Rural Reporting Project
Texas has the largest rural population of any state — 3.8 million people — yet many journalists treat much of the state as flyover country. The Observer has made reporting on rural Texas a priority with this long-term project. Staff writer Christopher Collins, who has investigated how crop dusting is putting Texans’ health at risk and the connection between destructive Panhandle wildfires and a mismanaged federal land program, is spearheading the effort from West Texas.
A Fort Bend County commissioner wants state lawmakers to consider exemptions to the open government law during emergencies, part of a larger trend of officials slackening important regulations in the name of public safety.
As Hurricane Harvey’s torrential rains battered Fort Bend County in late August, flooding 4,000 homes in a largely unincorporated area near Katy, County Commi...Read More
Experts say the city’s lawsuit, filed this month against a man who allowed a homeless camp to be developed on his property, is virtually unprecedented.
In a nearly unprecedented move, the city of Amarillo has made good on its threat to take a landowner to court over a homeless encampment on his property. City o...Read More
Texas Department of Agriculture investigators found that local crop duster pilot Jared Lambert sprayed pesticide that doused three dozen people in a tiny Panhandle town, but the agency has not issued any penalties.
It’s been nearly two years since an errant blast of a dangerous chemical doused the tiny Panhandle town of Quitaque, but the Texas Department of Agriculture (...Read More
The federal lawsuit is the latest in an escalating conflict between the city and local homeless advocates.
An Amarillo homeless advocate has filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging that officials are unlawfully forcing homeless people into shelters against their w...Read More
Advocates for the homeless in Amarillo have cheered the creation of a “tent city” near downtown, but the site has raised the ire of city officials threatening fines.
Hope (and Possible Heartbreak) at Amarillo’s ‘Tent City’ Advocates for the homeless in Amarillo have cheered the creation of a “tent city” near downto...Read More
As the Panhandle gets drier, more water will be pumped from aquifers and wildfire danger will increase, experts say.
On day No. 126, the streak finally ended. From October 13 to February 16, Amarillo didn’t see a single drop of measurable rainfall — a record rainless stre...Read More
The Far-Right is Staging an Ouster of Moderate Republicans in the Panhandle. Will Incumbents Outlast the Attack?
King, Price and Seliger have all drawn challenges from right wing opponents who are running the Empower Texans playbook and taking money from ultraconservative advocacy groups.
The Far-Right is Staging an Ouster of Moderate Republicans in the Panhandle. Will Incumbents Outlast the Attack? King, Price and Seliger have all drawn challeng...Read More
With high rates of fatal heart disease and stroke, limited access to care and sky-high uninsured rates, Texas gets a “D-” in a new “report card” comparing rural health care between states.
Texas and other Southern states are home to small-town doctor shortages, skyrocketing rates of preventable disease among rural residents and some of the highest...Read More
Big chicken gets bigger in East Texas.
One of the world’s poultry heavyweights is expanding in East Texas, and rural landowners concerned about the stench and pollution have a message for the compa...Read More