Texas

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

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Edward James Olmos occupies a special place in the hearts of Texans, primarily because he played Selena’s dad, Abraham Quintanilla, in Selena, the biopic about the singer's life. But Olmos’ film acting and directing career spans 40 years.

lee leblanc/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In many parts of Texas, it has become a lot easier to recycle in recent years. Got a plastic bottle or an aluminum can? Just throw them into the blue bin instead of the gray one. But problems inside and outside of Texas have led to issues with our recycling system.

For one thing, not everything can go into the blue bin. Lots of things aren’t recyclable, so let’s sort out some of those misconceptions first.

Flickr/AgriLife Today (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Ranchers and cattlemen have some beef with U.S. meatpackers. They claim the meatpackers are purposefully driving down the price the cattle raisers get for their beef. In 2015, meatpackers started to pay ranchers less for their cattle. It would make sense then, that the price of ribeye in the supermarket would also drop around that time. But that didn't happen.

Stephanie Tacy/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Texas news outlets often report on death penalty stories, given that the state leads the nation in prisoner executions. But rarely do reports tell the stories of women on death row. Those women are housed in a prison in Gatesville, and as I wait for the guards to bring over inmate Linda Carty, I notice the room is very different from the crammed spaces where I’ve interviewed men on death row. There’s still glass separating us, but this room is spacious and well-lit.

'Avengers: Endgame' Is A Cultural Moment

Apr 26, 2019
Twitter Trends 2019 /Flickr (CC BY 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

From Texas Standard:

After 11 years and 21 movies, the epic conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, hit theaters Thursday, and it sent shockwaves through the internet.

New Research Center Will Study Texas Sea Turtles

Apr 26, 2019
Martin Do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The time of year for an annual ritual on the Gulf Coast is approaching  –  when Texans take to the beach to watch dozens of tiny turtles toddle from the sand down to the surf. There's certainly something special about watching sea turtles hatch, but there's some mystery, too. We still don't about where the turtles in the Gulf travel, and what habitats they use. That's why this week, Texas A&M University at Galveston announced the establishment of the new Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As homeowners in Travis, Williamson and Hays county receive their property tax appraisals this month, it should not come as a shock to see the appraised value of their homes has gone up. Home values have climbed consistently for a decade.

Todd Wiseman/The Texas Tribune

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Texas law that requires people contracting with the state to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel. 

coolloud/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

On Wednesday, The New York Times published an article with a dark, grainy photo of a man carrying a small child through a desolate cornfield. The man was a U.S. Border Patrol agent, and the child was a 3-year-old whom smugglers apparently had abandoned. The child’s name and a phone number were written on his shoes.

KUT

From Texas Standard:

A new study shows Texas homeowners along the Gulf Coast have lost tens of millions of dollars of property value over a 12-year period ending in 2017 due to rising sea levels. The hardest hit city has been Galveston, followed by three other cities within 40 miles: Jamaica Beach, Bolivar Peninsula and Surfside Beach.

3 Texas Takeaways From The Latest Agriculture Census

Apr 22, 2019
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture produces a count of all the country's farms, ranches, crops, livestock and anything else related to agriculture. It recently released data from its 2017 census and here are three things worth nothing:

Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune

El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley are less than two weeks away from the scheduled opening of temporary detention centers that will each house up to 500 migrants who have crossed the border to seek asylum.

Pierce Place/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Most of the liquefied natural gas, or LNG, the U.S. exports leaves on big tanker ships. But with so much natural gas being produced right now, companies are seeking out other ways to move LNG internationally. In fact, at least one company has carved out a niche by shipping natural gas overland, tapping into a growing market south of the border.

Sergio Chapa reports on the oil and gas industry for the Houston Chronicle. He says the tankers transporting LNG are similar to the 18-wheelers that deliver gasoline or diesel, but much bigger.

Photo courtesy Obesity Action Coalition

From Texas Standard:

A group of U.S. health organizations, including the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, recently released the first-ever obesity-focused curriculum for American medical education.

A Carnival cruise ship
jshyun/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

From Texas Standard:

Cruise operator Carnival Corp. was convicted in 2016 of illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean and attempting to cover it up. New records show that's still happening.

Morgan Kuehler/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The Texas town of West is known as a Czech cultural hub across the state. It’s a town famous for its local bakeries, which serve up scores of kolaches every day. But six years ago the tiny town, about 20 miles north of Waco just off Interstate 35, was thrust into the national spotlight when a local fertilizer plant exploded and killed 15 people. The blast damaged schools, homes and other property, and many wondered if West could ever recover. Then, in May 2016 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ruled the explosion as arson. Though no one has been charged with the crime, the ruling was salt in the wound for many residents.

As Nature Claims Shipwrecks, Historians Can Only Watch

Apr 17, 2019
Photo courtesy of Texas Historical Commission

From Texas Standard:

What remains of the ship La Belle sits in a place of honor in the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. It sits in a dark exhibit hall, constantly monitored, and protected by clear plastic barriers. According to Franck Cordes, one of the museum’s curators, there’s a good reason the ship is given such respect.

Michael Marks/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Wednesday night, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks in the final regular season game for each team. After, Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki answered questions from the press. Nowitzki is used to press conferences; he's attended plenty during his 21 seasons in the NBA. But this one was different because it was his last. Nowitzki had announced his retirement just the day before.

Texas Standard's Michael Marks was at the game, and says he bought his ticket to the Maverick’s last game months ago in case Nowitzki planned to retire. Marks grew up in the Dallas area, and says Nowitzki was his sports hero.

Lynda M. González for KUT

From Texas Standard:

As thousands of Central American migrants wait in Texas border cities for their immigration hearings, some of them are also awaiting health care services. Anna Maria Barry-Jester, senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News, says there’s a network of volunteer doctors in El Paso who are providing care, but it's been a struggle.  

Photo courtesy of Fred Renk

From Texas Standard:

It’s hard to miss the large colosseum-like structure off Ranch Road 1017 in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s the Santa Maria Bullring, and it’s where Fred and Lisa Renk have been running bloodless bullfights for the past 19 years.

Margaret Nicklas/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

With Tax Day just five days away, on April 15, some may be scrambling to make a payment, or just trying to get all the right forms filled out. While tax season can be stressful for many, it doesn’t affect most people's health. But it can, for families living in poverty.

Proponents of decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana say fewer tax dollars will be spent housing people in county jails for nonviolent crimes.
Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

Lawmakers of all political stripes were chomping at the bit this session to file — or sign onto — bills that would decriminalize or lessen the criminal penalties for Texans found with small amounts of marijuana.

Pexels

From Texas Standard:

Human trafficking is more common than some may think, and experts say it can take place in an average neighborhood with people who may operate undetected. In Texas, it’s especially common: The state has the second-highest number of cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Now, experts warn, it’s on the rise nationwide, which means even more survivors could be looking for help.

Miguel Gutierrez / Texas Tribune

The former UT Austin men's tennis coach will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for receiving money to recruit an unqualified student to the university's tennis team in 2015, the Department of Justice said.

Michael Center was put on administrative leave the day he was indicted on two charges of mail fraud for accepting $60,000 personally in the scheme and was later fired. He also received $40,000 on behalf of the university's tennis program, authorities say.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A national nonprofit says Texas’ system for putting holds on driver licenses is unconstitutional and is threatening to take the state to court as lawmakers decide the program's future this legislative session.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

From Texas Standard:

On Tuesday, a new Texas Department of Criminal Justice policy went into effect, banning any religious adviser from being in the execution chamber with an inmate. The decision came after the U.S. Supreme Court, last week, postponed the execution of Patrick Murphy, a member of the Texas Seven group.

The court said his execution had to wait until Texas decided on its policy about the presence of spiritual advisers during executions. The state had originally denied Murphy’s request to have a Buddhist priest, which Murphy appealed because Texas had allowed advisers from other faiths to be in the execution chamber. In his opinion, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that Texas needed to find a way to accommodate all faiths so as not to discriminate, or allow no advisers at all. TDCJ decided on the latter.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn speaks at the Texas State Republican Convention 2018 on June 15, 2018.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas Democrats are launching a multi-million-dollar initiative to help take down U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, regardless of who they ultimately choose as their nominee next year.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Massive flood damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey brought attention to some failing dams in the Houston area. Now, it appears the problem is statewide.

Roy Luck/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

For the second time in a month, a fire broke out this week at a petrochemical plant near Houston. This time, it was at the KMCO plant in Crosby where one person died and two others were injured.

Worker Killed In Second Chemical Fire In Texas In Less Than A Month

Apr 2, 2019
Smoke pouring from a chemical warehouse in Crosby, Texas Tuesday morning.
Harris County Fire Marshal's Office

A tank holding a flammable chemical caught fire at a Texas plant Tuesday, killing one worker, critically injuring two others and sending employees fleeing over a fence to safety.

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