We’re Hiring a Development Director!

Marfa Public Radio believes in the capacity of public media to shape and animate who we are, where we live, and how we relate. Public media from West Texas serves a critical role in our state and our nation: from border stories to energy stories, West Texas is a part of the country whose stories need to be amplified. MPR has been one of the most awarded small-market stations in the nation for excellence in journalism.

We are looking for a dynamic Development Director who is passionate about facilitating the financial health of our stations. The Development Director is an integral member of our team. S/he will develop and implement our annual fundraising strategy with know-how, wit, and attention to detail. Our Development Director is a passionate advocate for the power of public radio.

We are seeking candidates who can demonstrate success at generating revenue through multiple funding streams: membership, major donor cultivation, underwriting, and grants. Other important attributes include being a team player, having a sense of humor, and a strong belief in the power of storytelling.

This is a full-time, salaried position.
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Border Patrol, Alpine, Texas (Photo by Frank Heinz, CC-BY-2.0)

Details of Border Patrol Agent’s Death Still Unclear

Details are still murky about what led the death of a US border patrol agent over the weekend. Agent Rogelio Martinez was found unconscious on Saturday night, in a culvert about twelve miles from Van Horn, Texas. 

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The site of a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities in Conroe, Texas that will house up to 1,000 immigrants at a cost of $44 million a year to U.S. taxpayer. JOHN BURNETT / NPR

Big Money As Private Immigrant Jails Boom

The Trump administration wants to expand its network of immigrant jails. In recent months, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has called for five new detention facilities to be built and operated by private prison corporations across the country. Critics are alarmed at the rising fortunes of an industry that had fallen out of favor with the previous administration.


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Tuesday Interview: Live Storytelling: “First Times” at Sul Ross University with KSRU

This is the full version of the “First Times” live storytelling event that took place on November 16, 2017 at Sul Ross University. This event was planned by Megan Wilde and her communication students with the university’s radio station, KSRU

  • Dr. Stuart Crane is a psychiatrist in West Texas. He and his wife, Helen, live in Double Diamond south of Alpine.
  • Lorilee London is from Illinois, but now lives in Fort Davis. She says she was into “old school” when it was new.
  • Bret Scott is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Sul Ross.
  • Kay Wilde lives in Alpine near her daughters with her husband. She is currently working on music for her play.
  • Beckie Hagerman recently moved with her family to the wide open beauty of Far West Texas from Baltimore, MD.
  • Michael Amerson from Missouri City, Texas. He studies theatre at Sul Ross State University.
  • Melissa Amparan went to school at Sul Ross, and currently serves as the Assistant Director of Financial aid. She’s also the assistant to the Blind Bard who writes for the Big Bend Sentinel.  
  • Josie Mixon is a poet and writer who has recently moved to Fort Davis from San Antonio. She ran a poetry venue for ten years in San Antonio.

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

Photo Courtesy of Texas Department of Public Safety

Warrants Issued Across West Texas for ‘Distribution of Drugs’

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s Investigations Division, along with local and state agencies, conducted a drug sweep in the tri-county area, leading to more than 30 arrests. The sweep reached across several West Texas counties.


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Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez suffered injuries to his head and body while on patrol in Van Horn. Officials have yet to comment on the events that led to the officer's death. Photo courtesy of Border Patrol.

Border Patrol Agent Dies While on Patrol in Van Horn

A U.S. Border Patrol Agent has died and another remains hospitalized after sustaining multiple injuries while on patrol in the Van Horn area this weekend.


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Marfa City Council

Marfa PD Discusses Department Report at City Council

The Marfa Police Department presented its first “Police Department” report at the Marfa City Council meeting Tuesday night. The report outlined department activities since the municipal force was launched on October 23rd of this year.


