A water storage bucket near Presidio, Texas; the Texas Secretary of State says 38,000 Texans living in border settlements known as colonias have no running water. The Obama Administration proposes that the four border states receiving federal funding for low income housing increase the amount those states spend for colonia improvement. (Lorne Matalon)

A water storage bucket near Presidio, Texas; the Texas Secretary of State says 38,000 Texans living in border settlements known as colonias have no running water. The Obama Administration proposes that the four border states receiving federal funding for low income housing increase the amount those states spend for colonia improvement. (Lorne Matalon)

Federal Budget Proposal: Funding Increase For Border Colonias

PRESIDIO, Texas–Thousands of mostly poor Hispanic people live in border communities called colonias with no access to running water or electricity.

Now, the Obama administration wants the four border states that receive federal funds for colonia improvement to increase spending there by 50 per cent.

The announcement comes as scientists say potential health consequences of living in colonias are too severe to ignore.


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U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signs an update to the 1999 U.S.-Mexico Wildfire Protection Agreement with her Mexican counterpart, Juan José Guerra Abud, Mexico's Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) on her left. (Lorne Matalon)

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signs an update to the 1999 U.S.-Mexico Wildfire Protection Agreement with her Mexican counterpart, Juan José Guerra Abud, Mexico's Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) on her left. (Lorne Matalon)

Boquillas Two Years On: Rebuilding A Border Economy

BOQUILLAS, Coahuila — A border crossing that’s seen as part of a template to rescue damaged, rural economies along the Rio Grande has marked its second anniversary.

The symbolic importance of the crossing that links Big Bend National Park in Texas to Boquillas del Carmen, Coahuila was heralded by a visit from cabinet secretaries from the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico was also on hand.

After 9/11, security concerns translated into enforcement of laws that had rarely been largely overlooked before. That meant the age old practice of walking across this sinewy slice of the Rio Grande was banned.

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KXWT Vintage Radio

Thanks for Your Support!

All of us here at West Texas Public Radio would like to thank each and every one of you who contributed to our Spring Membership Drive.

Your direct listener support keeps the “public” in “public radio” here in West Texas. This station simply wouldn’t be on the air without you!

A huge thanks as well to our listener-members who contributed special matching funds during the drive and helped you double the impact of your donation:

– H&S Valve
– Attorney Robert White
– Jim & Donna Byerlotzer
– Midland Root Beer
– AIM Bank
– Joe James & Cecilia Camarillo of the Joe James Salon and Day Spa
– Whitehouse Meat Market
– Glenn Rogers
– Betsy Triplett-Hurt
– Dr. Steve Cobb, DDS
Dr. Matthew Furst
– Lee Anna Good
– Royce and Judy Mitchell
– Rosa’s Cafe
– Ryan and Deanna Hoerauf
– Odessa Regional Medial Center

Remember, there’s always time to donate if you missed the on-air drive!

Just click here, or mail back that envelope with the KXWT logo on it, to 2000 E. 42nd St., Ste C-193 Odessa, TX 79762.

Two drivers, both dual U.S.-Guatemalan citizens leave Texas for a week long trip through the Mexican states of Tamauplias, Veracruz and Chiapas. Both say their desire to provide for their families in Guatemala trumps security concerns about traveling through Mexico. (Lorne Matalon)

Two drivers, both dual U.S.-Guatemalan citizens leave Texas for a week long trip through the Mexican states of Tamauplias, Veracruz and Chiapas. Both say their desire to provide for their families in Guatemala trumps security concerns about traveling through Mexico. (Lorne Matalon)

From U.S. Junkyards to Guatemala: Border Caravans Sustain One Local Microeconomy in Central America

MARFA, Texas–Old cars that have little resale value in the United States are being towed in caravans that begin in California, Arizona and Texas and end up in Guatemala.

The cars are also loaded up with old bicycles, recycled car batteries and clothing that have been jettisoned in the United States.

The vehicles are fixed up in Guatemala and sold across Central America.

The process represents a small but sustainable economy in one particularly impoverished section of Guatemala on that country’s northern border with Mexico.


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Early Monday morning view of a grass fire burning in the Puertacitas Mountains between Marfa and Fort Davis. (Tom Michael / KXWT)

Early Monday morning view of a grass fire burning in the Puertacitas Mountains between Marfa and Fort Davis. (Tom Michael / KXWT)

Wildfire Burning in Mountains South of Fort Davis

This is a developing story. We’ll update this post with information as we receive it.

Monday, March 30, 3:30 pm

The wildfire in the Puertacitas Mountains south of Fort Davis and north of Marfa has essentially come under containment, as of Monday afternoon. The grass fire, which consumed some 700 acres, is expected to burn out. Area ranchers will continue to monitor it.

Monday, March 30, 10 am

The grass fire burning in the Puertacitas Mountains south of Fort Davis and north of Marfa had at last report grown to between 600 and 700 acres in size, but was 60% contained Monday morning, according to Jim Fowler with the Fort Davis Volunteer Fire Department (FDVFD).

“Most of the burning is occurring near the peak of the mountain,” Fowler said. Crews are now returning from fighting the fire but will continue to monitor it.

