Marfa Public Radio’s Fall Membership Drive

It’s a bit chilly now. Leaves are starting to fall. The sun is beginning to set a little earlier. They’re all the telltale signs of fall officially arriving — including, our big membership drive.


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Blackwater Draw National Landmark, near Portales, New Mexico, is a window into the continent’s Ice Age and Paleolithic past. Ancient peoples hunted massive animals here – mammoth, antiquus bison, and the butchered bones have been exposed in excavations.

Blackwater Draw: A Journey into the Paleolithic Plains

A century ago, archeologists believed human beings had occupied the Americas for just 3,000 years. Then, a series of discoveries on the plains of West Texas and eastern New Mexico transformed that view. In 1932, archeologists excavated the remains of … Continue reading

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

We Are Public Radio!

For our Fall Membership Drive, we wanted to celebrate some of our renowned DJs who make our station great. Our station producers profiled seven of our beloved personalities — Roseland Klein, David Beebe, JP Schwartz, Primo Carrasco, David Branch, Michael Camacho, and Natalie Melendez. You get to learn a little bit more about the dedicated volunteers who keep listeners tuned in from around the world. Some have been with the station since it’s earliest days — nearly twelve years ago!

These stories were produced by Bayla Metzger, Jackson Wisdorf, Carlos Morales, Elizabeth Trovall, Caroline Halter, Sally Beauvais, and Diana Nguyen.

El Cosmico, which touts itself as a nomadic hotel, is a mainstay in Marfa.

Ranch Town, Artist Refuge, Tourist Destination: What is Marfa?

A new book tracks the modern transformation of the West Texas town, via Texas Standard.


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Dawn Shannon in high school (Courtesy of Dawn Shannon)

Voices of Blackwell: Dawn Shannon

The “Voices of Blackwell” series is a partnership with the Blackwell School Alliance.  The segregated institution was open from the late nineteenth century and closed in 1965 with the integration of schools in town. The fourth story we hear is not from a Blackwell alumn, but a Marfa Elementary graduate. Dawn Shannon was born in Marfa and grew up in the fifties. Her mother, Mildred Shannon, taught at Blackwell. Diana Nguyen brings us her story.

Dawn Shannon (Diana Nguyen)

Music used in this piece was produced by Podington Bear.

Slide Fire Solutions, Inc., makes bump stocks, which allows semi-automatic rifles to fire like automatic weapons. There are calls to ban bump stocks after a dozen such devices were found with the gunman who killed 58 people in Las Vegas. CHRISTOPHER CONNELLY / KERA NEWS

‘Just A Piece Of Plastic’: Bump Stocks Thrust Tiny Texas Town In Spotlight After Las Vegas

A company in the tiny town of Moran, Texas is facing scrutiny for one of its main products after a gunman opened fire on Las Vegas concert-goers earlier this month.

The shooter had semi-automatic rifles fitted with bump stocks, which allowed him to rain down bullets on the crowd like he had fully automatic weapons.

Now, congressional leaders are considering regulating or banning bump stocks. That would be a hit to Moran, home to Slide Fire Solutions, a leading maker of the devices. Residents of the small town say it’s scapegoating one of its largest employers, which has also been sued after the massacre by one of nation’s leading gun-control groups.

Moran, population 270, is a couple hours west of Fort Worth, 19 miles from the interstate up a winding country highway where bugs the size of hummingbirds thwack against the windshield.


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A drilling rig that began operating near Balmorhea Lake in late 2015. (Travis Bubenik/KRTS)

Apache Forecasts More Drillings Locations in Alpine High Play

It’s been just over a year since Houston-based Apache Corp. announced the discovery of the Alpine High play, a vast oil reservoir in far West Texas. The company now says they predict they will be able to set up more drilling locations that previously thought.


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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Storytelling Event

Sometimes it can be a hard decision to stay, or to continue, living in West Texas. Come hear local folks tell their stories about loving & leaving, Wednesday October 11 at 7 pm in the Crowley Theater in Marfa.

Storytellers include Gil Lujan, Lindsay Hendryx, Kaki Aufdergarten-Scott, Chuy Calderon, Callatana Vargas, and Gabriela Garfio Carvhalo.

Keep on the lookout for more storytelling events in West Texas coming up, including a Halloween ghost story event in Terlingua at the Starlight October 31!

CREDIT DEA

Texas’ First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Set To Open In December

In just two months, Texans suffering from intractable epilepsy will be able to purchase a type of medicinal cannabis approved by the state.  The dispensary itself is located outside a rural Texas town better known for its dancehalls, polka music and kolaches, via Texas Public Radio.


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For one Odessa boxing coach, the sport goes beyond competition

By Caroline Halter

The Permian Basin sustains families across Texas, but working in oil and gas comes at a cost. Amateur boxing coach Augustine Tapia uses his gym to help kids cope with the effects of the economic forces that shape the lives of people in Odessa.


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Maggie Marquez (Diana Nguyen)

Voices of Blackwell: Maggie Marquez

Our newest series is a partnership with the Blackwell School Alliance called  “Voices of Blackwell.” The segregated institution was open from the late nineteenth century and closed in 1965 with the integration of schools in town. The third story we hear is from Maggie Marquez who attended the school in the fifties. She recounts her experience of “Burying Mr. Spanish.” 

This interview was facilitated by Mia Warren and recorded in partnership with StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

Remote West Texas University Tackles Diversity Issues with New Minor

Despite being one of the most remote schools in the lower 48, Sul Ross State University deals with issues you see on campuses across the country. Amidst a tense political climate, a group of professors at Sul Ross State address a diverse student body and on-campus racism with a new minor.