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Jeff Williams in front of an irrigation ditch on his family's alfalfa farm and ranch in Fort Stockton. Photo by Sally Beauvais

New Demand, Same Old Story: West Texans And Their Water

In arid west Texas, where rain is infrequent and rivers and lakes are few, groundwater – water from sources beneath the surface of the earth – is key to survival. And as the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin demands more of this resource from the surrounding area, researchers are scrambling to study the systems of webbed aquifers that feed households, farms, ranches and industry in the region.

But for residents there’s a familiar tension, over who gets to decide the fate of their water.


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Credit: Travis Bubenik

Despite A ‘Downturn,’ West Texas Oil Production Expected To Hit A Record High

Cost-cutting and advances in drilling technology are helping companies withstand persistently low oil prices.


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The growing number of oil rigs pulled in from the oilfield and stored in this lot in Odessa, Texas is a testament to the steep decline in the price of crude oil in the last year. (Lorne Matalon)

Report: West Texas Oil Boom Gives Rise to Gas Flares

A new report out this week by the Environmental Defense Fund finds the amount of gas lost to intentional releases and burnings — known as venting and flaring, respectively — ranges widely, suggesting a sizable performance gap between the Permian’s top producers.


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Source: Texas Department of Transportation

Safety Concerns Spur New Study of Traffic on U.S. 67

The Texas Department of Transportation is undertaking a 2-year long project on a major highway in West Texas.  The study will evaluate future needs for the major West Texas artery with input from people in the tri-county area.


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Despite A ‘Downturn,’ West Texas Oil Production Headed For A Record High

It was almost three years ago when the oil industry took a nosedive.

The headlines told stories of lost jobs and struggling towns,but now, despite the continued downturn, things seem better. At least in the Permian Basin of west Texas.


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MIGUEL GUTIERREZ JR. / KUT

Children’s Health Program In Texas Is Weeks Away From ‘Chaos,’ Advocates Warn

The families of roughly 400,000 children in Texas could be receiving letters from state officials in a matter of weeks, letting them know their health care is ending.

Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired at the end of September, and Congress still hasn’t reauthorized the program. Legislation aimed at shoring up the program has bipartisan support, but there’s disagreement in Congress about how to pay for it.


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After Sutherland Springs Shooting: Songs, Prayers, Tears

One week after the mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, the congregation gathered for its Sunday service to mourn the loss of the 26 lives while also celebrating the faith that brings them together.


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Marfa Police Chief On Policing in ‘Tight Knit Community’

It’s been about 2 weeks now since the Marfa Police Department began operations after a nearly 8 year hiatus. During that time the Presidio County Sheriff’s office serviced the town. But now police chief Esteban Marquez and a team of officers are patrolling the town, officially marking the return of a municipal police service.


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GABRIEL CRISTÓVER PÉREZ / KUT

Texans Add Seven Amendments To State Constitution

Voters added seven amendments to the Texas Constitution on Tuesday. The mostly noncontroversial propositions won by wide margins of up to 70 points, via KUT News.


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Republicans seek to eliminate the state tax and deliver a win to rural communities

By Caroline Halter

The Republican tax plan seeks to eliminate the estate tax, a 40% tax on the value of land and other inheritances over $5.49 million.

The Tax Policy Center estimates the estate tax will affect fewer than 100 farms in 2017, but eliminating it is still seen as a big win for rural communities in Texas and across America.

“I think we all know people who’ve lived through horror stories of the founding generation passes away, the next generation inherits the farm and then ends up having to sell it to pay the estate tax,” explained Tiffany Dowell Lashmet. She’s an attorney who specializes in Agricultural Law at Texas A&M. 

Those stories became rarer after the estate tax threshold was raised from just $1 million to over $5 million in 2012 and indexed for inflation. But, they’re still cited by lawmakers who oppose the tax.

Tyler Simonsen comes from a ranching family in West Texas, but he worries the Republican approach is merely a windfall for the wealthy.

“The Wall Street types definitely want to get rid of the estate tax. It’s just more money for them once they do,” he said.  “But for the ranchers, their land really is the lifeblood of their families.”

Instead of eliminating the tax, he’d like to see exemptions for ranchers.

