Texas

News, policy discussions, and major events happening in or related to Texas, told from an Austin perspective

University of Texas at Austin Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

From Texas Standard:

Like media outlets all over the country, Texas Standard is working on its "Year in Review" show in the remaining weeks of 2018. But these final days of the year are also a last chance to reflect on what was happening in the country 50 years ago. 1968 was a tumultuous year and a turning point in American history, and the University of Texas at Austin's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History has an exhibit that takes a deep dive into it.

Wally Gobetz/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When it comes to shifting racial and ethnic demographics in Texas, often the first thing that comes to mind is the state's growing Latino population. In fact, one of the fastest-growing racial groups in Texas is Asian Americans. Two Texas cities, Houston and Arlington, have some of the country's largest Vietnamese populations, and those communities grew quickly during the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. But reporting from The Atlantic last week revealed that the Trump administration is looking to deport some Vietnamese immigrants who've committed crimes in the U.S.; some of them immigrated here after fleeing Vietnam during the war.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

On Election Day in Stanton, just north of Midland, Ron Black was skeptical that a particular measure on the ballot would pass.

“Well, I think at first it was - uh, nobody thought it would go through because they’ve tried it so many times, you know? I can’t tell you how many times it’s gone to the ballot,” he says.

How Pop-Up Super PACs Influenced The Texas Senate Race

Dec 13, 2018
Montinique Monroe for KUT

From Texas Standard:

Weeks before Election Day in November, reports indicated that the Texas Senate race would be the most expensive one in U.S. history. The last campaign-finance report showed that Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke collectively raised more than $100 million.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard:

Volatility is high on Wall Street right now, and it’s affecting everyone, not just those with a stock portfolio.

Angelos Angelou of Angelou Economics says so many are affected, in part, because 40 percent of the U.S. workforce has individual retirement accounts with investments in the stock market. Angelou says many factors have contributed to the volatility, especially the trade war with China.

Photo courtesy of KXAN-TV

From Texas Standard:

Frank Vickers of Bastrop was on the couch watching “Jeopardy!” when there was a knock on the door. Before he could get up, a Bastrop County Sheriff's deputy was standing in his living room, ready to evict him.

National Museum of Health and Medicine/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

For Texas inmates who've been denied dentures by the state, a reprieve may now come thanks to 3D printing. This comes after an investigation by the Houston Chronicle earlier this year that detailed how difficult it was for many Texas state prisoners to get dentures they said they needed to do daily tasks, like eat and speak.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

When it comes to crops, Texas has one of the most diverse portfolios around. But here's one commodity you won't find: industrial hemp. The square cousin of marijuana has no psychoactive properties, but it does have a whole range of practical applications for things like textiles, food and fiber. The problem is that in most places, it's illegal to cultivate it. But a bill currently being considered by Congress could change that, and it has the support of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

THC, the chemical that gets marijuana consumers high, is only present in minute amounts in hemp, Miller says.

ec-jpr/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Over the last two decades, the U.S. has recalled 26,700 medical devices, according to Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad - a team of journalists in Mexico City working in association with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The reason these Mexican journalists are on the case is because these recalled or defective medical devices usually end up back in Mexico.

Reporter Miriam Castillo is one of the reporters on that team, and says Mexicans most likely won't know that these devices – which include pacemakers and orthopedic implants for people with damaged bones or joints – could be harmful because the Mexican equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rarely recalls products.

Pexels

From Texas Standard:

Many parents count on day cares to provide a safe place for their children while they're at work. But a yearlong investigation by the Austin American-Statesman is sounding multiple alarm bells about the safety of day care in Texas.  

Tony Plohetski and Sean Collins Walsh are members of the team investigating an alarming series of incidents at Texas day care centers, and what the state is and isn't doing to respond to allegations of abuse, poor conditions and child deaths. The Statesman series is called "Unwatched."

Plohetski says that over the past decade, Texas day care centers have been cited 3,200 times for abuse and neglect.

Michael Duke/Jewish Herald-Voice

From Texas Standard:

The largest Conservative Jewish synagogue in the U.S. is not on the East Coast – it's in Houston. Congregation Beth Yeshurun is made up of 2,300 families and was founded in 1891. Now, Rice University aims to shine a light on it and the rest of South Texas's Jewish community and history through its new Houston Jewish History Archive.

Director Josh Furman acknowledges that Houston is not the first place that comes to mind when people think of Judaism in the United States. But he wants to change that. 

Beto O'Rourke speaks at his Turn out for Texas campaign event at Auditorium Shores in Austin on Sept. 29, 2018.
Montinique Monroe / KUT

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, ultimately raised over $80 million in his unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas — and he left little in his campaign coffers when it was all done.

Doors to jail cells
Jason Farrar/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Right now, 78-year-old Sam Little is sitting in a jail cell in Odessa. He's awaiting trial there for the 1994 murder of an Odessa woman named Denise Christie Brothers. The thing is, Little says he's responsible for many more murders, and police believe him. Little has confessed to over 90 murders, more than 30 of which have been corroborated across over a dozen states, making him one of the most prolific serial killers in history.

