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Alpine ‘Rally for Trains’ Protests Budget Cuts That Could End Local Amtrak

Nearly two-dozen people gathered across the street from the Amtrak station in Alpine this weekend to protest the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to Amtrak. As it stands, the cuts would mean the end of train service to more than 220 cities and towns across the country—including Alpine.

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Image courtesy of Study-Butte Water Supply Corporation

UPDATE: Terlingua Water Shortage Continues as Officials Fix Well Motor Damages

This week the town of Terlingua has had limited water supply. Officials believe a lightning strike damaged the motor of the town’s primary water well. Townsfolk have relied on bottled water, while officials are working to find a solution.

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Amber Alert Issued for West Texas Teenager

The Brewster County Sheriff’s Office is requesting the public’s help in locating Stormie Clemmer, a 15 year old, female, with short brown hair, green eyes, approximately 5′ 7″ tall.

Stormie was last seen in the Alpine area wearing a black shirt and blue shorts as well as wearing a necklace with a heart and dragon claw.

Clemmer is possibly in the company of Andrew Brian Akers, a 20 year old male, in a black, early 2000’s model, Ford Ranger – The individuals are possibly heading East on I-20.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (432) 837-3488.


U.S. Sen. John Cornyn sits with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and wife Heidi Cruz at the Fort Hood Purple Heart ceremony on April 10, 2015. Photo by Bob Daemmrich

Cruz Declines To Support Senate GOP Health Care Bill, While Cornyn Defends It

Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate on Thursday unveiled their plan to overhaul President Obama’s 2010 health care law. Within hours, Texas’ two Republican senators took opposite positions on the measure. From the Texas Tribune.

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A sexual assault evidence collection kit. Photo by Todd Wiseman

Why don’t local police departments pay for rape kit testing?

There’s no rule on who foots the bill for rape kit testing across the country — it depends on the state and city you live in. From Texas Tribune

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via flickr.com/photos/diannbayes/ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Train Advocates to Protest Proposed Budget Cuts To Rail Service

Beginning today, railroad advocates in nearly 30 cities across the U.S. are holding rallies to protest the potential loss of funding to Amtrak, as outlined in the budget proposed by the White House. The budget would affect travelers in more than 20 states.

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Radioactive waste byproducts storage at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews County, TX (WCS)

Federal Judge Blocks Nuclear Waste Merger

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled to block the merger between Dallas’ Waste Control Specialists and EnergySolutions.

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Justyna Furmanczyk

Hispanics behind half of Texas’ growth since 2010

Hispanics are behind a large portion of the state’s growth since 2010, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. From Texas Tribune.

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - November 4, 2014: Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes cries out as her win is announced. Travis County Democrats celebrate some wins and mourn some losses in the 2014 midterm elections at Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin. Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Best And Worst Lawmakers Crowned In End-Of-Session List

From Texas Standard:

Making a list of the best and worst lawmakers after each Texas legislative session isn’t quite as old as the legislature itself, but it’s still a time-honored tradition. Texas Monthly has put out such a list since 1973, and each one is an occasion awaited with bated breath by political observers, legislative aides and of course, the lawmakers themselves.

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Jean Beaufort

Oil and Gas Study Raises Concerns, Calls for More Research

A report out this week from the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas finds that oil and gas drilling has led to environmental stresses. But the study is also calling for more research to better understand just what the environmental and community impacts could be.

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The valves on these tank batteries are where thieves hook up to suck out oil.

In Booming Permian Basin, a Surge in Oil Thefts

Oil drilling and production in the Permian Basin of West Texas is booming again. But the boom has a byproduct that producers are considerably less excited about: oil theft. The Houston-based Energy Security Council estimates that this year alone, Texas companies will lose 10 to 30 million barrels of oil to theft, a revenue loss of $450 million to nearly $1.5 billion at today’s prices.

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ERCOT Endorses New Transmission Lines in West Texas

The Board of Directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas recently endorsed a new transmission project which includes two new 345-kV (Kilovolt) lines to address future reliability concerns in West Texas.

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Car Crash Near Marfa Leaves One Dead, Another Seriously Injured

A serious car crash near Marfa early Tuesday morning left two injured, one hospitalized, and one dead.

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Trans-Pecos Pipeline Donates Nearly $3 Million Dollars to Region

The company behind the Trans Pecos Pipeline announced nearly $3 million in donations this week to counties and projects in West Texas where the pipeline either crosses or is near. Carlos Morales reports the donations benefit areas that were both hesitant and welcoming of the pipeline.

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Gary Nored/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

We Wanna Know: Where does West Texas Begin?

Texas is a huge state – we can all agree on that. But in a place this big, how do you decide where a part of Texas begins? The answer we came up with might surprise you.

