Texas

Texas Standard
1:52 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Author T.C. Boyle Takes a Hard Look at Gun Violence

Renowned author T.C. Boyle analyzes the phenomena of the individual shooter in his new novel “The Harder They Come.”
Mackenzie Dunn/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard: 

T.C. Boyle is no stranger to tackling the taboo in his literature. His more than 20 novels examine every restricted topic in America and have earned him more accolades than many authors would ever dream of receiving. The New York Times raves his latest novel is the best one yet.

The Harder They Come examines the shootings that seem to be taking place nonstop across America. “It seems like there’s one every month now,” Boyle says. The novel takes place in Fort Bragg, California; however, it could be anywhere in the United States.

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2015 Legislature
10:25 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Hispanic Evangelicals Say Texas Bill Wrongfully Targets Undocumented Christians

Hispanic evangelical pastors in Texas say they oppose a bill by Sen. Charles Perry, shown here, that prohibits local governments from passing sanctuary city measures.
KUT News

Hispanic evangelicals in Texas have common ground with some conservative Texas lawmakers on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. When it comes to a measure known as the sanctuary cities bill, however, evangelicals say their faith stops them from supporting the measure.

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Texas Standard
2:32 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

The New Battle Over the Alamo

A new museum and visitors center is in the works for the Alamo, but will the collection in the library curated by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas be a part of it?
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons user Jonathanmallard

This story comes from Texas Standard.

For about a century, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) were caretakers of the Alamo. The group rescued parts of it from being demolished and made efforts to carefully preserve its history.

But new Texas General Land Commissioner George P. Bush ended an arrangement with the DRT last month. Bush cited multiple issues – including the DRT’s failure to keep the Alamo operating without placing significant financial demands on his office.

That’s ignited a new battle over the Alamo.

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Texas
5:17 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Group Reports Hunger Strike at Immigrant Detention Center

Karnes Detention Center after it was renovated in 2014.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

More than 40 mothers held in the Karnes Detention Center started a hunger strike Tuesday to protest for their release, according to the San Antonio legal aid organization RAICES. The center detains immigrant families who cross the border illegally.

RAICES says it recorded a phone call with a detainee, which it posted to YouTube. In it, a woman speaking in Spanish confirms the strike and reports that more women are joining up.

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Texas
3:00 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

State Audit: 'Operational Defects' Led to 21CT Deal

Texas Health and Human Services Commission Kyle Janek and former HHSC chief counsel, Jack Stick.
Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: A scathing state audit of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's $20 million deal for fraud tracking software has revealed "operational defects" within the agency's procurement process. 

According to the report, which was released on Thursday, no one took ownership of the deal or ever questioned why it should not be competitively awarded. 

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Texas Standard
11:01 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Maker Movement Takes Off in Texas

Denny Hammil created a toy that lets your dog fetch without you.
Photo via worldofnovelty.com

Storytelling and authenticity are changing the way consumers choose products.

After a long career in technology, Denny Hamill was ready to retire and take it easy. Then his grandson came to him with a problem: a dog named Prancer.

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2015 Legislature
10:00 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Rally Draws Attention to Wage of Home Caregivers in Texas

At the Capitol on April 1, 2015, advocates for people with disabilities showed up in force to draw attention to how much home care attendants earn at minimum an hour in Texas.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT News

At the Capitol Wednesday, advocates for people with disabilities showed up in force to draw attention to how much home care attendants earn, which isn't much more than minimum wage.

The chants were hard to ignore at the rotunda. Home care attendants came to ask Texas lawmakers to raise their minimum wage, since in the state, caregivers get a minimum of $7.86 an hour.

At the rotunda, Sarah Watkins, who is in a wheelchair, said she has a tough time keeping a caregiver for long.

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Texas Standard
2:32 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

November Madness: The 2016 Republican Presidential Bracket

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was is the first politician to declare candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. John Schnur, director of USC's Center for Politics, places Cruz in his 'Western Rebellion' bracket.
Gage Skidmore/flickr

From Texas Standard: 

Who will make it to the Final Four – and who will get bounced out?

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is down to the final four. It kicked off two weeks ago when 64 teams began competing to represent their region in the finals. And just like that tournament, the announcement by Texas Senator Ted Cruz tipped off the race for the GOP nomination for president.

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2015 Legislature
7:47 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Texas House Gives Preliminary Approval to Budget Bill After Hours of Debate

Lawmakers debated the House budget bill, HB1, all day and night of March 31, 2015.
KUT News

At 5:39 a.m. Wednesday, the Texas House gave preliminary approval of its state budget bill for 2016-2017.

