Join Us as Texas Standard Broadcasts Live from Marfa

On Friday, August 18, Texas Standard will broadcast live from the Marfa Public Radio station. Join us from 10 – 11am for a coffee tailgate listening party outside the station while David Brown hosts news from across Texas!

Western Swing Dance w/ Bobby Flores August 26th!

Grammy Award-winning Western swing fiddle player and acclaimed Texas musician Bobby Flores, with his six-piece Yellow Rose band, will be coming to Marfa’s USO Building August 26th. Doors are at 8pm, show and dance runs from 9pm till midnight.

Bobby and the Yellow Rose band are some of the best contemporary players of traditional country and western swing. Bobby started playing on stage since he was 9, and has played and recorded with Willie Nelson, Doug Sahm, Johnny Bush and more. For 5 years, he was the legendary Ray Price’s fiddle player.

$10 Suggested donation. All Proceeds to benefit Marfa Public Radio. Refreshments will be available. The USO Building is located at 302 S Highland Ave, Marfa, TX 79843.

For more information and updates on the western swing dance and show, see our Facebook invite.

Visit bobbyflores.com for more information on the band and music.

Voices of the Border: Abraham Ornelas

In 2007, Abraham Ornelas was indicted for aiding and abetting in a drug-related crime. He spent 30 months and prison and says his time being incarcerated gave perspective to the things that matter in life. This is his story.


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"Through town" by Pierluigi Miraglia (Flickr/CC-by-20)

Federal grant and frac sands give West Texas railroad a second life

In the remote areas of West Texas, the passing trains are among the few sounds that dare break the silence. Though the future of Amtrak in rural areas hangs in the balance, one old Texas rail line is getting a shot at a second life.


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Second auction for trans-border pipeline capacity fails

By Caroline Halter

The Trans-Pecos pipeline is complete, but Mexico is struggling to get companies to bid on capacity for it and others carrying natural gas across the border.


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White nationalist Richard Spencer speaks while protester holds sign at Texas A&M campus in College Station on December 6, 2016. Matthew Watkins

White nationalist rally at Texas A&M University has been canceled

The white nationalist rally planned on the campus of Texas A&M University has been canceled, officials confirmed Monday, via Texas Tribune.


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State police in riot gear face protesters at Texas A&M during white nationalist Richard Spencer's visit on December 6, 2016. Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

White nationalist rally at Texas A&M to feature Richard Spencer; counter protest planned

A College Station white nationalist is planning a rally on the campus of Texas A&M University that will feature the infamous self-described “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer. Students are already planning a counter event, via Texas Tribune.


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A ranch crew looks on at the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo

At the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo, Mutton Bustin’ is Prep for a Next Generation

The Big Bend Ranch Rodeo sees working cowboys from across the region head to Alpine to compete in various events. But the rodeo is not only about showcasing the skills of working ranchers. It’s also about passing ranch culture and traditions on to the next generation.


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Dane Driver, owner of the Driver Land and Cattle Company, talks about changes to the cowboying culture.

One Texas Rancher on the Changing Future of Cowboying

The Big Bend Ranch Rodeo this weekend saw cowboys from across Texas head to Alpine, where they gathered to compete in events like bronc busting and branding. The rodeo is different from most because it features working ranchers, men and women who ranch for a living. Dane Driver is one of them. Before the weekend’s events got started, he talked with us about the challenges cowboying culture faces and how that tradition might continue through a next generation.


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Houston-based Hi-Crush Partners began sand mining operations on July 31. Their plant is located at a former recreation site near the junction of Texas 115

Permian Frac Sand: If We Mine It, Will They Come?

There’s a natural resource sitting above ground in oil-rich West Texas that’s in high demand this summer. Millions of tons of it, in fact. A field of sand dunes extends 200 miles in a crescent from New Mexico through the booming Permian Basin. Now the oil industry has taken a special interest in this sea of windblown formations.


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Sally Donovan/Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

Rural Hospitals are Closing, Putting Remote Communities at Risk

Twenty rural Texas hospitals have closed in the past four years.


