Marfa Public Radio has received three National Edward R. Murrow Awards. (Photo Courtesy: RTDNA)

Marfa Public Radio Wins Three National Edward R. Murrow Awards

By Marfa Public Radio

Marfa Public Radio has won three National Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) for its reporting in 2018. This is the first time the station has received this number of National Murrow awards.

The station’s only other National Murrow was awarded in 2016 for Lorne Matalon’s investigative reporting in the Juarez Valley in Mexico.

The awards are considered among the most prestigious and recognize “news stories that uphold the RTDNA Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the community.”

Marfa Public Radio was awarded in the small market radio category for its use of social media, its website and use of multimedia and for feature reporting.


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About six miles outside of Presidio, the Rio Grande is reduced to a sliver about 5 feet across. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

In The Vast Big Bend, There’s An Increase In Migrants Crossing The Border. Here’s Why.

By Carlos Morales

It’s approaching midday, and Border Patrol agent Derek Boyle is driving along the snaking Rio Grande. On either side of the river: The seemingly-endless Chihuahuan desert. No houses. No buildings. 

“And so when you’re talking about vast lands, if you look out as far as you can see, we patrol out that way,” says Doyle as he motions toward craggy mountains rising from the West Texas horizon.


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Midland ISD's decided to purchase Ranchland Hills Golf Club so it can raze the property to build a new high school. ( Mitch . / Marfa Public Radio)

Midland ISD’s Board Of Trustees Invest Millions Into Teacher Housing And A New Campus

At its regular meeting last night, the Midland Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approved two large property acquisitions that are intended to help the Permian District handle growth.


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The Chisos Visitor Center will be closed for up to 4 months while it undergoes "much needed" repairs. (Courtesy of Big Bend National Park)

Chisos Basin Visitor Center Closes For Repairs

By Carlos Morales

The Chisos Basin Visitor Center at Big Bend National Park will be closed for up to four months beginning June 24, while the facility receives repairs staff say are the first renovations to the center since it opened more than 30 years ago.

The closure means the sweeping West Texas National Park, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, will have just one of its five full-service visitor centers open for the entire 801,163-acre park. Two of the visitor centers — Persimmon Gap and Rio Grande Village — are seasonal and only open from Nov. to April. And the Castolon facility, which is also seasonal, was destroyed during a recent wildfire.

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Troops will “provide assistance at temporary holding facilities” in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso and help at ports of entry, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (left) said at a press conference with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (not pictured). (Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune)

Texas Will Deploy 1,000 National Guard Troops To The Border Amid Migrant Surge

By Cassandra Pollock, Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that the state will deploy 1,000 troops from the Texas National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to aid the federal government with border security efforts.

“There is an escalating crisis at the border — a crisis Congress is refusing to fix,” said Abbott, who was flanked by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, along with Brig. Gen. Tracy Norris, the adjutant general of the Texas National Guard, during a news conference at the Texas Capitol.


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The former Big Bend Wool and Mohair warehouse is now owned by True Value, a local hardware store. (Sally Beauvais / Marfa Public Radio)

Why Is There A Telephone Pole Sprouting Through The Roof Of A Building In Alpine?

By Sally Beauvais If you’ve spent any time waiting for the train to arrive at the Amtrak station in Alpine, you may have noticed it, too: a telephone pole, sticking clear through the pitched roof of a warehouse on the … Continue reading

Alton Chan (left) waited six months to pick up his new guitar from luthier Aaron Ringo (right). (Nick Hurt / Marfa Public Radio)

What Does It Take To Build A Classical Guitar? Nick Hurt Of ‘In Tune’ Goes To Weatherford To Find Out

Nick Hurt, host of Marfa Public Radio’s In Tune, brought his listeners along on a journey across the state to Weatherford, Texas recently. The occasion? To find out how his friend makes classical guitars. And to play them.


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Hispanics are expected to become the largest population group in Texas as soon as 2022. (Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune)

Texas Gained Almost Nine Hispanic Residents For Every Additional White Resident Last Year

By Alexa Ura and Connie Hanzhang Jin, Texas Tribune

Texas gained almost nine Hispanic residents for every additional white resident last year” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

The gap between Texas’ Hispanic and white populations continued to narrow last year when the state gained almost nine Hispanic residents for every additional white resident.


