Radio

Spring Membership Drive: March 25 – April 1

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

Our Spring Membership Drive runs from March 25 to April 1st – but don’t be an April fool and wait ’till the last minute!

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
AIM Bank
– Joe James & Cecilia Camarillo of the Joe James Salon and Day Spa
Whitehouse Meat Market
– Glenn Rogers
– Betsy Triplett-Hurt
– Lee Anna Good
– Ryan and Deanna Hoerauf

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, 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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Radio
Early Monday morning view of a grass fire burning in the Puertacitas Mountains between Marfa and Fort Davis. (Tom Michael / KXWT)
Lonn Taylor
Neil LaRubbio on the job site (Neil LaRubbio)
kxwt-news
Radio

Spring Membership Drive: March 25 – April 1

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

Our Spring Membership Drive runs from March 25 to April 1st – but don’t be an April fool and wait ’till the last minute!

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
AIM Bank
– Joe James & Cecilia Camarillo of the Joe James Salon and Day Spa
Whitehouse Meat Market
– Glenn Rogers
– Betsy Triplett-Hurt
– Lee Anna Good
– Ryan and Deanna Hoerauf

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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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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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turkey vultures

Turkey Vultures

Turkey Vultures are not the most charming harbinger of spring, but are a vital part in nature’s clean-up crew. In a matter of days, they can reduce a decaying body to clean a pile of skin and bones – an … 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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The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, on the evening before the start of SXSW 2015. (Geoff Livingston via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Dispatches from SXSW in Austin

Techies, musicians, film geeks, starry-eyed start-ups and major corporations have descended on the state capital for ten days of networking, creative exchange and, admittedly, a lot of free drinks.

It’s South by Southwest (SXSW) time again in Austin.

Since it’s not exactly a hop and a skip to the festival from West Texas, we’ll be bringing you regular dispatches from our reporter and documentary filmmaker Karen Bernstein.

Check back here or tune in during Morning Edition, weekdays 5 – 9 am, for the latest from the festival’s film, interactive and music events. (And if you’re looking for more ways to experience SXSW without actually being there, NPR has this helpful guide.)

Tuesday, March 24

Today we take a look back at SXSW, which wrapped up on Sunday.

Was the festival bigger this year? Smaller? How has it changed? Those questions and a look at one of the big controversies to hit Austin during this year’s festival.

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booster-shot-kxwt

Booster Shot: Sunscreen

For Booster Shot, this month’s topic is sunscreen.

“I get people all that time that are like, ‘I wear sunscreen every day. I don’t know why these spots are coming up.’ If you’re not using it correctly, it’s not working,” said Sarah Fuller, a registered nurse at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

“It needs to be reapplied every two hours if you’re not getting your skin wet or sweating a lot,” Fuller continued. “If you are sweating a lot, every 40 minutes.”

Fuller recommends at least a 30 SPF when outdoors and 15 SPF when indoors. After all, radiation comes through windows and is emitted by some light bulbs. And that sunscreen should be broad spectrum.

“Broad spectrum means it’s protecting from both UVA and UVB rays,” Fuller explained. “UVB rays are what are responsible for the sunburn. UVA rays though can be just as responsible for premature aging and skin cancer.”

Fuller said it takes most people one ounce of sunscreen to cover their bodies when wearing a swimsuit.

“So most of those bottles are seven ounces,” Fuller said, “so you would need to be using quite a bit. You really need to lather it on.”

Sunscreen only offers so much protection. Other ways to block the sun include wearing a hat and long sleeves, seeking shade, and staying out of the sun between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM when rays are most direct.

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 mchodessa.com. Medical Center Health System, “Your One Source for Health.”

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