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For This West Texas Saddle Maker, “Dying Art” Persists Amid Changes

The Big Bend Ranch Rodeo brings together working cowboys from across the area to Alpine, where they compete in events like a rodeo performance and mutton busting. Cowboying and events like these are age-old, but they both have faced changes in recent years.  Hear about those with an audio portrait of one West Texas rancher whose saddle-making business has had to adapt to a changing world.


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An arroyo along East River Road in BBNP near San Vicente, Mexico, where trespassing livestock often roam. (SB)

In Big Bend National Park, Grass is Greener for Trespassing Livestock

This summer we’ve been hitting the road and heading to the state and national parks in our area, taking a look at the stories behind these places right in our backyard.

For our final stop, we head to Big Bend National Park, where peak temperatures mean slow season for tourism. But water shortages and campground closures aren’t stopping all visitors from coming to the park. Officials from both sides of the border are still dealing with a decades-old problem: trespassing livestock.


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U.S. Congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks to members of the media at El Cosmico in Marfa, August 2017 (KRTS / Katherine Shaughnessy).

U.S. Congressman Tackles Immigration Reform on Tour of West Texas

U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke visited the towns of the Big Bend this past week and weighed in on immigration reform.

 


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U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, holds a town hall on Aug. 7, 2017, at a Dairy Queen in Fort Stockton. Hurd was making a six-day, 20-stop swing through his 23rd District. Patrick Svitek/The Texas Tribune

In town halls, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd juggles district priorities in Trump era

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd logged hundreds of miles Sunday and Monday to hold town halls during Congress’ summer recess, and his interactions with constituents illustrated the fine line he must walk in his massive swing district, via Texas Tribune.

 


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The oil tanker Afrodite departs Corpus Christi, Texas bound for Aruba. (photo: Lorne Matalon)

Corpus Christi Port Ramps Up After Crude Oil Export Ban Lifted: New Pipelines Proposed Linking Permian Basin To Port

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -A surge in production in the Permian Basin of west Texas, already the nation’s highest producing oilfield, is extracting more crude oil than refiners in Texas can handle. But now, producers in the Permian have new outlets for that oil with economic implications hundreds of miles away from the flatlands of west Texas.


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Cinderella Guevara (far left) leads the Presidio County Appraisal District (PCAD) board meeting, August 2017 (Tom Michael / KRTS).

With Carlos Nieto Facing Federal Charges, The Presidio County Appraisal District Moves On With Its Summer Meeting

 

At the appraisal board office in Marfa, Presidio County Judge Cinderella Guevara concludes the district’s first meeting without its longtime chairman, Carlos Nieto.


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Gina Ortiz Jones is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes.

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd gets first major Democratic challenger for 2018

Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer, is launching a bid against U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, who is widely viewed as the most vulnerable Republican member of Congress from Texas.


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

Permian Basin analysts keep a close eye on uncompleted wells

By Caroline Halter

To predict production levels in the Permian Basin, energy analysts often look at the number of rigs in the area. It’s a simple formula: when rig count goes up, they expect output to follow. But, a number of analysts are starting to factor output with total rigs and something called the DUC count. 
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U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, speaks with U.S. Reps. David Rouzer and Roger Marshall and farmers at a cotton farm outside San Angelo, Texas, on July 31, 2017. Photo by Austin Price / The Texas Tribune

U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway staking legacy on passing politically tricky farm bill

As he escorted fellow congressmen across West Texas this week, U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway was laying the groundwork for passing a massive piece of legislation next year that thousands of farmers in his district are counting on, via the Texas Tribune.


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West Texas Water Board Approves Contentious Export Permit

A West Texas company received approval Wednesday to pump water from the Capitan aquifer and pipe it to the Permian Basin where it will be used in oil and gas operations.


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Wind turbines in West Texas (Terrence Henry/StateImpact Texas)

Wind Energy Construction is Up

The number of wind farm projects under construction in the U.S. has grown by more than 40% since this time last year, according to a report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).


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The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Hidalgo Co. in South Texas. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Construction of first border wall segment to begin sooner than expected along Rio Grande

Federal officials plan to start construction this fall on 3 miles of border barrier through a South Texas wildlife refuge.


