Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

What You Need To Know to Vote In the Texas Primary Runoffs

Early voting in the Democratic and Republican primary runoffs begins May 14 and continues through Friday May 18. Election Day is may 22nd.

West Texas voters will choose between a slew of races: the Democratic gubernatorial candidate to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott, the Democratic candidate that will face Rep. Will Hurd in the fall, and more contenders for the midterm elections this fall.

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Calvary Crossroad Church, seen two days after Friday’s deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School. (Travis Bubenik/Houston Public Media)

Santa Fe Church Community Reflects On Texas Shooting

Rocked by Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School, the religious community is looking for answers. Some faith leaders and churchgoers say prayer needs to return to school.

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Waste Control Specialists' Federal Waste Facility in Andrews County (Courtesy of Waste Control Specialists)

Andrews’ City Manager Glen Hackler on High-Level Nuclear Waste

Earlier this month, the House of Congress passed a bill to move forward on plans for building out the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada. Some legislators hope this will be the final home for the country’s nuclear waste — a problem the federal government has struggled with for several decades. The overdue decision hangs in a political balance, with Senate approval uncertain. 

The Department of Energy is also tasked with finding “interim” homes for the high-level nuclear waste. In this case, “interim” means anywhere from sixty to a hundred years. 

One of those potential sites is in Andrews County, Texas, where the company Waste Control Specialists already operates a low-level nuclear waste site. In 2016, WCS submitted an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store high-level nuclear waste. The company halted the review after financial concerns, but have resumed the licensing process once again. Although some Andrews’ County officials have expressed support of the project, not everyone is convinced. 

Andrews City Manager Glen Hackler says there simply isn’t enough information about the project. “It needs to have the right geology, the right science, and the proper regulatory oversight,” Hackler says. “That’s the official position of the city of Andrews as the governing entity.”

Photo courtesy of Ector ISD

Ector Middle School May Secure Non-Profit Charter Partnership

Ector County Independent School District is getting closer securing a partnership with a non-profit organization that could take over operations for Ector Middle School next year. 

The ECISD Board of Trustees approved an agreement last month with Ector Success Academy Network – the entity that would operate the school as a charter beginning Fall 2018.

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What You Need to Know About the Race for District 23

Early voting continues this week for the Democrat and Republican primary runoff elections in Texas.

In the race for the Congressional District 23, Democrat voters will decide whether Gina Ortiz Jones or Rick Treviño get’s the nomination.

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A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma. (Photo: REUTERS/George Frey)

Texas sues the maker of OxyContin over the opioid epidemic

The Texas Attorney General’s Office says Purdue Pharma fueled “the nation’s opioid epidemic by deceptively marketing prescription painkillers,” including OxyContin.

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The McDannald Ranch Fire burned up hills inside the Highway 188/166 scenic loop west of Fort Davis. (Photo: Sally Beauvais/KRTS)

After Nearly 2 Weeks, McDannald Ranch Fire Now 100 Percent Contained

As of Monday, May 14, the McDannald Ranch Fire, which has been burning west of Fort Davis since late April, is 100% contained. It burned up 19,043 acres of grassland in the Davis Mountains.

Millions of dollars in resources and personnel were directed towards putting out the fire, which reached into portions of the Davis Mountains Nature Preserve. 

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Democratic candidates for governor Andrew White (left) and Lupe Valdez (right) hold a debate at St. James Episcopal Church in Austin on Friday, May 11, 2018. (Photo: Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune)

Lupe Valdez, Andrew White clash over abortion, immigration in debate

The Democratic runoff candidates for governor sparred Friday evening over abortion and immigration in their first and likely only debate before the May 22 election.

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The spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park in West Texas. (Travis Bubenik/KRTS)

With State Park Pool Closed, Balmorhea is in For a Long, Hot Summer

The community, which depends heavily on the pool to attract tourists, is currently benefiting from the Permian Basin oil boom.

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The Voices from Both Sides festival takes place on the border of Lajitas and Paso fajitas. The event, also known as Fiesta Protesta, calls for the return of an informal port of entry along the isolated stretch. (Carlos Morales / KRTS)

At Lajitas’ Fiesta Protesta, Calls for Border Port to Return

The Trump administration’s tough talk on immigration and campaign promises of a border wall have given new meaning to the annual Voices from Both Sides festival on the Texas-Mexico border.

At the event, residents from both Mexico and the U.S. meet in the middle of the muddy Rio Grande to reunite with family members and recall a time when they could cross the border with ease.

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On a map of Highway 67 drivers write out potential changes, like rest areas and passing lanes. (Carlos Morales / KRTS)

TxDOT Hosts Public Meetings for US 67 Corridor Study

The Texas Department of Transportation is currently in the middle of conducting a two-year study on the Highway 67 Corridor. As tourism and travel along the highway increases, the study aims to identify short, medium, and long term projects for the corridor. 

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Lupe Valdez and Andrew White will debate Friday in the runoff for the Democratic nomination for Texas governor. (Photo by ROBIN JERSTAD/MARJORIE KAMYS COTERA VIA TEXAS TRIBUNE)

WATCH: Democratic Candidates For Texas Governor Set To Debate Ahead Of Runoff

The two candidates in the runoff to become the Democratic nominee for Texas governor will meet tonight for their first and only debate.

