Texas

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

Like Harvey, Imelda's Torrential Rains Render Southeast Texas Roads Impassable

Sep 20, 2019
Michael Marks/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Tropical Depression Imelda dumped as much as 43 inches of rain in parts of Southeast Texas over the past few days. Weather experts rank Imelda as the seventh-wettest tropical storm in U.S. history, but the extent of the damage is unclear.

Speaker John Boehner/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making his first visit to the U.S. since he won a landslide reelection victory in May. The centerpiece of his U.S. tour is a visit to Houston on Sunday. 

The event is billed as "Howdy, Modi!" and the 50,000 tickets were snapped up within minutes of their release.

Florian Martin/Houston Public Media

From Texas Standard:

Is Houston one of the most dangerous cities in America? Some of the city's mayoral candidates say so, claiming on the campaign trail that the city is getting even more dangerous.

The Travis County Appraisal District's website
Julia Reihs / KUT

The Travis County Appraisal District said its computer systems were hacked Sept. 11 in a ransomware attack, but there's no evidence any data from appraisals was compromised. The district said it didn't pay any money to the attackers. 

Pedestrians cross Colorado Street in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Every year, more people move to Texas from other states than leave. They come for jobs, higher education and a relatively lower cost of living, among other things. But the net population growth from those new arrivals has been shrinking, and researchers are trying to figure out why.

Wikimedia Commons / WhisperToMe (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

On Sept. 15, 1959, an ex-convict new to Houston attempted to enroll his 7-year-old son at Poe Elementary, near Rice University. School officials denied his enrollment, saying he lacked the proper paperwork. The man later returned to the schoolyard with a briefcase and some obscure messages. He then exploded the briefcase, killing himself, his son, the school's custodian, a teacher and two young students.

Sony Music Archives

From Texas Standard:

The American South has long been the backdrop for stories about country music. But a new series by a team led by veteran documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, reexamines many old narratives about the roots and role of country music in American culture. The series, "Country Music," spans 16 hours and eight episodes, and debuts Sunday night on public television.

Julie Dunfey is the producer, and Dayton Duncan is a producer and writer for the series. Duncan says it puts great emphasis on Texans and artists with Texas roots, including Bob Wills, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Johnny Rodriguez and Flaco Jiménez. 

Vaping360/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Several states have recently reported dramatic upticks in the number of people experiencing illnesses associated with vaping. Reported cases have more than doubled, to 450, spread over 33 states, including Texas. While no one in Texas has died, six people have died elsewhere in the United States. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has confirmed a plan to ban at least some electronic cigarettes.

Matt Rainwaters/Texas Monthly

From Texas Standard:

In late August, Edwin Debrow left a Texas state prison at age 40, after spending almost 28 years incarcerated. He was convicted of murder at age 12. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

T. Boone Pickens, a brash and quotable oil tycoon who grew even wealthier through corporate takeover attempts, died Wednesday. He was 91.

Tristan Ipock / KUTX

From Texas Standard:

Country music's newest supergroup, the Highwomen, just released a self-titled album of songs written by women, performed by women and telling women's stories.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas House Redistricting Committee held its first public hearing Tuesday to gather input on how to draw the next round of political maps ahead of 2021.

Stella M Chávez / KERA News

From Texas Standard:

Over the past two years, four mass shootings in Texas have resulted in 65 deaths. Now, some lawmakers are proposing changes to existing gun-related laws, and even new ones, to try to curb the violence.

The dam at Lake McQueeny, near Seguin, is one of four remaining in the Guadalupe River Valley in Central Texas that are at risk of failure.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

SEGUIN — Texas officials will start draining four lakes next week in Guadalupe County in Central Texas without a plan in place for when the lakes, and the 90-year-old dams that support them, will be rebuilt.

Migrants from Honduras apprehended by Border Patrol
Julia Reihs / KUT

A federal district judge has reissued a nationwide block of a White House rule aimed at denying asylum to immigrants who didn’t first seek refuge apply in another country before reaching the United States.

