The BJ Bishop Wetland in Presidio, Texas lies between a water treatment plant and the Rio Grande. The man-made wetland is filled with treated waste water from the plant. Construction is largely funded Congress. A bipartisan bill before Congress proposes to extend federal funding for wetland construction. (Lorne Matalon)

The BJ Bishop Wetland in Presidio, Texas lies between a water treatment plant and the Rio Grande. The man-made wetland is filled with treated waste water from the plant. Construction is largely funded Congress. A bipartisan bill before Congress proposes to extend federal funding for wetland construction. (Lorne Matalon)

Border Wetland Using Treated Wastewater As Congress Considers Wetland Funding

 

PRESIDIO, Texas–A man-made wetland is now under construction on the Rio Grande.

And this new wetland will be the first on the Rio Grande to use treated wastewater to restore habitat.

This comes as Congress is considering a bipartisan bill to extend funding for the construction of man-made wetlands.

The Rio Grande has lost huge swaths of bird and wildlife habitat as water has been diverted for farming and human consumption and the population of the southwest has grown exponentially.

The new man-made wetland leverages geography and a blend of private and federal funding.


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David Arrington in his office in Midland, Texas. Behind him is an original print of Ansel Adams' iconic image Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. It was taken the afternoon on November 1, 1941. (Lorne Matalon/ KXWT)

David Arrington in his office in Midland, Texas. Behind him is an original print of Ansel Adams' iconic image Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. It was taken the afternoon on November 1, 1941. (Lorne Matalon/ KXWT)

David Arrington, Oil Executive, Discusses Energy and Nature Photography

David Arrington, veteran of the energy industry in Midland, Texas, is a self-made oil industry executive. Arrington will discuss fluctuations in the oil and gas business as well as the opportunities implied by a downturn in the price of crude oil.

In addition to Arrington’s views on the oil and gas landscape, we’ll also hear about his love of the work of iconic American photographer Ansel Adams. Arrington is the largest private collector of Adams’ nature photographs in the world.

A man looks at a map of the proposed route for the Trans Pecos Pipeline at an open house hosted by Energy Transfer on April 21, 2015. (Jessica Lutz)

A man looks at a map of the proposed route for the Trans Pecos Pipeline at an open house hosted by Energy Transfer on April 21, 2015. (Jessica Lutz)

The Uphill Battle for Eminent Domain Opponents in Texas

Opponents of the planned Trans Pecos Pipeline have started raising money and consulting with legal experts for a possible battle over private property rights.

While Energy Transfer, the company building the pipeline, says using eminent domain to condemn land for its projects is a “very last resort,” that doesn’t mean it’s out of the question.

Just this year, the company sued 17 landowners in Michigan who refused to give survey crews access to land for a pipeline in the works there.

With all that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at where the law stands on eminent domain in Texas, and how it got there.

The pipeline industry’s fought hard to keep the courts from changing anything about when a company has the right to condemn land.

In 2011, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that landowners can challenge a company’s right to do that. Before, they couldn’t.

But it’s still been an uphill battle for eminent domain opponents.

The big challenge started when a company called Denbury was looking to build a carbon dioxide pipeline through farmland near Beaumont. Landowners said no – so the company sued. The case wound up at the state’s highest court, which said Denbury didn’t have the right to condemn land – that it didn’t qualify as what’s called a “common carrier” by state law.


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Forensic anthropologist Kate Spradley holds the shirt of a deceased Salvadoran migrant. The shirt's discovery set off a chain of events that ended with a successful but rare DNA confirmation of a migrant who perished in Texas after crossing the U.S.- Mexico border. (Lorne Matalon)

Forensic anthropologist Kate Spradley holds the shirt of a deceased Salvadoran migrant. The shirt's discovery set off a chain of events that ended with a successful but rare DNA confirmation of a migrant who perished in Texas after crossing the U.S.- Mexico border. (Lorne Matalon)

Texas Research Advancing Study Of Human Decomposition To Identify Deceased Migrants


This is a two-part series from Fronteras Desk Correspondent Lorne Matalon. Click “continue reading” to find the radio story for part two.

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Brooks County, Texas — 70 miles north of the U.S.- Mexico border — has seen at least 365 migrant deaths since 2011.

Forensic anthropologists in Texas and Arizona are working to identify these migrants and repatriate their remains.

Behind an electronic gate accessed by a key card on a bucolic farm in central Texas, 100 cadavers donated for research by U.S. citizens lie on the ground in different stages of decomposition.

Forensic anthropologist Kate Spradley heads a relatively new project called Operation ID at Texas State University’s Forensic Anthropology Center.

“When someone dies on U.S. soil, it is our responsibility to identify that person,” she said while walking in the shade where cadavers lay on the ground, protected by metal screens.


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Energy Transfer V.P. of Engineering Rick Smith gives an update on the Trans Pecos Pipeline to Brewster County Commissioners on April 28, 2015 (Lorne Matalon)

Energy Transfer V.P. of Engineering Rick Smith gives an update on the Trans Pecos Pipeline to Brewster County Commissioners on April 28, 2015 (Lorne Matalon)

Brewster County Judge Backtracks on “Done Deal” Comment, Pipeline Opposition Begins Fundraising

A week after saying the planned Trans Pecos Pipeline looks to be a “done deal,” Brewster County Judge Eleazar Cano says he’s not so sure that’s the case anymore.