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May 11th News Editor Roundtable

Like the region itself, the news of West Texas is sweeping in its scope. So to help us break it all down, we have news editors from across the region joining us. In this roundtable, we hear from Laura Dennis with the Odessa American and Robert Halpern at the Big Bend Sentinel-Marfa.

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Machines harvest frac sand at the Black Mountain Sand company’s mine in Kermit, Texas. (Photo by Natalie Krebs)

In West Texas, Fracking Companies Face a Tough Challenger – The Dunes Sagebrush Lizard

Out in the sand dunes of west Texas, a tiny lizard has been wrapped up in a big controversy for years. The four-inch long dunes sagebrush lizard calls the middle of the Permian Basin home, but conservationists have long feared the oil boom there would be detrimental to the lizard’s rare habitat. But in the past year, a new threat has emerged.

The process of hydraulic fracking relies on the use of a very specific type of sand called frac sand. And the recent increase in mining for it is the new threat facing the dunes sagebrush lizard. This has left conservationists scrambling to find new ways to protect them.

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In May, Balmorhea State Park began limiting visitors to 1,300 people a day. (Diana Nguyen)

Balmorhea State Park Pool Closes After Structural Damage Found

If you’re in West Texas and planning on making a trip to the largest spring-fed swimming pool in the world, you’ll have to wait.

That’s because Balmorhea State Park pool has been closed  due to “structural failure.”

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Environmentalists say the growing sand mining business in the Permian Basin is threatening the dunes sagebrush lizard's habitat. (Photo by Steve Jurvetson)

Environmental groups ask feds to protect threatened West Texas lizard

Two environmental groups asked the federal government on Tuesday to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as threatened or endangered.

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(Photo: Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Report: After Donald Trump took office, ICE transfers jumped 60 percent in most populous Texas county

Even before last year’s protests, lawmaker scuffles and marathon committee hearings over “sanctuary” legislation, Texas counties were some of the most compliant when it came to immigration enforcement, a new study shows.

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(Erik Hersman via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

May Election Results Across West Texas

Voters across West Texas have decided on a range of issues and elected candidates to fill positions from city council to their local school board. This is a collection of some of the results.

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This Week’s West Texas Headlines: Walkouts, Boundary lines and Charter School Proposals

Like the region itself, the news of West Texas is sweeping in its scope. So to help us break it all down, we have news editors from across the region joining us. In this roundtable, we hear from Laura Dennis with the Odessa American and Robert Halpern at the Big Bend Sentinel-Marfa.

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Dr. Ron Green (Image Courtesy of Southwest Research Institute)

Dr. Ron Green on Understanding West Texas Water

In the early 1950s, over-pumping water in Pecos County led to Comanche Springs drying out. In an effort to not repeat history, researchers are now trying to better understand West Texas’ water systems and how to properly manage them. This research is spurred by growing interest in the Balmorhea area from the oil and gas industry.

Dr. Ron Green is a groundwater hydrologist with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. He joined us to talk about the current understanding of water systems in West Texas, and some of the research that will happen in the near future. 

Manny Varona-Torres and Dr. Zacariah Hildenbrand (Diana Nguyen for Marfa Public Radio)

U.T. Arlington’s C.L.E.A.R. is Researching Produced Water Recycling

The upswing of oil and gas production has spurred scientists and researchers to look at ways to diminish the potential impact of oil and gas production on water resources. In West Texas, part of the solution could mean finding effective ways to recycle produced water — waste byproduct made during oil and gas production.

Diana Nguyen speaks with Dr. Zacariah Hildenbrand from the Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis Remediation(C.L.E.A.R) about recent research on recycling produced water. The organization partnered with the company Challenger Water Solutions to conduct this research, which Hildenbrand says has been successful.

“The implications for this are…to improve environmental stewardship, but also to save companies money in their operating costs,” Hildenbrand says.

He joined us to talk about the research, its implications, and the water monitoring C.L.E.A.R has been conductingin Balmorhea since 2016.

McDannald Fire Day 6: Containment at 33 Percent

Containment for the McDannald Ranch fire is now up to 33 percent, officials said Saturday morning.

The wildfire that’s believed to have been started by lightning strike early Monday has affected an estimated 18,892 acres as of Saturday morning.

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May 4th West Texas News Round Up

Like the region itself, the news of West Texas is sweeping in its scope. So to help us break it all down, we have news editors from across the region joining us. In this roundtable, we hear from Laura Dennis with the Odessa American and Robert Halpern at the Big Bend Sentinel-Marfa.

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Friday Update: McDannald Fire Now Estimated at 19,000 Acres

This morning the new estimate for the McDannald Fire is now estimated at 18,892 acres and is 23 percent contained at this time.

Marfa Public Radio spoke with reporter Sally Beauvais who was at a fire briefing this morning.

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‘Jade Helm’ Conspiracy Theories Were Part Of Russian Disinformation Campaign, Former CIA Chief Says

The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency says the hysteria over a 2015 U.S. military exercise in Central Texas, known as Operation Jade Helm 15, was caused or fed by Russians working to use information warfare.

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What To Expect During The NRA Convention In Dallas This Weekend

Tens of thousands of people, including the president, vice president and top Texas elected officials, are gathering in Dallas later this week for the National Rifle Association’s 147th annual meeting. And protesters will be active throughout.

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