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Monica Madrid signs a letter of intent to teach at Nimitz Middle School in Odessa for the next two years. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

As Odessa Schools Struggle To Hire Teachers, A New Program Hopes To Put A Dent In The Region’s Educator Shortage

By Mitch Borden

Summer vacation is in full swing across Texas. Families going on long trips. On hot days, kids heading to the pool with friends or are running down ice cream trucks to get a cool treat. But for school officials in Odessa’s Ector County Independent School District, or ECISD, it’s crunch time.


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Allison Scott and Gloria Applegate have been friends for about 40 years. The two women have lived in Marfa, crossing paths in the grocery store or community meetings, but they’ve avoided talking politics because they know they don’t agree on much (Nicolas Cadena / StoryCorps)

A One Small Step Conversation: ‘We’re on opposite sides politically, but I think at heart we’re very much similar’

By Mia Warren and Nicolas Cadena, Story Corps

Today, we’re going to eavesdrop on a conversation between two people in Marfa.

It’s part of a new StoryCorps initiative called One Small Step (OSS). Through facilitated conversations, the OSS Initiative seeks to remind people across political and cultural divides of our shared humanity.


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A pumpjack at sunset in West Texas. ( Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

Remote West Texas Gets A New 80 Acre Landfill To Serve Its Expanding Oil Industry

By Mitch Borden

The oil field waste disposal industry in the Permian Basin is growing fast, as the oil and gas industry continues to see an upswing in production. As more and more oil wells are drilled more toxic by-products are being created.


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Thu. Jun 13 Interview: Border Journalists Alfredo Corchado And Angela Kocherga; Writer Toni Jensen On Gun Violence, Fracking, And Sex Trafficking

Alfredo Corchado (David Spuro), Angela Kocherga (Patty Aleman)

Alfredo Corchado and Angela Kocherga

Carlos Morales talks to journalists Alfredo Corchado and Angela Kocherga. They’ve both spent their life’s work covering the U.S.-Mexico border.

Alfredo Corchado is the border correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and is the author of Midnight in Mexico and Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration.

Angela Kocherga is a journalist who’s worked in radio, tv, and print. She’s currently covering the border for the Albuquerque Journal.

They discuss their work as journalists, immigration policy, and the roots of the mass migration from Central America.



Toni Jensen (Sophia Spirlock)

Toni Jensen

For the second part of the show, Rachel Monroe talks to Lannan writer-in-residence Toni Jensen.

They talk about Carry, Jensen’s forthcoming memoir-in-essays about gun violence. They also discuss Cowboyistan, Jensen’s forthcoming fictional novel that looks at the links between fracking and sex trafficking.

Jensen currently teaches at the University of Arkansas and at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

She will read at the Crowley Theater on Sunday, June 16 at 6 pm.

West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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Big Bend, West Texas’ Sprawling And Historic National Park, Turns 75

By Carlos Morales

It’s time to blow out the candles. Big Bend National Park—home to 800,000 acres of sweeping Chihuahuan desert landscapes, imposing mountains, wiry cacti and an international boundary in the Rio Grande—is turning 75.

The park was established on June 12, 1944, a mere week after Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II. The late 1930s and 40s were crucial moments in the park’s development when the state began seeking out land in the Big Bend from area ranchers. The State of Texas allocated an estimated $1.5 million to buy hundreds of thousands of acres and soon deeded the land to the federal government.

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Gov. Greg Abbott Signs $11.6 Billion School Finance Measure Into Law

By Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law one of lawmakers’ biggest achievements this year, a massive overhaul of Texas’ long-beleaguered school finance system.

Abbott put his signature on House Bill 3 during a triumphant ceremony Tuesday at Parmer Lane Elementary School in Austin. The governor was flanked by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and several lawmakers involved in the effort.

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Two Years Later, What’s Up With The Trans-Pecos Pipeline?

By Sally Beauvais

It’s been over two years since the Trans-Pecos Pipeline went into service in remote West Texas, amid eminent domain lawsuits and backlash from industry opponents.

Because of market forces, the pipeline — which was built to export US natural gas to Mexico — has sat largely idle since then. Despite the slow start, environmental advocates say it’s leading to more oil and gas development in previously untouched parts of the region.

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Trump Backs Off Tariff Threat, Says Mexico Will Help Stem Tide Of Central American Migrants Headed For The U.S.

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump announced Friday evening that his administration has reached a deal with the Mexican government over immigration and the punitive tariffs he threatened to impose on Mexican imports have been postponed indefinitely.

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