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Introducing “Texas Standard” – News, Arts & Culture By Texans, For Texans

There’s a new weekday news, arts and culture program coming to the West Texas airwaves – Texas Standard.

Produced at KUT in Austin, with collaboration from public radio stations in big cities and small towns across the state, Texas Standard brings West Texas listeners a new source for expansive coverage of statewide, national and international news – from a distinctly Texan perspective.

Starting on Monday, March 2 – Texas Independence Day – you can catch the show live each weekday from 10 – 11 am. 

Classical Midday will still air from 11 am – noon each weekday.

In addition to carrying the program, we’ll also be regularly contributing to it – bringing the sounds, stories and unique personalities of West Texas to listeners across the state.

In the meantime, you can check out some of the of innovative radio journalism we’re bringing to West Texas next week. Our reporters have already been featured on the program in recent weeks.


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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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Cars and trucks heading east on Interstate I-10 east of El Paso pass through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas. The county, the first gatekeeper in the state legal system, is not accepting federally initiated drug cases sent to it from the checkpoint. (Lorne Matalon)

Cars and trucks heading east on Interstate I-10 east of El Paso pass through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas. The county, the first gatekeeper in the state legal system, is not accepting federally initiated drug cases sent to it from the checkpoint. (Lorne Matalon)

Texas County Declines To Accept Federal Drug Cases From Border Patrol Checkpoint

SIERRA BLANCA, Texas – A border county in Texas with two U.S. Border Patrol highway checkpoints is refusing to prosecute drug cases previously sent to it from those checkpoints.

The county—and all four states bordering Mexico—wants funding from Washington, D.C. to handle cases that federal prosecutors decide to send to state courts.

But federal money has run dry.

A program that reimbursed California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas for prosecuting federally initiated cases hasn’t been funded since 2013.

The largest of the two federal checkpoints in the county is sometimes dubbed “Checkpoint of the Stars” because people such as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dog (aka Snoop Lion) and Fiona Apple have been arrested here after dogs detected marijuana.


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A Border Patrol veihicle drives past vehicle barriers near Deming, NM. (Jim Greenhill via Flickr/Creative Commons)
Raymond Skiles, the Park's wildlife biologist, has monitored the bird since the 1980s. (Ian Lewis / KXWT)
The KXWT tower in Gardendale, TX. (KXWT File Photo)
A Border Patrol truck traveling on US 90 between Alpine and Marfa. (Armand Morin)
Texas_Standard_Centered_HD

Introducing “Texas Standard” – News, Arts & Culture By Texans, For Texans

There’s a new weekday news, arts and culture program coming to the West Texas airwaves – Texas Standard.

Produced at KUT in Austin, with collaboration from public radio stations in big cities and small towns across the state, Texas Standard brings West Texas listeners a new source for expansive coverage of statewide, national and international news – from a distinctly Texan perspective.

Starting on Monday, March 2 – Texas Independence Day – you can catch the show live each weekday from 10 – 11 am. 

Classical Midday will still air from 11 am – noon each weekday.

In addition to carrying the program, we’ll also be regularly contributing to it – bringing the sounds, stories and unique personalities of West Texas to listeners across the state.

In the meantime, you can check out some of the of innovative radio journalism we’re bringing to West Texas next week. Our reporters have already been featured on the program in recent weeks.

Continue reading

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A Border Patrol veihicle drives past vehicle barriers near Deming, NM. (Jim Greenhill via Flickr/Creative Commons)

DHS Employees Prepare For Possible Shut Down

PHOENIX – The president’s plan to use executive action to help an additional 4 million or so unauthorized immigrants get work permits has its share of opponents.

Among its critics is the union representing some 18,000 Border Patrol agents, the National Border Patrol Council.

Agent Chris Cabrera is with the union in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, which is the busiest part of the border.

“We are out here risking our lives every day,” Cabrera said. “And for someone to come in and throw a de facto amnesty on the table, it just goes against our basic mission as an agency.”

But a fight in Congress over the president’s immigration executive actions is now impacting Cabrera and his colleagues’ wallets.

The Department of Homeland Security, which includes Border Patrol, will run out of funding on Friday.

House Republicans’ funding measure for DHS adds on a provision to end the president’s immigration programs. But Democrats won’t agree to that.

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Raymond Skiles, the Park's wildlife biologist, has monitored the bird since the 1980s. (Ian Lewis / KXWT)

Big Bend National Park Continues Annual Trail Closure To Protect Peregrine Falcons

The peregrine falcons are returning to Big Bend National Park for their breeding season, and the Park, as they have done in previous years, has closed a small section of the South Rim trail of the Chisos Mountains to hikers, to give the birds a quiet and safe place to raise their young.

Every February, Raymond Skiles – the Park’s wildlife biologist – hikes up to the South Rim with trail closure signs, to keep hikers from getting too close to the peregrine falcon’s nesting area.

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The KXWT tower in Gardendale, TX. (KXWT File Photo)

KXWT Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Update 7:30 PM (2/25/15): AT&T resolved its issue and we’re back on-air at 91.3 FM.

We’re experiencing technical difficulties with our 91.3 FM signal this afternoon, but are working as quick as we can to get it back up to speed. Thanks for your patience!

Remember you can still stream us online – just click here – or find us on the NPR News app, TuneIn Radio, or any other mobile online radio app.

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A Border Patrol truck traveling on US 90 between Alpine and Marfa. (Armand Morin)

Border Agents Would Work through a Homeland Security Shutdown

As the showdown in Washington over funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gets closer to a Friday deadline, two lawmakers in Virginia are pushing a last-minute bill that would guarantee that border agents and other homeland security employees receive backpay if a deal isn’t reached by the deadline.

Republican Representatives Don Beyer and Rob Wittman introduced the “DHS Employee Retroactive Pay Act” on Tuesday.

The lawmakers say the bill’s aim is to provide “a degree of certainty” for the department’s employees, who for the most part would be expected to work through a homeland security shutdown.

“[Border Patrol] agents are exempt from furlough, so they will continue to do their jobs,” says Bill Brooks with the Border Patrol’s Big Bend Sector.

Gil Kerlikowske – Commissioner for the Border Patrol’s parent agency Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – is pushing for Congress to come up with a funding solution, saying a shutdown would have “significant” impact on cross-border trade, and on DHS employees directly.

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Classical Pianist Richard Dowling (Peter Schaaf)

KXWT Presents: Classical Pianist Richard Dowling in Midland

Join us for an evening of classical music from Texas-born pianist Richard Dowling in Midland on Wednesday, February 25 at 7 PM. 

Dowling has been hailed as “an especially impressive fine pianist.” Others have praised his work for its “impeccable control of colors and textures” and its “magnetic power.”

His repertoire ranges from Beethoven to Debussy, to the ragtime compositions of Scott Joplin. Dowling is a Texas native who made his orchestral debut with the Fort Worth Symphony at the age of 18. He studied at the Moores School of Music in Houston, and later received his Master’s Degree at Yale University.

The free performance takes place at 7 PM at Saint Nicholas Episcopal Church in Midland – 4000 W. Loop 250 North. No tickets required.

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