Molly Adams/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Congressmen Push A Rare Strategy To Debate A Replacement For DACA

A seldom used rule would put pressure on Speaker Ryan to bring the DREAM Act and other immigration bills to the floor.


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Alpine High School students walk out to protest gun violence (Carlos Morales/KRTS)

PHOTOS: In Alpine and Across the Nation, Students Walk Out to Protest Gun Violence

Students from across the country walked out of their classes today to protest gun violence in schools. The National School Walkout also marks 19 years since a shooting at Columbine High School that killed thirteen people. In Alpine, students joined the protest, marching from their campus to downtown.


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Photo provided by family.

Brewster County Officials Searching for Missing Man

Forty-nine-year-old Jesus Jose Estrada Valles has been reported missing. The Brewster County Sheriff’s office is seeking any information concerning his whereabouts.


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Marfa City Council Candidates (Carlos Morales for Marfa Public Radio)

Marfa City Council Candidates Forum

The Marfa City Council candidates forum took place on April 18, 2018 at the USO Building. The event was organized by Max Kabat and Trey Gerfers. Gerfers also served as a moderator for the forum. Participants were candidates Manny Baeza, Buck Johnston, Saarin Keck, Raul Lara, Natalie Melendez, and Mary Lou Saxon.

Early voting begins Monday, April 23, 2018 and continues through Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Election day is Saturday, May 5, 2018.

00:00 – 00:19:30 – Introductions from candidates

Questions from the moderator: 

  • 00:19:40 – Question 1: Marfa is a diverse community of different wants and needs. As a council member, you will represent the entire town. What are the most pressing issues citizens have been discussing with you?
  • 00:30:00 – Question 2: The relatively high cost of living makes it difficult for people to live here. Many folks live at or below the poverty line. What is the city’s role in making Marfa more affordable, and what are your specific ideas about doing so?
  • 00:37:10 – Question 3: As property values have risen in recent years, some peoples’ taxes have gone way up. Currently, 19% of Marfa landowners’ taxes go to the city, while the remaining 81% goes to the county, school district, and the hospital district. Do you think this is fair, and if not, what do you propose to remedy the situation?
  • 00:44:00 – Question 4: Any conversation about investing in our community has to involve investing in our youth. Do you have any specific ideas about how to go about doing this?
  • 00:52:40 – Question 5: What do you love about Marfa, and why are you running for city council?

Questions from the audience: 

  • 1:01:50 – How will you reduce administrative costs, or make sure extra taxpayer dollars go toward city services? How do candidates propose to keep Marfa affordable?
  • 1:13:40 – How do you propose to finance affordable housing in Marfa?
  • 1:24:50 – What would council do to rein in the police? Additionally, what would elected council members do about zoning?
  • 1:35:00 -Is an Amtrak stop on any of the candidates’ agenda?
  • 1:42:26 – Sandro Canovas comments on issues regarding adobe in Marfa.

Houston-based Hi-Crush Partners began sand mining operations on July 31. Their plant is located at a former recreation site near the junction of Texas 115

State Looks at Energy Industry’s Impacts on Permian Basin Roads

Over the course of two days, the growing frac sand industry came into focus during two Texas House hearings.


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State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, debates an amendment to HB1 on April 1, 2011. (Photo by Bob Daemmrich)

Texas regulator says “misunderstanding” is making millennials shun oilfield jobs

Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian told House lawmakers on Wednesday that the biggest threat to a burgeoning oil boom is “the acceptance of the politically-correct-driven environmental anti-oil and gas science.”


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U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso (left), and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Robin Jerstad: Cruz

New poll finds race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke “too close to call”

A new Quinnipiac University poll of Texas voters finds 47 percent support Cruz, the Republican incumbent, while 43 percent back O’Rourke, an El Paso Democrat.


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Former first lady Barbara Bush with her husband at the inauguration of her son as governor of Texas in 1999. (Photo by Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune)

Barbara Bush Leaves Legacy As Literacy Champion, ‘America’s Grandmother’

The wife of President George H.W. Bush and mother of President George W. Bush died at her home in Houston. She was 92.


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Marfa's Volunteer Fire Department put out a blaze on Highway 90 today before it reached the grassland across the road. (Photo credit: Sally Beauvais/KRTS)

National Weather Service Warns of Critical Fire Danger in West Texas

It’s been a dry couple of months in West Texas, and grasses, bushes, and trees are about as parched as they’ve been all season. 

Over the last week, a combination of conditions are coming together to make for critically dangerous fire weather.

Amber Hluchan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Midland, says we’re at the peak of what’s been a period of prolonged fire weather in the area.

“Winds are strong and relative humidity, or the amount of moisture that’s in the air, is critically low. So any fires that develop will just burn right through all of the fuel because it’s ready – it’s ready to burn,” Hluchan says.

There have been a handful of small fires around West Texas over the last week. Hluchan says they all occurred along main highways, likely because of cigarette butts or chains dragging on the road.

Marfa Fire Chief Gary Mitschke put out a blaze on Highway 90 about a mile outside of town today, where a tractor trailer caught fire and pulled over. He says it’s lucky that the flames did not reach the pasture across the road.

“With the conditions, the wind out of the southwest the way it was, it would have taken off,” says Mitschke. “I don’t know if we could have caught it before it got up into Jeff Davis county again so, we dodged a bullet.”

In April 2011, one of the largest grassland fires in Texas history burned up over 300,000 acres of land around Jeff Davis County. Mitschke says the conditions then were not unlike today’s.

The National Weather Service is urging residents of West Texas to avoid any activities that may produce sparks or flames.

One Dead in Officer-Involved Shooting in Alpine

Story updated at 12:17 PM, Tuesday April 17.

Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson has identified the man killed in an exchange of gunfire with Brewster County deputies Monday afternoon as Roy Rodriguez, 47, of Alpine.

According to Dodson, the Alpine Police Department began receiving calls on Friday evening from a woman who claimed Rodriguez was making physical and verbal threats against her. The relationship between Rodriguez and the woman is unclear at this time – Dodson believes she was his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend.

On Sunday, Dodson says Brewster County deputies responded to a call that Rodriguez had entered the woman’s residence with a gun. Upon arrival, deputies discovered that Rodriguez did have a weapon, but did not find a gun.

Deputies set up a camera in the woman’s yard to monitor whether Rodriguez returned to her residence, which he did on Monday morning. Deputies responding to the scene found he was inside the home. Sheriff Dodson says he was “very angry.”

Deputies then administered tear gas into the residence. According to Dodson, when Rodriguez came out he was firing a rifle, at which point deputies returned fire. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Texas Rangers are currently investigating the incident, with assistance from local law enforcement. This is a developing story. We will update with more information as it becomes available.

Original post:

Texas Department of Public Safety has confirmed a shooting involving Brewster County law enforcement in Alpine on Monday afternoon, April 16.

Officials say a standoff occurred between Brewster County deputies and an armed individual at a residence around noon. According to BCSO, the individual fired shots at the officers, who then returned fire. The individual has been pronounced dead.

CBS7 spoke with Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson following the incident, who says deputies were responding to a residence where an individual was reportedly making threats. He says the deputies first administered tear gas into the home. The individual came out shooting, and deputies fired back.


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Texas Is Resettling Almost 80 Percent Fewer Refugees

Texas has resettled dramatically fewer refugees in the past year, figures from Refugee Services of Texas show.


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Sophia Eleanor Sullivan

Marfa ISD Community Remembers Sophia Sullivan

In March, the Marfa ISD community lost a beloved teacher and friend, 31-year-old Sophia Sullivan. Students, teachers, and parents remember Sullivan as a vibrant, passionate educator who provided unconditional support to her students.

John Aguero, Celena Llanez, Julio Baeza, Brizy Mendoza and Arturo Alferez shared their memories of Sullivan with Marfa Public Radio shortly after her passing.

A memorial for Sullivan will be held on Monday, April 16 in the Marfa Shorthorn Gym at 6pm.

 

A tanker truck travels on FM 2067 between Austin and Victoria on April 18, 2018. Texas counties are asking state leaders to help pay for road damage caused by heavy traffic from the oil and gas industry. (Photo by Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune)

Texas is making billions from oil and gas drilling, but counties say rural roads are being destroyed

Damage from heavy trucks has battered local roads in and around the state’s oil fields, and many counties want the state to help pay for repairs and maintenance. Will lawmakers take action?


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flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces; U.S. Army photo by Maj. Randall Stillinger.

A soldier from the 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, observes a section of the Rio Grande in support of Operation Strong Safety.

So Far, National Guard Troops On The Border Are Observing, Not Enforcing

With a highly-visible, non-mobile presence at the edge of the Rio Grande, National Guard troops are so far being seen, more than heard.


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(mlhradio/flickr)

Report: Lower Rio Grande Is One of Nation’s Most Endangered Rivers, Border Wall is Reason Why

An environmental group released a report this week ranking the lower Rio Grande as one of the country’s most endangered river systems. The reason why: President Trump’s proposed border wall.


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(Photo credit: Sally Beauvais/KRTS)

Survey Predicts Increased Lending to Energy Industry this Spring

A survey released this week predicts good health for the US energy industry. The results could have especially positive implications for producers in the Permian Basin.

The survey, issued twice a year, polls a variety of oil and gas executives across the US about the energy lending market. It asks for their predictions about producers’ borrowing base – which is basically a measure companies use to determine what they can spend.

This season’s findings are more positive than ever before. Especially when compared to the first survey issued in 2015 following the downturn.