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Balmorhea State Park Works to Preserve Resources Amid Growing Popularity

Balmorhea State Park is home to the largest spring-fed swimming pool in the world. Each day, the San Solomon Springs pumps 15 million gallons of fresh water through the pool. But what used to be a hidden gem in the arid desert, has been discovered. Over the last several years, more and more people are making the trek to this West Texas park.


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Border funding bill passes U.S. House; Texans vote along party lines

A legislative measure that will fund part of a border wall passed the U.S. House on Thursday, but its prospects in the U.S. Senate look grim.


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Texas Congressman Introduces SMART Act, Calls for Tech-Minded Approach to Border Security

Congressman Will Hurd, who represents much of far West Texas, has introduced a bill aimed at using tech in order to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.


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Some in Agriculture Industry Hesitant about NAFTA renegotiation

Last week President Trump released a 17-page outline of proposed changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement. And just this week Texas Representative Mike Conaway discussed the matter at a House Committee on Agriculture, where industry leaders sounded off.


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(Jimmy Emerson via Flickr CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Permit Granted to Export Water from Fort Stockton

Almost a decade after filing its first application, the family of oilman Clayton Williams has been granted a permit to pump millions of gallons of water out of Pecos County. The permit was granted by the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District.

Jeff Williams, Clayton Williams’ grandson, who manages his family’s ranch, is glad to see the court battles end. “Quite frankly, it’s a big relief. Time to quit fighting in court,” he says.

Williams’ Farms sit atop a portion of the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer. The permit grants his family’s company, Fort Stockton Holdings, the right to export about 25 million gallons of water a day. Engineering plans for the water’s transport are still being finalized, but will require roughly $250 million worth of new infrastructure including a 95-mile pipeline.

The plan is to export water to the City of Odessa, which has been in search of a more stable and high-quality water source, though no contract has been signed. Besides Odessa, Williams believes there could be opportunities to export water to municipalities including Coyanosa, Imperial, and Gardendale. “It will be a truly regional water supply,” he says.

Williams estimates that it will be up to three years before the pipeline is constructed.

Credit: Pete Gallego

Former Rep. Pete Gallego is Touring the District, Mulling Another Run

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego is heavily weighing his options. The one-time representative says he’s considering another run for congress, which would pit him up against current District 23 representative Will Hurd for a fourth time.  We caught up with Gallego this week as he’s touring the district talking with constituents.

 


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Border Patrol, Alpine, Texas (Photo by Frank Heinz, CC-BY-2.0)

Rep. Will Hurd calls for ‘smart wall’ at House subcommittee hearing

The House Homeland Security Committee held a subcommittee hearing on border security in Washington on Tuesday. The subcommittee on border and maritime security heard from experts testifying on how technology is used to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.


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Esteban Monclova/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Midland’s Oil Boom Brings An Unwanted Side Effect: Meth Abuse

Fortunes in the oil fields are rising, along with methamphetamine use among workers.

 


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GAGE SKIDMORE/FLICKR (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Before The Tea Party And The Alt-Right, There Was The John Birch Society. Now They’re Back In Texas.

From Texas Standard:

At the height of the Cold War during the late 1950s, a conservative fringe group, created by some of America’s richest businessmen gathered with a lofty mission in mind: to eliminate the so-called “Communist conspiracy” they believed gripped the country, and to preserve the foundation of the Constitution and the nation’s Christian roots.


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In West Texas, the Sand Dunes of Monahans are a Geological Wonder

This summer your public radio station in West Texas is hitting the state parks in our area and taking a look at the stories behind the places in our backyard. First up, we head to Monahans Sandhills State Park, where the geology behind the dunes started roughly 40,000 years ago, and is part of a larger dune field that stretches across the great plains.


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Jennifer Otwell testified in front of the committee on behalf of the Rural Broadband Association.

House Committee on Agriculture Stresses the Need for Rural Broadband

The House Committee on Agriculture held a public hearing on the state of rural infrastructure on Wednesday. The word “infrastructure” may bring roads and bridges to mind, but a large part of the hearing focused on rural broadband.


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GABRIEL CRISTÓVER PÉREZ / KUT

Why Can’t The Texas Legislature Work Faster To Avoid Special Sessions Altogether?

State lawmakers are back in Austin to kick off some legislative overtime.

