John B Love III announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

John Love III Drops Out Of The 2020 Texas U.S. Senate Race

By Mitch Borden

After announcing that he would run for the Democratic nomination to unseat Texas’s long-time Republican senator John Cornyn, Midland city councilman John Love the third has ended his campaign. 

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Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks to the media following a campaign event in Muscatine, Iowa, U.S. March 14, 2019. (Daniel Acker/REUTERS)

Beto O’Rourke repeats he’s not running for Senate despite continued speculation

By Patrick Svitek and Abby Livingston, Texas Tribune

Beto O’Rourke is reiterating that he is not running for U.S. Senate next year as speculation swirls ahead of the Monday filing deadline.

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Wendy Davis Officially Files To Run For Texas’ 21st Congressional Seat

By David Martin Davies, Texas Public Radio

Former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis filed to run for Congress on Wednesday. She seeks the Democratic nomination for the 21st congressional district of Texas, which covers the Hill Country and reaches into the San Antonio and Austin areas. 

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At the EPIC office in El Paso, volunteers type up the information they gathered during legal screenings at an immigration detention center. (Mallory Falk / KERA News)

Collaborative Aims To Bolster Legal Services For Detained Asylum Seekers In El Paso Sector

By Mallory Falk, KERA

The Otero County Processing Center is a squat, beige facility surrounded by desert, about 30 minutes outside El Paso, in Chaparral, New Mexico. Last fall, a group of volunteers drove out to the site, to meet with some of the asylum seekers detained there.

“We’re truly in the middle of nowhere,” says Elaina Vermeulen, a legal assistant visiting from California.

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A natural gas flare is pictured near Orla, Texas, in 2018. (Travis Bubenik / Courthouse News Service)

Environmentalists Settle Pollution Case Against Texas Gas Plant

By Travis Bubenik, Courthouse News

An environmental group reached a tentative settlement Tuesday in a federal air pollution lawsuit targeting a natural gas plant in the heart of the nation’s largest oilfield.

The James Lake Midstream facility gathers and processes natural gas near the West Texas town of Odessa in the epicenter of the booming Permian Basin oil patch. The Sierra Club first notified the plant of its intention to sue over alleged Clean Air Act violations in March.

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The Texas Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention And Community Safety held a public hearing in Odessa where they spoke to local officials and residents about how to prevent future mass shootings. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

Texas Lawmakers Hold Hearing To Examine How To Collaborate With Internet Companies To Prevent Mass Violence

By Mitch Borden

After two mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa took the lives of more than two dozen people in August, Texas lawmakers have been holding public hearings across the state — to listen to victims of those shootings and learn from officials what can be done to stop future mass violence.

The Texas Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety is holding another hearing in Austin on Wednesday. It will be focused on how to respond to the expanding role the internet has had in mass attacks.

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A natural gas flare burns in Pecos County in West Texas. (Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune)

Pipeline Giant Sues Railroad Commission, Alleging Lax Oversight Of Natural Gas Flaring

By Kiah Collier, Texas Tribune

A major pipeline operator is suing the Texas Railroad Commission — the state agency that regulates oil and gas drilling — alleging that it has blatantly disregarded longstanding state law that restricts the controversial and growing practice of burning off natural gas.

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The Otero County Processing Center is one of five immigration detention facilities in the El Paso sector, which spans West Texas and New Mexico. (Mallory Falk / KERA News)

Legal Help Out Of Reach For Many Asylum Seekers In El Paso Sector Detention Centers

By Mallory Falk, KERA

When Jesús Enrique Rodriguez Mendoza turned himself in to immigration officials, he figured he would be detained but assumed it would be for a short time. Instead, he spent nearly two years in an El Paso detention facility.

“You feel like you’re being punished and it’s a horrendous feeling,” he said. It’s not what he expected after fleeing political persecution in Venezuela. 

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Midland ISD Certifies $569 Million Bond Election, But A Challenge Is On The Horizon

By Mitch Borden

The recount of Midland Independent School District’s $569 million bond was unanimously certified by its board of trustees Tuesday, but there is still a question concerning a discrepancy discovered between the total votes hand-counted during the recount and the votes electronically tallied weeks earlier on Election Day.

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A woman using a cellphone walks past T-Mobile and Sprint stores on April 27, 2010, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Texas Drops Out of Antitrust Case Targeting T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

By Travis Bubenik, Courthouse News

Texas is withdrawing from a multistate antitrust lawsuit seeking to block a proposed $26.5 billion merger of telecommunication giants T-Mobile and Sprint that critics say would raise prices for consumers, particularly those in rural areas who already struggle with access to high-speed internet.

The move follows similar retreats from state attorneys general in Colorado and Mississippi, which each announced settlement deals to exit the litigation in October.

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A 49-Year-Old Man Dies After Backpacking In Big Bend National Park

By Mitch Borden

Over the weekend, a hiker in Big Bend National Park died of an apparent heart attack while exploring the park with friends, according to park officials.

