U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, left, faces U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in debate at the KENS 5 Studios in San Antonio on Oct. 16, 2018. Tom Reel/POOL/San Antonio Express-News

Beto O’Rourke Swings Harder At Ted Cruz In Second Debate

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his Democratic rival, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, faced off for their second — and maybe final — debate Tuesday night in San Antonio.


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A Health and Human Services-operated tent shelter housing migrant children in Tornillo, TX will remain open until at least the end of the year. (Courtesy HHS)

Tornillo’s “Tent City” Now Holds 1,500 Migrant Children

By Sally Beauvais

The children don’t go anywhere on the grounds unaccompanied. Boys sleep in groups of 20, in rows of insulated tents. In one, shelter Alpha 11, the tightly-made bunk beds are adorned with Halloween decorations. Nearby are shower trailers with hot running water, emergency medical services, and an on-site meteorologist.

Across the country, the government is running out of beds to shelter a record number of detained migrant children currently in its custody  over 13,000 as of October 2. That’s part of the reason kids are still living in tents in Tornillo, the small border town hosting what was supposed to be a temporary installation.


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Left: U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke campaigning in El Paso in 2018; right: Ted Cruz campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 2012. Ivan Pierre Aguirre: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz

Ted Cruz Leads Beto O’Rourke In New Poll By Nine Points

The Quinnipiac University poll also took a snapshot of Texas’ gubernatorial race, showing Republican Gov. Greg Abbott with a prohibitive lead over his Democratic rival, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, 58 percent to 38 percent.

(Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT)

The Deadline To Register To Vote In Texas Is Oct. 9. Here’s Everything You Need To Know.

Oct. 9 is the last day to register to vote in the November elections in Texas. It’s also the last day to update your address if you’ve moved since the last time you voted.


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Artist Boyd Elder, celebrating a pledge drive for Marfa Public Radio in April 2013 (Tom Michael / Marfa Public Radio).

Valentine’s Boyd Elder Has Died At Age 74

Legendary West Texas artist Boyd Elder has died.

His daughter, Shaula Elder, confirmed the 74-year-old’s death on Facebook Saturday night.

“The rumors are swirling about our father passing into the cosmos,” the post reads. “It breaks my heart to say it is true. He is stardust.”


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(Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

How Did West Texas Ranches Get SO BIG?

In Texas, 95 percent of the land is privately owned, much of it by ranchers. And if you drive out West, the swaths of private land holdings get even bigger. But how did these parcels of land get to be … Continue reading

Gage, Maggie, and Abby Nelson (Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public Radio)

What Midland’s Growing Pains Mean For Families Settling in the Permian Basin

By Diana Nguyen and Carlos Morales

In the early twentieth century, oil and gas companies began building housing for their workers and their families. The housing — often in remote stretches of Texas — had many of the amenities a family could want.

But for some moving to the country’s oil and gas hub today, things can be a little more complicated. A tight housing market and stretched resources are testing the likelihood of families settling in Midland.


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Broadcast disruptions in the Basin

A note to our valued Midland and Odessa listeners.  Problems with regional Fiber Access Internet have momentarily disrupted our broadcast signal in the Basin.   We’re hoping to be back on the air shortly.  Thanks for your support and patience!

Ohio Oil Company Camp in Iraan, Texas (Photo courtesy of The Petroleum Museum, Jimmy Parker Collection)

From Family Camps to Man Camps: A Brief History Of Housing Workers In The Oil And Gas Industry

By Diana Nguyen and Carlos Morales

For people working in the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin, finding housing can be a challenge. The blue-collar workforce often ends up in hotels, motels, and so-called man camps. Sometimes, companies even rent blocks of rooms to put their employees up.

But in the past, companies built their own housing, and it wasn’t just for employees — it was for their families, too. Since then, much has changed for workers heading to the Permian Basin to work in the oil and gas industry. 


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In Monahans, it’s not uncommon for people to head to the Ward County Library to use their reliable internet service. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio).

In Rural West Texas, Shaky Internet Service Could Be Fixed With “Fiber Ring”

 In rural West Texas, it doesn’t take much for your internet connection to go down. A pounding rainstorm, heavy winds, construction workers accidentally cutting a crucial cable — all very real scenarios that can leave you without internet for hours. That’s why … Continue reading

Currently, Presidio residents have to drive 85 miles to Alpine or 150 miles to Fort Stockton to get in-person driver's license services. (Sally Beauvais / Marfa Pubic Radio)

Presidio Residents Say Driver’s License Office Closure Sends A Message From The State

By Sally Beauvais

The Texas Department of Public Safety-operated driver’s license office in Presidio closed at the end of August, leaving residents with potentially hundreds of miles to travel to get photo ID or take driving tests.

The closure came at a time when an advisory arm of the Texas Legislature rejected a proposal to close 87 driver’s license offices, including Presidio’s, across the state. The idea was to redistribute resources to more densely populated areas. But lawmakers like State Representative Poncho Nevarez argued that the closures could unfairly impact rural Texans. “We have to absolutely provide people in Presidio with the opportunity to get a driver’s license without having to drive 100 miles to get one,” he argued.

According to DPS, the closure is temporary.


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Federal Officials Unveil Plans For Four-Mile, 18-Foot-Tall Wall On Texas-Mexico Border

The El Paso “wall” — a steel bollard fence — is a reminder that the White House is doing what it can to make good on one of President Trump’s signature campaign promises.

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Tonight Ted Cruz And Beto O’Rourke Meet For First Of Three Debates

Texas Republican Sen.Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger, Congressman Beto O’Rourke will meet tonight in the first of three debates.

Tonight’s 6 p.m. debate in Dallas will focus on domestic policy.

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Thu. Sep 20 Interview: Station Update: Localore, West Texas Wonders, and Our Ancient, Troublesome Transmitter

In this episode, General Manager Elise Pepple joins Diana Nguyen to update listeners on what’s happenin’ at the station.

Here’s what they cover:

  • This year, the station received a grant to host storytelling workshops and events in West Texas. This is made possible through a grant from AIR’s project Localore. Find dates and more information here. To sign up for a workshop, shoot an email to storytelling@marfapublicradio.org.
  • West Texas Wonders is a journalism initiative the station launched this summer. Listeners submit questions, and we investigate. Check out this page to see the stories we’ve produced from this series, or to submit a question!
  • Elise Pepple explains what the deal with our broadcast in Marfa and Fort Davis is. (Hint: We’re using outdated technology.)
  • Membership Drive is just around the corner! Our fall drive will run from Monday, October 1 through Friday, October 5. We’ll cap off the week with a block party at the station during Chinati Weekend’s Made in Marfa that Friday.
  • Did you miss your favorite music show? Don’t fret! You can listen to any program from the past week here. To find shows from our entire archive beginning in April, head over to our mixcloud.
West Texas Talk is broadcast each Thursday at 6:00 PM and each Friday at 9:00 PM.
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Where the West Winds Blow: What Causes the West Texas Windy Season?

For this episode, Nature Notes is teaming up with “West Texas Wonders” – a new reporting series, where listeners ask questions and Marfa Public Radio finds answers. Adele Powers lives in Marfa. “Windy season is the bane of my existence,” … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm
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BBNP’s New Superintendent on Deferred Maintenance, Preservation and Park Safety

Soon, the sprawling 800,000-acre Big Bend National Park will have a new superintendent to guide it and oversee new projects. 

Beginning next week that role will be filled by Bob Krumenaker, a veteran of the of the National Park system. Krumenaker spoke with Marfa Public Radio about the challenges of leading such a massive national park and some ideas he has for its future. 

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