PBS Newshour

The body of former President George H.W. Bush arrived at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston last night ahead of a memorial service this morning. The service is expected to start at 10 a.m. 

Wells Dunbar/KUT

Hours after going on sale, H-E-B's commemorative reusable bags honoring Texas pop legend Selena were selling fast, but folks looking to get one online encountered some hurdles.

The reusable bags went on sale Wednesday at 6 a.m. for $2 at H-E-B stores or on the Texas grocer's website. But the site couldn't correctly process some customers' payments.

TDCJ

Joseph Garcia was four years into a 50-year sentence for a 1996 Bexar County murder when he joined six other inmates who escaped prison, went on the run and killed Irving Police officer Aubrey Hawkins in a Christmas Eve robbery.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

All state agencies, offices and departments will be closed on Wednesday for a day of mourning to honor former President George Herbert Walker Bush, Gov. Greg Abbott said in an executive order Monday.

“Under this proclamation, the people of Texas are encouraged to gather, assemble, and pay their respects to the memory of George Herbert Walker Bush through ceremonies in homes, businesses, public buildings, schools, places of worship, or other appropriate places for public expression of grief and remembrance,” Abbott said in a statement.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

On Thursday, we told you about the science behind Austin's amazing (and unusual) fall foliage this year for our ATXplained project. Some of those trees have already started to shed their colorful leaves.

Many of you took some great photos of the display.

Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, left, shot and killed Botham Shem Jean in his apartment.
Kaufman County Sheriff's Office via REUTERS: Guyger/Facebook: Botham Shem Jean

A Dallas County grand jury on Friday indicted former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger for murder, according to county court records. Guyger shot and killed Botham Jean, an unarmed black man, in his apartment on Sept. 6.

Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

Texas is suing the city of San Antonio for an alleged violation of the state’s new anti-“sanctuary cities” law, in what appears to be the first legal challenge under the controversial statute.

Mundo al Revés/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

On Saturday, Mexico will inaugurate a new president who campaigned on a "Mexico First" platform.

Alfredo Corchado, Mexico-border correspondent for The Dallas Morning News and author of the book "Homelands," says Mexicans, in general, are hopeful that Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO as the president-elect is known, will bring change to the country. But they're also skeptical because the country has elected the leader of an opposition party before – Vicente Fox served as president from 2000 to 2006.

Facebook/Angry Tias & Abuelas Of RGV

From Texas Standard:

One of the biggest stories of 2018 was the family separation crisis at the border. But some may not have heard about the Angry Tías and Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley – 11 women who sprung into action over the course of several weeks in the summer.

KUT

From Texas Standard:

With communities bowing under the stress of school overcrowding, soaring traffic fatalities, drug abuse and strains on the power grid, more than a dozen top U.S. energy companies have pledged $100 million toward easing the stresses caused by the natural gas boom in the Permian Basin area of West Texas.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard:

At first glance, Jews and Latinos may appear to have very little in common. That impression may begin to change somewhat on Tuesday with the launch of a new organization that brings the two groups together. It's called the Texas Latino-Jewish Leadership Council, and it's modeled after a fairly new national group by a similar name. Southern Methodist University professor Luisa del Rosal is a founding member of the group, and says members of the Jewish and Latino communities have a lot in common.

USDA/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Several Texas news outlets are reporting about how volunteers are helping those experiencing food insecurity this Thanksgiving. But how much attention is focused on those who grow and harvest the food, or those who rely on food stamps? Both issues are part of the massive federal farm bill that's set to expire soon, and with Congress away for Thanksgiving, certain crop subsidies, federal nutrition assistance programs and more are in limbo.

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday potentially imperiled the long-delayed criminal prosecution of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, ruling that payments to special prosecutors were outside legal limits.

If they cannot get paid, the prosecutors have suggested they could withdraw from the case against Paxton, a three-year-long legal saga that has dragged on in fits and starts amid side fights like the dispute over legal fees.

Alexia Puente/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The New York Times recently reported that the Trump administration plans to "redefine transgender out of existence." 

The story references a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services memo that was leaked last month that proposed to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX. That's the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally-funded educational programs.

The draft proposal would define a person's "sex" as the one assigned at birth. On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, an international observation honoring the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence, Texas Standard looks at the impact the proposed legal change could have on transgender students.

Red Duke book cover
Shelly Brisbin/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

If you lived in Texas in the 1980s and '90s, this name will likely ring a bell; if not, his voice probably will:

"From the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, I'm Dr. Red Duke," James Henry "Red" Duke Jr. used to say on his regular TV broadcasts that aired across the Lone Star State.

Will Hurd and Gina Ortiz Jones
Bob Daemmrich: Hurd/Robin Jerstad: Ortiz Jones / The Texas Tribune

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones conceded Monday in her challenge to U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, ensuring a third term for Hurd in his perennial battleground district.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

In the wake of worldwide demand for a change in workplace cultures that effectively condone sexual misconduct, the Texas Legislature is having a #MeToo moment of its own. On Friday, a House working group is meeting to discuss how to crack down on violators in its own chamber, after reports last year of an "online whisper network" among women in the Legislature who shared their experiences with harassment.

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