“All fire department personnel have come off the line and are returning to the station,” Fowler said. “The rancher will continue to monitor the fire.”

Firefighters were briefly dispatched back to the scene at 10 a.m. this morning, after having left the fire at 4:30 for a few hours of sleep. Crews were on hand throughout Sunday night.

The fire grew from an initial size of about 100 acres Sunday evening. It was burning Monday morning in the Puertacitas Mountains five miles away from the Mano Prieto subdivision, but Fowler has said there is “no danger” to area residents at this time.

“Cooler temperatures and high humidity have kept the fire down,” Fowler said.

Monday, March 30, 7 am

The flames have been mostly concentrated at higher elevations. Though Fowler says there has been some minor burning of grasses below the mountain tops, there still is no immediate danger to area residents.

In our original posts (below), we reported the fire was mostly contained on its southern and western flanks, and more actively burning on its northern and eastern flanks. Fowler tells us this morning that has since flipped – fire crews are now focused on controlling the southern and western flanks.


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Neil LaRubbio on the job site (Neil LaRubbio)

Neil LaRubbio on the job site (Neil LaRubbio)

Ran Off The Rig: An Oil Worker’s Diary

PRODUCER’S NOTE: When oil prices fall, like they’ve done over the last six months, one of the first things oil companies do is cut back on workers and on the number of drilling rigs. That’s happening around the country: There are about half as many rigsin March as there were last September. Fewer rigs means more competition for jobs on drill sites. We asked Neil LaRubbio to tell us what it’s like to be one of those oil workers fighting to keep his place in the industry. His account is below.

I’ve spent two years living on an oil well pad in a single-wide trailer as cramped like an airplane fuselage. A constant drone of diesel engines seems to cordon us off from the outside world.

I survey oil wells, which means I operate a kind of compass that directs the drill bit and maps the rock strata. After setting that compass in the hole, I stare at a computer for hours, as the drill digs its way down. Workers on the well pad call people in my position: “The Movie Watching Dude.”

I share the trailer with another surveyor and two drillers. We can be on the same well pad in the same “fuselage” for months on end. We peck at each other out of insecurity. Or out of boredom. Or just for sport to pass the time.

The oilfield was a reasonably comfortable place to work — the guys on my team are all earning somewhere between $400 to $800 a day — until the end of last year, when oil prices started to tumble. Now, they’re below $50 a barrel.


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kxwt-news

Following Multi-State Man Hunt, Suspect in Jeff Davis County Murder Turns Himself In

March 26, 10 am

Following a multi-state man hunt, Harlin A. Pierce has turned himself into authorities in King George County, Virginia. The 18-year-old was sought as a suspect in the murder of his father, Anton G. Pierce, near Fort Davis, Texas.

For KXWT News, Lorne Matalon spoke with Rod Ponton, 83rd District Attorney, who said Harlin Pierce turned himself in “on the suggestion of a friend.”

Ponton said Pierce had apparently been en route to his mother’s house in northeastern Virginia before turning himself in. Ponton revealed new details about the alleged killing.

“It does appear that Anton Pierce was killed with a single gunshot wound to the head, probably in his sleep,” he said.

Ponton said Thursday morning that the 18-year-old was in custody in Virginia, awaiting extradition procedures to be transferred to Jeff Davis County in Texas for prosecution for murder.

For days, law enforcement was actively searching for Harlin Pierce of Jeff Davis County in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. An arrest warrant was issued for the 18-year-old on Thursday, March 19.

The killing allegedly occurred in the Davis Mountains Resort subdivision, northwest of Fort Davis, on or around that date.

The Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Office said Harlin Pierce was seen in the area of Santa Fe and Denver in recent days, after having left the area driving a blue Volkswagen Jetta with New Mexico license plates.

In initial statements, authorities warned that Pierce should be considered armed and dangerous.

“This man will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for the crime he’s alleged to have committed,” Ponton said.

The proposed routes for two natural gas pipelines from the Permian Basin to Mexico. (Energy Transfer)

The proposed routes for two natural gas pipelines from the Permian Basin to Mexico. (Energy Transfer)

Pipeline Company Landmen Approaching West Texas Landowners

A group of energy companies in the U.S. and Mexico is looking to build two sizeable natural gas pipelines in West Texas that would pump gas to power plants across the border.

We spoke with Big Bend Sentinel reporter Sasha von Oldershausen about developments on one of the pipelines – which would run through parts of Big Bend country.

Landmen representing Trans Pecos Pipeline, LLC. – the company formed to facilitate the project – have begun scouting possible routes for the pipeline, distributing letters to landowners in the Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio County area, asking permission to conduct surveys of their properties.


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A worker transfers crude oil from a truck to a pipeline that sends the oil to several states. The FBI says a recent case involving stolen oil has set a precedent. The courts ruled that the theft of oil by implication meant the oil was destined to cross state lines, meaning the weight of federal law can now be applied to cases that once were tried in state court. Tools and equipment stolen here have also been smuggled to borderland Mexico.(Lorne Matalon)

A worker transfers crude oil from a truck to a pipeline that sends the oil to several states. The FBI says a recent case involving stolen oil has set a precedent. The courts ruled that the theft of oil by implication meant the oil was destined to cross state lines, meaning the weight of federal law can now be applied to cases that once were tried in state court. Tools and equipment stolen here have also been smuggled to borderland Mexico.(Lorne Matalon)

Theft In The Oilfields Of Texas and New Mexico Traced To Borderland Mexico

The decline in the price of crude oil is translating into job losses in the oilfields of Texas and New Mexico.

