PHOTOS: Mark Russell, Live at Midland College

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who made it out to Mark Russell last night. What a great turnout!

You — our listeners — provide us with the supportive community we need to continue with our programming. If you missed Mark Russell, you can contribute to KXWT by clicking below or calling us at 432-580-9130:

This Weekend Only - Become a member of KXWT for a chance to win an iPad!

This Weekend Only - Become a member of KXWT for a chance to win an iPad!

“Cyber Weekend” Kickoff to our Fall Membership Drive!

The Fall Membership Drive here at West Texas Public Radio runs Friday, September 19th through Friday, September 26th - and to celebrate, we’re giving away an iPad!


This is the engraving on the back of the 16GB iPad with Retina display and WiFi that you can win this weekend!

Anyone who becomes a member of KXWT online this weekend – Friday, September 19th – Sunday, September 21st,  will be entered into the contest.

Just click here to show your support for non-profit, independent public radio in the Permian Basin, and to enter for your chance to win!

We’ll announce the winner on Monday at 5 PM.

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Gap in the border wall, Fort Hancock, Texas-El Porvenir, Chihuahua (Lorne Matalon.)

Gap in the border wall, Fort Hancock, Texas-El Porvenir, Chihuahua (Lorne Matalon.)

With Claims of ISIS at the Border, a Shift in Border Politics

This year’s surge of Central American migrants across the southern border has put border security back at the forefront of national politics.

But with the number of migrant crossings on the decline, and the US stepping up its offensive against the so-called Islamic State – or ISIS – conservatives in Texas are now worried about terrorists crossing the border.

Some are now shifting the conversation to again call for tighter border security.

If you want to know how exactly ISIS went from being a far-off terrorist group plaguing Iraq and Syria just a month ago to allegedly an impending threat on the Texas border this month, you can basically trace a straight line from a recent New York Times article back to a report from the conservative website Judicial Watch in late August.

That’s where most of the recent fears about ISIS on the border stem from. The website claimed “high-level” law enforcement officials were warning of an “imminent” attack on the border.

Politically, the timing couldn’t have been better for those calling for tougher measures on the border. National Guard troops deployed by Governor Rick Perry had just started arriving in South Texas , a sign that conservative leaders were finally taking action to deal with illegal immigration, and Perry had that same week told reporters it was a “very real possibility” that ISIS had already hopped over the river.

“Certainly, there is great concern that the border between the United States and Mexico is unsecure, and we don’t know who’s using that,” Perry said at a Heritage Foundation event in Washington.

Despite that warning, the governor was quick to note there was “no clear evidence of that.” And that’s what homeland security officials say, too.

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(Fábio Pinheiro / Todd Wiseman)

(Fábio Pinheiro / Todd Wiseman)

Midland ISD Developing “Petroleum Academy”

MIDLAND – As this Permian Basin city continues to thrive amid an oil boom transforming the region, local drilling companies have faced challenges in recruiting workers to come to West Texas.

But the local school district plans to implement a program that could provide a homegrown solution to those labor concerns.

Pending school board approval, the Midland school district will launch a pilot program in January for its “petroleum academy” for high schoolers. It will include state-approved courses for students who want to work in the oil industry immediately following graduation and those who wish to obtain a college degree in a related field. The district plans to roll out the academy next fall.

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Governor Rick Perry on hand at the unveiling of a mockup of XCOR's "Lynx" spacecraft at MAF in 2012.

Governor Rick Perry on hand at the unveiling of a mockup of XCOR's "Lynx" spacecraft at MAF in 2012.

Midland Airport Gets the Go-Ahead to Launch Space Flights

On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration approved a spaceport license application for the Midland International Airport (MAF), making the airport the first of its kind to be federally-licensed for commercial air and space flights.

“We are the 9th spaceport in the United States, but the first one that [also] has commercial service operations,” says Marv Esterly, Director of Airports at Midland International.

Esterly was on hand in Washington, D.C. to accept the license approval.

The Midland Development Corporation (MDC) announced the news Wednesday morning, noting that the airport will now be called the “Midland International Air & Space Port.” The MDC tweeted a photo of Esterly in Washington:


Esterly says the news is “truly exciting,” and that the arrival of the private space industry to Midland could mean new revenue streams for the airport.

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The study explored different scenarios that may have accounted for elevated methane in the groundwater. (Thomas Darrah/OSU)

The study explored different scenarios that may have accounted for elevated methane in the groundwater. (Thomas Darrah/OSU)

Research Links Drilling Activities to Water Contamination in North Texas

For years, some residents of Parker County in North Texas have believed that nearby gas drilling was responsible for high levels of methane in neighborhood water wells. Research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences appears to back that up.

The study looked at water contamination in Texas and Pennsylvania. It suggests that faulty cement jobs on drilling wells could be at fault in North Texas. Cement is poured between the rock wall and the steel tubing of oil and gas wells to block contaminants.

“We think either there isn’t enough cement in this location or more likely there are cracks or imperfections in that cement. That’s what allowed the strong gas to move up through the well and then out into peoples drinking water,” says Robert Jackson, a professor of environmental sciences at Stanford, who co-authored of the study.

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A guard stands wait outside of the deportation processing center in San Salvador. Jose was bused here in August after being caught in Mexico. (Jude Joffe-Block)

A guard stands wait outside of the deportation processing center in San Salvador. Jose was bused here in August after being caught in Mexico. (Jude Joffe-Block)

The Day After Deportation: Salvadoran Teen Returns To The Town He Fled

American immigration courts are gearing up to decide the fate of tens of thousands of children from Central America who came to the United States border in recent months. Meanwhile, Mexico has been cracking down on these migrants en route north, and is already sending children back to their home countries.

