Resort subdivision, northwest of Fort Davis, on or around that date.

The Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Office said Harlin Pierce was seen in the area of Santa Fe and Denver in recent days, after having left the area driving a blue Volkswagen Jetta with New Mexico license plates.

In initial statements, authorities warned that Pierce should be considered armed and dangerous.

“This man will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for the crime he’s alleged to have committed,” Ponton said.

The plane flipped over during an emergency landing in a wet, freshly-plowed field. (Brewster County Sheriff's Office)

The plane flipped over during an emergency landing in a wet, freshly-plowed field. (Brewster County Sheriff's Office)

Marathon Residents Recovering from Injuries after Plane Crash

Two Marathon residents are recovering from injuries they suffered when the plane they were flying in crashed during an emergency landing near Marathon Monday morning.

Guil Jones, the pilot, and his passenger Bobby Hornsby had just taken off when they began to experience engine trouble and had to attempt an emergency landing.

Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson says when Jones attempted to land the plane in a freshly-plowed field wet from recent rains, the nose of the plane got caught in the mud, flipping the plane upside down onto the cockpit.

“When he hit it, it just stuck, like hitting a brick wall,” Dodson says.

Both suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine. Jones has since been transferred to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, while Hornsby was treated and released.


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American Patients Find Cheaper Dental Care in Ojinaga

For many west Texans, a dentist appointment means taking a trip to another country. Insufficient or nonexistent dental insurance in the United States has spawned a steady stream of American clients in Ojinaga, the Mexican city bordering Presidio, Texas. Ojinaga dentists have seen these numbers fluctuate over the years, and they say it’s because of American fears about the safety of Mexico.

On a Saturday morning, 22-year-old Jo Guillen is making the hour-long drive from Marfa, Texas to Ojinaga, Mexico. Today, she’s getting her braces tightened.

Guillen’s parents are Mexican. She says they hear about good dentists in Mexico all the time.


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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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Lonn Taylor

Pedro Infante

Today on Rambling Boy, Lonn remembers the musical and cinematic legacy of Pedro Infante, an actor and singer from the golden age of Mexican cinema.

The Rambling Boy is broadcast Mondays after the 10 am newscast and again after the 7 pm newscast.
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Gary Nabhan, holding a milkweed plant at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute. (KRTS/Anna Rose MacArthur)

Thu. Mar 26 Interview: Gary Nabhan, Co-Founder of Make Way for Monarchs

Gary Nabhan talks with host Anna Rose MacArthur about his Make Way for Monarchs program.

The initiative works to reestablish and safeguard milkweed in the United States and Canada that are essential nectar and host plants for monarchs as they migrate across North America.

Nabhan is a nature writer, food and farming activist, and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity. He has written or edited 24 books and has received a MacArthur “genius” award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Southwest Book Award, the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing, the Vavilov Medal, and several honorary degrees and lifetime achievement awards.

 

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Mule deer buck (TPWD).

The Dramatic Life Of A Mule Deer Buck

You’re driven from your childhood home, to wander alone through hostile, unfamiliar terrain. You get no respect from your elders – and if you think you’re going to breed, well, good luck. Coming of age is no picnic. Just ask … 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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(Ara Gureghian and Spirit / Tom Michael KRTS)

Wed. Mar 25 Interview: Ara Gureghian

Today on West Texas Talk, host Mark Glover speaks with Ara Gureghian, author of Freedom on Both Ends of the Leash: A Dog, His Man, Their Journey.

Born in 1949, Ara Gureghian is a French-born Armenian chef who has worked all over the United States.

When Gureghian’s only son passed away from liver cancer at the age of 26, Gureghian gave up his culinary career and adopted a nomadic lifestyle. Accompanied only by his motorcycle and a pitbull companion, he began traveling across the country. His journey eventually brought him to West Texas.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Mike Doyal on the border, Hudspeth County (KRTS / Lorne Matalon)

Tue. Mar 24 Interview: Hudspeth County Judge Mike Doyal on the border

On this edition of West Texas Talk, we travel to the U.S.-Mexico border with Hudspeth County Judge Mike Doyal. He describes the current situation in Hudspeth County, a place with a storied border history.

Judge Doyal describes a documented confrontation with the Mexican military, the physical contour of the land and what that implies for both border security and immigration and his hopes for a stable Mexico.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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