The United States Postal Service is issuing a Big Bend themed priority mail stamp in 2020. (Photo courtesy of USPS)

U.S. Postal Service Will Issue Big Bend Themed Stamp In 2020

By Becky Fogel, Texas Standard, Texas Public Radio and Marfa Public Radio

An iconic corner of Big Bend National Park will soon be featured on U.S. Priority Mail stamps.

The stamp art highlights the Rio Grande as it flows through the limestone cliffs of Santa Elena Canyon. The Big Bend-themed stamp is one of two new stamps the United States Postal Service will release on Jan. 18, 2020. The second one USPS is releasing will feature the Grand Island Ice Caves of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


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Trucks wait in a line to cross into the U.S. from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. (REUTERS/Daniel Becerril)

To Relief Of Texas Business Leaders, Congress Reaches Deal On New North American Trade Agreement

By J. Edward Moreno, Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — Congress reached an agreement with the Trump administration Tuesday on a new North American free trade deal, leading lawmakers and business leaders in Texas to breathe a sigh of relief.


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Blue Origin testing its New Shepard rocket at its Van Horn facility in 2018. (Blue Origin)

Blue Origin Launches New Shepard Rocket Into Space For 12th Time

By Sally Beauvais

Private space flight company Blue Origin successfully launched its New Shepard rocket from West Texas Wednesday afternoon, marking the twelfth test flight for the reusable rocket.

Wednesday’s launch lasted just over 10 minutes, with a maximum velocity of more than 2,200 miles per hour and an estimated peak altitude of around 343,000 feet.


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Balmorhea State Park Pool is fed by the San Solomon Springs, one of the six natural occurring springs located near the community of Balmorhea. (Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public Radio)

Scientists Struggle To Gain Access To Land To Study The Region’s Source Of Ground Water

By Mitch Borden

Concerns around water use in the Balmorhea area have increased in recent years as oil companies, like Houston-based Apache Corporation, have begun drilling near the area’s small farming communities.

With the boost in activity, researchers have been trying to track and understand the water systems feeding the region’s natural springs. But for the most part, they’ve run into roadblocks when it comes to accessing private land to study the sources of the region’s groundwater.


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At the EPIC office in El Paso, volunteers type up the information they gathered during legal screenings at an immigration detention center. (Mallory Falk / KERA News)

Collaborative Aims To Bolster Legal Services For Detained Asylum Seekers In El Paso Sector

By Mallory Falk, KERA

The Otero County Processing Center is a squat, beige facility surrounded by desert, about 30 minutes outside El Paso, in Chaparral, New Mexico. Last fall, a group of volunteers drove out to the site, to meet with some of the asylum seekers detained there.

“We’re truly in the middle of nowhere,” says Elaina Vermeulen, a legal assistant visiting from California.


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A natural gas flare is pictured near Orla, Texas, in 2018. (Travis Bubenik / Courthouse News Service)

Environmentalists Settle Pollution Case Against Texas Gas Plant

By Travis Bubenik, Courthouse News

An environmental group reached a tentative settlement Tuesday in a federal air pollution lawsuit targeting a natural gas plant in the heart of the nation’s largest oilfield.

The James Lake Midstream facility gathers and processes natural gas near the West Texas town of Odessa in the epicenter of the booming Permian Basin oil patch. The Sierra Club first notified the plant of its intention to sue over alleged Clean Air Act violations in March.


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A natural gas flare burns in Pecos County in West Texas. (Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune)

Pipeline Giant Sues Railroad Commission, Alleging Lax Oversight Of Natural Gas Flaring

By Kiah Collier, Texas Tribune

A major pipeline operator is suing the Texas Railroad Commission — the state agency that regulates oil and gas drilling — alleging that it has blatantly disregarded longstanding state law that restricts the controversial and growing practice of burning off natural gas.


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The Otero County Processing Center is one of five immigration detention facilities in the El Paso sector, which spans West Texas and New Mexico. (Mallory Falk / KERA News)

Legal Help Out Of Reach For Many Asylum Seekers In El Paso Sector Detention Centers

By Mallory Falk, KERA

When Jesús Enrique Rodriguez Mendoza turned himself in to immigration officials, he figured he would be detained but assumed it would be for a short time. Instead, he spent nearly two years in an El Paso detention facility.

“You feel like you’re being punished and it’s a horrendous feeling,” he said. It’s not what he expected after fleeing political persecution in Venezuela. 


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Texas Drops Out of Antitrust Case Targeting T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

By Travis Bubenik, Courthouse News

Texas is withdrawing from a multistate antitrust lawsuit seeking to block a proposed $26.5 billion merger of telecommunication giants T-Mobile and Sprint that critics say would raise prices for consumers, particularly those in rural areas who already struggle with access to high-speed internet.

The move follows similar retreats from state attorneys general in Colorado and Mississippi, which each announced settlement deals to exit the litigation in October.

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A 49-Year-Old Man Dies After Backpacking In Big Bend National Park

By Mitch Borden

Over the weekend, a hiker in Big Bend National Park died of an apparent heart attack while exploring the park with friends, according to park officials.

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As Government Prepares To Seize More Land For A Border Wall, Some Texas Landowners Prepare To Fight

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

EL PASO — When David Acevedo attended a meeting with officials from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Webb County last month, he thought he would come away with more information about the Trump administration’s border security plans.

But Acevedo, whose family owns 180 acres of land near the Rio Grande in south Laredo, said the meeting only produced more questions about how the administration was going to move forward with plans it had for the swath of land that’s been in his family for generations.

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Over Count or Under Count? Midland ISD’s Recount Reveals More Problems With The District’s $569 Million Bond Election.

By Mitch Borden

In another dramatic turn of an election that has spilled well beyond Nov. 5, Midland Independent School District’s $569-million bond has now passed by 11 votes. 

The 20-hour recount on Friday came after Midland County election officials released incorrect results of the vote multiple times. The first error came on Election Night when it appeared the bond had passed by a slim margin. However, county officials had omitted hundreds of mail-in ballots, which when accounted for, swayed the election the other way.

Despite the back-and-forth, this week’s recount may provide the biggest twist of the entire election. If correct, the recount shows hundreds of votes included in the county’s totals may never have existed.

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WATCH: Marfa Town Hall On Aging And Dying In The Big Bend Region

By Marfa Public Radio

The Big Bend Sentinel and Marfa Public Radio hosted a town hall on aging and dying in the tri-county area Thursday night. The event featured a panel of West Texans dedicated to serving the needs of seniors and their families.

Seniors living in the Big Bend region struggle to get the care that they need. Many end up having to leave their homes and traveling far away at the end of their lives to seek healthcare.

You can watch the livestream of the entire town hall below. Marfa Public Radio will also broadcast an edited version on West Texas Talk on Nov. 28 and 29.

Were you at the town hall? We’d love your feedback. Click here to tell us what you thought.

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