Horned Lizards are the Texas state reptile. But what do we know about this Texas icon? Plump, armored, they’ve inspired multiple names. “Horny toad.” “Horned frog.” “Horned lizard” is the official common name. The Texas horned lizard – Phrynosoma cornutum – once flourished across the state. It’s vanished from half its range, including the areas – from I-35 east – where most Texans live. It’s the charm of a horned lizard encounter. You overlook it, then do a double-take. But once you spot it, you can often crouch and look it in the eye before it flees. Multiple factors drove the animals’ decline. In the 50s, DDT was used to exterminate harvester ants – decimating the lizard’s food supply. Habitat vanished for urban development. Collection – and export – was an issue. The spread of non-native fire ants was once blamed – but it was not a major factor. It’s impossible to know how many of these elusive creatures live in West Texas. But we can count ourselves lucky that, unlike most Texans, we can still meet them.
Incorporating the art of making cheese, along with offering local, fresh ingredients, is what Marfa Maid Dairy is all about. Owner and self-taught cheese maker Malinda Beeman, a native of Newport Beach, California, along with partner Allan McClane from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, have served the Big Bend area with their exquisite goat cheese since 2010. “The cheese making is an art in itself. I’ve been a full time professional artist most of my life, so I consider it an art form,” he said. The goat farm is listed as one of the best things to do in Marfa by Trip Advisor, an online, nationwide travel website. People can see the operation firsthand, sample goat cheese, and even pet and milk the goats. Tours are scheduled weeks in advance online, and arrangements are made for special groups such as schools or other children’s groups.
Sul Ross freshman Brandon Lansford made the most out of his appearance at the Junior National Finals Rodeo event in Las Vegas, Nevada this week. He won the Saddle Bronc Championship in the novice level after placing in the top three during each of his appearances at a convention center down the road from the main event. Sul Ross is the birthplace of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association which was established in 1948. Lansford was reportedly back on campus in Alpine the next day to take final exams.
Although conducting scientific research and adding to their academic breadth and depth come naturally to many Sul Ross faculty members, two biology professors have risen to a whole new level in the biology domain.
Sul Ross State University Biology professors Dr. Sean Graham and Dr. Crystal Kelehear Graham, along with two other researchers, were instrumental in the discovery of a new salamander species.
General mule deer season is now open and runs thru December 9th, and hunters can look forward to an average harvest this year.
Shawn Gray, Mule Deer and Pronghorn program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said, “There ought to be more deer out there to harvest, but I don’t think antler development will be as good as in past years when we had more rainfall. It’s probably going to be average at best.”
He explained that bucks drop their antlers in March and grow fresh ones from April through October. With essentially no rainfall in the Big Bend from late winter last year through mid-summer this year, he expected racks would not be as good as in past years.
Unlike pronghorn, permits aren’t required to harvest mule deer, but hunters need a license, and the bag limit is one buck.
Quail season runs through Feb. 24, 2019. Scaled (Blue) Quail is the primary species in the Big Bend region, but there may be a few Northern Bobwhite that have been released. The daily bag limit for all quail, including Gambell’s, is 15 birds, with a 45-bird possession limit. There is no open season for Montezuma Quail in Texas.
Visit tpwd.texas.gov, and click on “Hunting.”
In Tuesday’s mid-term general election, Brewster County voters reelected Judge Eleazar Cano, and approved a $22.588 million school bond.
Of 7,282 registered voters in the county, 4,144 cast ballots, for a 56.91 percent turnout. Early voting accounted for 3,146 of the total.
After failing in early voting, the much-debated Alpine ISD bond proposition pulled through on election day, garnering 3,246 total votes, with 1,644, or 50.65 percent, in favor and 1,602, or 49.35 percent, against. Proceeds from the $22.588 million bond will be used to construct a new academic building for Alpine High School, along with other improvements.
For U.S. Army and Navy veteran Kevin Richardson, wearing a red t-shirt on Fridays is a simple yet meaningful way to honor members of the military who are currently deployed. According to Richardson, what started as a trend by the Marine Corps and Navy has now spread to the Air Force and Army, and is now widespread and well known. Originally from Denton, Richardson has lived in Alpine since he and his wife Pam relocated from Fort Bliss six years “Even wearing a pin or other symbol would be a good way to honor the currently deployed members of the military,” Richardson said. “It’s not necessarily about endorsing the administration or war in general. It’s just a matter of remembering that there are folks out there doing the job.” He also has a stepson, William Beard, a 2016 Alpine High School graduate, who now serves in the Navy.
Brewster County Commissioners Court met and heard a request for new hand held radios from Sheriff Ronny Dodson.
Dodson was looking to replace the old five-watt radios that have limited reception in parts of Alpine and Marathon. He said it costs $2,470 to replace the batteries on the old ones, and the price of a new hand held, digital 100-watt radio was $6,164.40. The sheriff also mentioned that a repeater in South County had not been functioning for several months because bears had ripped off the wires.
“We try to bear proof them, but they chew everything up. They’re pretty destructive,” said Dodson.