Thursday Interview: Reporter Colin McDonald Treks Across Texas

Colin McDonald walks along the riverbed of the Rio Grande on his way to the Texas state line. (NPR/Erich Schlegel)

Colin McDonald walks along the riverbed of the Rio Grande on his way to the Texas state line. (Erich Schlegel)

Reporter Colin McDonald is trekking through Texas, tracking the disappearing Rio Grande River.

More information to come.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
Classical Midday Host Rosalind Klein (left) with volunteer host Jason Kolker

Classical Midday Host Rosalind Klein (left) with volunteer host Jason Kolker

Fall Fund Drive Continues – Help Build our “New Home on the Range”

We’re just days away from the end of the Fall Fund Drive and we’re getting ever-closer to our $50,000 goal! 

Huge thanks to everyone who’s already chipped in and endorsed the independent news, entertainment and culture that defines us here at Marfa Public Radio.

A very special thanks to Roselind Klein of Fort Davis – your host for Classical Midday – who’s offered up a $2,000 match challenge for today’s Morning Edition. Roselind’s agreed to match your donations dollar-for-dollar up to $2,000 this morning!

We’ve still got premiums on the table today from the Hotel Paisano and Jett’s Grill in Marfa, the Americana Salon in Alpine, Taste & See Bakery in Alpine, and Kathy Bork’s Little Tin Guest House in Alpine.

Special thanks to Maria Moss & Jon Hogan – some of our favorite local musicians who play under the name Hogan & Moss. They offered up a special “guerrilla performance” premium and it got swooped up right away!

Remember – your contributions go straight toward programming, and this year, toward building our “new home on the range.”

Call now to support your local station and ask about getting a little thank you in return! 432-729-4578 / 800-903-KRTS to donate – or just click here!
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Wednesday Interview: Musician Jim Keaveny Live in Studio

We are joined live in the studio for a performance by Texas country and Americana musician Jim Keaveny, who has just released his fifth studio album, Out of Time. Keaveny is supported in the studio by Anna Oakley on the violin, Benito Plaza on the electric guitar, and Noah Martinez on the double bass. In addition to playing selections off his new album, Keaveny talks with host K. Yoland about his songwriting, touring, and living in Terlingua.

Jim Keaveny will be performing with his group at the Lost Horse Saloon in Marfa, Thursday, October 23rd.


Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
Matthew Sheppard, Abram Shook, and Chris Cox of Feverbones

Matthew Sheppard, Abram Shook, and Chris Cox of Feverbones

Wednesday Interview: Feverbones Plays El Cosmico Tonight, October 22nd

Host Tom Michael interviews Abram Shook, Matthew Sheppard, and Chris Cox of the band Feverbones, who play tonight, October 22nd, at El Cosmico in Marfa at 8 PM.

Feverbones released their first self-titled EP on Punctum Records, and are currently finishing up their first full length album.  All three members of the group are seasoned Austin musicians; Shook fronts his own solo project and previously played with The Great Nostalgic, The Low Lows, and Shearwater. Sheppard and Cox have played with Dana Falconberry, The Eastern Sea, Mission Dorado, and others.

You can listen to their EP, dubbed “groove-laden indie-pop with phenomenal vocals” by KUTX, on their Bandcamp website.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
The new HQ of Marfa Public Radio (Sara Melancon/KRTS)

The new HQ of Marfa Public Radio (Sara Melancon/KRTS)

Our New Home on the Range

We’re moving!

The Marfa Public Radio network is leaving its current headquarters and moving to the 106 block of East San Antonio Street in Marfa. Renovation at the new space begins this week! We’re scheduled to open the new studios later this fall.

This quick relocation is a result of downtown redevelopment that led to an early ending of our lease.

The KRTS Fall Fund Drive starts October 17 and ends October 24. Donor support has been the key to every improvement in the station’s history and now we need your help to continue growing. That’s why we’ve themed our 2014 Fall Fund Drive “New Home on the Range.”

You can follow progress of the move on Twitter with the hashtag #marfamove.

