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Energy Boom, Light Pollution Threaten Astronomy In West Texas

Bill Wren
A glow over the northern horizon at McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis,Texas. The light is generated by round-the-clock oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin.

Fronteras: The energy boom in Texas and New Mexico is inadvertently compromising the jet-black night skies that astronomers need to do their research. After several decades in the doldrums, the Mexican film industry is seeing some light on the horizon. There’s been a rise of federal immigration crimes -- we speak to an expert from Pew Research about what’s driving that growth. Farmers and ranchers from across the nation are calling for action on immigration reform and the Texas Farm Bureau is asking Congress to “get ‘er done” to help farmers compete.

West Texas Energy Boom A Threat To Astronomy

World class observatories such as Mt. Wilson near Los Angeles and Palomar near San Diego are now surrounded by urban light where jet black night skies used to be. Now, the McDonald Observatory in remote West Texas, home to the largest telescope in North America, is suddenly dealing with unwanted light.

But Fronteras Desk reporter Lorne Matalon says the observatory is trying to convince industry to retool using a relatively simple solution.

Pew Research: Rise in Federal Immigration Crimes

Those who are caught trying to cross the southern border illegally are often times returned much deeper into Mexico than they used to be, to discourage people from trying to make the journey back to the United States. Mark Hugo Lopez, the director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Center, said there’s been a rise of federal immigration crimes, and that “unlawful reentry” has been driving that growth. Hugo Lopez joins Fronteras host Crystal Chavez to explain this trend.

Lessons Learned From Yarnell Hill Fire

Since the Yarnell Hill Fire killed 19 firefighters last summer, investigators have written two reports -- one more damning than the other. Homeowners and families of the men who died have filed lawsuits claiming “negligence, carelessness and intentional misconduct.” As we approach what’s expected to be another dangerous fire season, Fronteras reporter Laurel Morales explores what lessons we’ve learned.

Farmers, Ranchers Calling For Immigration Reform

Farmers and ranchers from across the nation are calling for action on immigration reform. The Texas Farm Bureau is asking Congress to “get ‘er done” to help farmers compete. Texas Farm Bureau State Director Russell Boening runs a dairy farm just south of San Antonio in Wilson County. But this week he is in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club to discuss immigration reform.

Boening was taking part in the “I Farm Immigration” Campaign. 70 of the largest agriculture groups in the country joined the Partnership for a New American Economy in a month-long campaign in Washington, D.C. to push Congress for immigration reform. For Fronteras, David Martin Davies spoke with Boening while he was in D.C.

Mexican Cinema Enjoying a Resurgence

Once a thriving industry, Mexican cinema has struggled to compete with the behemoth that is Hollywood. But some observers are seeing a renaissance in a string of box office hits and international awards for Mexican filmmakers. Fronteras reporter Jill Replogle spoke with some people at the San Diego Latino Film Festival about the industry’s trajectory.

Crystal Chavez was Texas Public Radio’s Morning Edition host for three years, until January 2015.