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:

 

Driving My Life Away

by | Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 6:00 am CST
Art

Goodbye to the Amarillo Art Mall

After 14 years, the artist colony inside a former Amarillo shopping mall is being laid to rest. Now the Panhandle creative-types who called the place home “are just gonna get scattered.”

It was a fine funeral for the fine arts. In early August, the denizens of Sunset Center, a 1960s-era shopping mall in northwest Amarillo that found a second life as an artist colony, bid the place adieu. The roof is … Read More

Painter Matthew Bourbon's exhibit Waiting for Now was part of the museum's Cell Series this year.
Culture

Little Arthouse on the Prairie

In tiny Albany, Texas, you can’t shop at Walmart or buy a beer, but you can see one of the state’s best and quirkiest art collections.

Little Arthouse on the Prairie In tiny Albany, Texas, you can’t shop at Walmart or buy a beer, but you can see one of the state’s best and quirkiest art collections. – by Christopher Collins July 31, 2019 Two blocks … Read More

A cotton stripper pulls cotton bolls and leaves from the stalk during a harvest.
Economy

For Some Texas Farmers, Tariff Relief Payments Are Supersized

Trump promised to help farmers burned by his trade war with China, but the state’s most powerful producers have received aid far exceeding the federal cap.

For some commodity farmers in Texas, Donald Trump must seem a little like a Sour Patch Kid: First he’s sour, then he’s sweet. The president burned agricultural producers and sent futures prices plummeting last year when he plunged the nation … Read More

mosquito spray truck
Environment

Mosquitoes Are Bad. So Are the Chemicals Some Texas Cities Are Using to Kill Them.

As an impressively wet Texas spring turns into summer, mosquitoes are coming to a neighborhood near you. Cities aim to eradicate the pesky insects, but at what cost?

Mosquitoes suck. And with all the rain that’s inundated Texas this year — many parts of the state have blown past their average rainfall amounts — mosquitoes may suck extra hard this summer. For some Texas cities, that means bringing … Read More

scales of justice
Criminal Justice

A Poor Defense

A countywide public defender's office would've saved Victoria County $1.3 million in its first two years alone. So why did the new DA kill the proposal?

Earlier this year, it seemed as if poor people charged with crimes in a handful of Gulf Coast communities would finally have a fighting chance in court. In April, commissioners in Victoria County considered a partnership with a nonprofit law … Read More

An aircraft hangar at the former Reese Air Force Base, now called Reese Technology Center, in Lubbock.
Environment

Nearly 500,000 Texans Live in Communities with Contaminated Groundwater. Lawmakers Aren’t Doing Much About It.

Despite growing national concern about the health effects of “forever chemicals,” the state’s Congressional delegation has barely made a peep.

Even if they don’t kill you, they’ll definitely outlast you. Texans living near seven military sites discovered last year that their groundwater is heavily polluted with a dangerous group of contaminants called “forever chemicals” — man-made compounds that take thousands … Read More

hospital, rural
Health Care

Yet Another Rural Texas Hospital is in Jeopardy After Anti-Tax Activists Kill Funding Proposal

As rural hospitals struggle across the state, local voters killed a proposition to create a hospital taxing district meant to keep a facility in La Grange open for the foreseeable future.

The voters of Fayette County have spoken, and they’ve said that they don’t need a hospital in this rural community of 25,000 people, one hour southeast of Austin — or at least not enough to pay for it. In a … Read More

Education

Texas Legislature Improves Suicide Prevention in Schools, but Makes Little Progress for Adults

Suicide is quiet crisis in Texas, especially in rural communities. As the dust settles on the 86th Legislature, advocates say most initiatives to curb suicide deaths failed.

This year, the Texas Legislature had a chance to address suicide, an urgent public health problem that claimed the lives of 3,800 Texans in 2017. The crisis is especially pronounced in rural areas due to poverty, a dearth of health … Read More

Health Care

Warning Signs

Rural East Texas has some of the highest suicide rates in the state. But the safety net for people who need help is being stretched thin, and some Texans are falling through.

Rural East Texas has some of the highest suicide rates in the state. But the safety net for people who need help is being stretched thin, and some Texans are falling through.  by Christopher Collins May 29, 2019 I. … Read More

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