Texas

Wildflower Season
1:54 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Snakes or No Snakes, Safety Tips for Texas Bluebonnet Pictures

While you probably won’t find a six-foot rattler among the bluebonnets, there's still precautions you can take.
menoutdoors.com via imgur

With spring in full swing, it's time for wildflower pictures – including photos among Texas' iconic state flower, the bluebonnet.

But something's taking the bloom off this wildflower season: images of snakes among the flowers.

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George W. Bush
10:29 am
Fri April 4, 2014

The Artist Formerly Known As President George W. Bush Unleashes His Inner Rembrandt

President Bush's portrait of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.
Lauren Silverman KERA News

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 11:57 am

Since he left office, former President George W. Bush has devoted part of his free time to painting – everything from his dog Barney to self-portraits. A year after a hacker revealed some of his works-in-progress, Bush had his first real art show Friday at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.

The exhibit, titled "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy," opens to the public Saturday. It features portraits of 24 world leaders, including Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and the Dalai Lama.

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Crime & Justice
11:04 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Texas Facing 'Judicial Vacancy Crisis,' Report Claims

A new report says Texas' 10 vacant seats judicial seats translate into backlogged cases.
Credit Flickr user Brian Turner, https://flic.kr/ps/VxiMo

Texas is in a judicial vacancy crisis according to a report released today by the liberal Center for American Progress in Washington and Austin-based Progress Texas.

The report shows Texas has the most vacant federal judge seats of any state, with 10 spots open as of March 19. The report warns those 10 vacancies could grow to 13 if no action is taken, since three more seats are set to open up next year.

Those 10 vacant seats translate into backlogged cases, with especially high caseloads along the U.S.-Mexico border, the report notes. The majority of current and future vacancies also happen to be concentrated in the southern and western parts of the state.

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Texas
9:25 am
Tue March 25, 2014

No More Cheap Margaritas? Why Lime Prices Are On the Rise

The bar at Fonda San Miguel, an upscale interior Mexican restaurant in Austin. The price of limes – a prime margarita ingredient– has spiked in recent months.
KUT News

These days restaurants are spending obscene amounts of money on limes. Think about what that means for Mexican food alone: limes are used in practically everything, from margaritas to ceviche to guacamole.

Last week, the rising price of limes became personal for this reporter.

I stopped by La Moreliana, a small eatery in southeast Austin that serves up authentic tacos. The food was great – but the tacos were missing the citrusy, acidic bite only lime juice can add. 

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Energy & Environment
2:19 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

After Oil Spill, Coast Guard Prepares To Open Houston Ship Channel

A barge loaded with marine fuel oil sits partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel on Saturday.
PO3 Manda Emery ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 2:16 pm

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:

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Borderlands
4:55 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Awash In Cash, Drug Cartels Rely On Big Banks To Launder Profits

A woman uses a cash machine at an HSBC bank office in Mexico City. The multi-national bank was heavily penalized several years ago for permitting huge transfers of drug cartel money between Mexico and the U.S.
Enric Marti AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:20 pm

The Sinaloa Cartel, headquartered on Mexico's northern Pacific Coast, is constantly exploring new ways to launder its gargantuan profits. The State Department reports that Mexican trafficking organizations earn between $19 and $29 billion every year from selling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines on the streets of American cities.

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Texas
2:36 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Big Hoss, The World’s Biggest HD TV Screen, Debuts At Texas Motor Speedway

Presenting the world's biggest high-definition TV screen.
Texas Motor Speedway

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 12:49 pm

Oh, those boys and their video toys.

Move over, Dallas Cowboys and AT&T Stadium: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth says it has the bigger and better video screen. And it's way bigger than whatever fancy screen you have in your living room.

The speedway on Wednesday night unveiled its giant high-definition video board. TMS says it’s the world’s biggest HD screen at a sporting venue.

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Crime & Justice
6:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Questions Still Surround Decades-Old Murders at Lake Waco

The Lake Waco murders are the subject of a new story in Texas Monthly.
Texas Monthly

In 1982, a grisly triple homicide in Waco shook residents faith in their community. Three teenagers were killed, and local police struggled with the investigation. The murders were just the beginning of a story that spans decades and involves dozens of characters, many of which became obsessed with both the murders and how the case was prosecuted. Now a new story in Texas Monthly by Michael Hall raises troubling questions about how the state handles justice.

