Outside a polling place in Alpine, TX on Election Day, 2016. (Travis Lux/KRTS)

There’s An Election Next Month. Here’s What You Can Expect To See On Your Ballot.

By Marfa Public Radio

Early voting for next month’s election begins Oct. 21 and runs through Nov. 1. Throughout the state, voters will weigh in on 10 constitutional amendments. You can find a break down of each amendment here, and see a sample ballot here.

But apart from the constitutional amendments Texans will be voting on, there are also a few bond elections and local races that will appear on some West Texas ballots.


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(Photo: Sally Beauvas/KRTS)

UPDATE: Multiple Witnesses Come Forward Claiming They Saw A Student With A Gun During Permian High School’s Evacuation

By Mitch Borden

Officials at Ector County Independent School District are still looking into what exactly caused hundreds of students to evacuate Permian High School in Odessa on October 10h.

That morning, Ector County ISD received a phone call warning officials there was a student at the school with a gun. Police were soon dispatched and then, at around 10:20 a.m., students were in between classes when a fire alarm was pulled. That’s when students fled the building.

The school district confirmed there was no active shooter, but police are still investigating and have not been able to confirm if a firearm started the panic.

A source close to the investigation told Marfa Public Radio that does not mean there wasn’t a gun involved.


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Southwest Key’s shelter Casa Sunzal is the newest shelter to open in Houston. (Elizabeth Trovall / Houston Public Media)

Number Of Migrant Kids In Texas Facilities Drops Suddenly

By Elizabeth Trovall, Houston Public Media

Facilities and foster groups that house migrant teens are at about half capacity in Texas. There are currently some 3,000 migrant kids being held in federal care statewide, according to Texas Health and Human Services. 

That’s 30% fewer children than they had in custody in August, and half the amount from June. 

Some of the shelters are at a quarter of their normal capacity. 


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(Photo: Sally Beauvas/KRTS)

After Students Fled Permian High — Ector County ISD Says There Was No Active Shooter

By Mitch Borden

This morning, according to Odessa’s Ector County School District, a fire alarm was pulled at Permian High School, causing students to flee the building and some classrooms to go on lockdown. Exactly what happened at the Odessa school is still unclear.


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Detained migrants at a Border Patrol station in McAllen on July 12, 2019. (REUTERS/Verónica G. Cárdenas)

Border Patrol Apprehensions Dipped Last Month, But 2019 Saw A Dramatic Increase From 2018

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

EL PASO — The number of people who were apprehended by or surrendered to federal immigration officials on the U.S.-Mexico border dipped by nearly 20% last month, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday. After totaling about 64,000 apprehensions in August, the agency reported a September total of about 52,500 apprehensions — a decrease of about 18%.

The September total is about 40% of July’s estimated 82,000 and the lowest monthly total of the 2019 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics.


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Patrick Payton, former pastor at stonegate church in Midland, pulled in almost $200,000 in campaign contributions in less than three months. (photo courtesy of the Payton Campaign)

In Midland’s Mayoral Race, Former Pastor Patrick Payton Is Raking In Campaign Contributions — Which Could Be Trouble For Opponents

By Mitch Borden

This week the three candidates competing to be the Midland mayor revealed how much they’ve raised for their campaigns — and one candidate had a record-breaking haul.


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An Austin man who collapsed on a popular trail in the Chisos Mountains Saturday is the third person to die in Big Bend National Park this year. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

73-Year-Old Austin Man Dies While Hiking Alone In Big Bend National Park

By Sally Beauvais

According to officials in Big Bend National Park, an unaccompanied elderly hiker from Austin collapsed and stopped breathing on a popular trail in the Chisos Mountains Saturday, October 5.

Park visitors found the man near the Emory Peak Trail junction on Boot Canyon Trail around 12:30 P.M. and called 911. The hikers tried to perform CPR for several hours before park rangers and Border Patrol agents were able to reach the scene on foot.


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Protesters stand outside the Governor's Mansion in 2015 to rally against Abbott's statement towards refusal of Syrian refugees. (Pu Ying Huang for KUT News)

Texas Groups Brace For Cuts That Could ‘Devastate’ Refugee Resettlement Services

By Ashley Lopez, KUT

Texas’ refugee resettlement programs are bracing for what could be a huge blow – one that stakeholders say could weaken the state’s support system for years to come.

White House officials recently announced plans to resettle the fewest number of refugees in recent history. The administration set the country’s cap at about 18,000 refugees – the lowest since the program was established in 1980.


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Patrick Payton, Jerry Morales, and Jenny Cudd (From left to right) debate in the first of two Basin PBS mayoral debates. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

Midland Mayoral Candidates Debate On Full Display In The First Of Two Televised Debates

By Mitch Borden

With just a month left until the November elections, Midland’s Mayoral race is heating up. 

The three candidates vying for the Tall City’s top elected position met last night for the first of two televised debates to spar over their views of the state of Midland and how the community should move forward in the midst of an oil boom.


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Luis Orozco stands in his immigration attorney's office several hours after being released from Border Patrol custody. (Mallory Falk / KERA News)

Border Patrol Agents Detained Mexican Citizen Who Had Permission To Be In The U.S.

By Mallory Falk/KERA and Julián Aguilar/Texas Tribune

Luis Orozco Morales had made the trip many times between his home in Hobbs, New Mexico, and El Paso. But this time, when he tried to pass through a remote Border Patrol checkpoint, he was arrested and detained by the Border Patrol, despite having paperwork that showed he was allowed to remain in the United States.