And, as it’s been reported over and over and over again, the special session is needed because lawmakers couldn’t pass a bill to keep a handful of state agencies open and operating. That got some of our listeners wondering if lawmakers could’ve spend their time at the Capitol a little more efficiently.


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Chief Park Ranger John Heiner congratulates new U.S. citizens at Fort Davis naturalization ceremony

West Texas residents become U.S. citizens at Fort Davis naturalization ceremony

Eleven West Texas residents became U.S. citizens Monday during a naturalization ceremony at the Fort Davis Historic Site.


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Paco Rojas is a well-known journalist n Reynosa. He does not mention specific names of organized crime groups on-the-air. His news reports focus on the locations of alleged crimes to warn citizens to avoid a given area. (photo: Lorne Matalon)

Mexican Border Reporters Under New Stress In State Of Tamaulipas

REYNOSA, Mexico–Even by the normal insecurity that journalists face in Mexico, what is happening right now to reporters in the border state of Tamaulipas is unusually difficult. In late April, Mexican marines killed the leader of a major cartel in that state—setting off a wave of crime that reporters are struggling to chronicle without being targeted themselves. And the story matters to the U.S. because fight is in Reynosa, a city laden with assembly-line factories that provide the U.S. with items like furniture, electronics and computers. 

SEE: Full Screen Slideshow

2016 was one of the most deadly for Mexican reporters in recent history. Most press groups count at least nine killed, some as many 16. Reporters Without Borders annual report documents that Mexico was the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists after Syria and Afghanistan.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbot gives his annual State of the State address in the House of Representatives Chambers in the Texas State Capitol on Jan. 31, 2017.

What Is The Special Session And Who Pays For It?

During the regular legislative session, Texas lawmakers meet every two years for 140 days. The special session is best described in two words: legislative overtime.

Lawmakers head back to Austin Tuesday for a 30-day special session of the 85th Legislature. They’re tasked with passing sunset legislation to keep state agencies open. After that, there are 19 other items on the agenda — review those here.

As part of our Texas Decides series, a listener wanted to know more about special sessions and who pays for them.


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US-Owned Maquilas Welcome Prospect Of Change To NAFTA

Alberto Martinez welds steel at a maquila owned by Florida-based Metal Industries. The company makes vents for air conditioners & heating systems. (photo: Lorne Matalon)

REYNOSA, Mexico—American-owned assembly-line factories known as maquilas that line the Mexican side of the border with the U.S. have been bracing for change since the election of Donald Trump. But not in the way you might expect. They clearly don’t want a border tax placed on their shipments to the United States, as he Trump administration has threatened. But they are embracing the possibility of an updated Nafta saying the current version makes it a harder to operate in Mexico compared to the U.S. It all has to do with time consuming paperwork.

SEE: Full Screen Slideshow

So maquila managers and trade groups interviewed in both countries see regulatory uncertainty as an opportunity. “Nafta is 30 years old. It hasn’t kept up with today’s economy,” said Mike Myers, a Texan who manages a maquila owned by Metal Industries, a Florida company that makes vents for air conditioners and heating systems.


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GABRIEL CRISTÓVER PÉREZ / KUT

Special Session 2017: Here’s What’s On The Texas Legislature’s Agenda

The 2017 regular session of the Texas Legislature was one of the most contentious in recent memory. It had plenty of protests, some infighting, a few filibusters and even a death threat. Now, after all that drama, lawmakers are headed back for more.


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Borderland Horse Patrols In The Age Of High Tech: Funding Requested In 2018 Budget

Since the terrorist attacks of 9-11. the U.S. has spent over 100 billion dollars on border security technology—cameras, drones, aerostats (blimps) airborne patrols, fencing and walls. But in the U.S. Border Patrol’s most active sector in terms of arrests—-the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas—horses and the agents who bond with them are patrolling terrain that technology alone can’t control. And as politicians debate the pros-and-cons of an expensive border wall, this kind of “old school” border security will continue to be funded at a minuscule cost to taxpayers. Lorne Matalon reports from the Rio Grande at La Grulla,  Texas.