"If there's one thing for certain, it's that the Lake Waco murder case does stand on its own," Hall writes in the story, 'Murders at the Lake,' in the April issue of Texas Monthly

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SXSW 2014
1:30 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Fort Worth Students Dealing With Death Of One Classmate, SXSW Injuries Of Two Others

Trimble Tech student Marissa Edwards says it's not easy to focus on her studies right now.
Reverend Kyev Tatum Trimble Tech High School

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 12:46 pm

Students and teachers at Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth are coping with a pair of tragedies. Just before spring break, junior Jocelyn Saucedo was fatally stabbed. And last week, a cheerleader and her boyfriend were among the two dozen injured in Austin when a car plowed into a crowd at the South by Southwest festival.

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Aging in Texas
8:39 am
Thu March 6, 2014

'Promotoras' Help Texas Border's Poorest Seniors Make Healthy Choices

Maria Luisa Aranda lives in a colonia in Progreso, a town near the Texas border.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Some of the poorest seniors in Texas live in Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley.

Many only speak Spanish and don’t have access to the basics, like food or medical care. But a Texas A&M professor and his team of community health workers – or "promotoras de salud” – are trying to find ways to help seniors along the border improve those conditions. 

They're working in places like the colonia border town of Progreso, near the Mexican border. Progreso is  one of the poorest places in the one of the poorest counties in the United States. The unemployment rate is more than 10 percent.

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Sports
11:59 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Texas' First Gay Sports League Provides a Safe Place to Play

The Austin Gay Basketball League (AGBL) has more than doubled in size since its creation in 2010.
Sam Ortega for KUT News

Last May, Jason Collins – a 12-year veteran of the NBA – made history when he penned an editorial in Sport Illustrated revealing he was gay. "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport," he wrote. "But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation."

The issue of homosexuality in sports has certainly become a topic of discussion, from the politics of the Sochi Olympics to NFL hopeful Michael Sam coming out as gay. But many athletes feel there is still a long way to go before gay players are fully welcomed into sports.

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Texas
4:18 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Rep. Castro And Former Bush Press Secretary Back Same-Sex Marriage Push Across The South

Congressman Joaquín Castro's official congressional portrait.
U.S. Government

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 12:00 pm

A national same-sex marriage rights group has launched an effort across several states in the South to campaign for marriage equality.

Southerns for Freedom to Marry, a branch of the New York-based group Freedom to Marry, has mounted a $1 million campaign across nine states including Texas.

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Religion
9:57 am
Wed February 19, 2014

'Crypto-Jews' In The Southwest Find Faith In A Shrouded Legacy

Rabbi Stephen Leon leads a Friday night service at B'nai Zion synagogue in El Paso, Texas. Leon has converted crypto-Jews in the region.
Courtesy of Peter Svarzbein/ mongovision.com

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:32 am

Code Switch has been writing about some overlooked cultural interactions that have helped shape what Jewish identity is today, and we continue the series with this post about the murky and fascinating history of crypto-Jews in the Southwest.

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Keeping It Weird
1:01 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Rundberg's 'Running Man' Looks to Take His Message Beyond Austin

Broderick James says there he wants to take his "Power of Hope" message to all of the "Rundbergs in every city" in Texas.
Jon Shapley for KUT News

He's everyone's favorite cardio-loving community activist — a relatively new emissary of Austin weird.

His name is Broderick James, but he's better known as the Rundberg Running Man, a local fixture you can find dancing, running and freestyle rapping on the corner of Lamar and Rundberg on a daily basis. While many Austinites know him for his daily exploits, most people outside the city would simply peg him as a typical fitness freak.

James wants to change that, only there's a problem: money. 

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Business
12:13 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Infographic: Texas Leads the U.S. in Technology Exports, Jobs

Apple recently announced plans to manufacture the new Mac Pro in Austin, which will bring about 800 new tech jobs.
youtube.com/apple

In a neverending battle of one-upmanship it seems — for now at least — Texas has the upper hand over the rest of the nation in the tech game.  

A report from the Tech America Foundation found that Texas surpassed long-time tech export leader California with a total $45.1 billion in tech exports, compared to California's $44.8 billion in exports in 2012. Texas and California also led the nation in tech jobs with 330,977 and 328,301 jobs — 22 percent and 21 percent of the 1.4 million tech jobs in the U.S.

To illustrate the data, we've created an infographic you can see below. 

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