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A section of the border fence along the Rio Grande in South Texas was built under George W. Bush's administration. (Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune)

As Government Prepares To Seize More Land For A Border Wall, Some Texas Landowners Prepare To Fight

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

EL PASO — When David Acevedo attended a meeting with officials from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Webb County last month, he thought he would come away with more information about the Trump administration’s border security plans.

But Acevedo, whose family owns 180 acres of land near the Rio Grande in south Laredo, said the meeting only produced more questions about how the administration was going to move forward with plans it had for the swath of land that’s been in his family for generations.

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WATCH: Marfa Town Hall On Aging And Dying In The Big Bend Region

By Marfa Public Radio

The Big Bend Sentinel and Marfa Public Radio hosted a town hall on aging and dying in the tri-county area Thursday night. The event featured a panel of West Texans dedicated to serving the needs of seniors and their families.

Seniors living in the Big Bend region struggle to get the care that they need. Many end up having to leave their homes and traveling far away at the end of their lives to seek healthcare.

You can watch the livestream of the entire town hall below. Marfa Public Radio will also broadcast an edited version on West Texas Talk on Nov. 28 and 29.

Were you at the town hall? We’d love your feedback. Click here to tell us what you thought.

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The searchlights - stationed on both sides of the border - can be seen from up to 10 miles away. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

Cross-Border Conversations Light Up The Sky Through Art Installation

By Mallory Falk, KERA

For 12 nights this month, searchlights are illuminating the sky on the U.S.-Mexico border between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. They don’t have anything to do with border enforcement. Instead, they’re part of a bi-national art installation that aims to connect people on both sides of the Rio Grande.

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Center for Public Policy Priorities CEO Ann Beeson and Educate Texas Executive Director John Fitzpatrick at the launch of Texas Counts – a coalition to encourage census participation – in Austin on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune)

Texas Isn’t Providing Major Support For The 2020 Census. Local Officials And Nonprofits Say They Will Instead.

By Chase Karacostas, Texas Tribune

In lieu of state support to ensure accurate census numbers, advocates and local government officials from across Texas announced Wednesday morning their own plans to reach all parts of the vast and notoriously hard-to-count state.

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Fighting Non-Native Plants in Big Bend National Park

Sweeping prairies, mountain meadows, river canyons – there are places in rural West Texas that feel timeless. And indeed, such places often retain much of their primordial character. Yet no place, however remote, is untouched by the environmental changes humans … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:45 am and 4:45 pm.
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Thu. Dec 5 Interview: Mountain Lions of West Texas; Poet Sally Wen Mao

Michael Stangl puts a collar on a mountain lion. (Courtesy of)

Michael Stangl

The Trans-Pecos is home to one of the largest populations of mountain lions in Texas. Since 2011, the Borderlands Research Institute for Natural Resource Management has been studying the mountain lion population in the Davis Mountains.

Diana Nguyen speaks Michael Stangl — a Sul Ross State University graduate student who’s been working with BRI — about the takeaways from their research on the mysterious creatures.

Sally Wen Mao (Sookoon Ang)

Sally Wen Mao

Later on the show, Nguyen talks to award-winning poet Sally Wen Mao.

She’s visiting Marfa as a Lannan writer in residence and is the author of Mad Honey Symposium, and most recently, Oculus.

They discuss Mao’s newest collection which reimagines the flattened narratives of women of color and critically looks at the roles and representations that Asian women endure in a society that continually objectifies them.

West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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Thu. Nov 28 Interview: Aging and Dying in the Big Bend – Town Hall

The Aging and Dying Town Hall at The Sentinel on November 21, 2019 (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

Watch the full town hall here: Marfa Town Hall On Aging And Dying In The Big Bend Region

Today, we’re breaking format and airing a portion of the town hall Marfa Public Radio held a week ago in collaboration with The Big Bend Sentinel. On November 21, about a hundred people packed into The Sentinel space to talk about access to resources and healthcare for seniors in the Big Bend.

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West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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Over Count or Under Count? Midland ISD’s Recount Reveals More Problems With The District’s $569 Million Bond Election.

By Mitch Borden

In another dramatic turn of an election that has spilled well beyond Nov. 5, Midland Independent School District’s $569-million bond has now passed by 11 votes. 

The 20-hour recount on Friday came after Midland County election officials released incorrect results of the vote multiple times. The first error came on Election Night when it appeared the bond had passed by a slim margin. However, county officials had omitted hundreds of mail-in ballots, which when accounted for, swayed the election the other way.

Despite the back-and-forth, this week’s recount may provide the biggest twist of the entire election. If correct, the recount shows hundreds of votes included in the county’s totals may never have existed.

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Rise Permian Basin Looks To Help Odessans Heal In The Wake Of The August 31st Shooting

By Mitch Borden

It’s been nearly three months since a gunman drove through Odessa, killing seven people and injuring over 20. And now, a new group called Rise Permian Basin has formed to help those suffering from the trauma and pain of that day.

The first meeting is being held tonight (Thursday 11/21). Details below.

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