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 info@marfapublicradio.org. Put “iPad” in the subject line. Limit one entry per person.
Development Director Liz Rogers models the always-stylish Marfa Public Radio mug.

Development Director Liz Rogers models the always-stylish Marfa Public Radio mug.

Fall Fund Drive Kickoff!

The Fall Fund Drive kicks off today and runs through Friday, October 24th – call now at 432-729-4578 or just click here to show your support for non-profit, public radio in Far West Texas!

This morning we’ve already heard from Van Horn, Marfa, New York, Santa Fe, Austin and a handful of other places far and wide – a huge thanks to everyone who’s already donated! This really is Radio for a Wide Range.

A special thanks to the folks making this first day of the drive a huge success: we had a $500 match donation from Rick Hermann and Margaret O’Donnell of Fort Davis, and we have special support today from Maiya’s Restaurant in Marfa, and the Americana Salon in Alpine.


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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 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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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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informedvoter_R125 Button

Voter ID and You: Everything You Need To Know

An appeals court has upheld the Texas Voter ID law, after it was initially struck down by a district judge. While the legal wrangling over the case continues to play out, with plaintiffs on Wednesday asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the case, as it stands you will need a valid photo ID to place a vote in Texas this year.

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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Brewster County Pct. 1 Commissioner Asa "Cookie" Stone

Brewster County Pct. 1 Commissioner Asa "Cookie" Stone

Brewster County Commissioner Cookie Stone Resigns

As first reported by the Big Bend Gazette, longtime Brewster County Commissioner Asa “Cookie” Stone (Precinct 1) has announced his resignation, effective October 31st.

Stone is the second commissioner to resign this year. Precinct 2 Commissioner Tom Williams resigned in July, citing health reasons.

The news came at a county commissioner’s meeting in Alpine on Tuesday. Stone has served on the commissioner’s court for 20 consecutive years, having first been elected to office in November of 1994.

We spoke to Stone this morning about his resignation.

“20 years is enough,” Stone says, “it was just time to go.” He did not offer any other motives for stepping down this year.

Stone says his biggest accomplishments over the past two decades have involved infrastructure and road improvements made throughout the county.


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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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The city of Juárez opened a tourist office in March in an El Paso souvenir shop. (Mónica Ortiz Uribe)

The city of Juárez opened a tourist office in March in an El Paso souvenir shop. (Mónica Ortiz Uribe)

Juárez Begins Shuttle Service Hoping to Attract Tourists

Tourists abandoned the Mexican border city of Juárez in droves when a vicious drug war erupted in its streets beginning five years ago. Now the city wants to win them back with the help of a new shuttle service that will chauffeur visitors from the American side of the border into Mexico.

On its maiden voyage Wednesday only two women showed up to ride the tour bus from El Paso to the heart of downtown Juárez. Nancy Ontiveros, a local businesswoman, was one of them.

“I’m excited to see things opening up again so that we can enjoy our neighbors,” Ontiveros said.

Ontiveros grew up in El Paso, but figured the last time she crossed into Juárez was 10 years ago. Constant shoot-outs and one of the highest murder rates in the world kept her away.

“I miss doing a lot of the things I used to do over there, shopping, going to the dentist,” she said.


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Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon speaking at Sul Ross State University in Alpine (KRTS/Travis Bubenik)

Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon speaking at Sul Ross State University in Alpine (KRTS/Travis Bubenik)

State Climatologist to Ranchers: Careful With Your Water

State Climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon spoke to a room full of ranchers from across the southwest on Thursday, with this message: careful how you use that water.

Ranchers were gathered in Alpine for an annual meeting of the Society for Range Management’s Texas chapter, sharing ideas on how to best manage cattle and grasslands, among other tricks of the trade.

Nielsen-Gammon says with climate change, ranchers out west need to pay close attention to water and soil.

“The biggest effect out here is going to be be a side-effect of the rising temperatures,” he says, “which is increasingly dry soils and increasing lack of runoff.”


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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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TX-Perspective_Water

Fri. Oct 17 Interview: Chris Hillen on Texas Water Shortages

Documentary filmmaker, Chris Hillen, discusses the Texas PBS special, Texas Perspective: Water. The program was produced by seven Texas PBS stations, in collaboration with the Texas Tribune, Newspaper Tree and public radio stations, and explores how communities are approaching water shortages in the state.

Hillen produced the segment on Terlingua’s Community Garden and their rainwater harvesting system. The program will air on Texas PBS stations beginning October 16th. For more information here.

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

Fri. Oct 17 Interview: Meditative Journeys in Sound with Billy White

In this episode of Talk at Ten, we are joined in the studio by Billy White, an international touring and recording artist, producer and arranger, film scorer, and multi- instrumentalist.

In addition, White has over 20 years of experience studying and practicing meditation, yoga, and sound healing. He is now working on a series of recordings that utilize various instruments, voice and sound design to increase relaxation and expand awareness.

Billy White will be performing a meditative journey in sound, called The Heart is Awake, at the Well in Marfa, tonight, Friday, October 17th at 7 PM and tomorrow, Saturday, October 18th, at 7 PM.

 

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Eleazar Cano (D) and Jerry Johnson (R)

Thu. Oct 16 Interview: Brewster County Judge Debate

We are joined, for a live debate, by the candidates for Brewster County Judge; Democrat Eleazar Cano, and the former mayor of Alpine, Republican Jerry Johnson. The debate is moderated by reporter Lorne Matalon.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Wed. Oct 15 Interview: Marfa 100k Cycling Race

Joey Benton joins us in the studio to talk about the Marfa 100k cycling race that will be held on Saturday, October 18th. This year, proceeds benefit the Marfa International School. Visit marfa100.org for more information.

Talk At Ten is generally broadcast live at 10 am and repeated at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Odessa Permian players celebrate after the Panthers defeated their arch rival Midland Lee on Oct. 10, 2014 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas. (Guillermo Hernandez-Martinez)

Photographer Captures Passions and Traditions of Texas High School Football

The Midland Lee Rebels and the Permian Panthers took to the football field Friday night for yet another matchup in the two teams’ historic rivalry that goes back decades.

Permian High and the Panthers were of course the inspiration for Friday Night Lights, and this classic high school rivalry has over the years come to represent all the emotion, passion, and traditions Texans love about football.

Permian topped the Rebels in a 45-28 upset Friday night in Midland.

Whenever these Odessa-Midland teams take the field it’s a heated game from the get go. This classic high school rivalry has over the years come to represent all the emotion, passion, and traditions Texans love about football.

Photographer Guillermo Hernandez-Martinez has been traveling across the state capturing those passions at games in the big cities and small towns alike for a project he’s calling When in Texas.

Lana Straub caught up with him on Friday before the big game.

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