REPORTING FROM EL SALVADOR — There’s an important bridge in this rural town in the Salvadoran state of La Paz.

Locals say the bridge divides the town between two rival gangs, on one side a gang tied to MS-13, and on the other, one affiliated with Calle 18 — commonly translated as the 18th Street gang.

These gangs originated in Los Angeles and have overrun El Salvador.

On the day that we visited this bridge, a man on a bike rode up, staring at us. He was wearing the white Nike shoes that only gangsters wear here. He stopped near us, still staring, and made a call on his cell phone.

This seriously spooked our driver, who is from the capital San Salvador. He motioned for me to stop recording and get in the car.

We drove away quickly to avoid any possible trouble.

But for many who live here, getting away from the gangs isn’t so simple.

“The way things are now, going out into the street means danger, or death,” said José, a 16-year-old from this town who tried escaping to the United States twice this summer.

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This Opera Star Is Tired of Texas Stereotypes

The Midland Odessa Symphony and Chorale begins its 52nd season on Saturday, Sept. 13, with an opera performance by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Tom Michael reports on this West Texas connection to the wide world of opera.

Susan Graham is known as “America’s Favorite Mezzo.” She’s won a Grammy Award and she’s sung at every major opera house in the world.

“You know when I was young, part of what attracted me to be an opera singer was that it seemed impossible.”

That impossible dream began in West Texas. Today Graham is known as an expert in the French repertoire. France even awarded her with the Legion of Honor.

“You know when you’re a kid and you dream of things very far away from West Texas. Mine always seemed to have an Eiffel Tower in it.”

Graham gets back to her hometown of Midland when she can. Her mother lives there. In 2006, the mayor proclaimed the 5th of September as Susan Graham Day.

“I have my background in Midland to thank for, really, for the life I have now, because I go all over the world to sing opera. Everyday is a pinch-me moment.”

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Booster Shot: An Examination of Arthritis

This is Booster Shot, your monthly look at personal health. On this show, we talk to Vijay Borra, an orthopedic surgeon at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, about arthritis.

Arthritis is actually a catch-all for more than 100 different diseases and conditions. The two most common are osteoarthritis – caused by wear-and-tear or an injury to your joints – and rheumatoid arthritis – when your body’s immune system attacks the lining around your joints.

Surgery is the last option but for mild cases, over the counter drugs can help with pain and inflammation. Even though it sounds simple, weight loss and regular exercise are recommended to improve flexibility and reduce pain.


This Weekend Only - Become a member of KXWT for a chance to win an iPad!
Gap in the border wall, Fort Hancock, Texas-El Porvenir, Chihuahua (Lorne Matalon.)
(Fábio Pinheiro / Todd Wiseman)
Governor Rick Perry on hand at the unveiling of a mockup of XCOR's "Lynx" spacecraft at MAF in 2012.

KXWT Presents Mark Russell

Comedian and political satirist Mark Russell will be in concert on Thursday, September 18 at 7 p.m. at the Wagner & Brown Auditorium at Midland College.

Tickets are $60 and are general admission.

You can get tickets by calling 432-580-9130
or Click here to purchase them online.

*All proceeds from this will benefit KXWT 91.3 FM

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(Nick Knupffer via Flickr)

President Obama to Address Nation on ISIS at 8 PM

We will carry President Obama’s address to the nation on the U.S. strategy for dealing with the Islamic militant group ISIS (also known as the Islamic State or ISIL) this evening. The president is expected to speak at 8 p.m. CST.

You can hear the speech by clicking here, or by tuning into 93.5 FM or 91.7 FM in Alpine.

You can also find live streaming video through the official White House website here, or online from most national news outlets.

We will resume our regular broadcast schedule when the president concludes his speech.

NPR’s Greg Myre reports on the approach the president is likely to take in combating ISIS:

“Obama will be looking to build on this success and is expected to broaden the air campaign in Iraq while possibly extending it to Syria. In both countries, Islamic State fighters are vulnerable and exposed when moving over flat desert terrain to and from the cities they control along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

But air power has its limits. Bombing alone is unlikely to chase the Islamic State out of big cities like Mosul, and the president has emphatically ruled out sending in ground troops.”

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Toys and toiletries left behind by migrants moving across the banks of the Rio Grande River near Hidalgo, Texas. (Mónica Ortiz Uribe)

Multiple Reasons Drive Decrease In Central Americans At The Border

NEAR HIDALGO, Texas —People in South Texas are still catching their breath after the recent surge of illegal border crossers from Central America. That sudden spike has declined significantly since the peak of summer.

Cicadas hummed and giant reeds rustled at the banks of the Rio Grande. The faint jabber of a loudspeaker echoed from a nearby Mexican village known as a staging ground for migrants headed north. Below, a trail cut through the thick brush on both sides of the river bank, evidence of human movement.

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Texas MountainTrail

Texas Mountain Trail’s Community Calendar

From a disc golf tournament to Grandparents of the Year awards, check out all the best events from the Basin to the Border. This calendar is underwritten by Texas Mountain Trail.

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Libby Campbell, executive director of the West Texas Food Bank and Robert Manelis, GM Permian Production Unit at BHP Billiton.

BHP Billiton Announces Partnership with West Texas Food Bank

Robert Manelis, general manager of the Permian Production Unit of BHP Billiton, sat down to talk with KXWT General Manager Tom Michael to talk about two big philanthropic announcements the company made that support the work of the West Texas Food Bank.

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