And that means there’s renewed focus on an ongoing problem in the oilfields, and that’s the theft of oil, tools, piping and copper wire by laid off or disgruntled workers.

The FBI has a team working full-time to identify stolen oilfield equipment which in at least one case was smuggled to borderland Mexico.

“They live paycheck to paycheck,” said Midland County, Texas Sheriff Gary Painter driving past an oil well.


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A water storage bucket near Presidio, Texas; the Texas Secretary of State says 38,000 Texans living in border settlements known as colonias have no running water. The Obama Administration proposes that the four border states receiving federal funding for low income housing increase the amount those states spend for colonia improvement. (Lorne Matalon)
booster-shot-kxwt
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signs an update to the 1999 U.S.-Mexico Wildfire Protection Agreement with her Mexican counterpart, Juan José Guerra Abud, Mexico's Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) on her left. (Lorne Matalon)
KXWT Vintage Radio
A mountain lion licks its paw. (Credit: Tambako the Jaguar)
booster-shot-kxwt

The ABCDE’s of Skin Moles

For Booster Shot this month’s topic is skin moles.

“We always say, as far as melanoma is concerned, look for the ABCDE’s,” said Sarah Fuller, a nurse at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It can reveal itself by an abnormal mole. These moles are often caused by ultraviolet radiation. With summer approaching and sun exposure increasing, it’s good to keep an eye on your moles and apply the ABCDE’s to see if medical attention is needed.

“So A,” Fuller said, “would be if it was asymmetrical. If one side didn’t match the other when it was cut in half.”

B is border. If the border of the mole isn’t clearly defined, if it starts to blur into the skin, that’s something to have checked.

“C is the color,” Fuler continued, “if one side is a different color than the other, if the color appears to change throughout the mole, that’s something you need to have checked by your doctor.”

D is diameter. If the diameter is greater than six millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser, watch out. Those larger moles are much more likely to become cancerous.

“And then E is if it’s evolving,” explained Fuller, “if it starts out as one small, perfectly round mole, and all of a sudden, it’s getting bigger and longer and blurred borders, and all those things, especially if it’s rapidly evolving, we’d want you to seek medical advice over that immediately.”

So in review, seek medical advice if any moles are: asymmetrical, have an undefined border, are multicolored, have a diameter greater than six millimeters, or are evolving. ABCDE.

It’s also good to get a yearly skin check by a dermatologist. In the mean time, you can ask your general practitioner to look at suspicious moles and help you seek further care if needed.

Support for Booster Shot is provided by Medical Center Hospital, the only Level 2 Trauma Center in the Permian Basin. More information at 432-640-6000 or mch odessa (dot) com. Medical Center Health System, “Your One Source for Health.”

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A mountain lion licks its paw. (Credit: Tambako the Jaguar)

The Elusive Mountain Lion

There are about 150 mountain lion sightings in Big Bend National Park each year. In most cases, visitors glimpse the elusive predator from behind the wheel of a car. A lion sighting can be a thrilling and memorable experience. Since … 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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Lonn Taylor

Pedro Infante

Today on Rambling Boy, Lonn remembers the musical and cinematic legacy of Pedro Infante, an actor and singer from the golden age of Mexican cinema.

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

Spring Membership Drive Continues!

Spring is here and love is in the air – love for public radio!

Our Spring Membership Drive continues through Friday – we’ve still got a little bit of work to do to meet our $50,000 goal!

Show your support for non-profit public radio in the Permian Basin by calling 432-580-9130, or toll-free at 800-903-5787. Or just click here to become a member or renew your membership.

Listener support makes up our biggest source of funding, and your contributions go directly into paying for the NPR programs you rely on everyday and our local and regional news efforts.

Find out more about supporting KXWT here, and take a look back at some of the news stories we’ve brought you from across West Texas over the past year.

A very special thanks to some of our biggest fans for offering up matching donation challenges throughout this year’s membership drive:

H&S Valve
Attorney Robert White
– Jim & Donna Byerlotzer
– Midland Root Beer
AIM Bank
– Joe James & Cecilia Camarillo of the Joe James Salon and Day Spa
Whitehouse Meat Market
– Glenn Rogers
– Betsy Triplett-Hurt
Dr. Steve Cobb, DDS
- Dr. Matthew Furst
– Lee Anna Good
– Royce and Judy Mitchell
Rosa’s Cafe
– Ryan and Deanna Hoerauf
Odessa Regional Medial Center

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Lonn Taylor

The Old Timey General Store

This week on Rambling Boy, Lonn Taylor proves the old timey general store lives on by visiting with Kevin and Karen Bark at their thriving general store, Fort Davis Outfitters in Fort Davis, Texas.

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