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West Texas

Plastic Bags Are Killing Horses And Cows Across The State. What's Texas To Do?

Aug 14, 2019
Callie Richmond / The Texas Tribune

Kristie West was driving down the highway in rural South Texas when she saw it.

The drive from her ranch to the nearby town of Poth was usually uneventful. But on that day in 2017, West saw something that made her slam on the brakes of her pickup.

From Texas Standard:

The Ogallala Aquifer is a massive store of groundwater that quenches the thirst of people, crops and livestock throughout the Great Plains. The aquifer extends, roughly, from Midland, Texas, through the Texas Panhandle and all the way to South Dakota. In fact, it's the aquifer that makes the current way of life on the Plains possible. So what happens if it becomes depleted? 

Don't see the graphic above? Click here.

On Friday, President Trump confirmed reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to conduct nationwide sweeps to arrest thousands of undocumented immigrant families that the government says have missed a court appearance or have been issued court-ordered removals from the country.

Shutterstock

Authorities say all five people killed in a fiery crash in southeastern New Mexico's oil country were from Texas, including one person from Arlington.

Associated Press

A former oilfield worker camp off a dirt road in rural Texas has become the U.S. government's newest holding center for detaining migrant children after they leave Border Patrol stations, where complaints of overcrowding and filthy conditions have sparked a worldwide outcry.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET Friday

Bleak scenes of tearful, malnourished children reeking of filth and jammed into frigid, overcrowded quarters have emerged in new accounts from immigrant rights lawyers, who conducted dozens of interviews with children inside Border Patrol stations across Texas.

The descriptions contained in sworn declarations as part of a legal case stand in stark contrast to what was seen when federal officials opened the doors of a Border Patrol facility outside El Paso on Wednesday.

From Texas Standard:

As the gap between the wealthy and poor has grown in places where the cost of living is high, cities across the country have been struggling with growing populations of people experiencing homelessness – people soliciting passersby, sleeping and living on public streets and in parks. In Austin, where the wealth gap has been skyrocketing, so have the numbers of people living on the streets.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre / The Texas Tribune

 

Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

The acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to step down in the coming weeks, according to two agency officials, amid a public furor over the treatment of migrant children in U.S. facilities.

John Sanders is expected to make his resignation effective July 5, according to the officials, who spoke to NPR on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made to agency employees.

The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday he is stepping down as his agency is under siege over the discovery of dozens of children in filthy conditions at one of its stations in Texas.

Associated Press

The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there, caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation.

Today, we’re going to eavesdrop on a conversation between two people in Marfa, TX. It’s part of a new StoryCorps initiative called One Small Step (OSS) that brings together people on opposite sides of the political divide. Through StoryCorps conversations, the OSS Initiative seeks to remind people across the political and cultural divide of our shared humanity.

Associated Press

A legal team that recently interviewed over 60 children at a Border Patrol station in Texas says a traumatic and dangerous situation is unfolding for some 250 infants, children and teens locked up for up to 27 days without adequate food, water and sanitation.

Solar power continues to grow in Texas, new research finds, and that growth is due in part to another renewable energy the state has in abundance: wind.

Texas is hot. That is not news. It has, seemingly, always been hot. Again, not news. Here is some news: A climate scientist visualized the Lone Star State's average annual temperatures. It shows that Texas (which, again – we've covered – is hot) is getting hotter.

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.

Associated Press

Facebook is building a massive solar farm in West Texas that's believed to be one of the largest solar projects in the nation and the social media giant's first direct investment in renewable energy.

From Texas Standard:

Many Millennials, who are often saddled with student debt and face a sometimes shaky job market, have put off large purchases like homes. But that’s not the case in Midland.

In this Friday, March 22, 2019 photo, Allan Votaw, 66, pauses as he recalls and describes the years of abuse he suffered at the Cal Farley's Boys Ranch during an interview at this home in Kingston, Okla.
Associated Press

When Allan Votaw stepped onto Cal Farley's Boys Ranch in Texas in 1957, the 5-year-old hoped he and his two brothers — ages 3½ and 6 — had found a home. Instead, the now-66-year-old says, they found a "horror house" where sadistic staff members whipped children until they were bruised and bloody and children were molested by older kids.

Since then more men have come forward, but the reckoning some had hoped for hasn't happened. 

The space travel company Blue Origin – owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos – launched its New Shepard rocket for the second time this year at its West Texas facility Thursday morning.

Multinational oil giant Chevron will buy the American oil and gas production and exploration company Anadarko Petroleum in a $33 billion cash-and-stock deal that strengthens Chevron's position in the booming Permian Basin.

Despite objections from students and faculty, the University of Texas System Board of Regents on Tuesday unanimously approved Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson as the University of Texas El Paso's new president.

Before the vote, Board Chairman Kevin Eltife said he was confident Wilson would "do an outstanding job." 

An iconic spring-fed swimming pool in West Texas that closed last year for repairs has reopened following $2 million in upgrades.

The congregation of about 1,700 Central American migrants in Piedras Negras, Mexico, this week sparked a swift response from the U.S. Hundreds of Army soldiers and law enforcement personnel tightened security measures in Eagle Pass. Residents accustomed to easy passage between two nations experienced long waits on the bridges, body searches, diminished commerce and unease over the sudden show of armed force in their small town.

The Davis Mountains of West Texas
Sally Beauvais / Marfa Public Radio

Next year, West Texas may become home to a new festival.

Marfa Mayor Ann Marie Nafziger announced at Thursday’s City Council meeting that the organizers hope 5,000 people will attend. That’s more than double the size of Marfa’s population, as well as its largest annual festival, the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love at El Cosmico.

How One Tiny School District In Rural West Texas Is Making It Work

Feb 1, 2019
Rebekah Oñate is the youngest teacher at Valentine Independent School District. Eighty percent of her colleagues are old enough to retire.
Sally Beauvais, Marfa Public Radio

From Marfa Public Radio:

In the tiny West Texas town of Valentine, population 130, there’s no gas station, and it’s a 30-mile drive to the nearest grocery store. But there is a school, and somehow, year after year, it outperforms the state average in academics.

The spring-fed pool, photographed in 2006, at Balmorhea State Park has been closed since last May.
Associated Press

An oil and gas company operating in West Texas has donated $1 million to reach the fundraising goal for repairs to what's touted as the world's largest spring-fed swimming pool.

Jessica Quintanilla, a hydrologist for the Edwards Aquifer Authority, sloshes back onto shore in her black waterproof boots from the middle of this creek just off Scenic Loop Road, south of Grey Forest.

“Next, we have to set up the peristaltic pump,” she said, as she inserts the white, quarter-inch tube she dragged 15 feet back to shore from her water sensor, before flipping on a generator and starting the pump.


On the High Plains in West Texas, hot winds blast through cotton fields as far as the eye can see.

In the middle of it all is a tiny vineyard.

Andis Applewhite is the owner. She's an artist whose family has worked this land for a century. They once planted crops more typical of the neighborhood, like cotton and wheat. Applewhite decided to try something different: She put in a couple of acres of cabernet franc grapes.

From Texas Standard.

Out in the sand dunes of west Texas, a tiny lizard has been wrapped up in a big controversy for years. The four-inch long dunes sagebrush lizard calls the middle of the Permian Basin home, but conservationists have long feared the oil boom there would be detrimental to the lizard’s rare habitat. But in the past year, a new threat has emerged.

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