Elections will be held across West Texas on May 4, 2019.

What’s On Your Ballot In May? A Guide To 2019 Elections In West Texas

Counties, cities, and school districts across the Big Bend region and Permian Basin will hold elections on May 4, 2019. Not sure what’s on your ballot, or where to vote? Areas holding elections are listed by county in alphabetical order below.

The deadline to register to vote is April 4th, 2019.

Early voting starts Monday, April 22nd, 2019 and closes Tuesday, April 30th, 2019.

Election day is Saturday, May 4th, 2019.


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Oil and gas dominate the Texas energy market but wind power generation is growing exponentially. Wind power now provides 10 per cent of the state's electricity. (Lorne Matalon)

Permian Basin Oil Producers Brace For Coming Wave Of Waste Water

By Mitch Borden 

Having too much water in West Texas doesn’t seem like it would be a big problem, but it is for oil producers in the Permian Basin and it’s only going to get worse. That’s according to a new report published by Wood Mackenzie, an energy consulting firm, that estimates the amount of salty water pulled up with oil will double in the region by 2022.
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Mary Jennings "MJ" Hegar.

MJ Hegar, Former Congressional Candidate, Says She’s Running To Challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn

By Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune

Former Democratic congressional candidate MJ Hegar is running for U.S. Senate in 2020.

Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot, mounted a high-profile bid to unseat U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, in November, fueled by attention-grabbing ads and massive fundraising. She ended up losing by less than 3 percentage points in the traditionally Republican district.


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Since 2012, Marfa Public Radio has received 44 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Marfa Public Radio Wins Seven Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

By Carlos Morales

Marfa Public Radio has won seven regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) for excellence in electronic journalism. This is the most regional Murrow Award wins of any small market radio station this year.

Marfa Public Radio has now received 44 Regional Murrow Awards since it began entering the awards competition in 2011.


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Pump jacks dot the landscape outside Midland, a West Texas oil town. (Photo source: Ilana Panich-Linsman / NPR)

Chevron Lands New Territory In The Permian Bas After Paying Billions For Anadarko Petroleum

By Mitch Borden 

Chevron, one of the largest oil companies in the world, recently bought Anadarko Petroleum for about $50 Billion. The acquisition expands Chevron’s holdings in the Permian Basin by about 240,000 acres. This deal perked up the ears of some industry professionals and has people wondering if other large acquisitions are on the horizon.
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A planned natural gas pipeline through the Hill Country is facing opposition. (Salvador Castro / KUT)

Hays County Takes ‘The Fight To Kinder Morgan’ With Lawsuit Over Proposed Pipeline

By DaLyah Jones, KUT

After months of community protests, a group of more than 20 landowners and city leaders gathered Monday to announce that Hays County and the City of Kyle had officially joined a lawsuit to oppose a natural gas pipeline proposed to run through Central Texas.

Local leaders also challenged the way the state oversees eminent domain laws, which allow pipeline companies to take private property for public use.


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Both Midland and Odessa saw a boom to their population numbers in 2018, according to new data released from the U.S. Census. ( flickr.com/photos/pkmonaghan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Midland And Odessa See Populations Rise With Oil Boom. During Same Time, Big Bend Numbers Decline

By Carlos Morales

Two of the fastest-growing metro areas last year were in Texas.

Both Midland and Odessa saw a boom to their population numbers in 2018, according to new data released from the U.S. Census. From 2017 to 2018, The Tall City saw population growth at 4.3 percent — a jump from 141,671 to 178,331. In Odessa —  which ranked fifth in the country’s top metropolitan areas — saw growth at 3.2 percent or a bump of 4,951 Odessans last year.


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Land is being cleared outside the Border Patrol station headquarters in El Paso. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre / Texas Tribune)

Temporary Immigration Detention Facilities To Open In El Paso, Rio Grande Valley

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley are less than two weeks away from the scheduled opening of temporary detention centers that will each house up to 500 migrants who have crossed the border to seek asylum.

The facilities, commonly referred to as a “tent cities,” are the federal government’s response to the ongoing crush of migrants, mainly from Central America, who continue to cross into Texas after traveling through Mexico.


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Vice President Pence speaks to oil workers near Midland, TX. ( Photo courtesy of CBS 7)

Pence Pushes Trade Deal With Mexico And Canada While Visiting The Permian Basin

By Mitch Borden

While visiting Texas on Wednesday to promote trade policy and fundraise for President Trump’s reelection, Vice President Mike Pence made a stop in Midland. While standing in front of a local oil rig, Pence told a group of industry professionals the Permian Basin was at the heart of an “energy renaissance.”