“Getting rid of it just would, in my opinion, really hurt our system. It’d hurt the country more than anything,” said Simonsen. 

About 5,000 individuals will pay the estate tax in 2017, and almost all are in the top 10 percent of income earners in the United States. But, eliminating it is still seen as a meaningful policy change in rural parts of the state.

AP via NPR Blood donations, as well as financial donations, are the main ways in which people can help the victims of the Sutherland Springs massacre and their families.

How To Help Victims Of The Sutherland Springs Massacre

Blood donations, as well as financial donations, are the options at this point.


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LYNDA GONZALEZ / KUT

Multiple Casualties Reported In Church Shooting in South Texas

Multiple people are reported dead after a mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, about 30 miles east of San Antonio.


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Marfa resident Emily Hocker in her adobe home. Hocker says her home appraisal increased by $39,000 this year. (Bayla Metzger)

The Cost of Living in a Dirt Home

A new classification system for adobe structures has caused a big jump in property taxes for some Presidio County homeowners.

Adobe is one of the most humble building materials around: it’s essentially mud, water and straw, shaped into brick, and dried in the sun. However, it’s also gained cachet in and around Marfa.

“Adobe is cool,” according to Paul Hunt, who formerly served on the Presidio County Appraisal District (PCAD) board of directors and the Appraisal Review Board. He says home buyers from Austin, Houston and New York have driven up the valuation of adobe properties. On real estate site Zillow, several adobe homes are currently listed for over half a million dollars; that’s in one of the poorest counties in the country.

At the beginning of this year, the PCAD created a new classification for adobe structures to reflect their true market value. According to Hunt, 380 homes were reclassified as adobe, resulting in a markup of approximately 60% for many.


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Guatemala Standoff: Migration & International Loans In Play

A constitutional standoff between the Guatemalan president and a United Nations-led commission prosecuting corruption is triggering a crisis that Guatemala’s Central Bank acknowledges may damage the country’s economy and spawn more illegal migration to the United States. Guatemalans in Vermont are among many within the Guatemalan diaspora in the United States dismayed by an attack on political reform but buoyed by the response of thousands of their countrymen and women inside Guatemala.


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Presidio County commissioners discuss embattled precinct 3 commissioner Lorenzo Hernandez at a meeting in July.

Months After Federal Bribery Arrest, Presidio County Official Resigns

At a Presidio County Commissioner’s Court meeting Wednesday, embattled Precinct 3 commissioner Lorenzo Hernandez officially resigned from his position. 


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Photograph courtesy of Archives of the Big Bend, “Dolores Garcia Collection”, Bryan Wildenthal Memorial Library, Sul Ross State University, Alpine Texas

From Richest Acre in Texas to Ghost Town: the Story of Shafter

On highway 67, some 20 miles before reaching the Mexican border, a green sign reads “Shafter Ghost Town”. A dusty drive takes you past adobe ruins with a glimpse at what’s left of this once-thriving mining town.


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West Texas Representative Reacts to Manafort Charges

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort surrendered to federal authorities this morning for 12 charges ranging from Money Laundering to conspiracy against the United States. Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos were also asked to turn themselves in. via Texas Public Radio.

 


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The Gateway International Bridge crosses over the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, in Mexico. Photo: GABRIEL CRISTÓVER PÉREZ / KUT

What Stood Between An Undocumented Minor And An Abortion? One Trump Appointee

A 17-year-old girl who entered the U.S. without documentation or family told the staff at a Texas shelter in March that she wanted an abortion, reports KUT News.

The shelter is one of many in the U.S. under contract with the federal government to provide services to unaccompanied children (UACs). Those services include food and shelter, as well as health and education services.


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Porkers Into Profit: How Some Are Dealing With Texas’ Problem Pigs

At 2.6 million, there are more feral pigs in Texas than any other state. They do an estimated $52 million worth of damage to the state’s agriculture.

Hovering a few hundred feet above a cotton field outside College Station, Chase Roberts is pointing out just some of that damage.


