The state Senate Committee on Nominations holds a hearing to review the nomination of David Whitley for secretary of state. (MIGUEL GUTIERREZ JR. / THE TEXAS TRIBUNE)

Opposition Imperils David Whitley’s Nomination As Texas Secretary Of State

By Alexa Ura and Emma Platoff, Texas Tribune

For the second time, the Senate Nominations Committee met this week to approve the governor’s appointees — and for the second time, the Republican-dominated committee did not call a vote on David Whitley, the governor’s embattled pick for Texas secretary of state.


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The water tower in Presidio, known for the abuela murral on its side, will now hold a transmitter for Marfa Public Radio. *Bayla Metzger / Marfa Public Radio)

Presidio Donates $5,000 To Marfa Public Radio To Boost Signal To Border Community

By Robert Halpern, Big Bend Sentinel-Marfa

The Presidio Municipal Development District (PMDD) has made a $5,000 donation to Marfa Public Radio (MPR) to boost its signal to the south Presidio County border community.

“It really will be ‘from the border to the basin,’” said MPR board of directors’ president Al Davis, in accepting the gift from Presidio economic development director Brad Newton.


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(Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

Update To Report Still Shows Hispanic Drivers Disproportionately Pulled Over In Midland County

By Mitch Borden 

An update to the racial profiling report first put out by Midland County Sheriff’s Office shows there weren’t as many Hispanic drivers pulled over in 2018 as previously reported. But the update shows Hispanics were still disproportionately pulled over more than any other group that year.

In Midland County, Hispanics make up just 20 percent of drivers. But last year, they made up 55 percent of the 3,180 traffic stops officers made. The Midland County Sheriff’s office first indicated that number was closer to 57 percent, but says that data was processed incorrectly.


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Thursday Interview: Considering The Past and Present With Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui — a Diné poet from the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona — is the author of three poetry collections, Shapeshift, Flood Song, and Dissolve. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

On this episode, the writer talks about his life, the role of poetry, and his influences.

Bitsui is a Lannan resident in Marfa and will read at the Crowley Theater on Sunday, February 24 at 6 pm.

West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and rebroadcast each Friday at 9:00 AM.

The dunes at Monahans Sandhills State Park are part of a broader sandhills ecosystem that covers 200 square-miles.

Monahans Sandhills: A Serene, and Surreal, Landscape Amidst the Bustling Permian Basin

It’s a place of serenity, a West Texas landscape with the power to mesmerize. Monahans Sandhills State Park encompasses almost 4,000 acres of sand dunes and sandhills – part of a larger expanse of sandhills here at the southwestern edge … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm.

Sheriff Gary Painter Standing in front of a pump jack. (Mira Oberman/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Midland County Sheriff’s Office Says Recent Racial Profiling Report Is Wrong

By Mitch Borden

Despite accounting for only 20 percent of county drivers, Hispanics in Midland County were more likely to be pulled over than any other group in 2018, according to the county’ sheriff’s racial profiling report. But county officials now say that information is incorrect.

Out of the 3,180 stops Midland County officers made last year, more than half of the stops were for Hispanic drivers. That raised some questions since in years past white drivers have been pulled over more often than any other group in Midland County.


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New VA Clinic Opens in Fort Stockton

By Carlos Morales 

West Texas is now home to a new clinic for veterans.

Officials with the West Texas Veterans Affairs Health System opened a 5,000 square foot clinic Tuesday in Fort Stockton, which is replacing a previous facility that opened in 2010. The former facility was part of a shared space, but the new one is a standalone clinic, said Sheila Austin with the West Texas VA.

The clinic is outfitted with telemedicine and behavioral health services, and will serve hundreds of veterans across Brewster, Pecos and Reeves Counties.


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CLAIRE HARBAGE / NPR

Could You Pass A U.S. Citizenship Test? Well, 63 Percent Of Texans Couldn’t.

By Andrew Weber, KUT

Texans, it turns out, don’t know their U.S. history. A new study from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation found 63 percent of respondents in Texas failed a quiz based on questions from the U.S. citizenship examination.

The 41,000-person survey found roughly four in 10 respondents nationally couldn’t pass the 20-question test. Vermont was the only state in which a majority of respondents passed. Texas ranked 40th overall.


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A packet prepared for food bank representatives to use when speaking with legislators at the Texas Capitol Tuesday. (SCREENSHOT FROM TWITTER/@NTFBVOICE)

In The Vastness Of West Texas, Causes Of Food Insecurity Vary By Where You Live

By Laura Rice and Morgan Kuehler, Texas Standard

Representatives from Texas food banks will gather at the Capitol on Tuesday to talk with legislators about food insecurity and lobby for ways the state can help. Food insecurity is a bigger problem than some may think. The term doesn’t just describe people who are going hungry; it also describes people who don’t have the household resources to consistently buy healthy food.

Texas is a big state in terms of population, and it ranks among the top states in the country for food insecurity. At any given time, more than 4.3 million Texans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s complicated by the fact that Texas is also a a vast state, which means it can be hard for healthy food to reach everyone equally.


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A segment of the border fence in the Rio Grande Valley. (Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune)

Adult Migrant From Mexico Dies In Border Patrol Custody

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

An adult migrant has died after being taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody this month in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

The 45-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico died Monday morning after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure and cirrhosis of the liver. The immigrant’s death was first reported by USA Today.


