Washington STEM Academy, formerly known as Booker T. Washington Elementary, has served students on the east and south side of Midland for Decades. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

Midland ISD officials weigh closing Washington STEM Academy to give campus to an all-girls school

Midland Independent School District’s Board of Trustees is facing a tough decision: Spend more than $3.7 million on portable classrooms for Young Women’s Leadership Academy or close down Washington STEM Academy, a decades-old elementary school, to provide a permanent home for the all-girls school. 

And time is running out for the school board to make a decision.


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Protesters stand at the front steps of the state Capitol in opposition to Texas' abortion restrictions law on Oct. 2, 2021. (Michael Gonzalez / The Texas Tribune)

Texas abortion law challenge heads to state’s supreme court, likely adding more delays to case

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision means it could take months before abortion providers’ challenge to the restrictive law returns to a federal court.


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The Marfa High School campus in Marfa, Texas. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

Rural West Texas schools confront rise in COVID-19 cases

One school district in the Big Bend region said it would shut down for multiple days because of a spike in positive cases and staffing shortages, while others remain open with a renewed focus on testing.


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Oil rigs and a pump jack are shown in a rural area, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Midland, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Texas oil and gas pulled in nearly $16 billion in taxes and royalties last year as the industry recovers from pandemic downturn

The Texas Oil and Gas Association’s annual energy and economic impact report says both taxes and royalties paid to the state went up by more than 20% over the previous fiscal year.


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The Marfa Country Clinic in Marfa, Texas. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

Big Bend-area doctor says omicron is leading to a local uptick in COVID-19 cases

Dr. Christie Alexander, Medical Director at the Marfa Country Clinic, says the local uptick has not led to a flood of hospitalizations, but “people are feeling very ill.”


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The Brewster County Courthouse in Alpine, Texas. (Travis Bubenik / Marfa Public Radio)

Judge rules against Gage Hotel owner in lawsuit over early-pandemic local hotel closures

The owner of Marathon’s Gage Hotel sued Brewster County’s top elected official for temporarily closing hotels at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.


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The mountainous desert landscape at Big Bend National Park. (Mark Stevens via Flickr/Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Big Bend National Park Number of Visitors Reaches All-Time Record

Big Bend National Park reached a significant milestone this year. The Far West Texas destination surpassed 500,000 visitors in a calendar year — a first in the park’s 76-year history.

Park Superintendent Bob Krumenaker spoke with Marfa Public Radio about the numbers and what they tell us about who’s making the trek out to Big Bend and why. 


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Watch Live: President Biden delivers a speech on voting rights legislation

President Joe Biden will deliver remarks in Atlanta on federal legislation to protect voting rights. His speech comes as Senate Democrats have been unable to pass major voting rights legislation since taking the majority in the chamber.

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In Presidio County, An Intrepid Biologist Uncovers the Mysteries, and the Plight, of the Country’s Rarest Turtle

Stock tanks are as common as corrals and loading chutes in rural West Texas – this is ranching country, after all, and water for livestock is a high priority. But in Presidio County, a few stock tanks have come to … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:45 am and 4:45 pm.
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Texas puts final estimate of winter storm death toll at 246

Officials added 36 to the estimate of lives lost in the disaster, which knocked out power in much of the state. Some experts place the toll even higher.

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A Texas astronomer prepares to peer deep into space with the new James Webb Space Telescope

Caitlin Casey, an astronomer with the University of Texas and the Big Bend region’s McDonald Observatory, will co-lead the largest research project in the first year of the powerful new telescope’s operation.

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Watch Live: Biden Outlines Plan To Address Surging COVID-19 Cases

As COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. ahead of Christmas, President Biden delivers remarks on his administration’s plans to fight the onslaught of cases and the rapidly-spreading omicron variant of the virus.

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