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informedvoter_R125 Button

Voter ID and You: Everything You Need To Know

The U.S. Supreme Court is letting Texas move forward with its new voter ID law. That follows a decision from an appeals court to uphold the law, after it was initially struck down by a district judge.

That means you will in fact need to present a valid photo ID to cast a ballot in this year’s election.

Here’s what you need to know:

Voter ID Requirements
You will need one of seven required forms of current or expired within 60 days photo identification:

1) A Texas Driver’s License
2) A Personal ID card, issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
3) A Concealed Handgun License, issued by Texas DPS
4) A U.S. Military ID with photograph
5) A U.S. Citizenship Certificate with photograph
6) A U.S. Passport
or 7) An Election Identification Certificate (EIC) issued by DPS.

If you still need an ID, you can get the EIC at your local DPS office. You will need to prove citizenship and identity; more details are here.

Exemptions from the photo ID requirement are made for voters with disability or voters expressing religious objection. Further details are here.

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Win an 16GB white iPad Retina engraved with 'I LOVE MARFA PUBLIC RADIO'

Win an 16GB white iPad Retina engraved with 'I LOVE MARFA PUBLIC RADIO'

Win an iPad During the Fall Fund Drive!

Our Fall Membership Drive is Friday, October 17 to Friday, October 24. Your donations go directly to improving this station.

KRTS is giving away an iPad! Anyone donating during the Fall Drive will be entered for a chance to win. It’s a white personalized iPad with retina display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB engraved with I LOVE MARFA PUBLIC RADIO. Click here to donate.

Listeners can also submit their name and contact information online to be eligible for the drawing by emailing West Texas Public Radio at Put “iPad” in the subject line. Limit one entry per person.
The Marfa cemeteries. Credit: Mary Walling Blackburn

The Marfa cemeteries. Credit: Mary Walling Blackburn

A Legacy of Division in Marfa’s Cemeteries

Just off Route 90 in Marfa, TX are three cemeteries, divided by fencing — and race. Though racial segregation seems like a dated practice in West Texas, the separations between whites and Hispanics are still visible among the departed.

In the borderlands of West Texas, intermarriage is hardly rare. But in death, people remain segregated. One cemetery is known as the Anglo cemetery. The other two — Cementerio de la Merced and the Marfa Catholic cemetery — are Hispanic.

“This is the Catholic cemetery. It’s the first Hispanic or Mexican cemetery,” says Alberto Garcia, assistant librarian at the Marfa Public Library. Garcia walks through rows of tombstones and makeshift crosses adorned with colorful silk bouquets, about one hundred feet from the railroad tracks.

On the other side of the fence is the Anglo cemetery, full of well-groomed, grassy plots. But the divisions here aren’t just aesthetic. It wasn’t too long ago that racial segregation was once a way of life in Marfa, Texas.

“Well, it was not legally segregated, but it was segregated by custom,” says historian Lonn Taylor, a former curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. According to Taylor, before the 1970s West Texas had separate schools, barber shops, and churches. Even movie theaters had their own unwritten rules about where to sit.

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The Fort Davis band has returned to the field, but only as a volunteer effort. The band program was cut in February. (KRTS/Lorne Matalon)

The Fort Davis band has returned to the field, but only as a volunteer effort. The band program was cut in February. (KRTS/Lorne Matalon)

At Struggling Fort Davis ISD, Student Volunteers Revive the Band

Last month, a Travis County district judge ruled the state’s education finance system is unconstitutional.

Judge John Diez ruled the system doesn’t give schools enough money to meet state-approved standards, and that it puts too much of a burden on local taxpayers.

Fort Davis ISD is one of hundreds of other districts across the state trying to tackle budget shortfalls as that case makes its way through the courts. The state legislature cut more than $5 billion in funding in 2011.

View a timeline history of the battle over school funding in Texas, from the Houston Chronicle.

“In 2008 the state’s contribution to our budget was 68% – the state contribution to our budget last year was 28%,” says Superintendent Graydon Hicks. “That’s a problem.”

Meanwhile, the district has cut $3 million in spending over the last six years.

“We simply cannot keep up cutting spending fast enough to follow the cuts in funding,” he says.

