A memorial in the desert near Falfurrias on April 2, 2013. Brooks County officials and ranchers have discovered the bodies of hundreds of undocumented immigrants over the years. (REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

Texas Border-Area Officials Could Get A Funding Boost To Help ID Human Remains

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

The Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act of 2018 would allow border counties to apply for federal grants to help identify bodies of undocumented immigrants.

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In 1929, Marfa’s first sewage system was installed. It was a technology called an Imhoff Tank. But did it have anything to do with the area’s German POWs? (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Raido)

Did German Prisoners Of War Build Marfa’s Sewage System?

By Carlos Morales You might associate Marfa for a lot of things, the mysterious lights in the desert, the concrete, minimal art.  But you might not hear a lot about Marfa’s military history. In the early 1900s, Camp Marfa was set … Continue reading

The Colorado River Municipal Water District’s first direct potable reuse water-treatment plant takes treated wastewater from the city, microfilters it, sends it through reverse osmosis and blasts it with UV rays. What comes out is 99.9 percent pure water. (Kristen Cabrera/Texas Standard)

From Toilet To Tap: How Big Spring Fights The Effects Of Drought

By Kristen Cabrera, Texas Standard

Despite its name, water in the West Texas town of Big Spring is scarce. The town’s namesake spring dried up decades ago, and droughts in recent years have made the water situation there even worse. So, Big Spring had to get creative. In 2013, the city became the first in the U.S. to start treating and then reusing its wastewater. Some people call this “toilet to tap” – it’s, understandably, not a favored term among water engineers.

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Over 2,000 square miles of rural Culberson County currently lie outside the region's groundwater management boundaries. (Courtesy of Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District)

Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District Proposes Expanded Boundary

Oil and gas development is leading to an increase in groundwater usage across West Texas. And in northeast Culberson County, over 2,000 square miles of rural land lie outside of the region’s groundwater conservation district.

That’s why the group is proposing to expand its jurisdiction — and meter water pumping across the entire county.
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Marfa City Hall (Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public Radio)

Marfa’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee is Seeking New Members

This week, the Marfa City Council extended the deadline to submit letters of interest for the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. The new date is now January 8th.

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18-wheelers of all shapes and sizes fill up truck stops across the Permian Basin. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

Investing In Permian Basin Roads Could Have Big Returns For Texas

By Mitch Borden

Outside of a Midland truck stop, Charles Goff is on his way back to his semi to enjoy a few more hours of rest before he gets back on the road. He says he can really get comfortable in his rig.

“I get to sleep in something that’s like a one bedroom apartment.  I got my own refrigerator, TV, microwave, skillet. I mean it’s just like home. Without the wife though.”

For the last 18 years, Goff’s been driving all over the region as a commercial trucker. He loves it, but he says he wouldn’t want his family driving around here.

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Thursday Interview: West Texas Wonders: Your Questions About The Marfa Lights, 4-way Stops, Abandoned Buildings, and Marfa Sewage… Answered!

On this episode, we’re showcasing some of our favorite stories from “West Texas Wonders” – a journalism initiative where you ask, and we answer.

You’ll hear answers to:
“What’s the real story behind the Marfa Lights?”
“What are you supposed to do at a 4-way stop?”
“What’s up with the abandoned skyscrapers in downtown Midland?”
“Is it true that the Marfa sewer system was built by German POWs?”

You can submit a question or listen to all our the stories from the series the here.

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

photograph by Jennifer Smith. The character above is one of only a few hundred of her kind in the country. The rough-footed mud turtle is the rarest turtle in the United States – found only in a half dozen stock tanks and spring-fed pools in Presidio County.

The Rough-Footed Mud Turtle: A Water-Lover in a Parched Land

For this episode, Nature Notes is teaming up with “West Texas Wonders” – a new reporting series where listeners ask questions and Marfa Public Radio finds answers. What kinds of turtles live around Marfa? The question comes from Nathan Stueve. … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm.

