Wade Goodwyn, NPR http://kut.org en A 'Roller Coaster' Year For Texas Town Rocked By Blast http://kut.org/post/roller-coaster-year-texas-town-rocked-blast When firetrucks blew through the small town of West, Texas, on the evening of April 17, 2013, sirens screaming, naturally everybody was curious. People got in their cars and went to see the fire at the West fertilizer plant. For 10 minutes, they watched from cars and backyards as the fire grew ever bigger. A few moved as close as they could because they were filming on their smartphones. At no time did it occur to anybody that they might be in danger.<p>And then — a massive explosion. The men fighting the fire at the plant never had a chance. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:41:23 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 10215 at http://kut.org A 'Roller Coaster' Year For Texas Town Rocked By Blast Why The Race Of The New Football Coach At University Of Texas Matters http://kut.org/post/why-race-new-football-coach-university-texas-matters The Texas Longhorn football team is trying to regroup after several disappointing seasons under veteran coach Mack Brown.<p>The University of Texas hired Charlie Strong last week to usher in a new era in Austin. Wed, 15 Jan 2014 15:49:58 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 9556 at http://kut.org Why The Race Of The New Football Coach At University Of Texas Matters Camels Trek In The Texas Desert, Just Like Old Times http://kut.org/post/camels-trek-texas-desert-just-old-times At 10 on a crisp West Texas morning, five camel-trekkers stand under the open sky of the Davis Mountains. A few feet away, guide Doug Baum and Jason Mayfield load up five camels.<p>Baum, a former zookeeper, runs the Texas Camel Corps. The group guides camel treks around the world. In the Big Bend region, camels were for a brief time widespread, and the guides have brought them back.<p><strong>'As Good As They Come'</strong><p>You have to like a man who brings his own camel to a camel trek. On Mayfield's arm is a tall, beautiful blond named Butter.<p>"She's 8 years old. Mon, 23 Dec 2013 18:39:09 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 9430 at http://kut.org Camels Trek In The Texas Desert, Just Like Old Times Even An 85 MPH Highway Can't Fix Austin's Traffic Tangle http://kut.org/post/even-85-mph-highway-cant-fix-austins-traffic-tangle Four decades ago, Austin, Texas, had a population of 250,000 and a reputation as a laid-back oasis of liberal politics and live music. Today, the Austin metro area is home to 1.8 million people and has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion.<p>For years, the city has done little to address the growing problem. But most in the Texas capital now agree something has to change if Austin is to save what's left of its quirky character.<p>The best way to experience Austin traffic may be from inside the police department's new helicopter. Tue, 17 Dec 2013 14:16:03 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 9386 at http://kut.org Even An 85 MPH Highway Can't Fix Austin's Traffic Tangle Texas Pit Masters Bask In Moment Of Barbecue Glory http://kut.org/post/texas-pit-masters-bask-moment-barbecue-glory It's not even noon yet but every table out front of the <a href="http://www.pecanlodge.com">Pecan Lodge</a> in downtown Dallas is filled with veterans with barbecue heaped on their plates, smirking at the gobsmacked newbies. First timers are easily discernible by the stunned looks on their faces when they walk in and see the line.<p>Half the people standing in line are not even going to get barbecue; it's going to run out before they can order. Tue, 23 Jul 2013 19:24:45 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 8396 at http://kut.org Texas Pit Masters Bask In Moment Of Barbecue Glory Officials Seek Answers In Aftermath Of Deadly Plant Explosion http://kut.org/post/officials-seek-answers-aftermath-deadly-explosion With the house-to-house search over and the living and dead largely accounted for, the town of West, Texas, began the transition from shock and disbelief to communal grieving.<p>On Friday night, mourners gathered at St. Mary Church of the Assumption to remember the dead. Many of the dead were first responders who were fighting a roaring fire for 30 minutes before the explosion, which was felt 80 miles away in Fort Worth.<p>Texas Sen. Sat, 20 Apr 2013 15:19:28 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 7437 at http://kut.org Officials Seek Answers In Aftermath Of Deadly Plant Explosion Tea Party Texan Cruz Gives GOP Hope In Hunt For Hispanic Votes http://kut.org/post/tea-party-texan-cruz-gives-gop-hope-hunt-hispanic-votes Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas is a bright young Hispanic star who will be sworn in this week in Washington. The Republican Party nationally hopes Cruz will be part of the solution to its <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/12/24/167970497/minorities-may-spurn-the-gop-but-the-party-welcomes-them">growing problem</a> luring Hispanic voters.<p>Almost nobody had heard of Cruz when he began his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Tue, 01 Jan 2013 21:03:05 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 6024 at http://kut.org Tea Party Texan Cruz Gives GOP Hope In Hunt For Hispanic Votes Amid Calls For Gun Control, Some Push For Weapons At School http://kut.org/post/amid-calls-gun-control-some-push-weapons-school A growing number of lawmakers are indicating they are open to considering new gun control measures in the wake of Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn. But while much of the national debate has focused on limiting access to guns, others are suggesting that schools should arm themselves to defend against attacks.<p>David Thweatt, school superintendent for the small Texas town of Harrold, northwest of Fort Worth, decided in 2006 that it was time to arm his staff. There's only one school in Harrold, a K-12 with 103 students.<p>Before 2006, there had already been enough carnage at U.S. Tue, 18 Dec 2012 22:57:41 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 5949 at http://kut.org Amid Calls For Gun Control, Some Push For Weapons At School American Airlines Fliers Fed Up as Labor Clash Rages http://kut.org/post/american-airlines-fliers-fed-labor-clash-rages Pat Henneberry is an airline's dream customer. She flies all week, every week, and buying an $800 ticket so that she can have full flexibility is standard operating procedure. She's an American Airlines platinum customer. But she is fed up with the endless delays and cancellations.