Still, they’ve had to try.

The district doesn’t get a lot of money from enrollment – it only has about 200 students. So, they’ve frozen salaries and removed some staff positions. They also cut spending on extracurriculars, even getting rid of meals for student athletes when they travel.

The district also cut its track, tennis and golf programs among others, but the decision to get rid of the band has perhaps drawn the most attention.

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Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis support greater border enforcement but differ on what the approach should be. (Texas Army National Guard)

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis support greater border enforcement but differ on what the approach should be. (Texas Army National Guard)

How Would Greg Abbott And Wendy Davis Secure The Border?

This is the second in a week-long series of coordinated reports from KERA, the Dallas Morning News, and KXAS-TV (NBC 5). Five Days in October looks at where the leading candidates for governor stand on certain issues. 

Today, we look at border security and how Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis differ on deploying National Guard troops along the border.

This summer, Texas was in the national spotlight as thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America came across the border. Gov. Rick Perry said he was also worried the border was so porous drug cartels and human traffickers are crossing into Texas. So Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops and additional Department of Public Safety troopers to the border.

Greg Abbott, the Republican running for governor, wholeheartedly supported the effort.

“The federal government failed to do its job. The federal government has the fundamental responsibility to secure and protect our border,” Abbott said during a Sept. 19 televised debate in McAllen. “It failed in its fundamental responsibility. But Texas will not stand idly by.”

Democratic candidate Wendy Davis said she also supported extra law enforcement at the border. But during the debate in the Rio Grande Valley, she questioned the cost of sending the Guard – over $3 million a week. She suggested it might make more sense to increase local or department of public safety numbers instead.

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Rancher Nick Garza checks seedlings at an experimental plot south of Alpine, Texas. (KRTS/Lorne Matalon)

Rancher Nick Garza checks seedlings at an experimental plot south of Alpine, Texas. (KRTS/Lorne Matalon)

Ranchers’ Hope: Hardier Seeds to Combat Draught

Scientists are experimenting with seeds to reinvigorate lands damaged by drought and overgrazing.

Ranchers from the southwest and Mexico are gathering in the high desert of west Texas to review results of an experiment to raise hardy seeds that can flourish. Their biggest challenge is a harsh, demanding landscape.

“My world is a million little paper bags of seed,” says Colin Shackelford, a research associate at Texas Native Seeds, a restoration project founded at Texas A & M University.

Shackelford gives ranchers a tour of an experimental plot of grass seedlings, pointing out bird’s eye blue groma, a grass loaded with nutrition for cattle. But between drought and overgrazing, the plant is under stress in ranches across Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

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Chinati Mountains in Presidio County (Charlie Llewellin via Creative Commons)

Chinati Mountains in Presidio County (Charlie Llewellin via Creative Commons)

EXCLUSIVE: Public Access to Chinati Mountains State Natural Area Done Deal

The Chinati Mountains State Natural Area in south Presidio County finally has public access, according to Corky Kulhmann, senior project manager for land conservation for Texas Parks and Wildlife. This is news given exclusively to KRTS.

For eight years, Kulhmann and his team have been working to gain public access to 39,000 acres donated to create a new state park.

“But that’s been blocked by either no funds or landowners changing their minds or just other priorities with state parks, as far as money could go when we had money,” Kulhmann explains. “It turned out a lot of the lands here are just a bowl of spaghetti.”

The four tracts of land needed to open a public road to the park were not straight-forward deals. There was the family that wouldn’t sell to the state and instead sold to a developer, who then sold back to the state; a landowner that had to be tracked down in Florida through Facebook; and a deal negotiated with Presidio County after a default on taxes gave them the land, says Kulhmann.

The last piece of the puzzle has Kulhmann’s surveyors working with the state of Texas General Land Office to purchase land from them.

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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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Joe Williams of Big Bend Coffee Roasters joins us for special premiums during Morning Edition (Travis Bubenik)

Fall Fund Drive Update – We’ve Raised 63% of our Goal!

First things: a huge, huge thank you to everyone who’s supported us during our Fall Fund Drive.