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Angela Paxton celebrates her victory over Phillip Huffines in the Republican primary for state Senate District 8 on March 6, 2018. Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

Sen. Angela Paxton Files Bill That Would Allow Her Husband, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, To Issue Exemptions From Securities Regulations

By Emma Platoff, Texas Tribune

In what state Sen. Angela Paxton describes as an effort to safely expand Texas’ burgeoning financial tech industry, the freshman Republican from McKinney has filed a bill that would empower the office of her husband, Attorney General Ken Paxton, to exempt entrepreneurs from certain state regulations so they can market “innovative financial products or services.”

One of those exemptions would be working as an “investment adviser” without registering with the state board. Currently, doing so is a felony in Texas — one for which Ken Paxton was issued a civil penalty in 2014 and criminally charged in 2015.


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Adrian Vega takes on the role of El Super Lector and sings to Blackshear Elementary Magnet students. (Mitch Borden/ Marfa Public Radio)

To Keep An Odessa School From Closing, Ector County ISD Focuses On Improving Student Literacy

By Mitch Borden

In Odessa, Blackshear Elementary Magnet is on its last leg. For years the state has said the struggling school needs to improve, and in 2018 the Texas Education Agency even gave the Permian Basin campus a failing grade for its performance. The Ector County Independent School district as a whole was given a D grade from the state.

If Blackshear continues to underperform it could be closed, but amid an uncertain future for this campus, Ector County ISD is taking a calculated risk. They’re making changes officials state will streamline efforts to support teachers and get students where they need to be academically. To do this the district is starting by focusing on student literacy.


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Marfa's 2014 Love Dumpsters. (Tom Michael / Marfa Public Radio)

Love On The Range: Dispatches From Valentine’s Day 2019

Thank you to all who submitted Valentine’s Day notes, poems, odes, and and loving gripes to Marfa Public Radio’s 2019 Love Drive.

Press play to hear recorded valentines from Jose Fonseca, Lonn Taylor, Mary Jane Holmes, Brad Newton, Pam Gaddis, Ruben from Houston, Steven Rodriguez, Russell Murray, Joseph Wilcox, Belle Penny Lancaster, Chris Gonzales, Wild Bill Walker, and John Anderson.

Written messages are below.
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Five Shopko locations are set to close in the next few months. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

After Filing For Bankruptcy, Midwest Retailer Announces More Closures in West Texas

By Carlos Morales 

Wisconsin-based retailer Shopko has announced it is closing more stores than it first expected.

Last December, Shopko officials said the company was closing dozens of stores in 19 states across the country including one in Presidio. Now, Shopko will shutter more store locations throughout West Texas.


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Texas Public Radio’s Live Call-In Program: The Reality At The Border

On Monday, February 18 at 7 pm,  Marfa Public Radio will broadcast a special episode of Texas Public Radio’s “The Source” with David Martin Davies.

The entire nation is talking about what’s happening at the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, it’s time for the border to speak for itself.

Public radio stations along the Rio Grande from Brownsville to El Paso are teaming up for a historic borderwide conversation during this special live broadcast.

The wall, national security, troop deployments, razor wire and political uncertainty – how is it all impacting life at the border?

“The Source” is a live call-in program on Texas Public Radio. Leave a message before the program at 210-615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980 (San Antonio area) or 1-800-622-8977 (statewide). You can also email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource to join the conversation.

Guests: 

  • Alfredo Corchado, border-Mexico correspondent for the Dallas Morning News
  • Melissa del Bosque, reporter covering immigration and the border for ProPublica
  • Reynaldo Leaños Jr., immigration and U.S.-Mexico border reporter for Texas Public Radio
  • Dany Bahar, fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution
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An Act of Creative Dissent

On this edition of The Rambling Boy, Lonn take s a look at a book called a The Lost Words.

Written by two Englishmen. Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, The Lost Words has been described as a “book of spells” and an “act of creative dissent” that seeks to conjure back the near-lost magic and strangeness of the nature that surrounds us.

The book began as a response to the removal of everyday nature words – among them “acorn”, “bluebell”, “kingfisher” and “wren” – from a widely used children’s dictionary, because those words were not being used enough by children to merit inclusion.

 

 

The Rambling Boy is broadcast Mondays after the 10 am newscast and again after the 7 pm newscast.
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The Odessa Meteor Crater: A Subtle Feature Tells a Cosmic Story

This episode of Nature Notes was inspired by a question from listener Josh Knight – submitted as part of “West Texas Wonders,” the reporting series where listeners ask questions and Marfa Public Radio finds answers. Knight asked if the Odessa … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm.
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Thu. Feb 14 Interview: Joe Nick Patoski On The Hippies, Pickers, Slackers, And Geeks Who Transformed The Capital Of Texas

On this episode, Marfa Public Radio DJ and writer Joe Nick Patoski talks about his latest book, Austin to ATX. It’s a biography of the city that delves into the hippies, pickers, slackers, and geeks who transformed Austin’s culture.

Patoski will read at 6 pm on Friday, February 15th at the Crowley Theater and at 3 pm on Saturday, February 16th at Front Street Books.

He’ll also host a live “Texas Music Hour of Power” at the radio station on Saturday from 6 to 9 pm. All are invited to come by the station!

West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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Multiple-Victim School Shootings Are Rare. But They Are Becoming More Common And More Deadly

By Anthony Cave, KERA

Sandy Hook. Parkland. Santa Fe.

If it seems like school shootings are becoming more common, there is some data to support that.

School homicides that involve multiple victims have become more frequent over the last decade, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ninety-two percent of these incidents involved a gun. Despite the uptick, they are still extremely rare events and account for less than 2 percent of all youth homicides in the U.S.

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