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For Years Texans Ranched in Lobo. Now it’s Boarded up and Owned by Germans

Driving west out of Marfa, Texas, you’ll pass a foreboding sign. “No service next 74 miles.” You won’t see much on that stretch of highway 90. But past the small town of Valentine, population 134, there’s a place where the mountains stand guard over a row of desert-worn, derelict buildings. There’s a rundown 4-room hotel. A boarded up gas station. All covered in overgrown brush. This is Lobo


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We’re Hiring a Development Director!

Marfa Public Radio believes in the capacity of public media to shape and animate who we are, where we live, and how we relate. Public media from West Texas serves a critical role in our state and our nation: from border stories to energy stories, West Texas is a part of the country whose stories need to be amplified. MPR has been one of the most awarded small-market stations in the nation for excellence in journalism.

We are looking for a dynamic Development Director who is passionate about facilitating the financial health of our stations. The Development Director is an integral member of our team. S/he will develop and implement our annual fundraising strategy with know-how, wit, and attention to detail. Our Development Director is a passionate advocate for the power of public radio.

We are seeking candidates who can demonstrate success at generating revenue through multiple funding streams: membership, major donor cultivation, underwriting, and grants. Other important attributes include being a team player, having a sense of humor, and a strong belief in the power of storytelling.

This is a full-time, salaried position. Continue reading

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Fri. Nov 17 Interview: Hospice Midland’s Jacquie Burklow Discusses the End of Life

In this episode of West Texas Talk, we discuss a taboo topic: death and what matters at the end of life. Jacquie Burklow of Hospice Midland talks about options for end of life care, the importance of grief and some of the incredible moments she’s witnessed over 20 years of working in hospice.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Thu. Nov 16 Interview: Historian John Klingemann on the Mexican Revolution

John Klingemann is a Professor in the History Department at Angelo State university. Dr. Klingemann grew up in the Bend Bend, and became interested in the learning about the Mexican Revolution because of familial ties to its history.

In this episode, Klingemann discusses some of the reasons behind the revolution, and its ultimate impact on Mexico.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Wed. Nov 15 Interview: Geologist Peter Hennings on Texas Earthquakes

Over the last decade, there’s been a sharp increase in earthquakes across Texas. On tonight’s episode of West Texas Talk, we speak with geologist Peter Hennings about why this is happening. Dr. Hennings is a Principal Investigator and Geology Lead at the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research. He helps run the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Project, a statewide earthquake monitoring system. TexNet has added 22 new permanent seismic monitors to the state’s 18 already existing stations, and is in the process of deploying 40 additional portable seismic monitors in key areas where earthquakes have been detected. This research is a collaboration between UT-Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology, Institute for Geophysics, and Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, as well as SMU’s North Texas Seismicity Study Group, and the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University. Nearly a dozen petroleum companies are also partnering to conduct research and share data.

For information about seismic monitors and earthquakes near you, check out the TexNet Earthquake Catalog, an interactive map of seismic activity across the state.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Tue. Nov 14 Interview: Professor Rebecca Babcock On Writing Centers and Disabilities

On this edition of West Texas Talk, a conversation with Rebecca Babcock

Babcock is a William and Ordelle Watts Professor of English, Director of Undergraduate Research, Chair of The Department of Literature and Languages at The University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

In the interview, Babcock speaks about the different types of writing centers available as well as her latest book, Writing Centers and Disabilities. 

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Fri. Nov 10 Interview: Kathleen Shafer – Author of “Marfa: The Transformation of a West Texas Town”

On tonight’s episode of West Texas Talk, a conversation with artist, writer and geographer Kathleen Shafer, who wrote the book, “Marfa: The Transformation of a West Texas Town.” Shafer talks about how the town has changed since artist Donald Judd arrived in the 70s, and what the Marfa brand stands for today. Shafer wrote about the town as an outsider, but she recently transitioned from being a sometime-visitor to a full-time resident.

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