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West Texas Lawmaker Introduces Legislation To Repeal The Robinhood Plan

By Mitch Borden

Take from the rich and give to the poor. That’s the idea behind “recapture” — the state’s education funding strategy that’s more commonly known as the “Robin Hood” plan. The plan redistributes a portion of property tax revenue from school districts with high property values and transfers that money to districts with low home values.

But critics say “Robin Hood” takes resources from struggling schools in areas with high property values, like towns in the Permian Basin and the Big Bend. That’s why Rep. Brooks Landgraf, a republican from Odessa, wants to get rid of recapture. He said the decades-old funding plan hurts more than helps public schools.

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Planned Parenthood supporters rally outside the Texas Capitol in July 2015. (Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune)

Federal Appeals Court Lifts Order Blocking Texas From Kicking Planned Parenthood Out Of Medicaid

By Emma Platoff, Texas Tribune

A federal appeals court has lifted a lower court order that blocked Texas from booting Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid, potentially imperiling the health care provider’s participation in the federal-state health insurance program.

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The Marfa Martians are the youngest group to submit a project deemed suitable for testing on the ISS by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program this school year. (Sally Beauvais / Marfa Public Radio)

Marfa Martians Prepare To Send Experiment To Space

By Sally Beauvais

A team of fourth, fifth, and sixth grade girls at Marfa Elementary School is gearing up to send a microgravity experiment to outer space.

First, the group won their school-wide competition. Then, in late 2018, their proposal was chosen by scientists in DC to be tested aboard the International Space Station, or ISS. It’s 1 of 41 projects from across the US accepted by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program this school year.
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Monica Youn (Courtesy of)

Thursday Interview: Poet Monica Youn Discusses Her Book, “Blackacre”

On this episode, Ryan Paradiso speaks to Lannan resident Monica Youn about her book, Blackacre, and about Youn’s transition from a lawyer, to a writer.

Youn currently teaches poetry at Princeton University and is the author of two other books, Barter and Ignatz. 

She will read at the Crowley Theater on Sunday, January 20 at 6 pm.

West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and rebroadcast each Friday at 9:00 AM.

Pedestrians and cars cross from Mexico into the U.S. at the Paso del Norte Port of Entry near downtown El Paso on Jan. 15, 2019. (Jorge Salgado for The Texas Tribune)

Shutdown Leaves Immigration Courts, Border Agents In Limbo

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

EL PASO — As the government shutdown approached its fifth week and Washington Democrats and President Donald Trump showed no signs of coming to an agreement on how to end the stalemate Tuesday, U.S. Border Patrol vehicles could be seen patrolling just north of the Rio Grande near El Paso’s Paso del Norte bridge.

Farther west along Paisano street and across Interstate 10 from the University of Texas-El Paso, more green-and-white vans sat parked just south of the fencing that has dotted this part of the border for more than a decade.

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A view from Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park. (Travis Bubenik / Marfa Public Radio)

Despite Government Shutdown, Some Operations At Big Bend Return

By Mitch Borden and Carlos Morales

As the partial government shutdown — now the longest in U.S. history — continues, employees at Big Bend National Park in far West Texas are in their fourth week of unemployment.

While many bathrooms, trails, and campgrounds closed when the shutdown began in late 2018, today, officials with the 800,000-acre park in Brewster County announced they’ll “resume routine basic custodial services and trash removal.”

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A natural gas pipeline under construction in Alpine, TX in 2016. (Travis Bubenik / Houston Public Media)

New Push For Eminent Domain Reform Expected At Texas Legislature

By Travis Bubenik, Houston Public Media

If you want to cook up a battle over private property rights in Texas, here’s the recipe:

Take a handful of sprawling cities and growing populations that are expanding into once-rural areas, add a booming oil and gas industry with a desperate need for new pipelines to move record-high volumes of hydrocarbons, and sprinkle in the new electric lines needed to power both of those trends.

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Sharon Wilson using an FLIR camera to track oil and gas emissions. (Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public Radio)

Activists And Researchers Are Working To Keep Tabs On Oil And Gas Emissions Near Balmorhea

By Mitch Borden

Funky smelling fumes, dimmer skies, and increased health concerns have all been reported by residents in the Southwest corner of the Permian Basin as the oil and gas industry expands. Growth has been happening north of the Davis Mountains over the last two years.  

Concerns about greenhouse gasses and toxic emissions have spurred some citizens like Sharon Wilson— to try to keep oil companies accountable themselves, one rig at a time.

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It’s a Wrap: San Antonio’s Tricentennial Celebration

The city and citizens of San Antonio know how to party.

On this edition of The Rambling Boy, Lonn explores and reviews a whole year of tricentennial celebrations celebrating the city’s founding by Martín de Alarcón in 1718.

The Rambling Boy is broadcast Mondays after the 10 am newscast and again after the 7 pm newscast.
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Multiple Sheriff Deputies Wounded After Shooting In Odessa

By Mitch Borden 

Three Ector County Sheriff deputies in Odessa were shot while serving a warrant Monday night. All of the officers survived and have been released from the hospital.

Josh Pool, Cody Smith, and Ricki Rodriguez were a part of a seven-officer team searching for narcotics when a suspect opened fire on them. Two of the deputies were shot in the leg and the third was “grazed in the mouth.”

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EVENT: Portland’s Mississippi Records Comes To Marfa

On Tuesday, Jan. 15 join Marfa Public Radio and Mississippi Records for a “cosmic and earthly history of recorded music.”

The record label’s founder, Eric Isaacson, will present a mix of film, audio, and slides. The presentation attempts to tell the entire history of recorded music in 90 minutes, from the first star being born to the current age of bizarre technology.

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Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro Announces He’s Running For President

By Ben Philpott, KUT 

Julián Castro, former San Antonio mayor and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, announced Saturday that he is running for president.

The 44-year-old told a crowd of about 2,000 people gathered at Plaza Guadalupe in San Antonio about his life there – from going to school to becoming mayor. He thanked everyone who had helped him get from then to now.

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Tornillo Tent City For Youth Migrants Is Now Empty, Texas Congressman Says

By Matthew Watkins, Texas Tribune

A Texas congressman said Friday that the federal government has officially removed all children from the Tornillo detention center for undocumented migrant youths, ending more than half a year of operation for a facility that was decried by critics as a “tent city” and served as a symbol of President Donald Trump’s hardline approach to immigration.

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