Wednesday, December 12
Would you believe we're headed back to Oklahoma City? Another storm is expected. Looks like I'll get to use those turtlenecks after all.
We have a 6 a.m. crew call for the McAllen border story. We'll do a couple live shots and then be back in OKC by this evening.
Tuesday, December 11
3:08 p.m. — From 30 degrees and freezing drizzle to sunny and 83. So goes the life of the Southwest bureau. We left frozen Oklahoma City at 6 a.m. and drove four hours to Dallas in time to make our flight to McAllen, Texas.
Tonight, DHS is having what their spokeswoman called a "listening session" on the proposed border fence. I suspect they will get an earful. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce has planned a rally in the same building to protest the fence. We will be doing a live shot for FOX Report tonight right after the rally as well as live shots during the day tomorrow.
We are headed out of the airport now and it feels like summer. What a difference a day makes. All I packed was turtlenecks — for the ice storm. I should know better.
6:21 p.m. — We arrived at the McAllen Convention Center without any problems. The DHS, CBP meeting is a hearing to allow public comment on the Environmental Impact Study. Coffee table reading, it's not. The draft is several inches thick, complete with graphs, maps and photos — and this is just for the Rio Grande Valley section.
People have been filing in to the meeting to check out the maps and ask questions. There's also an area where you can fill out comments that will be included with the final study.
About halfway through the meeting, a few protesters from a rally on the other side of the building come in chanting, while a government speaker is trying to give his statement. The guy keeps talking and the chanters keep chanting. After about 10 minutes, the protesters leave to go to the rally.
7:55 p.m. — The rally started and there are several hundred people here. A drum group and mariachi band revved up the crowd. Then, a series of speakers entered, explaining why they think the border fence is not a good idea. Their reasoning? People who don't live here just don't get it. Border communities intermingle and depend on each other to survive. There are environmental problems with the fence. And finally, they say, fences just don't work.
That's not to say that everybody who lives near the border is against the fence. We've talked with plenty of landowners who are fed up with illegal immigrants and drug runners coming en masse across their property. They welcome the fence project.
Both sides agree we need more border security. Where they diverge is on how to get it done.
Monday, December 10
8:35 a.m. — We're heading to Oklahoma City — an ice storm started hitting the area last night. We decided to wait till morning to take off, since we figured it's better to drive on ice when there's some daylight. Six people have died so far in accidents related to the storm.
Making calls on the way there, I hear the same thing — power lines and trees are "down everywhere." Up to 100,000 people are said to be without power and roads are supposed to be a mess.
We haven't experienced anything bad yet, but our satellite truck operator is closer than us and he says it's getting worse. He stopped off at a Wal-Mart to get some supplies and said the pickings are slim.
10:15 a.m. — We are still driving to Oklahoma City. We are starting to hit some weather — trees are caked with ice. A little while ago, we passed a car that slid off the road. The Oklahoma Emergency Management Office says 11 people have now died in traffic accidents. More than a quarter million people are without power. The Red Cross is setting up shelters for people without heat.
11:36 a.m. — Just found a neighborhood where we are going to go live. We missed our first hit because the roads were slow going. We are trying to get a live shot up at noon, in 20 minutes. It'll be tight. There's no power in the neighborhood where we will do our live shot. People say they have been without it since last night. Trees are down and there is ice everywhere.
12:21 p.m. — We just barely made our noon liveshot. We got here about 15 minutes before and the sat truck operator hussled to get us on the bird while our photographer pulled cables and got the camera and audio set.
During the liveshot, Kris Gutierrez interviewed a woman who lost power last night. She has a fire going to stay warm. During the live shot, a tree branch crashed down and our photographer wheeled around to get video of it. We've only been here a half hour or so and I've already seen that happen four or five times. Apparently, the frozen tree limbs have been taking a lot of power lines down with them.
Maggie Lineback is a Dallas bureau producer.