Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is hosting three roundtable discussions this week on guns and school safety. (GABRIEL C. PÉREZ / KUT)

Here Are 22 Ideas Gov. Abbott Shared For Stopping School Shootings

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is hosting three roundtable discussions this week in response to the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. The first roundtable, held Tuesday, focused on “school and community safety.”

The meeting was private, but afterward Abbott read reporters “a list of suggestions and ideas that came out of” the discussions.

He said these ideas will help Texas lawmakers come up with new policy to stop gun violence.

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David Suro, restaurateur and tequila producer, is among the founders of the Tequila Interchange Project. Suro and his partners argue that the future of agave spirits – and of agave itself – depends on a respect for the plant’s ecology, including its intimate link with two species of “agave bats.” Suro, and fellow Tequila Interchange Project founder and bat scientist Rodrigo Medellín, will speak at the upcoming Agave Festival Marfa.

Tequila Interchange Project Says Future of Agave Spirits Must Be “Bat-Friendly”

It’s been a staple for as long as people have lived within its range. From Texas to the Mexican interior, agave has been food, fiber and drink, and its distilled spirits – tequila, mezcal – have been called “the spirit … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm, and again on Thursdays at 7:06 pm.

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As Drought Spreads Across Texas, Ranchers Are Forced to Liquidate Their Stock

One Panhandle ranch manager is liquidating 90 percent of his cattle, because there’s not enough grass to support them.

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Author Melissa del Bosque will speak Saturday May 26 at 6:00 PM at the Crowley Theater. (Photo Courtesy of del Bosque)

Melissa del Bosque Discusses her Book “Bloodlines” in Marfa on Saturday

This weekend, award winning investigative journalist Melissa del Bosque will read from her book Bloodlines at the Crowley Theater in Marfa at 6 PM. 

She has written about the U.S.-Mexico border since 1998 for various media outlets, including The Texas Observer, the Guardian, and Time.

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The US 67 Corridor Master Plan public meeting in Marfa. (Carlos Morales for Marfa Public Radio)

Concern and Optimism Surrounds the US 67 Corridor Master Plan

Last week, the Texas Department of Transportation hosted a series of meetings to gather public input about a major West Texas roadway — US 67. To some, it’s a welcome conversation about making this traveled path safer. But for others, the renewed talks are reminiscent of a contentious study years ago.

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Lupe Valdez gives her victory speech after defeating Andrew White in the Democratic runoff for governor on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. (Photo by Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune)

Lupe Valdez becomes first openly gay and first Latina candidate to win a major party nomination for Texas governor

After swapping leads early in the Democratic gubernatorial runoff, Valdez pulled ahead of White and will face incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott.

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Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

U.S. House Rejects Farm Bill With Controversial Changes to Food Assistance

The legislation would have restricted eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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Calvary Crossroad Church, seen two days after Friday’s deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School. (Travis Bubenik/Houston Public Media)

Santa Fe Church Community Reflects On Texas Shooting

Rocked by Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School, the religious community is looking for answers. Some faith leaders and churchgoers say prayer needs to return to school.

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Waste Control Specialists' Federal Waste Facility in Andrews County (Courtesy of Waste Control Specialists)

Andrews’ City Manager Glen Hackler on High-Level Nuclear Waste

Earlier this month, the House of Congress passed a bill to move forward on plans for building out the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada. Some legislators hope this will be the final home for the country’s nuclear waste — a problem the federal government has struggled with for several decades. The overdue decision hangs in a political balance, with Senate approval uncertain. 

The Department of Energy is also tasked with finding “interim” homes for the high-level nuclear waste. In this case, “interim” means anywhere from sixty to a hundred years. 

One of those potential sites is in Andrews County, Texas, where the company Waste Control Specialists already operates a low-level nuclear waste site. In 2016, WCS submitted an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store high-level nuclear waste. The company halted the review after financial concerns, but have resumed the licensing process once again. Although some Andrews’ County officials have expressed support of the project, not everyone is convinced. 

Andrews City Manager Glen Hackler says there simply isn’t enough information about the project. “It needs to have the right geology, the right science, and the proper regulatory oversight,” Hackler says. “That’s the official position of the city of Andrews as the governing entity.”

Photo courtesy of Ector ISD

Ector Middle School May Secure Non-Profit Charter Partnership

Ector County Independent School District is getting closer securing a partnership with a non-profit organization that could take over operations for Ector Middle School next year. 

The ECISD Board of Trustees approved an agreement last month with Ector Success Academy Network – the entity that would operate the school as a charter beginning Fall 2018.

