Living Downstream


latonya mister smThis story was reported, and mixed by Laura Isensee. She’s an independent journalist based in Texas.  

We have a sad update about Mister. He completed his bone marrow transplant, but then experienced complications. He passed away just a few weeks after we completed work on this episode. He was 13 years old.

Thanks to Texas Standard – a one hour daily news magazine heard across the state — for helping us get the word out about this story.

Music in this episode is by Lobo Loco and Nine Inch Nails, both used under Creative Commons licenses.

Also thanks to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings for the use of music by the late Texas blues artist, Lightnin’ Hopkins

Host and senior producer Steve Mencher was the story editor for this episode. Chris Lee is radio executive producer and Darren LaShelle is the President and CEO of Northern California Public Media.

Follow or Subscribe to Living Downstream on Apple Podcasts; Comment and rate it there, and find it wherever you get your podcasts. Lately a lot of you have been connecting via Spotify. Thanks! You'll also find more about us on NPR One. Visit our website at

LIVING DOWNSTREAM thanks our sponsors who make this podcast possible. A list is available at

This week, we're releasing a pair of episodes to respond to the increased interest among our audience in stories about environmental justice. Write to us today and tell us what you think – at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. org. We've got a few slots for stories to be told this summer and into September, so let us know what's happening in your community.

Image: LaTonya Payne and Mister. Credit: Laura Isensee

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