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Marfa resident Shelley Bernstein urged commissioners to consider how they would take care of thousands of extra people if emergencies “beyond the promoter’s control” were to occur. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

Public Speaks Out Against Proposed C3 Festival At Presidio County Hearing

By Sally Beauvais

Nearly 100 Presidio County residents packed Marfa’s Shorthorn Cafeteria on Wednesday evening for a county meeting dedicated to gathering public input about permitting procedures for large-scale events and outdoor festivals.

The county does not currently have an application process in place, but commissioners began discussing the need for one earlier this year, on the heels of a controversial proposal by C3 Presents — the Texas-based company behind Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. Local officials say the event producers are planning a festival of roughly 6,000 people on a ranch outside of Marfa, though that number has fluctuated since news of the event became public. 


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(Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT)

Yes, There’s An Election In Texas In November. Here’s What’s On The Ballot.

By KUT News

Voters in Texas will decide on 10 constitutional amendments this Election Day, Nov. 5. The propositions range from prohibiting an income tax from ever being collected in the state to allowing law enforcement animals to stay with their handlers when they retire.

Sometimes the language on a ballot can be confusing. Here’s an explanation of what voters are being asked to decide, with an assist from the League of Women Voters.


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

Midland’s John B Love III Throws His Hat In The Ring For Texas’ 2020 U.S. Senate Race

Midland’s three-term city councilman John B. Love III announced Wednesday that he’s running to challenge Republican Senator John Cornyn. The councilman believes his West Texas values and message of bipartisanship will win over Texas voters.


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There’s An Election Next Month. Here’s What You Can Expect To See On Your Ballot.

By Marfa Public Radio

Early voting for next month’s election begins Oct. 21 and runs through Nov. 1. Throughout the state, voters will weigh in on 10 constitutional amendments. You can find a break down of each amendment here, and see a sample ballot here.

But apart from the constitutional amendments Texans will be voting on, there are also a few bond elections and local races that will appear on some West Texas ballots.

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Thu. Oct 10 Interview: Big Bend’s 75th Birthday; Chinati Artist In Residence Leeza Meksin

Big Bend National Park was founded in 1944. (L. Bartsch / Courtesy of National Park Service)

Superintendent Bob Krumenaker
& Chief of Interpretation Tom VandenBerg

On West Texas Talk, we’re celebrating the 75th birthday of Big Bend National Park. Diana Nguyen speaks to Superintendent Bob Krumenaker and Chief of Interpretation Tom VandenBerg about the history of the beloved parks founding and about what’s on the horizon.



Chinati Artist in Residence Leeza Meksin (Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public Radio)

Chinati Artist In Residence Leeza Meksin

The Chinati Foundation has hosted artist residents from a variety of disciplines since 1989. Each year, the organization chooses six people to work in Marfa for two months.

Chinati’s current guest is Leeza Meksin — a New York-based interdisciplinary artist who works in painting, installation, and public art. Meksin was born in the former Soviet Union but emigrated to the United States with her family in 1989.

Meksin received an MFA from The Yale School of Art and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She currently teaches at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

Meksin will have an Open Studio at The Locker Plant in Marfa on Friday, October 11 from 5 to 8 pm as part of Chinati Weekend.


West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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At the Guadalupe Mountains, A “Community Volunteer Ambassador” Connects People with the Park

America’s national parks have never been more popular. Parks visitation hit a record high – with 330 million recreational visits – in 2016, the year of the National Park Service centennial. And while Americans are notably dissatisfied with their federal … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:45 am and 4:45 pm.
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Thu. Oct 3 Interview: Marfa’s BBQ Darlings; Writer NoViolet Bulawayo

Adam Bork, Katy Rose Elsasser, Mark Scott, and Kaki Aufdengarten of Convenience West (Sarah Vasquez / Courtesy of Big Bend Sentinel)

Katy Rose Elsasser and Mark Scott of Convenience West

Far West Texas is often described as desolate. And for a long time, in terms of barbecue, it was.

But the recent arrival of a couple of restaurants like Convenience West has changed that. The restaurant made the cut for Texas Monthly’s Top 25 New Barbeque Joints in Texas, and this week, they were featured on BBQuest (a show that highlights secret menu items at some of the best barbecue joints in Texas.)

On this episode, Diana Nguyen speaks with Mark Scott and Katy Rose Elsasser — half of the minds behind Convenience West — about the states’ favorite pastime… smoked meats.



NoViolet Bulawayo (NyeLynTho)


NoViolet Bulawayo

In the second half of the show, Nguyen talks with NoViolet Bulawayo, a Lannan writer in residence.

Bulawayo is in Marfa working on a manuscript and is the author of the acclaimed 2013 novel We Need New Names. It’s the story of a young girl navigating a fragile and violent life in Zimbabwe. We follow her journey to the United States, where life isn’t everything she had hoped it would be.

They discuss the novel and Bulawayo’s fluid notion of “home.”


West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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Texans In Tune: Henry Johnston

Texans In Tune is a segment of Marfa Public Radio’s Monday classical music program In Tune — in which host Nick Hurt interviews and records live performances by fellow students at the University of Texas Butler School of Music.

This segment, featuring guitarist Henry Johnston, originally aired on Monday September 30th.

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November Elections Are Coming Up. Are You Registered To Vote? Here’s What You Need To Know.

By Marfa Public Radio

There are only a few more days left until the Oct. 7 deadline to register to vote for this year’s November elections. If you’ve moved since the last time you voted, you’ll need to update your address.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know in order to register or update your address.

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