Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst delivering his concession speech after losing his re-election bid on May 27, 2014. (Marjorie Kamys Cotera)

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst delivering his concession speech after losing his re-election bid on May 27, 2014. (Marjorie Kamys Cotera)

Dewhurst Asks for Price Tag to Expand Border Operations

Months after Texas beefed up its border security presence in the Rio Grande Valley and deployed the Texas National Guard there in response to a record increase in illegal crossings, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst wants to know what it would cost to expand the projects through 2016.

In mid-June, Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio and Gov. Rick Perry authorized a Department of Public Safety surge in the Rio Grande Valley that has an estimated cost of $1.3 million per week. In July, Perry ordered the deployment of up to 1,000 Texas National Guard members to the area, a mission that will cost $38 million through the end of the year.

Dewhurst, who leaves office in January, wrote the guard’s Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw on Wednesday asking for an estimate of the costs of expanding the operations from the Rio Grande Valley to Laredo; from the Rio Grande Valley to Del Rio; and from the Rio Grande Valley to El Paso.


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Fred Granado (D) and Jeannette Duer (R), the candidates for Jeff Davis County Judge, outside the county courthouse in Fort Davis. (Ryan Kailath)

Fred Granado (D) and Jeannette Duer (R), the candidates for Jeff Davis County Judge, outside the county courthouse in Fort Davis. (Ryan Kailath)

Thursday Interview: Candidates for Jeff Davis County Judge

This morning we speak with the two candidates for Jeff Davis County Judge – Democrat Fred Granado and Republican Jeannette Duer.

Granado is a lifelong Fort Davis resident and current countywide Justice of the Peace. Duer is a longtime lawyer from Odessa who lives in Fort Davis and periodically teaches at schools in the region.

They joined us on the lawn of the Jeff Davis County Courthouse to talk about a variety of local issues, ranging from the ongoing budget struggles at Fort Davis ISD, to law enforcement and the oil and gas industry booming just to the north in Reeves County and the rest of the Permian Basin.


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Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
Each day, dozens of trucks hook up to the Gulf Coast-run fracking fluid disposal well site near Gonzales, Texas. (Jennifer Whitney)

Each day, dozens of trucks hook up to the Gulf Coast-run fracking fluid disposal well site near Gonzales, Texas. (Jennifer Whitney)

Responding to Quakes, Texas Passes Disposal Well Rules

Texas regulators on Tuesday tightened rules for wells that dispose of oilfield waste, a response to the spate of earthquakes that have rattled North Texas.

The three-member Texas Railroad Commission voted unanimously to adopt the rules, which require companies to submit additional information – including historic records of earthquakes in a region– when applying to drill a disposal well. The proposal also clarifies that the commission can slow or halt injections of fracking waste into a problematic well and require companies to disclose the volume and pressure of their injections more frequently.

The commissioners – all Republicans – said the vote showed how well Texans can respond to issues without federal intervention.

Commissioner Barry Smitherman called the vote a “textbook example” of how the commission identifies an issue and “moves quickly and proactively to address it.”

“We don’t need Washington,” he said.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency last month said it supported the proposed rules.


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TimeCar facility in Marfa, October 2014 (Tom Michael/KRTS)

TimeCar facility in Marfa, October 2014 (Tom Michael/KRTS)

Time Car Rental Service in Marfa Will Close

One of the only rental car and car share services for hundreds of miles in West Texas says it will close.

Time Car announced in a press release it will shut down its Marfa location at the Marfa Contemporary art gallery – an extension of the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.

The company’s president Benny Jacobs says with Time Car leaving, the gallery will be able to use the extra space for arts education programs.

The company has been in Marfa since 2011 and still owns a number of other locations in Oklahoma City.

The Brewster County Courthouse in Alpine

The Brewster County Courthouse in Alpine

Tax Rollback Election Set for December 6 in Brewster County

This post has been updated.

Organizers opposing a recent tax increase in Brewster County have gathered enough petition signatures to force a special election on the issue, and county commissioners have set the election date for December 6.

On that Saturday, voters will decide whether or not to roll back the increase from a rate of about 39.86 cents back down to a “rollback rate” of 37.27 cents (both rates are per $100 of taxable valuation.)

Early voting on the issue will begin November 19 and run through December 2.

At Tuesday’s meeting, county commissioners set the date after confirming that 931 of the 1,015 petition signatures gathered were from valid registered voters – enough to warrant a special election. (75 signatures came from people not registered to vote and were thus invalid; nine registered voters signed the petition twice.)

County Judge Kathy Killingsworth says while she won’t campaign for or against the effort in her last days in office, she still believes the rollback effort is unnecessary.

“This is not significant for taxpayers,” she says, “we’re talking about two pennies on an extremely low tax rate.”


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The new HQ for Marfa Public Radio, between Ballroom Marfa and Marfa Studio of Arts (Travis Bubenik)

The new HQ for Marfa Public Radio, between Ballroom Marfa and Marfa Studio of Arts (Travis Bubenik)

We Did It! YOU Did It!