Spencer Selvidge/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Johns Hopkins University researchers recently analyzed hospital fees nationwide and found that Texas had the country’s highest health care markup ratio. Those ratios were highest in Brownsville-Harlingen, Laredo and El Paso. A markup ratio is what a hospital charges for a service, compared to the Medicare "allowable amount" – the rate that the federal government determines a service is worth.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Two usual political allies — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the National Rifle Association — traded rhetorical blows Friday after Patrick continued to advocate for requiring background checks for stranger-to-stranger gun sales.

Shelly Brisbin/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Sara Hickman is known for her contributions to Texas music. In addition to her own recordings and performances, she served a term as Texas State Musician. Now, she's celebrating the Lone Star State's music in a new way – by publishing a coloring book. 

TankedBevo of ShaggyBevo.com/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.5)

From Texas Standard:

Plenty of issues divide Texans, but there are a few topics on which many can find common ground. They might include barbecue, Willie Nelson and the Tyler Rose – Earl Campbell.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Jesus Rosales for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday issued eight executive orders in response to last month’s mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa.

Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio

From Texas Standard:

Students in Odessa returned to class on Tuesday, many of them dressed in yellow. It was planned by Odessa High School’s student council to show support, and convey a sense of hope, after the recent mass shooting that killed one of their classmates, 15-year-old Leilah Hernandez.

Mitch Borden/Marfa Public Radio

From Texas Standard:

Odessa Mayor David Turner says the aftermath of the mass shooting in his city has been difficult and community members are in shock, but they have also jumped into action to support each other.

Camille Phillips / Texas Public Radio

From Texas Standard:

Brooks Landgraf, who represents Odessa in the Texas House, says the last couple days have been “absolutely heartbreaking.” But, he says, he's also heartened by how people came together to show support for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting.

Vigil for victims of a mass shooting in Odessa.
Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio

Hundreds of residents from across the Permian Basin came together as the sun began to set Sunday, to pray and honor the victims of this weekend’s mass shooting that left eight people dead — including the gunman — and more than 20 others injured.

8 New Gun Laws Take Effect In Texas Today

Sep 1, 2019
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

At least seven people were killed and another 20 were injured in a mass shooting that stretched in and around Midland and Odessa, Texas, Saturday. The incident was the second mass shooting in that state in less than a month, following a shooting in El Paso, on Aug. 3.

DPS troopers block the road at a shooting scene in Odessa, Texas.
Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio

Seven people were killed and more than 20 others were injured Saturday afternoon by a man shooting at random near the West Texas cities of Odessa and Midland, the Odessa Police Department said. 

Scurzuzu/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

New rules from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulating payday lenders were supposed to take effect on Aug. 19. The rules – laid out in 2017 – would have regulated lenders' ability to withdraw funds directly from a person's bank account. Those rules are on hold for now as the agency and a payday lender trade group challenge it in court.

In Texas, nearly 70 cities have their own rules regulating payday and other high-interest loans. But there's one notable holdout: Fort Worth is Texas' largest city with no laws on the books that regulate payday and auto title lenders.

Kenneth Leverier
Jen Rice / Houston Public Media

It's been two years since Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, and some residents are still struggling to fix their homes and navigate a complex maze to get help. Kenneth Leverier has owned his house in Trinity Gardens for 15 years and says it never flooded until Harvey. 

The crowd at 1969's International Pop Festival
Mark Porter

From Texas Standard:

In August 1969, Henry Kissinger met in secret to try and end the Vietnam War. Hurricane Camille struck the Mississippi coast, killing over 250 people. The Manson family went on a murderous rampage through Los Angeles. And amid the turmoil, Billy Kirby was just kind of hanging out.

Photo courtesy of Aspergers101

From Texas Standard:

Getting pulled over by a police officer can be unsettling for anyone. But it can be especially stressful for someone with a communication issue.

Not being able to answer an officer's question could put that person at risk if the officer misinterprets their behavior.

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