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ON FRONTERAS: Improving Hispanic Health, Buffalo Soldier Descendants, Buddhist New Year In April

Doualy Xaykaothao

-- It’s been more than four years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. More than 11 million people have signed up for health insurance, but there are still Latinos in Texas who are uninsured.

-- In New Mexico, another healthcare dilemma — a behavioral health provider will end its programs just two years after opening, leaving many criminal offenders without services.

-- In far West Texas, the state is full of physical lines — railroads, highways, fences that border sprawling ranches.  But there are also less obvious lines that shape life. Marfa Public Radio has produced a series of stories called Lines in the Land.  One story looks at the descendants of Buffalo soldiers reluctant to acknowledge their ancestors were black.

-- This weekend in Austin, an unusual dance performance showcases people who don’t consider themselves dancers — they’re members of the city’s Forestry Division.  

-- For many Asian people living in the Southwest, mid-April is the official start of the New Year, a date generally based on early agrarian calendars. Here’s more from a Buddhist sect in the state.

Despite Obamacare Many Texas Hispanics Still Have No Health Insurance

Texas is home to nearly half of the 161 “Hispanic Centers” in the U.S., where Hispanics average 56 percent of the population. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings identify Atascosa, Medina, Gonzalez, and Uvalde counties as having among the highest percentages of Hispanics without health coverage. Paul Flahive of Texas Public Radio takes us inside a clinic that hopes to reverse the trend.

LINK: http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/lifeline-hispanic-uninsured/

Trouble In NM After ‘Behavioral Health Shakeup’

Turquoise Health and Wellness is closing its doors this month due to financial struggles. The provider that came in from Arizona to take over one of the 15 agencies across New Mexico has had its Medicaid funding frozen by the state in what’s come to be known as the “behavioral health shakeup.”

District Court judges in Roswell are facing a problem: They can’t order people to get treatment for mental health and substance abuse when there’s no treatment to be found. KUNM’s Marisa Demarco reports on what this means for Roswell and its courts, which have depended on the provider to treat offenders.

LINK: http://kunm.org/post/turquoise-closure-leaves-roswell-courts-scrambling

Buffalo Soldiers And The Heart Of America

In Lines Of The Land, we explored the visible and invisible borders or barriers of the region around West Texas. Marfa Public Radio’s Mia Warren took a look at the intersection of race and generational lines, stretching back to the Civil War.

Here’s the backstory: In 1867, two regiments of black soldiers were stationed in West Texas. They were called “Buffalo Soldiers” by the Native American tribes they fought. Many of those soldiers were former slaves. Warren reports that today, not all of the descendants acknowledge their mixed heritage.

LINK: http://marfapublicradio.org/blog/lines-in-the-land-descendants-of-the-buffalo-soldiers-in-fort-davis/

Footsteps In The Park, Dancing In The Dark

Forklift Danceworks specializes works with non-dancers like firefighters, baseball players, sanitation workers, and now, members of the City of Austin’s Urban Forestry Division, creates unique choreography.

The piece, The Trees of Govalle, includes Urban Forestry employees, the work they do, and the trees they service.  It's also about a particular neighborhood: the Govalle neighborhood in East Austin.

Link: http://kut.org/post/dance-among-trees-govalle

Our Land Of A Thousand New Years

This time every year, things get festive for the Southwest’s Asian populace. There are traditional dances and homemade food sold from small stands. Families do spring cleaning and tell stories. Nheme Manivanh, a community leader helped build the Lao temple in Fort Worth. It’s called Wat Lao Buddhasamarkee, and it’s on three acres, surrounded by farmland. “Long, long time ago, before the Buddhists,” he says, “there was a guy who controlled the whole world. Whoever had problems, they call him.”

KERA’s Doualy Xaykaothao tells the story of a celebration that has many names.

LINK: http://keranews.org/post/storytelling-food-and-music-buddhist-temples-north-texas-month

[Note: Shelley Kofler and Alexis Yancey produced this broadcast. Kadambari M. Wade assisted with web content.  Charanga Cakewalk composed the program’s theme music.]

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.