“Well, it’s not over ‘til it’s over,” Cano said at a recent county commissioners meeting after hearing an update on the project from Energy Transfer, the company behind the pipeline. Cano has said he wants to negotiate with the company over the pipeline’s proximity to Alpine.

“The energy folks that were in here, they did provide some hope of some local control that we can still exercise,” Cano said after the meeting.

Just a week before, he’d indicated he was hesitant to come out too strongly against the pipeline, for fear of the pipeline company not being open to negotiations.

For the record, Judge Cano says he’s neither for nor against the proposed pipeline.

In his update to commissioners on Tuesday, Energy Transfer’s V.P. of Engineering Rick Smith said the pipeline route won’t be finalized for at least a month.

The company has said before the route will likely be fine-tuned on a daily basis, as negotiations with landowners continue.


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The growing number of oil rigs pulled in from the oilfield and stored in this lot in Odessa, Texas is a testament to the steep decline in the price of crude oil in the last year.(Lorne Matalon)

The growing number of oil rigs pulled in from the oilfield and stored in this lot in Odessa, Texas is a testament to the steep decline in the price of crude oil in the last year.(Lorne Matalon)

Mexican Venture Capital Seeks Opportunity In Rubble Of Oil Downturn

ODESSA, Texas — Mexican venture capital is hovering over distressed energy companies in the Permian Basin of Texas, the nation’s highest-producing oilfield.

Those companies – including oil and gas drillers, and service companies – crafted budgets when the price of crude oil was 100 dollars per barrel. It’s now in the 50s. And those companies need capital that U.S. banks are sometimes reluctant to give in an oil downturn.

“This is a buyers’ market right now,” said Carlos Cantú, an investor from Juárez.


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Lonn Taylor
The BJ Bishop Wetland in Presidio, Texas lies between a water treatment plant and the Rio Grande. The man-made wetland is filled with treated waste water from the plant. Construction is largely funded Congress. A bipartisan bill before Congress proposes to extend federal funding for wetland construction. (Lorne Matalon)
Neil Gaiman
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Lonn Taylor

KXWT Astronomy Series: McDonald Observatory Superintendent Craig Nance

 

On this episode of our Astronomy Series, Ian Lewis speaks with the new Superintendent of the McDonald Observatory, Craig Nance, about the upcoming Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX), the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope, and ensuring the sustainability of the McDonald Observatory.

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Lonn Taylor

Hinkle and Dean and Giant and Marfa

This week on Rambling Boy, historian Lonn Taylor regales us with stories of Bob Hinkle. Hinkle worked as James Dean’s dialogue coach on the 1956 movie Giant filmed in Marfa, Texas. Hinkle taught Dean to walk and talk like a Texan. The two men, both age 24, became great friends and spent their time in Marfa shooting rabbits and making what would be known as one of Hollywood’s classic films.

To learn more about Hinkle, Taylor suggests reading Bob Hinkle’s autobiography Call Me Lucky: A Texan in Hollywood (University of Oklahoma Press, 2009).

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

West Texas Talk: British Author Neil Gaiman, with One Book Odessa

British author Neil Gaiman is our guest on West Texas Talk. The British author first came to notice as a writer of the comic book series, The Sandman. He’s known for the novels StardustAmerican Gods, and The Graveyard Book. He wrote an episode of Doctor Who and a dramatic radio series called Neverwhere.

He’s speaking tonight at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center. His talk is being hosted by the Odessa Council for the Arts & Humanities and by the Friends of the Ector County Library.

His book Coraline, for children, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, for adults, are featured as this year’s One Book Odessa. It’s Neil Gaiman‘s first stop in West Texas.

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Lonn Taylor

The Czech Accordionist Who Stole Many A Man’s Heart

This week on Rambling Boy, Lonn Taylor waxes nostalgia about his old girlfriend, Texan accordion player Frances Barton. Barton hails from Czech descent, and Taylor uses her heritage to explore the history of Czech culture in Texas from kolaches to polka bands.

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

This is Booster Shot. Today’s topic is exercising at work.

Diana Ruiz runs Community Health at Medical Center Hospital. She says, “People think you have to go to a gym in order to be physically active, and that’s not necessarily true.”

Ruiz recommends 30 minutes of physical activity per day, and it can all be done at work.

“Break it up into three 10-minute intervals,” Ruiz suggests, “and that should be done about every three or four hours. Take a brisk walk around the block, take the stairs a couple of flights up and down, whatever it is you can do in your own worksite. But make sure that your heart rate really does get up in that 10 minutes.”

Another recommendation is walking meetings.

“So let’s say you really need to visit with someone at work, rather than sitting at your desk and sending an email, call them, and say, ‘Hey, let’s meet outside at the front door. Let’s take a brisk walk around. Let’s have a walking meeting.’”

Other ways to fit in exercise are taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking in the furthest spot from the entrance, and doing 10-minute workout videos online.

“Another option,” Ruiz suggests, “is even at your desk or wherever you might be at work—jumping jacks, calf raises, squats. All of that is completely free, can absolutely be done in 10 minutes, and will most definitely have an impact on your overall health.”

The important thing, Ruiz says, is to find what works for you so you can commit to it. Also, Ruiz points out, it makes sense for employers to create work environments that encourage physical activity.

“Ultimately, the productivity and the health of an organization is dependent on each and every person doing the best that they can at their job,” Ruiz explains. “When you’re not well, when you’re overweight, or you have a chronic condition, you’re just not functioning at your best.”

Of course, a healthy diet and sleep schedule also increase overall health.

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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