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Photo by Nan Palmero via Flickr, CC-by-2.0

Big City Ridesharing Comes to Far West Texas

In the 6,000-person town of Alpine, Texas, getting a lift has never been easier – neither has selling one.


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Blackwell Portrait of Lionel Salgado; Courtesy of Lionel Salgado

Voices of Blackwell: Lionel Salgado

Our latest series is a partnership with the Blackwell School Alliance called  “Voices of Blackwell.” The segregated institution was open from the late nineteenth century and closed in 1965 with the integration of schools in Marfa. The second story we hear is from Lionel Salgado who attended the school from 1941-1951. He went on to serve on the school board and worked for Presidio County for over a decade. 

 

Lionel at home; Diana Nguyen, 2017

(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Permian Could Yield Up To 70 Billion Barrels of Crude, Research Says

New research out this week, looking at production in the Permian Basin, says the next several decades could keep oil operators busy as estimates show there are billions of barrels of crude waiting to be tapped.

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Photo by Steve Jurvetson

Report: Sand miners disturbing threatened West Texas lizard’s habitat

An advocacy group’s analysis predicts nearly 10 percent of the dunes sagebrush lizard’s habitat could be disturbed or destroyed by sand mining operations, via Texas Tribune.


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The Brewster County Courthouse in Alpine

Brewster County loses approximately $470,000 in funding for water projects

By Caroline Halter

Brewster County will no longer receive nearly half a million dollars in grant funding from the Texas Department of Agriculture, also known as TDA. 

Brewster County Judge Eleazar Cano said the money was slated to go towards extending and improving water infrastructure in the southern part of the county.

“We do rely on these kind of funding opportunities to improve our constituents’ lives and even their ability to survive out here,” said Cano. 

Cano explained the problems stem from the county’s previous county treasurer, who failed to properly account for department funds and deliver documents requested for the 2014 and 15 audits in a timely manner.

Judge Cano said he’s doing everything he can to get back in the TDA’s good graces and looking into alternative funding sources.

“We’ve even contacted Hurd’s office, our congressman, to try to get their assistance and you know, seeing if they could help us out,” he said. 

As of now, Brewster County will have to wait 5 years before becoming eligible to apply for grants from TDA again, but the agency did agree to continue funding another project already in progress.

Mario, Alice and Rene Rivera (Courtesy of Mario Rivera, 1970s)

Voices of Blackwell: Mario Rivera

The “Voices of Blackwell” series is a partnership with the Blackwell School Alliance, whose mission is to preserve the history of Hispanic education in Marfa. The segregated institution was open from the late nineteenth century and closed in 1965 with the integration of schools in town. The first story we hear is from Mario Rivera who attended Blackwell in the fifties and went on to become Presidio County’s Treasurer for 32 years.

Lone Star Oil (Foreign Bodies) by Durant Weston, CC-by-2.0

Report: Is Permian Tight Oil Growth Sustainable?

A new study suggests oil production in the Permian Basin could peak as early as 2021 due to geological constraints. This was the downside scenario gamed out by researchers with industry intelligence company Wood Mackenzie.

“We’re going to drill really really hard for the next 3 or 4 years, we’re going to exhaust a lot of parent locations, we’re going to keep drilling but we’re going to be drilling into pressure-depleted areas,” researcher Robert Clarke said in a Wood Mackenzie podcast.

Clarke said in this downside scenario, there will still be a lot of drilling, just of smaller “child” wells.

“Taking that downside scenario case forward, even in 2030 the Permian is still producing just shy of 30 million barrels a day. So this isn’t a story of it peaks and it’s finished,” said Clarke.

Another scenario considered in the report looks at how advances in technology could actually lead to widespread, more efficient fracking. This upside scenario saw production peak at 5.6 million barrels a day in 2025.

Thu. Oct 12 Interview: Giant Magellan Telescope Will Examine Deep Space Like Nothing Before

Pete Szilagyi speaks to McDonald Observatory director Dr. Taft Armandroff, who is helping plan and fund a new observatory on a Chile mountaintop. To be the largest telescope on earth, Armandroff says the Giant Magellan Telescope is “a revolutionary project that’s really going to change what we know about the universe” and complement ground-breaking research in West Texas.

Artist rendering of the Giant Magellan Telescope; Courtesy of The University of Texas

More information can be found at GMTO.org and McDonaldObservatory.org.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Thu. Oct 12 Interview: Best of UTPB’s “Boom or Bust” Personal Essays

On tonight’s program, we re-broadcasted our favorite personal essays from UTPB’s Boom or Bust project – stories to “help promote understanding of the Permian Basin’s energy and economic resources from a humanistic perspective.” Thanks to Dr. Rebecca Babcock and Dr. Jason Lagapa for spearheading this initiative. The stories you’ll hear are from Kristen Figgens, Alex Rathbun, Berry Simpson, Daniella Garcia, and Sheena Stieff.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Wed. Oct 11 Interview: A discussion about theatre and race relations with Marjie Scott of Sul Ross University

In this episode of West Texas Talk, theatre professor Marjie Scott discusses the play Clybourne Park, which opens at Sul Ross University on Oct. 20. Throughout the conversation, we explore racial tension in America and the different ways it has manifested both before and after the civil rights movement.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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A conversation with humorist David Sedaris about his new book “Theft by Finding”

In this episode of West Texas Talk, find out why David Sedaris is fascinated by “people behaving horribly.” Sedaris also speaks with his signature candor and wit about the process of going through decades of old diaries to write his newest book.

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Tue. Oct 10 Interview: A Conversation with Humorist David Sedaris About His New Book “Theft by Finding”

In this episode of West Texas Talk, find out why David Sedaris is fascinated by “people behaving horribly.” Sedaris also speaks with his signature candor and wit about the process of going through decades of old diaries to write his newest book.

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