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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick addresses the media at the Texas Capitol on Thursday.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Proposes Millions For Teacher Bonuses And Retirement

With less than a week before the start of a special session of the Texas Legislature, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out a proposal Thursday to give teachers bonuses and increase their retirement benefits, with plans to pay for both long-term using money from the Texas lottery.


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Presidio County commissioners discuss embattled precinct 3 commissioner Lorenzo Hernandez at their meeting this week.

Presidio County Commissioners Ask Lorenzo Hernandez To Voluntarily Resign

The Presidio County Commissioner’s Court Tuesday took action on several items related to embattled Precinct 3 Commissioner Lorenzo Hernandez. Nearly two weeks ago, Hernandez was arrested on federal bribery related charges.


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Graphic by Todd Wiseman

With 2018 election looming, Texas back in court over political maps

Texas and its legal foes are back in court this week to hash out whether the state can hold the 2018 elections with its existing political maps, via the Texas Tribune.


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via flickr.com/photos/mikham/ (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Report: Texas Rarely Penalizes Unauthorized Pollution Releases

A new report out from environmental groups shows that over the last 5 years, Texas has rarely issued penalties against industrial polluters.


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A construction site for a pipeline that recently began moving natural gas from West Texas to Mexico.

Effort to Remove Obstacle for Cross-Border Pipelines Moves Forward

A bill moving forward in Congress would remove one of the few barriers to cross-border pipelines, via Houston Public Media.


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Governor Rick Perry on hand at the unveiling of a mockup of XCOR’s “Lynx” spacecraft at MAF in 2012.

Reports: Aerospace Company Has Laid Off Remaining Midland Employees

Less than five years after aerospace company opened XCOR opened its Midland headquarters, it’s laid off all of it’s West Texas employees, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram.


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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to supporters at Fourth of July festivities in McAllen.

Ted Cruz gets an earful in McAllen for July 4

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, visited the Democratic stronghold of McAllen for the Fourth of July — and received an earful from protesters at one event, via Texas Tribune.


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Photo courtesy of Brewster County Sheriff's Office

UPS Cargo Plane Crashes Near Alpine

Monday evening, a UPS cargo plane crashed just north of Alpine, near highway 118. The plane was attempting to return to the airport after experiencing some mechanical problems.
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ANDREW CLINE / SHUTTERSTOCK

State Officials Reassure Texans They Won’t Send Private Voter Data Per Trump’s Request

Texas is going to comply with the Trump administration’s request for a wide range of data on individual voters in all 50 states, and that has some Texans concerned, via KERA News.


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Tomas Martinez, with GLAHR, a grass roots organization from Atlanta, chants to excite the crowd in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 18, 2016. Hundreds gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to show their support for President Obama’s immigration executive action as the Court hears oral arguments on the deferred action initiatives, DAPA and expanded DACA. Lexey Swall

Texas Leads 10 States In Urging Trump To End Obama-Era Immigration Program

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and officials from nine other states on Thursday urged the Trump administration to end an Obama-era program that’s allowed hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants to live and work in the country without fear of being deported, via Texas Tribune.


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Couples embrace at the conclusion of the "Big Gay Wedding" ceremony on the south lawn of the Texas Capitol on July 4 after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June. Photo by Tamir Kalifa for The Texas Tribune

Texas Supreme Court Sends Same-Sex Marriage Benefits Case Back To Lower Court

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday threw out a lower court ruling that favored of government-subsidized same-sex marriage benefits and sent the Houston case back to trial court for reconsideration.


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FBI Arrests Two Presidio Officials on Federal Bribery Charges

The FBI on Thursday arrested two Presidio officials on federal bribery related charges. The two officials also face several counts of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. 


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Jim Houser (left) and Michael Merritt (right) of the Texas A&M Forest Service surveying a portion of the Davis Mountains preserve, where they have been working to restore the Ponderosa Pine population.

How Foresters Are Saving This West Texas Tree

In the Davis Mountains of far West Texas you will come across vegetation and animals you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the state. Take for instance – the The Rocky Mountain Ponderosa Pine – a soaring tree that’s only found in two other areas in Texas. But in the Davis Mountains over the last decade up to 75 percent of the trees’ population has been lost. Now, scientists and foresters are attempting to save the Ponderosa Pine.