<p>"On Monday I didn't get on the plane. Basically, they said they're going to be late, then an hour later they said they're canceling. It's a direct flight to Chicago. It's easy to get equipment. They said it was maintenance. Thu, 27 Sep 2012 20:50:42 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 5189 at http://kut.org American Airlines Fliers Fed Up as Labor Clash Rages In Bankruptcy, American Airlines Looks At All Options http://kut.org/post/bankruptcy-texas-based-american-airlines-looks-all-options Imagine going into bankruptcy with billions of dollars in cash still in your bank account. That's what American Airlines did last November. The thinking was that management would gut the company's pensions and union contracts and emerge from bankruptcy ready to compete.<p>But then US Airways said it could take over American and be profitable, and it wouldn't have to hurt American's employees nearly as bad in the process. American's pilots, mechanics and flight attendants loved that idea.<p>James Little is the president of the Transport Workers International Union of America. Mon, 16 Jul 2012 19:42:37 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 4693 at http://kut.org In Bankruptcy, American Airlines Looks At All Options Lots of GOP Money Flowing From the 'Texas Two' http://kut.org/post/lots-gop-money-flowing-texas-two The latest reports from the Federal Election Commission shed new light on the political largesse of two Texas businessmen who have become common names in the world of Republican fundraising.<p>With a $1 million check in February to the superPAC backing Rick Santorum, Dallas nuclear waste dump owner Harold Simmons and his wife, Annette, have now contributed to groups supporting all three of the top GOP candidates.<p>And Houston home builder Bob Perry tripled his 2011 investment in the superPAC supporting Mitt Romney: His $3 million donation made up nearly half of Restore Our Future's total t Thu, 22 Mar 2012 16:16:08 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 3894 at http://kut.org Lots of GOP Money Flowing From the 'Texas Two' Buoyant Santorum Takes Campaign To Texas — And Corrals Some Perry People http://kut.org/post/buoyant-santorum-takes-campaign-texas-%E2%80%94-and-corrals-some-perry-people Fresh off his hat trick in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum campaigned in Texas on Wednesday, speaking to a group of pastors at Bella Donna Chapel in the town of McKinney.<p>Forty miles north of Dallas, where black prairie dirt meets the fresh poured concrete of suburbia, this is Rick Santorum country.<p>This used to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry country.<p>"My husband, about four months ago, he told me he was going to go meet Rick Santorum, presidential candidate, and I was like: 'No, his last name is Perry. Thu, 09 Feb 2012 14:16:59 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 3619 at http://kut.org Buoyant Santorum Takes Campaign To Texas — And Corrals Some Perry People Gov. Perry Cut Funds For Women's Health In Texas http://kut.org/post/gov-perry-cut-funds-womens-health-texas Texas Gov. Rick Perry likes to hold out the Lone Star State as a model — his vision for the country. But while Texas' growing economy has been a reliable jobs producer, the state's health care system is straining.<p>Only 48 percent of Texans have private health insurance, and more than a quarter of the state's population has no insurance at all, more than any other state. Tue, 20 Sep 2011 13:47:49 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 2554 at http://kut.org Flashback: Perry's HPV Vaccine Mandate Provoked Anger http://kut.org/post/flashback-perrys-hpv-vaccine-mandate-provoked-anger The most dramatic moment of the GOP debate in Florida last Monday revolved around Gov. Rick Perry and his 2007 executive order mandating that all 11- and 12-year-old girls in Texas get the HPV vaccine. The human papillomavirus vaccine protects women and teens against a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer.<p>During the debate, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann called Perry's executive order an example of crony capitalism.<p>"The governor's chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company," Bachmann said. Fri, 16 Sep 2011 20:58:31 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 2538 at http://kut.org Flashback: Perry's HPV Vaccine Mandate Provoked Anger NPR: Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs Has Pneumonia, Not In Coma http://kut.org/post/npr-polygamist-leader-warren-jeffs-has-pneumonia-not-coma Jailed polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is suffering from pneumonia and is not in a medically-induced coma, as has been widely reported, a source familiar with Jeffs' condition tells NPR.<p>According to the source, the 55-year-old leader of the nation's largest polygamist group was sedated, pharmacologically paralyzed and placed on a ventilator as part of his treatment for pneumonia. Tue, 30 Aug 2011 19:13:13 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 2354 at http://kut.org NPR: Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs Has Pneumonia, Not In Coma Texas Job Growth Trend Stretches Back For Decades http://kut.org/post/texas-job-growth-trend-stretches-back-decades As Gov. Wed, 17 Aug 2011 16:58:47 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 2249 at http://kut.org Texas Job Growth Trend Stretches Back For Decades The Lone Star State Beginnings Of Rick Perry http://kut.org/post/lone-star-state-beginnings-rick-perry Texas Gov. Rick Perry will officially make clear his intentions to run for the GOP presidential nomination during a speech on Saturday in South Carolina. Sat, 13 Aug 2011 15:05:07 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 2214 at http://kut.org The Lone Star State Beginnings Of Rick Perry Warren Jeffs: Alone For The Defense http://kut.org/post/warren-jeffs-alone-defense At the end of court yesterday, Warren Jeffs stood all by himself at the defense table, head bowed, motionless as everyone swirled around him.<p>The morning began with him firing his defense lawyers and announcing he would represent himself. Fri, 29 Jul 2011 15:30:44 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 2078 at http://kut.org Gov. Perry Ratchets Up Conservative Credentials http://kut.org/post/gov-perry-ratchets-conservative-credentials Seven Republican presidential contenders squared off in a debate in New Hampshire on Monday night. There are, however, still a number of big names on the sidelines, including Texas Gov. Tue, 14 Jun 2011 16:29:55 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 1700 at http://kut.org