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At 18 years old, David Renk became the youngest American matador in history. He was known as “El Texano.” (Photo courtesy of Fred Renk)

On The Border, A Family Of Matadors Tends The Bloodless Bullfighting Tradition

By Kristen Cabrera, Texas Standard

It’s hard to miss the large colosseum-like structure off Ranch Road 1017 in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s the Santa Maria Bullring and it’s where Fred and Lisa Renk have been running bloodless bullfights for the past 19 years.

“Bullfighting in Mexico – it’s called the ‘ballet of death.’ And in the United States we call it ‘the ballet of life.’ Because the bulls live, we don’t injure them at all and they go on to the PBR and chase clowns the rest of their life. I probably got 300-400 out there on the rodeo circuit right now,” Fred Renk says.


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Some residents are concerned about the long term implications a festival like C3 Presents' Format could have on Marfa. (Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public Radio)

Marfa Residents Grapple With What Proposed Festival Could Mean For Town

By Diana Nguyen

This is the second story in Marfa Public Radio’s series “Tipping Point” which explores tourism-driven development in Marfa and the greater Big Bend region.

A couple of months ago, local officials announced Austin-based company C3 Presents was planning a festival for at least 5,000 people in Far West Texas.

Criticisms about the potential festival — which C3 Presents is calling “Format” —  started to crop up on social media quickly after the announcement. Soon after, a group of Marfa residents began a grassroots organizing effort against the festival.


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An Ektachrome is Worth 1,000 Words

Lonn has recently been rambling through the past, with the help of some five-thousand 35mm ektachrome color slides his father took with a Leica III in Asia and Europe between 1947 and 1955.

On this edition of The Rambling Boy, Lonn shares some of his favorites.

The Rambling Boy is broadcast Mondays after the 10 am newscast and again after the 7 pm newscast.
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Thu. Apr 11 Interview: 2 Conversations: Terry Allen On Radio And Marriage, Dating In Marfa

This is a special membership drive episode that features two conversations.

For the first half of the show — a conversation General Manager Elise Pepple had with artist and musician Terry Allen at the end of 2018 when he was in Marfa to work on songs and perform. They talk about his work in radio and marriage. 

Later in the program, a conversation between Elise Pepple, writer Rachel Monroe and Gabriela Carballo about what it’s like to date in Marfa.

Gabriela Carballo works at Ballroom Marfa, hosts the Marfa Public Radio show “Borders, Beats, and Babes,” and is the founder of the Instagram account fishermen o tinder. She says she cries a lot, is a hopeless romantic with a skepticism problem, and is so lonely she’s developing relationships with her plants.

Rachel Monroe regularly interviews writers on West Texas Talk and has written about tindering in rural America. Her work has been featured in several publications like The New Yorker and The Atlantic. 

West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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Texas’ Legislative Leaders Push Sales Tax Increase To Lower Property Taxes

Ben Philpott, KUT

The Republican leadership in the Texas Legislature announced an agreement Wednesday to swap a sales tax increase with property tax cuts.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said in a press release that in an effort to lower “skyrocketing property taxes,” they had agreed on a plan to increase sales taxes by 1 cent to buy down property tax rates for homeowners and businesses. There was one caveat to the plan: It will go through only if lawmakers pass a bill that could reduce how much municipalities could increase property tax revenues year over year.

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Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration From Sending Asylum Seekers To Mexico

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s policy of returning some asylum seekers to Mexico as they wait for their hearings in an American immigration court.

The Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” were expanded to include El Paso’s ports of entry last month after beginning in California’s San Ysidiro Port of Entry in January.

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LISTEN: Marfa Municipal Elections Forum

Early voting starts Monday, April 22nd, 2019 and closes Tuesday, April 30th, 2019.

Election day is Saturday, May 4th, 2019.

Four out of the five candidates running for a position in Marfa’s municipal election discussed their qualifications and answered questions before an audience of about 100 at the U.S.O. building Monday night.

Up for election are two available seats on the Marfa City Council. Challengers Lissa Castro and Yoseff Ben-Yehuda joined incumbent council members Brit Webb and Irma Salgado. Challenger Raul Lara was not present for the forum. 

Also up for election is the mayoral position. Incumbent Mayor Ann Marie Nafziger is being challenged by current city council member Manny Baeza. However, Baeza was unable to attend Monday’s forum.

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