We’ve heard from towns and cities across West Texas, across the state and across the country. Every call we get reminds us just why we do this: for the love of community, for the love of community-supported radio.

A very special thanks to Joe Williams and the kind folks at Big Bend Coffee Roasters for their generous special premiums this morning – 6-month coffee subscriptions and tours of their facility in Marfa!

Another huge thanks to Charles Mary Kubricht and Ron Sommers for their generous $1,000 match challenge this morning – we met it in just an hour!

Today’s special premiums come from Taste & See Bakery in Alpine, Kathy Bork’s Little Tin Guest House in Alpine, the Hotel Paisano in Marfa, and Plaine in Alpine, and the Border Zone UFO Festival in Presidio – thanks to our local business supporters!

As last check on Tuesday morning, we’ve raised about 63% of our $50,000 goal! 

That’s a hugely encouraging number, but we’ve got work to do still.

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Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Rep. Beto O'Rourke)

Tue. Oct 21 Interview: Rep. Beto O’Rourke: Economic Aid For Juárez Imperative For United States

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat representing the 16th District of Texas, says the border economy in the United States would benefit by giving economic assistance to the city of Juárez, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

During a conversation with Fronteras reporter Lorne Matalon, O’Rourke said something that is rather unusual for a Congressional representative: He said the U.S. should grant economic aid for a city that is not within the United States.

O’Rourke said that the intertwined economies of El Paso, eastern New Mexico and Juárez would all grow, possibly exponentially if economic assistance to Juárez was extended. He has made a number of visits in recent days to Juárez to highlight his belief that the city is far safer than it has been since the height of the Mexican drug war-related violence in 2010.

He did not discount legitimate concerns about violence there, but said the reduction in bloodshed is so profound in 2014 that it clouds the judgment of policy makers when they discuss border security while simultaneously ignoring the economic potential that a more peaceful Juárez represents.

O’Rourke also reiterated his call to start a discussion on the legalization of marijuana, citing what he believes is the cost of a failed war on drugs waged by the United States since it was formally launched during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

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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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Booster Shot: Healthy Snacks

This is Booster Shot, your monthly look at personal health. On this show, we talk to Dr. Sudip Bose, an orthopedic surgeon at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, about healthy snacks.

We’ve all heard the breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But why? Because without it, you start craving junk food snacks earlier in the day, and are more likely to overindulge.

Dr. Bose suggests five small meals a day. But if this isn’t possible—healthy snacks are the way to go. Fruits like apples, bananas or grapes are good to have on hand when you’re feeling hungry, as are peanuts or almonds.

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The KRTS tower near Fort Davis. (Travis Bubenik)

Fall Fund Drive Rolls On – Match Opportunities Today

The drive rolls on today after a truly exciting and inspiring weekend of calls from our friends and fans.

Thanks to everyone for helping us meet the $1,000 anonymous match we had on the table during Morning Edition. $2000 raised in just a few hours!

So far this drive, we’ve heard from Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis, Van Horn, Austin, Dallas, Helotes, McCamey, New York, Illinois and everywhere in between!

Join the Marfa Public Radio family at 432-729-4578, toll-free at 800-903-KRTS, or simply by clicking here.

Remember – every little bit counts! Any contribution you make today goes straight back into paying for NPR programming, investing in local and regional news coverage, and the launch of our new headquarters in Marfa!

A special thanks to our sponsors and generous supporters who helped us kick up the energy through the weekend and today: the Holland Hotel in Alpine, Frama/Tumbleweed Laundry in Marfa, the Border Zone UFO Festival in Presidio, Big Bend Coffee Roasters in Marfa, the Yucca Theatre in Midland and Cotton, Bledsoe, Tighe & Dawson, PC - attorneys in Midland.


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Mon. Oct 20 Interview: 6th Annual Green Scene Festival Coming to Terlingua


Zoey Sexton and Sara Colando, volunteers at Terlingua’s 6th annual Green Scene Festival, stopped in to discuss the ghost town’s sustainable living celebration happening October 25th.

This informative event will have topics ranging from growing food at home to building with materials you may already have. The day will also include art and live music.

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