Christopher Collins

Christopher Collins is an investigative journalist based in Abilene. The Wichita Falls native graduated from Midwestern State University in 2012 with a degree in Mass Communication. He previously has worked as a reporter at the Abilene Reporter-News and the Wichita Falls Times Record News, along with running a freelance reporting business. At the Observer, he writes about rural Texas. He can be reached on Twitter or at [email protected]

By Christopher Collins:



Health Care

Rural Hospitals Will Suffer From Fine Print in Medicaid Deal

The state and federal government have inked a new deal for supplemental Medicaid funds, but what does it mean for rural hospitals?

Since 2013, at least 18 rural hospitals have closed across Texas, leaving behind health-care deserts in places already struggling with diabetes, stroke and mental health disorders, among other problems. Now, cuts to two Medicaid funding streams that help Texas hospitals … Read More

2017 in Review

The 7 Most Pressing Issues Facing Rural Texas

In 2017, rural schools lost crucial funding, two hospitals closed and natural disasters wreaked havoc in what some regard as “flyover country.”

It’s been a tough year for rural Texas. In 2017, the 3.8 million Texans who live outside the state’s metro areas bore a bevy of hardships, including hospital closures, struggling economies and crumbling public infrastructure. On top of that, one … Read More

student homelessness, loraine
News, Rural Reporting Project

Rural Poverty, Youth Homelessness Abound in Loraine, Pop. 587

Loraine ISD helps homeless students cope, but few other public resources are available for youth in Texas’ remote Big Country.

Rural Poverty, Youth Homelessness Abound in Loraine, Pop. 587 Loraine ISD helps homeless students cope, but few other public resources are available for youth in Texas’ remote Big Country. Read More

fracking, water pits, big spring
News, Rural Reporting Project, The Issue

Big Spring Vs. Big Oil

In the heart of the West Texas oil patch, a new fracking frenzy is putting a strain on groundwater.

In the heart of the West Texas oil patch, a new fracking frenzy is putting a strain on groundwater. – by Christopher Collins @collins_reports December 11, 2017 Charles Phillips was in his pasture one day last year when he heard … Read More

Texas Politics

Former Monsanto Lobbyist is Trying to Trump Sid Miller’s Extreme Views in GOP Primary

Austin attorney Trey Blocker is challenging Sid Miller for agriculture commissioner, and both candidates are pandering to ultraconservative GOP primary voters.

With the emergence of former agribusiness lobbyist Trey Blocker as the first Republican primary opponent of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, the election of the state’s farmer-and-rancher-in-chief is shaping up to be a race to the bottom. Blocker, an Austin … Read More

Education

Homelessness in Texas Public Schools is a Suburban and Rural Problem, Too

The state of Texas provides no specific funding for the estimated 113,000 homeless students who attend public schools here.

Gage Kemp was 16 when he and his father were evicted from their home in Allen, a suburb of Dallas, and had to move into a motel. Kemp’s father, who struggled with alcoholism, urged him to drop out of high … Read More

Rural Reporting Project

Top 1 Percent of Texas Commodity Farmers Get Quarter of $1.6 Billion in Subsidies

Subsidy program reforms were supposed to save taxpayers billions, but corn and sorghum farmers in Texas are getting more money than they have in a decade.

Jen Reel Last year in Nueces County, sorghum farmers raked in $10.9 million in taxpayer-funded subsidies. Corn farmers in Castro County took $12.6 million. In Deaf Smith County, the kingpins of cotton were paid $32.5 million, according to new farm … Read More

Civil Rights, News

Lawsuit: City of Port Isabel Blocked Public Housing for Latinos Displaced by Hurricane Dolly

After the 2008 hurricane, city officials refused to issue permits so that public housing could be rebuilt in an affluent neighborhood, the complaint says.

City leaders in Port Isabel “repeatedly thwarted” efforts to rebuild public housing overwhelmingly used by Latinos after Hurricane Dolly hit the Rio Grande Valley in 2008, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday by the Cameron County Housing Authority. Fair … Read More

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