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Democratic candidates for governor Andrew White (left) and Lupe Valdez (right) hold a debate at St. James Episcopal Church in Austin on Friday, May 11, 2018. (Photo: Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune)

Lupe Valdez, Andrew White clash over abortion, immigration in debate

The Democratic runoff candidates for governor sparred Friday evening over abortion and immigration in their first and likely only debate before the May 22 election.

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The spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park in West Texas. (Travis Bubenik/KRTS)

With State Park Pool Closed, Balmorhea is in For a Long, Hot Summer

The community, which depends heavily on the pool to attract tourists, is currently benefiting from the Permian Basin oil boom.

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On a map of Highway 67 drivers write out potential changes, like rest areas and passing lanes. (Carlos Morales / KRTS)

TxDOT Hosts Public Meetings for US 67 Corridor Study

The Texas Department of Transportation is currently in the middle of conducting a two-year study on the Highway 67 Corridor. As tourism and travel along the highway increases, the study aims to identify short, medium, and long term projects for the corridor. 

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In May, Balmorhea State Park began limiting visitors to 1,300 people a day. (Diana Nguyen)

Balmorhea State Park Pool Closes After Structural Damage Found

If you’re in West Texas and planning on making a trip to the largest spring-fed swimming pool in the world, you’ll have to wait.

That’s because Balmorhea State Park pool has been closed  due to “structural failure.”

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Photo by Steve Jurvetson

Environmental groups ask feds to protect threatened West Texas lizard

Two environmental groups asked the federal government on Tuesday to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as threatened or endangered.

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This Week’s West Texas Headlines: Walkouts, Boundary lines and Charter School Proposals

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.

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Dr. Ron Green (Image Courtesy of Southwest Research Institute)

Dr. Ron Green on Understanding West Texas Water

In the early 1950s, over-pumping water in Pecos County led to Comanche Springs drying out. In an effort to not repeat history, researchers are now trying to better understand West Texas’ water systems and how to properly manage them. This research is spurred by growing interest in the Balmorhea area from the oil and gas industry.

Dr. Ron Green is a groundwater hydrologist with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. He joined us to talk about the current understanding of water systems in West Texas, and some of the research that will happen in the near future. 

Manny Varona-Torres and Dr. Zacariah Hildenbrand (Diana Nguyen for Marfa Public Radio)

U.T. Arlington’s C.L.E.A.R. is Researching Produced Water Recycling

The upswing of oil and gas production has spurred scientists and researchers to look at ways to diminish the potential impact of oil and gas production on water resources. In West Texas, part of the solution could mean finding effective ways to recycle produced water — waste byproduct made during oil and gas production.

Diana Nguyen speaks with Dr. Zacariah Hildenbrand from the Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis Remediation(C.L.E.A.R) about recent research on recycling produced water. The organization partnered with the company Challenger Water Solutions to conduct this research, which Hildenbrand says has been successful.

“The implications for this are…to improve environmental stewardship, but also to save companies money in their operating costs,” Hildenbrand says.

He joined us to talk about the research, its implications, and the water monitoring C.L.E.A.R has been conductingin Balmorhea since 2016.

‘Jade Helm’ Conspiracy Theories Were Part Of Russian Disinformation Campaign, Former CIA Chief Says

The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency says the hysteria over a 2015 U.S. military exercise in Central Texas, known as Operation Jade Helm 15, was caused or fed by Russians working to use information warfare.

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What To Expect During The NRA Convention In Dallas This Weekend

Tens of thousands of people, including the president, vice president and top Texas elected officials, are gathering in Dallas later this week for the National Rifle Association’s 147th annual meeting. And protesters will be active throughout.

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Thu. May 3 Interview: Music and Community in Terlingua

On this episode, William “Chase” Peeler talks about his research on music and its vital role in community and identity building in Terlingua. Peeler received his doctorate in ethnomusicology at the University of Colorado Boulder. His dissertation is called “On the Porch: Music and Community in Terlingua, Texas.” He is currently working on turning his research into a book.

Peeler discusses the uniqueness of the inclusive participatory music scene in the town. “You have people who have only been playing their instruments for a matter of weeks playing right along side people who have been playing for decades,” he says. “That’s a really special thing that doesn’t happen often enough, but it should.”

Peeler also discusses some of the changes residents are experiencing in south Brewster County.

West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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Texas and 6 other states sue to end DACA

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing to fight an Obama-era immigration measure that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants nationwide from deportation.

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On this edition of The Rambling Boy, Lonn gives his thoughts on walls of all shapes and sizes – From the Great Wall of China to proposed, modern-day iterations.

The Rambling Boy is broadcast Monday evenings after the 7 pm newscast.
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