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Isaac Kohane via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

In Texas, Fear and Excitement with New EPA

Local pollution watchers worry about a loss of resources. The oil and gas industry looks forward to what it expects will be a consistent regulatory regime.


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Colorado-based Oskar Blues, which has a tap room in Austin, is opposed to a bill that would require it to pay what critics call an "extortion fee" to beer distributors. Erika Rich for The Texas Tribune

Small beer makers say bill creates “extortion fee” as they seek Abbott’s veto

Craft brewers want Gov. Greg Abbott to veto a bill that would put limits on some regulatory relief that benefits them. But supporters, including some major distributors, say the bill is needed to stop big beer companies that gobble up independent craft brewers from taking advantage of relaxed regulations.

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Abbott Calls For Special Legislative Session

Gov. Greg Abbott has called for a special session of the Texas Legislature to begin July 18.

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Jill Miller, Rim Rock Photography

Texas Families Find Financial Stability in Nature-related Tourism

West Texas ranchers are broadening their income streams to keep their cattle operations afloat.


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Presidio-Ojinaga Port of Entry To Receive $13m Upgrade

The Presidio-Ojinaga port of entry is officially getting a makeover. The effort has been in the works since last year, and will now see the development of new bridges and pedestrian path to help ease traffic.

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KUT/Mose Buchele

Research: Fracking Boom Gives Way to Baby Boost

A new study released this month looks at whether an increase in earnings for non-college educated men leads to a boost in marriage rates, among other things. And to find the answer researchers looked at a notorious example of good money made quickly: the fracking boom.

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City Council Votes To End Contract with County Sheriff’s Office, Re-establish City PD

The Marfa City Council voted to re-establish a city police department Tuesday evening. The decision comes after nearly 8 years since the City last had its own department, and marks the end of Marfa’s agreement with the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office for dedicated deputies in the area.  

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This month the Hobby-Eberly telescope finished receiving $40 million upgrades that astronomers hope will help solve mysteries of the universe.

Upgraded Hobby-Eberly Telescope Turns Its Lens to Universe’s Biggest Mysteries

When McDonald Observatory first opened its doors in 1933 it was done with a nearly million dollar donation from a Paris, Texas banker. In his will, W.J.McDonald gave money to the University of Texas at Austin to establish the observatory. A move that confused McDonald’s family and others, since at the time UT didn’t have an astronomy department.

Since then, it’s evolved into one of the nation’s foremost research observatories. Now one of its telescopes finished a $40-million upgrade. The new and improved telescope is now turning its lens towards one of biggest unsolved mysteries in the universe: What is dark energy?

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Tue. Jun 20 Interview: Florists Mark and Jane Knox

On this episode of West Texas Talk, Elise Pepple speaks with florist Mark Knox, and his wife, Jane.

They reflect on 57 years in the floral business running Mark Knox Flowers, the numerous leadership positions they’ve both held in the city of Odessa (and beyond), and the special role of flowers in the Permian Basin. Don’t miss these lovely stories: From the customer that always complained to choosing the right blooms for a 92-year-old.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Agave Festival points to plant’s long history

On this episode of the Rambling Boy, Lonn reflects on Marfa’s recent Agave Festival. Inspired by the documentary film Agave is Life, the three-day event included lectures, music, and food all related to the agave plant. Lonn highlights a few speakers: Dr. Steve Black, an archaeologist from Texas State University; Dr. Carolyn Boyd, the founder of the Shumla Archeological Research and Education Center at Comstock, Texas; and Dr. Phil Dering, an ethnobotanist.

The Rambling Boy is broadcast Mondays after the 10 am newscast and again after the 7 pm newscast.
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Fri. Jun 16 Interview: Father’s Day Stories

In celebration of Father’s Day, we reached out to our listeners to tell us stories about their dads. Thanks to Cate Cole Schrim, Charlotte Browning, Martin and Alvin Dreyer, Lauren Furr, Chloe Gallagher and Mike Green for sharing their stories.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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New Dallas Fed Indicators for Permian Basin Released

The Permian Basin labor market remained stable with a declining unemployment rate in April according to a report out from the Dallas Fed today (Thursday).

Total non-farm employment in the Basin inched up by 200 jobs from March to April and settled at 158,200 – According to the report – with employment remaining around 158,000 since February.

Permian Employment Growth ; Via Dallas Fed

The Midland unemployment rate ticked down from 4.9 percent in March to 4.4 percent in April, and the Fed says although Odessa’s unemployment rate remains higher than Midland’s, its 5.2 percent is the lowest it’s been since September 2015.

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UT/TT Poll: Despite Russia inquiry, Texas GOP voters solidly trust Trump

Most voters in the country’s biggest red state are wary of President Donald Trump — but Republican voters remain strongly supportive of him, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, via Texas Tribune.

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