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We are thrilled to announce that we’re able to launch Marfa Public Radio’s COVID-19 Challenge because of four generous donors. Through June 11, every dollar donated will have twice as much impact.


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The Texas Supreme Court on Jan. 15, 2020. (Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)

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Texas Supreme Court: Lack Of Immunity To Coronavirus Alone Isn’t Enough For Mail-In ballot

By Alexa Ura, Texas Tribune

The Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a lack of immunity to the new coronavirus does not qualify a voter to apply for a mail-in ballot.

In the latest twist in the legal fight over voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, the court agreed with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that the risk of contracting the virus alone does not meet the state’s qualifications for voting by mail.


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Emily Pennington of Outside Magazine says the accessible Window View Trail in Big Bend National Park has an "island-in-the-sky" feeling. (Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT)

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Big Bend National Park To Begin “Phased Reopening” On June 1

By Carlos Morales

After being closed for nearly eight weeks, Big Bend National Park will open to the public beginning June 1 at 9 a.m., according to the park’s superintendent.


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On May 16, Tye Anders was arrested in front of his 90-year-old grandmother’s home. Footage from the incident was released by the City of Midland on May 22. (Screenshot from Youtube)

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City Of Midland Will Hold Community Forum To Discuss Policing After Tye Anders Arrest

By Mitch Borden

The City of Midland is holding a community conversation on Thursday, May 28 from 6 to 8 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center to discuss the controversial arrest of Tye Anders.

The young black man was held at gunpoint by several officers after he allegedly rolled through a stop sign. The incident has raised questions about the Midland Police Department’s policing of people of color.


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Big Bend Ranch State Park is one of nearly 100 state parks and historic sites that will close in response to the coronavirus.(Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

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Texas Parks Begin Overnight Camping Reservations For Summer

By Carlos Morales

Visitors to state parks will be able to make new camping reservations beginning May 27, as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department continues gradually reopening its public spaces. TPWD first began limited overnight camping on May 18 for visitors with existing reservations.

Campers will need to make reservations between June 1 and Sept. 7, and the parks agency says existing social distancing standards and public health recommendations are still in effect. That includes wearing face-coverings, bringing your own supply of hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing.


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The National Guard conducting coronavirus testing at Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department in Midland County. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

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Crane County Announces First Deaths Related To COVID-19

By Mitch Borden

Crane County was one of the first West Texas communities to see a confirmed case of the coronavirus, but for weeks the community’s growth in cases was stagnant as only two residents were confirmed to have COVID-19.

But now, an outbreak at a nursing home has spiked the county’s case numbers. Officials confirmed two individuals living at Focus Care at Crane, a nursing home, have died due to complications related to COVID-19 on Tuesday.


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Cattle are pictured near Marfa, Texas, a town that was known for its historic ranching culture long before it was reborn as an international arts destination. (Travis Bubenik / Courthouse News)

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Ranchers Brace For Tough Times As Pandemic Hits Beef Industry

By Travis Bubenik, Courthouse News Service

Some worry the coronavirus pandemic’s financial toll on Texas ranchers could wind up rivaling the impacts of a devastating drought from almost a decade ago.


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Toulouse Cafe and Bar in Austin opened for dine-in services. (Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune)

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Water parks, food court dining areas added to Texas’ latest wave of reopenings

By Alex Samuels, The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation Tuesday adding a few types of businesses to the list.


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On May 16, Tye Anders was arrested in front of his 90-year-old grandmother’s home. Footage from the incident was released by the City of Midland on May 22. (Screenshot from Youtube)

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After Initially Refusing, City Of Midland Releases Footage Of Tye Anders’ Arrest

By Mitch Borden

Newly-released police footage shows the moments leading to the arrest of Tye Anders, a 21-year-old black man, whose case has sparked criticism of the Midland Police Department.

Bystander video of the May 16 arrest showed officers pointing guns at Anders while he was lying facedown on his grandmother’s lawn. In the video, Anders repeatedly shouts, “I’m scared,” and asks officers to put down their weapons.


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Teams of Texas National Guard Troops and healthcare professionals are heading throughout Texas setting up mobile testing sites, like this one in Alpine. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

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Presidio County Sees First Confirmed Case Of COVID-19

By Carlos Morales

As the state of Texas continues to move toward reopening and lifting restrictions on businesses, Presidio County officials on Saturday confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the county.

The patient is a woman in her 40s and health authorities say the case is travel related. The woman is currently self-isolating and the Texas Department of State Health Services says it’s helping the county identify “any close contacts so they can be isolated and monitored for symptoms.”


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So You Want To Go A Bar In Texas. Here’s What You’ll Need To Know.

By Matt Largey, KUT

It’s been a while since anyone’s been into a bar in Texas, so things are bound to feel weird when they’re allowed to reopen this Friday. Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday they’d be allowed to open as long as they follow a set of minimum safety guidelines aimed at preventing further spread of the coronavirus.

So, if you’re going to go – and we’re not encouraging you to – you should be aware of how things will work.

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Federal Judge Says All Texas Voters Can Apply To Vote By Mail During Pandemic

By Alexa Ura, Texas Tribune

A federal judge opened a path for a massive expansion in absentee voting in Texas by ordering Tuesday that all state voters, regardless of age, qualify for mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Child Care Centers, Bars And Sporting Events Scheduled For Texas’ Next Phase Of Reopening

By Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced his next wave of reopenings designed to restart the Texas economy during the coronavirus pandemic, saying child care facilities can reopen immediately, bars can open Friday with limited capacity and sporting events can return without fans at the end of the month.

Abbott also said he would permit restaurants to operate at 50% capacity starting Friday, up from 25% that’s allowed now.

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Armed Activists Protested Coronavirus Restrictions In Odessa. Now They’re Returning To Rally For Second Amendment Rights.

By Mitch Borden 

What first began as activists, dressed in tactical gear and armed with assault rifles, supporting Odessa businesses that defied coronavirus restrictions has now turned into a fight over Second Amendment rights. 

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Texas May Be Overstating Its Ability To Test For The Coronavirus. But It’s Not Clear How Much.

By Matt Largey, KUT

Texas has seen a noticeable increase in the number of coronavirus tests being reported by the Department of State Health Services over the past week. The state saw its largest one-day total for reported tests to date Wednesday – at more than 49,000 tests, about four times as many tests reported the day before.

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