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.
Tragedy For Marfa ISD Family
In this roundtable, we hear more about the death of Marfa High School teacher Sophia Sullivan. Earlier this week, 30-year-old Daniel Sullivan was charged in the murder of Sophia, after failing a polygraph test and being identified by his son.
Robert Halpern, editor of the Big Bend Sentinel, says this is another story of tragedy for the Marfa Independent School District community.
“With our interviews with students and staffers, she was a superb teacher,” says Big Bend Sentinel editor Robert Halpern. “She ran the early college high school program for Marfa ISD, and was just very supportive of her students.”
There will be a memorial for Sullivan in early April at the school.
City of Odessa Settles Lawsuit with Odessa American
The Odessa City Council will now keep audio recordings of all its closed-door meetings. The move comes from a settlement between the City of Odessa and the Odessa American. The paper sued the council in June 2017, alleging they violated the state open meetings act.
“There are rules and requirements that they have to meet…before they can go into an executive session, and they did not do that,” says Odessa American editor Laura Dennis. “And we called that out on that.”
“What’s really important about it is it holds leaders accountable,” says Dennis. “And when you’re an elected official you’re held to a standard, there are laws you have to follow.
“This puts them on notice….We want to know that our elected leaders are doing what they say they’re doing.”
March For Our Lives in West Texas
This weekend hundreds of thousands of students and protestors are expected to attend the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. According to organizers, there’s an estimated 850 satellite marches happening across the country.
In Marfa, Halpern says fourth graders have organized an event at the County Courthouse, where they’re going read speeches and march to the school. “What they told me yesterday is they’re tired of students being killed by guns,” says Halpern.
But in Odessa and parts of the Permian Basin, Dennis says there won’t really be any marches or protests.
This conversation is part of a news editor roundtable you can hear every Friday on Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio.