Pedestrians and cars cross from Mexico into the U.S. at the Paso del Norte Port of Entry near downtown El Paso on Jan. 15, 2019. (Jorge Salgado for The Texas Tribune)

Shutdown Leaves Immigration Courts, Border Agents In Limbo

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

EL PASO — As the government shutdown approached its fifth week and Washington Democrats and President Donald Trump showed no signs of coming to an agreement on how to end the stalemate Tuesday, U.S. Border Patrol vehicles could be seen patrolling just north of the Rio Grande near El Paso’s Paso del Norte bridge.

Farther west along Paisano street and across Interstate 10 from the University of Texas-El Paso, more green-and-white vans sat parked just south of the fencing that has dotted this part of the border for more than a decade.

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(Photo source: Ector County Sheriff's Department Facebook)

Multiple Sheriff Deputies Wounded After Shooting In Odessa

By Mitch Borden 

Three Ector County Sheriff deputies in Odessa were shot while serving a warrant Monday night. All of the officers survived and have been released from the hospital.

Josh Pool, Cody Smith, and Ricki Rodriguez were a part of a seven-officer team searching for narcotics when a suspect opened fire on them. Two of the deputies were shot in the leg and the third was “grazed in the mouth.”

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A view from Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park. (Travis Bubenik / Marfa Public Radio)

Despite Government Shutdown, Some Operations At Big Bend Return

By Mitch Borden and Carlos Morales

As the partial government shutdown — now the longest in U.S. history — continues, employees at Big Bend National Park in far West Texas are in their fourth week of unemployment.

While many bathrooms, trails, and campgrounds closed when the shutdown began in late 2018, today, officials with the 800,000-acre park in Brewster County announced they’ll “resume routine basic custodial services and trash removal.”

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A natural gas pipeline under construction in Alpine, TX in 2016. (Travis Bubenik / Houston Public Media)

New Push For Eminent Domain Reform Expected At Texas Legislature

By Travis Bubenik, Houston Public Media

If you want to cook up a battle over private property rights in Texas, here’s the recipe:

Take a handful of sprawling cities and growing populations that are expanding into once-rural areas, add a booming oil and gas industry with a desperate need for new pipelines to move record-high volumes of hydrocarbons, and sprinkle in the new electric lines needed to power both of those trends.

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Julian Castro announces that he's running for president at an event in San Antonio on Saturday. (Julia Reihs / KUT)

Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro Announces He’s Running For President

By Ben Philpott, KUT 

Julián Castro, former San Antonio mayor and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, announced Saturday that he is running for president.

The 44-year-old told a crowd of about 2,000 people gathered at Plaza Guadalupe in San Antonio about his life there – from going to school to becoming mayor. He thanked everyone who had helped him get from then to now.

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An aerial view of the "tent city" in Tornillo, Texas, on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. The shelter opened in June. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre / The Texas Tribune)

Tornillo Tent City For Youth Migrants Is Now Empty, Texas Congressman Says

By Matthew Watkins, Texas Tribune

A Texas congressman said Friday that the federal government has officially removed all children from the Tornillo detention center for undocumented migrant youths, ending more than half a year of operation for a facility that was decried by critics as a “tent city” and served as a symbol of President Donald Trump’s hardline approach to immigration.

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Sharon Wilson using an FLIR camera to track oil and gas emissions. (Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public Radio)

Activists And Researchers Are Working To Keep Tabs On Oil And Gas Emissions Near Balmorhea

By Mitch Borden

Funky smelling fumes, dimmer skies, and increased health concerns have all been reported by residents in the Southwest corner of the Permian Basin as the oil and gas industry expands. Growth has been happening north of the Davis Mountains over the last two years.  

Concerns about greenhouse gasses and toxic emissions have spurred some citizens like Sharon Wilson— to try to keep oil companies accountable themselves, one rig at a time.

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Marfa City Hall (Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public Radio)

Marfa Commission Proposes City Zoning Changes

By Sally Beauvais

Marfa’s Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council addressed a packed house Tuesday night, during the first of two joint public hearings in which they’ll be taking comments from residents about proposed changes to the city’s zoning map.

The commission is tasked with keeping the map current, as well as identifying areas where the city can create new opportunities for use — whether commercial or residential. According to city officials, the map hasn’t been updated in 10 years.

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Due to structural failure, the Balmorhea State Park pool in West Texas will be closed until further notice pending repairs. (Photo Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife)

Fundraiser for Balmorhea Pool Repairs Nears Million Dollar Goal

By Travis Bubenik, Houston Public Media

A fundraiser to pay for repairs at a popular West Texas swimming hole has been extended, as organizers are hoping to reach a goal of $1 million.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation —separate from the parks department— is trying to hit the lofty fundraising goal to pay for work being done at Balmorhea State Park pool. Once the fundraising period is over, Apache Corporation will match the amount raised dollar for dollar.

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EVENT: Portland’s Mississippi Records Comes To Marfa

On Tuesday, Jan. 15 join Marfa Public Radio and Mississippi Records for a “cosmic and earthly history of recorded music.”

The record label’s founder, Eric Isaacson, will present a mix of film, audio, and slides. The presentation attempts to tell the entire history of recorded music in 90 minutes, from the first star being born to the current age of bizarre technology.

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This West Texas Ranch Near The Davis Mountains Is Closer To Being Sold

By Carlos Morales

A West Texas ranch spreading across 37,000 acres in Reeves and Jeff Davis Counties is closer to being sold.

El Paso Businessman Paul Foster has placed a $32.5 million offer on the KC7 ranch, which sits along the foothills of the Davis Mountains near Interstate 10.

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Midland Nonprofit To Open Shelter For Victims of Sex-Trafficking

By Sally Beauvais

Reflection Ministries, a Midland-based nonprofit established in 2016, is preparing to open the region’s first long-term care facility for victims of sex-trafficking.

The group presented a lecture at Midland College Thursday night, as a part of Phi Theta Kappa Student Honor Society’s Honors in Action initiative. According to Reflection Ministries President Lisa Bownds, the nonprofit has spoken in front of more than 900 people around the Permian Basin since May, spreading awareness of an issue that tends to fly under the radar.

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Texas Officials Vote To Remove Confederate Plaque That Says Civil War Wasn’t Over Slavery

By Alex Samuels, Texas Tribune

Following more than a year of complaints from elected officials of all political stripes, a state board that oversees the Texas Capitol grounds voted unanimously Friday to remove a controversial Confederate plaque that falsely asserts that the Civil War was “not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery.”

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Odessa Residents Chime In On Superintendent Search

By Mitch Borden

The search is on for the new Ector County Independent School District Superintendent. Recently, in Odessa, public meetings were held to gather the opinions of community members about what kind of person residents want to see lead their schools.

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