Author Archive

Playing By The Rule

Water and where to get it has been an obsession ever since humans arrived in the American West. People have searched, begged, lied, stolen, cheated, killed and been killed for it. Land has been seized, plundered and rendered useless because of it. Riverbeds, lakes and communities have been drained and abused and trivialized into detritus, […]

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Full Stream Ahead

Joe Beal Jr. sat in the boardroom of the Lower Colorado River Authority headquarters in Austin talking about how impressed he was with China. A year earlier, as LCRA general manager, he had traveled to see the recently completed Three Gorges Dam, the largest in the world, on the Yangtze. The construction appealed to the […]

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Park and Parcel

Last summer, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department commissioners contemplated selling off 46,000 acres of Big Bend Ranch State Park, the largest state park in Texas, to John Poindexter, the Houston businessman who owns the nearby Cibolo Creek Ranch luxury resort. The proposed sale, endorsed by TPWD staff, was pretty much business as usual for the […]

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The Boys with the Bands

For the past 19 winters, Roland Swenson, Nick Barbaro, and Louis Black have spent their Friday afternoons plotting and planning South By Southwest, a cool idea they came up with based on getting a bunch of bands and music people together. That cool idea has grown into the biggest music convention in the world, a […]

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Far Out Far West Texas

When the bumpy dirt road to this Far West Texas ghost town was coated with asphalt four years ago, Terlingua became convenient. Its days as a sleepy, unpretentious, off-the-beaten-path reinvented mining town were over. All along Farm to Market Road 170, the main drag of the greater Study Butte-Terlingua Microplex, just west of Big Bend […]

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Seadrift Nation

“Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight For Seadrift, Texas While working on an oral history project called “The Voices of Civil Rights,” I spent a year traveling around the country, collecting dozens of personal stories about a critical period in our nation’s history. The stories I heard were both […]

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The Only Honest Lake in Texas

A table full of good ol’ boys and good ol’ girls are having a hoot over lunch at Dawn’s, under the bridge where State Highway 43 crosses the western edge of Caddo Lake. One in the crowd claims he’s been seeing blue UN flags popping up all over the lake, hearing folks speaking Esperanto and […]

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