Eric Kayne/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Delivering a hit to the Texas gay rights movement, Houston voters on Tuesday resoundingly rejected an ordinance that would have established protections from discrimination for gay and transgender residents and several other classes.

With 95 percent of votes counted, 61 percent of voters opposed the measure. The embattled ordinance, better known as HERO, would have made it illegal to discriminate against someone based on 15 different “protected characteristics,” including sex, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.


This story comes from Texas Standard.

Do anti high-speed rail efforts in the Texas legislature and in DC mean it’s an idea that’s going nowhere fast?

Aman Batheja is following the issue for the Texas Tribune.

On Who is Opposed to High-Speed Rail:

“The issue here is the rural communities between Dallas and Houston … The mayors of Dallas and Houston and a majority of the elected officials there strongly support the train project – they’re very strongly behind it. It’s the rural communities that are trying to figure out what’s in it for them.”


Is a Texan truly Texan without a propensity for hunting and fishing – or even speaking with a Texas twang?

Scott Vogel, editor in chief of Houstonia magazine, ponders his decidedly un-Texan upbringing by a New York father with a disdain for Lone Star culture. 

Have you seen the dramatic video that shows Houston firefighters rescuing a construction worker from an apartment complex that caught on fire?

The video, which was posted on YouTube, shows a construction worker stuck on a fourth-floor balcony. Heavy flames approached. The worker dropped down to the balcony below. Firefighters arrived on a long ladder -- and they rescued the worker just as a wall on the roof was engulfed in flames and fell down.

This post was updated at 4:47 p.m. ET.

The cleanup of an oil spill near the Houston Ship Channel is continuing today, and authorities say they have opened one of the country's biggest ports in a limited capacity this afternoon.

As the Coast Guard prepares to open the Houston Ship Channel after an oil spill over the weekend, environmentalists were trying assess the damage to a sensitive ecological system.

The Associated Press reports the Coast Guard is hoping to reopen "one of the nation's busiest seaports Monday."

The AP adds:

Photo courtesy Hereford Cathedral

This Friday, a rare copy of the Magna Carta and an accompanying King's Writ will go on display in Houston at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Known as one of the most important documents in history, the Magna Carta was written and signed by King John and England's feudal barons in 1215. It directly inspired international constitutional law and the tenets upon which the U.S. Constitution is based.

So why has this rare copy — one of only four in existence — traveled from its home at Hereford Cathedral in England to Houston of all places?

Voters in Houston on Tuesday rejected a bond referendum that would have allowed Harris County, Texas, to borrow $217 million that it could then spend on turning the Astrodome into one very large convention and exhibition hall.

The vote was 53 percent against the referendum, to 47 percent in favor.

Ihwa Cheng for KUT News

As metropolitan economies, like Austin, expand their global reach, international aviation plays a pivotal role—moving passengers from there to here.

But, for the most part, international travel coming into the United States, takes place in many of the same metropolitan gateways. Despite Austin's growing role in technology and other business industries, the city isn't playing a big role in international travel. One major challenge may be the competition provided by bigger Texas cities.

According to a report by The Brookings Institution, 17 areas account for almost three-quarters of all international travel either starting or ending in the U.S. Atop the list of gateway cities is Atlanta, which accounted for more than 6 million international travelers last year.


The City of Houston has been selected as one of two finalists to host Super Bowl LI in February 2017.

At the NFL’s Fall Meeting, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that San Francisco and South Florida will duke it out for the opportunity to host the NFL’s 50th Super Bowl, Super Bowl L, in 2016. Goodell says the losing city will compete with Houston for the chance to host Super Bowl LI.

NFL owners will vote on the two Super Bowl sites during league meetings in Boston next May.

Houston’s bid is being lead by the Texans, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitor Bureau, the Harris County – Sports Authority and Reliant Park.

Texans president Jamey Rootes says Houston should feel good about their chances to host the Super Bowl in 2017.

flickr.com/Matt Peoples

While food trucks have been embraced in Austin and can be found clustered throughout the city, Houston food truck owners are struggling to change city ordinances that impose limits on their operations. 

Yesterday, dozens of food truck operators and enthusiasts came before the Houston City Council to petition for changes in mobile food unit ordinance, which bans food trucks that use propane stoves and grills from operating in the busy downtown area.

The Houston Mobile Food Unit Collective has proposed that the mobile food unit ordinances be amended to allow trucks with propane tanks under 40 pounds to operate downtown, eliminate the required 60 feet of space between trucks and permit food trucks to provide up to three tables and six chairs for patrons.

Laura Rice, KUT News

KUT Has Officially Moved

After more than three decades, KUT has emerged from Communications Building B on the University of Texas-Austin campus – to a brand new building right across the street.

The new KUT Public Media Studios is on the corner of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton. Finally visible, with windows and with an environmentally responsible building, the new location is home to a 72-seat performance studio, outdoor stage, and production studios.

We’re happy to finally have a space to match what we strive for in innovation, responsibility, and interaction – and to be able to see outside!


Leppert Endorses Dewhurst Following Debate

Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert endorsed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst after last night's debate between Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz.

Cruz and Dewhurst are in a runoff for the Republican nomination to vie for retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's seat.

During the debate in Dallas, Dewhurst and Cruz traded barbs about each other’s honesty and fitness for the senate seat. While they found some common ground in their disapproval of the current federal healthcare reform, Dewhurst, unlike Cruz, expressed support for providing assistance to the “elderly, frail, disabled and children.”

Texas Dominates Population Growth

Round Rock is ranked second and Austin is ranked third on a list of the country’s fastest-growing large cities.

New estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau show Round Rock’s population increased by 4.8 percent from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011.

Texas Parks and Widlife

A 100 year-old battleship anchored in Houston started taking on water last weekend – and has since sunk two feet into the ship channel.

The crew of the U.S.S. Texas noticed a leak early Saturday and have been pumping out water ever since. The ship’s crew has also been working around the clock to stop oil aboard the ship from leaking into the channel.

Ship manager Andy Smith says the crew is filtering and skimming the water and is also using a floating barricade to prevent contamination of the channel. “We don’t have any oil in the water right now; that’s just a precautionary measure,” Smith says. “So we’re in the process right now of cleaning that oil up and kind of maintaining the status quo with the water coming in.” 

Have you ever opened your mail and found a traffic ticket sticking you with a not-so-small fine? If so, your reaction might well have been, "What the [expletive]?"

Then maybe you looked carefully at the enclosed photo and realized the vehicle shown (allegedly) running a red light or speeding was, in fact, yours.

Photo by stetted http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunlitrain/

Soon Houstonites will be able to eat a green chile pork or fried chicken taco without having to drive down I-10. That’s because Torchy’s Tacos, which started as a food truck and expanded to nine locations in Austin, is now heading to H-Town.

“Houston, we have a store opening!” Torchy’s wrote on its website. “We've made a deal with the devil and the doors are set to open in December.”

Torchy’s was founded by chef Mike Rypka in 2006. He has already expanded to Dallas and has thought about opening locations outside Texas.