We’re so proud and happy to announce that this year’s Fall Fund Drive was a huge success – thanks to you! 

Thanks to your tax-deductible contributions to this listener-supported station, we met our $50,000 goal for the week! This has in fact been our largest fall fundraising drive since we launched the station!

Y’all really stepped up to the plate for this extremely important fund drive.

The money we raised this week is going straight back into paying for NPR programming, continuing to develop our local and regional news coverage, and most importantly this year – to building and upgrading our “new home on the range” – the new home of Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio!

Remember if you haven’t already donated you still can! Just call us at 432-729-4578, toll-free at 800-903-KRTS, or just click here!

A very special thanks to our dedicated members who offered up match challenges during the drive – we’re happy to report we met all of them!

Congratulations to Faith Gay of Marfa, who won the iPad drawing. Her name was randomly selected on Monday following the Fund Drive.

Special thanks as well to our local business supporters who offered special premiums for this year’s drive:

Big Bend Coffee Roasters
Holland Hotel
Maiya’s Restaurant
Americana Salon

Hotel Paisano and Jett’s Grill
Plaine Frama/Tumbleweed Laundry
Kathy Bork’s Little Tin House in Alpine
Taste & See Bakery
Marfa Brand Soap 
Food Shark
Marfa Maid Goat Dairy

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A River In Peril: Documenting Damage On The Rio Grande

The notion that the Rio Grande is losing water is not new.

But one man wants to advance the conversation about watershed loss beyond platitudes.


He thinks prospective attempts to rescue this vital watershed are stymied by a lack of information, that the general public doesn’t consider the Rio Grande’s fate with the same intensity as it does other major rivers such as the Colorado River.

Colin McDonald calls it a long shot, but he wants to change that perception.
 
The lanky 33-year-old is on a trip funded by a fellowship from the University of Colorado.

There are parts of the riverbed that are dry to the point some writers have dubbed it ‘rio sand.’


McDonald wants to gather information that he hopes might frame a substantive discussion on the near term future of a river that provides water to millions of people in the U.S. and Mexico.


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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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Jillian Weise. Credit: Donald Vish

Fri. Oct 31 Interview: Lannan Poet-in-Residence Jillian Weise

Jillian Weise, a current Lannan poet-in-residence, was born in Houston, Texas. She is the author of The Amputee’s Guide to Sex (2007), The Colony (2010), and The Book of Goodbyes (2013), which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and the Isabella Gardner Award from BOA Editions. Weise has also contributed to The Atlantic, The New York Times, Tin House, and Verse Daily. She teaches creative writing at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Weise traveled to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina on a Fulbright Fellowship, and spent two years as a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

On Saturday, November 1st at 6 PM, Weise will read at the Crowley Theater.

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

Tue. Oct 28 Interview: David Greene Discusses “Midnight in Siberia”

NPR’s Morning Edition host David Greene joins us on the phone to discuss the release of his book, Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia.

The discussion is a deeper look at his journey from Moscow to Vladivostok via the Trans-Siberian Railway – the journey that inspired Greene’s Russia by Rail series during his time as NPR’s political correspondent in Moscow.

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

Mon. Oct 27 Interview: KRTS Astronomy Series: Matthew Shetrone

On the last Monday of each month, KRTS’s Talk at Ten features a conversation with an astronomer from The McDonald Observatory. For this episode, host K. Yoland and reporter Ian Lewis spoke with Dr. Matthew Shetrone at the Otto Struve telescope at the McDonald Observatory.

Shetrone is a research scientist and the resident astronomer for the Hobby Eberly Telescope, and is also heavily involved in the APO Galactic Evolution Experiment, or APOGEE, which seeks to study the evolution of our Milky Way galaxy by observing hundreds of thousands of stars in the galaxy.

We asked him about this ambitious project and to explain how this survey of thousands of stars can tell us more about the history of the Milky Way and its future.

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

Wine-making in Texas

The Rambling Boy: Stories About Texas is a weekly look at regional history, hosted by Lonn Taylor. Lonn discusses wine-making in Texas, and settles the debate about whether Texas is in the South or the West: his answer may surprise you.

The Rambling Boy is broadcast Mondays after the 10 am newscast and again after the 7 pm newscast.
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Rancher Mac White (center) joins intern Mia Warren (left) and Marfa businesswoman/KRTS Volunteer Saarin Keck (right)

Last Day of the Fall Fund Drive!

What a week! We’ve heard an incredible outpouring of support this week during the Fall Fund Drive, from our corner of the Big Bend and the Trans-Pecos to the big cities across the state and literally from across the world – shout out to our Australian listener!

Special thanks to our generous donors who offered up match challenges this morning – KRTS Board Member Tim Crowley and the Marfa International School.

We’re extremely close to our $50,000 goal today and we just need a few more members to chip into the drive to meet it!

We hope you’ll feel the sense of pride you deserve this week, knowing your contributions are going right back into our local and regional news coverage, along with the construction of our “new home on the range!”

If you haven’t yet got that pledge in, call us at 432-729-4578 toll-free at 800-903-KRTS (5787) or just click here!

And thanks!

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