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Trump’s Proposed Budget Would Cut Amtrak Service to 220 Cities and Towns

On a sunny Saturday, about two-dozen people protest across the street from Alpine’s Amtrak station as part of a national “Rally for Trains” day of action.


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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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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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Midland-Odessa sees continued economic recovery in Q2

It was a strong second quarter in Midland and Odessa, thanks to recovery in the oil and gas industry.

“We’ve got job growth, we’ve got spending growth, we’ve got record home building, record home sales. This is just an extraordinary set of events.” said Economist Karr Ingham, who authored the Midland-Odessa Regional Economic Index.

After a recession due to lower crude oil prices, said Ingham, the Midland and Odessa economies are on the uptick.

“It’s been a period of growth for six or eight months now in the general Midland-Odessa economy and that growth picked up momentum in the second quarter.”

Ingham said sharp double-digit expansion year-on-year is not something you see everyday.

“Well, you would wonder what in the world is going on out there to drive growth like that, that is really unlike numbers you would see anywhere in any other Texas metro area. Well, that is what’s going on… a sharp oil and gas recovery that’s taking, as I said, the general economy up with it.”

In the Permian Basin, the June rig count has grown nearly 150% compared to last year. Drilling permits are up 77%.

The basin accounts for two thirds of Texas oil and gas production.

 

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Fri. Aug 11 Interview: Lannan Resident Cathy Park Hong

On this edition of West Texas Talk, a conversation with author, poet, and Lannan resident, Cathy Park Hong.

Hong’s most recent poetry collection is Engine Empire (W. W. Norton, 2013). Her debut, Translating Mo’um (Hanging Loose Press, 2002) received a Pushcart Prize. Her second collection, Dance Dance Revolution (W. W. Norton, 2007) was selected for the Barnard Women Poets Prize.

Hong’s awards and honors include a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a Village Voice Fellowship for Minority Reporters. She teaches at the Queens MFA program in Charlotte, North Carolina. She also serves as editor-at-large for jubilat magazine.

She is reading at the Crowley Theater in Marfa on Sunday, August 1, during the Marfa Poetry Festival 

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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For Endangered Long-Nosed Bat, An Intimate Link to Agave Is Threatened

Agave is one of the great resources of arid North America. It was a staple food for Native Americans. It’s notable for its beauty – its luminous floret and towering stalk. Agave spirits – tequila, mezcal – are prized exports. … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm.
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Thu. Aug 10 Interview: Psychologist Dr. Doug Lisle on Food Addiction and Biology

Dr. Doug Lisle is a clinical psychologist and author of The Pleasure Trap. His work suggests increasing consumption of whole starches and reducing high-fat animal food products are key to successful, healthy diets. Lisle explains that whole starches like potatoes, rice, oats, and beans are the bedrock of human civilization. However, the prevalence of high-calorie foods makes it difficult to consume items consistent with human natural history.

Lisle says, “Human beings, if they eat a diet consistent with their natural history, they will be fit, they will be thin, they will be as beautiful or handsome as they can be.”

Dr. Lisle will speak at this year’s “Food is Medicine” seminar that will take place at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center on August 12. Other speakers include Dr. Scott Stoll, Dr. Michael Greger, and dietitian Brenda Davis. The seminar is hosted by the organization Healthy City, whose mission is “to raise awareness about a whole, plant-based foods diet and increase education on how to improve overall health and prevent and reverse the most common disease processes.”

More information about the seminar can be found here.

 

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Wed. Aug 9 Interview: Mark Bukowski on the 17th Annual Big Bend Ranch Rodeo

The Big Bend Ranch Rodeo is a sanctioned rodeo of the Working Ranch Cowboy Association & Foundation. Mark Bukowski, vice president of the organization, explains all proceeds from the twenty-four rodeos that take place throughout the year help working ranchers. Bukowski says, “A lot of ranch cowboys have no insurance or very little insurance. So if they get injured on the job or they have a problem with a child or their wife or what have you, we step in and we help them out financially.” The organization also provides a scholarship program for children of ranch workers.

Unlike other rodeos, the sanctioned WRCA events feature ranch workers who compete in specific events like cutting and cow milking. The 17th Annual Big Bend Ranch Rodeo will take place from August 11-12.

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