Midland ISD Board of Trustees District 5 candidate John Trischitti. (Courtesy of)

In Runoff Election, Trischitti Wins District 5 Seat On Midland ISD Board

By Mitch Borden

In a runoff election Tuesday night, voters elected John Trischitti to the Midland ISD Board of Trustees.

Trischitti, the diretor of Midland libraries, edged out his opponent Heidi Kirk. Kirk, a former teacher,

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A pump jack at sunrise in the Permian Basin (Tom Michael / Marfa Public Radio)

TXDot Receives $50M For Permian Basin Projects

By Mitch Borden 

Permian Basin roads are buckling under the strain of commercial traffic as the region’s oil industry booms. Congested roads are stifling production and creating public safety hazards, but a recent federal grant may relieve some of the stress put on the region’s infrastructure.

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Dr. Katie Ray checks on pregnant patient Reba Griggs at a rural community clinic in Marfa. Griggs spent the first half of her pregnancy traveling to hospitals three hours away in Odessa before transferring to Ray’s clinic. (Natalie Krebs)

When Obstetrics Units Close, Rural Hospitals Save At The Expense Of Women’s Health

By Natalie Krebs

Forty years ago, nearly all of the state’s rural hospitals delivered babies, but today, that only happens in about 40 percent of those facilities. That’s because many obstetrics units are closing down.

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Midwest Retailer Shopko Closing Multiple Stores, Including One In Presidio

This week Wisconsin  retailer Shopko announced it would close 39 stores in 19 states across the country, including one in Presidio.

The announcement comes as the company is preparing to file for bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg.

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Aerial view of the tent city at the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry in Tornillo on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. The shelter opened in June and has grown approximately 10 times in size, compared to file photos. Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune.

With Contract Set To Expire, Still No Word On What’s Next For Immigration Center At Tornillo

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

After receiving several contract extensions, the tent city’s operators say they want the government to find a long-term solution. But they also don’t want to abandon the children held there.

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For a long time, 911 calls for car wrecks and traumatic accidents in Glasscock County were few and far between. But the calls have now doubled. (Mitch Borden/Marfa Public Radio)

In the Permian Basin, An Increase In Traffic Accidents Is Taking A Toll On EMTs

By Mitch Borden

Driving in the Permian Basin can be dangerous. Roads are packed, huge commercial trucks barrel down the highways, drivers can be careless. The rate of fatal car crashes in the region is rising steeply.

This increase can be difficult and personal for first responders who see these wrecks and take care of the injured.

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President Bush’s Final Journey Will Be By Train

Union Pacific Locomotive 4141 will transport George H.W. Bush’s remains from Spring to College Station.

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Voters in Midland Weigh In On Education, School Board Runoff Election

By Mitch Borden

Today, some Midland voters, will decide who will be the latest to join the Midland Independent School District’s Board of Trustees. A race for the District 5 seat is in a runoff between former teacher Heidi Kirk and Midland County Library Director John Trischitti.

And voters in this corner of the district have a lot on their minds when it comes to education.

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West Texas Migrant Shelter To Retroactively Do Fingerprint Checks On Staff

A federal agency says they will now retroactively perform FBI-fingerprint checks on all employees at a temporary shelter for migrant children in West Texas.

Initial background checks were less rigorous.

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Presidio Officials Say Drivers License Office On Track To Reopen In January

In Presidio, a drivers license office that’s been shuttered for months is on track to reopen in January. The Department of Public Safety halted services there in August, as local branches grappled with a staffing shortage. 

Now, city officials in Presidio say DPS is training former employee Alma Martin — who worked for department for 28 years before retiring in 2016 — to reopen the office. She’ll be able to offer both license renewals and driving tests for area residents.

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George H.W. Bush, Who Helped Build The Republican Party In Texas, Dead At 94

Former President George H.W. Bush died Friday night. He was 94. The nation’s 41st president helped build the Republican Party in Texas.

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