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On Fronteras: Disease Threatens Deer; Guns In Hospitals, Uranium Pollution

Ryan Poppe
Texas Public Radio

This week on Fronteras: 

--Texas deer breeders worry they’ll be forced to destroy their herds after chronic wasting disease was discovered at one Hill Country ranch.

--Texas open carry advocates say the new laws don’t go far enough – they want guns in hospitals.

-- Texas generates more wind energy than any other state, but there are concerns the state will lose that distinction. Some power generators want to eliminate mandates that require utilities to produce a certain portion of their power using renewable energy.

--In New Mexico, uranium pollution continues to plague the people of the Navajo Nation, 36-years after a nuclear disaster.

Texas Breeders Fear Disease May Force Deer Kill

Deer breeders in the Texas Hill Country are bracing for test results that may force them to destroy their herds at the most lucrative time of the season.

This week Texas Parks and Wildlife euthanized 35 deer taken from a ranch in Medina County.

Chronic Wasting Disease was recently discovered at the ranch and state officials want to know if it’s spreading to other animals.  Hundreds of ranchers who breed deer are concerned they’ll also lose their herds and the state’s $2 billion industry will be ruined.  State officials say they want to prevent chronic wasting disease from moving beyond the captive deer population to animals in the wild. State officials say deer can’t transmit Chronic Wasting Disease to people.  But they’re still cautioning people not to eat the meet of a diseased deer. 

Texas Public Radio’s Ryan Poppe traveled to the heart of deer country where breeders wait anxiously for what comes next.

Here’s the story

Open Carry Advocates Want Guns in Texas Hospitals

Beginning in January licensed firearms owners in Texas can openly carry their handguns in public.   And later next year, owners can carry concealed handguns on state university campuses.  There are, however, a few areas that remain off limits – including hospitals.  Some Second Amendment activists want to change that.  KERA’s Lauren Silverman reports, a North Texas Representative believes staff and visitors to hospitals should be able to carry firearms for self-defense. 

Here’s the story

Uranium Pollution Still Plagues Navajo Nation in New Mexico

In New Mexico there’s a pollution problem that’s lingered for more than three decades.   During the Cold War, the Navajo Nation found itself in the middle of a uranium mining boom. Today, more than 500 mines on the reservation are shut down or abandoned.  KUNM's Ed Williams reports ​​, the pollution they left behind remains and residents say they need help.  

Here’s the story

Here’s The “Buzz” About A New Border Security Weapon

In South Texas, a French wasp has become the new weapon in border security.  It likes to nest in carizzo cane, a bamboo-like reed that can grow 30-feet tall.  Border patrol agents refer to the cane as “Sherwood Forest” because it spreads in dense clusters, making it a great hiding place for migrants crossing into the state. Searching the thick cane has been frustratingly futile for agents and their patrol dogs.   Attempts to get rid of the weed- burning, bulldozing and cutting-, haven’t destroyed it.  Now a Department of Agriculture entomologist wants to kill the carizzo cane biologically with the help of the Arundo wasp from France.  The wasp is about the size of a pinhead.  It lays eggs in the carrizo. Once the larvae hatch, they slice through the plants’ fibers, which stunts their growth. 

Texas Leads In Wind Power, But An End To Mandates Could Change That

Here’s something else you might not know:  Texas leads the nation in wind power production. At least for now.  Some state officials are talking about eliminating renewable energy mandates that force utilities to generate some of their power with solar and wind.  That’s just the opposite of what’s happening in California, where lawmakers want to expand the amount of renewable energy being produced. The push in Texas to relax renewable energy requirements is alarming some investors who want Texas to be an industry leader in the southwest.   Fronteras reporter Lorne Matalon of Marfa Public Radio has the story. 

Here’s the story.

Fronteras is a public radio program about issues along the Texas-Mexico border and changing demographics in the Southwest.  Texas Public Radio’s Shelley Kofler was this week’s host.  She produced the program with Alexis Yancey. 

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.