“It’s a sign that the lenders that are providing this access to capital feel a lot more confident about the industry than they have in recent years,” says Kraig Grahmann with Haynes and Boone, the law firm behind the survey. “They’re willing to lend more to the companies that operate in the oil and gas industry.”

The survey indicates that more than 80 percent of respondents expect borrowing bases to increase in the Spring of 2018.
Grahmann expects that producers in the Permian Basin will see the
higher end that increase. 

He thinks survey-takers’ growing confidence is based on sustained activity in the Permian, as well as the price of oil, which is up over the last 6 months.

 

Border Patrol agents in New Mexico on April 9, 2018. (Photo by Julián Aguilar/The Texas Tribune)

El Paso Border Patrol sector kicks off construction of Trump’s wall on border

U.S. Border Patrol agents on Monday announced the beginning of construction on the “big, beautiful wall” that President Donald Trump promised to build on the southern border.


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President Trump's order this week reminds residents in Redford, Texas of Esequiel Hernández Jr. The 18 year old was shot and killed by marines in 1997. (Photo: Carlos Morales / KRTS)

Along the Border, News of National Guard is Met With Mixed Reaction

Late Wednesday, President Trump signed a proclamation directing the deployment of National Guard troops as a quote “immediate deterrent” to illegal immigration along the U.S.- Mexico border.

This comes after days of tough talk from President Trump on immigration enforcement, including Tweeting that he’d secure the border through military force until his proposed border wall is complete. The news is being met with some mixed reaction on Texas’ southern border.


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Permian High School in Odessa was built for 2,500 students. Next year, they're expecting student enrollment to reach 4,100. (Photo: Sally Beauvas/KRTS)

Record Growth in Odessa Schools Could Be Here To Stay

When the last oil boom in the Permian Basin screeched to a halt in 2014, something unexpected happened — families stuck around.

Now, with production ramping up again, all corners of the community are feeling the effects of population growth. Including area public schools, where record enrollment is putting a strain on an already low-performing district. In Odessa, school administrators and teachers and parents are asking the question: where are we going to put all of these kids?


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In a New Guide, Alpine Botanist Captures the Glories of Texas Wildflowers

Bluebonnets along a roadway, Indian blankets in the chaparral – wildflower viewing is a rite of spring in the Lone Star State. And the opportunities here are almost inexhaustible. A Texan can see a quarter of all the wildflowers in … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm.
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Thu. Apr 19 Interview: Lannan Resident Lesley Stern on Film, Smoking, Gardens, and Feminism

In this interview, Jana La Brasca speaks to writer Lesley Stern about her background and work.

Stern was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and currently teaches at the University of California San Diego. She is the author of Dead and Alive: The Body as a Cinematic Thing, The Smoking Book, The Scorcese Connection, and is co-editor of Falling For You: Essays on Cinema and Performance. 

 The writer will read at the Crowley Theater on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 6 pm.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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April 13th News Editor Roundtable

Like the region itself, the news of West Texas is sweeping in its scope. So to help us break it all down, we have news editors from across the region joining us. In this roundtable, we hear from Laura Dennis with the Odessa American and Robert Halpern at the Big Bend Sentinel-Marfa.

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Wed. Apr 18 Interview: Kelsey Lu On Live Performance, Mix-Making, And Her New Song Shades of Blue

LA-based musician Kelsey Lu says that when tried to reproduce the raw feeling of performance while recording her debut EP Church in the studio, it just didn’t work. So she recorded it live, from inside of Brooklyn’s Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Lu’s a vocalist and classically-trained cellist. She works on film soundtracks, and hosts a monthly show on NTS Radio called Pteropods.

Her live performances are stripped down – just Lu and her cello and a loop pedal. She recently played the Marfa Myths music festival, where we caught up with her. In this interview Lu tells us what’s running through her mind when she performs live, and how music has sustained her through periods of depression.

She also talks about the process of creating mixes for NTS Radio. She digs for unexpected sounds by musicians of color to feature on her show.

“Society being like, I know exactly what these people do and what kind of music they make…and this music is for these people, and everything is separated and in its own category – I just don’t believe that,” says Lu.

She says history has proven otherwise, and that people need to put in their own hours digging that up. But if she gets to do the work through music, “that’s winning, for sure.”

Tune in to the interview hear Lu’s new song, Shades of Blue.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Tue. Apr 17 Interview: Helado Negro On His Musical Influences, the Fragility of the Human Voice, and Composing for S-Town

Roberto Carlos Lange is a New York-based musician. Lange performs under the project Helado Negro. “It’s a name for something to give me the liberty to not think of my own name,” Lange says of the project. “It’s always been important for me to have a way to just start from nothing, there’s no history. I can build a history with that name.”

Helado Negro recently played the Marfa Myths music festival, where we caught up with him. In this interview he tells us about how growing up in Florida shaped the sound of Helado Negro and how his voice is the ‘strangest’ instrument he uses.

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West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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