House lawmakers spent nearly 18 hours going through amendments that would add or take away spending, hot button issues included, and passed the budget on a vote of 141-5.

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Texas
12:51 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Grand Jury Recommends UT Regent's Removal

UT Regent Wallace Hall on April 28, 2014. Lawmakers admonished and censured Hall, who was waging a personal investigation into lawmaker influence in the UT-Austin admissions process.
Charlie Pearce/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: In an unusual, strongly worded report, a Travis County grand jury recommended this week that University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall be removed from office.

It didn’t, however, indict him or accuse him of any criminal wrongdoing. Instead, it called Hall’s behavior “unaccountable and abusive.”

"Transparency and accountability are key elements in maintaining citizens' trust in their government," the report said. "Regent Hall demonstrated neither accountability nor transparency in his actions."

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2015 Legislature
7:39 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Texas Senate Gives First OK to Grading Schools A Through F

Texas Senators voted preliminarily to pass a bill on March 30, 2015, that would give Texas public schools a letter grade based on standardized test scores.
Nathan Bernier/KUT News

The Texas Senate is moving forward with a proposal to assign letter grades to Texas public schools.

Supporters say this bill would boost failing schools, while opponents say these grades will stigmatize schools and create more of a problem. 

State Sen. Larry Taylor, a Friendswood Republican, says his bill, SB 6, would empower parents. They’d have more information about how their children’s schools are doing once their school gets an A through F grade based on standardized test scores.

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Texas Standard
1:37 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

How Texas Summers Inspired a Novel Change to the Water Balloon Fight

Check out the world's "only self-sealing water balloons."
Laura Rice, Texas Standard

This story comes from Texas Standard.

The weather is warming up and kids across Texas are finding ways to stay cool as they play outside. One longtime favorite is a good old-fashioned water balloon fight. But a Texas man may have changed the game forever.

“Where I’m from in West Texas originally, it’s very hot and dry in the summers, and there’s very much a lack of things to do,” Kendall Harter says.

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Texas
11:45 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Report: Health Commission Was Found to Be 'in Quiet Turmoil'

Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek whispers to an aide at a hearing of the Sunset Advisory Commission on Jan. 14, 2015.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Leadership problems at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in the wake of a contracting scandal that resulted in forced resignations leave the agency too vulnerable to consolidate at this time, according to a report released Monday by Gov. Greg Abbott's handpicked "strike force."

The report found that too often decisions at the committee are reactive and that when the strike force team came to the agency in January, the agency found it "in quiet turmoil."

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Texas Standard
2:49 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Warning: Wildflower Picture Season is Also Snake Season

Pit vipers, like the rattlesnake, kill an average of one to two Texans every year. While not every snake is poisonous, doctors say that bite victims should always seek medical attention.
flickr.com/arcaist

For most Texans, spring time gives us a small window of opportunity to trek outside in some bearable weather. It's almost become a tradition for Texans to use this precious time to take photos in patches of bluebonnets. But just as we humans are beginning to shake off winter and go outside into the sun, so are are the snakes.

Anyone who's spent a significant time in the southwest can tell you, snake bites are a real danger. So what do you do if you encounter one?

​

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Texas Standard
2:44 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Kidnapped Texas Journalist Could Be In Negotiations For Release

flickr.com/enriquecespedes

It's no shock that the increased tension in the Middle East has made it tough for Western journalists to cover stories there. That trek didn’t deter Austin Tice, a former Marine from Houston turned freelance journalist, who went to Syria to cover the ongoing civil war. Now, Tice finds himself in trouble.

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Texas Standard
2:25 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Population Growth: Big Texas Keeps Getting Bigger

Via Pixabay

Texas has gotten used to topping lists about booming business and population growth. And while the headline of today’s Census Bureau data is all about Florida, don’t be fooled. Texas is still leading the way in a lot of areas.

“In a lot of cases, Texas leads a lot of the growth area statistics primarily because Texas itself is very, very large,” U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates Branch Chief Ben Bolender says.

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2015 Legislature
9:32 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Texas Bill Would Ensure that Only Secretary of State Can Issue Marriage Licenses

A bill from State Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) would give all power to grant marriage licenses to the Texas Secretary of State. A judge granted an order earlier this year that allowed a county clerk to issue a license to a same-sex couple.
Courtesy of Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant

On Wednesday, a panel of House lawmakers discussed a proposal to change how marriage licenses are issued in Texas, giving that power to one appointed official: the Secretary of State.

The bill comes after the Travis County clerk issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple last month, after being ordered to do so by a judge.

State Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) says his bill would take away the ability of the state’s 254 county clerks to issue marriage licenses, instead giving that power only to the Secretary of State.

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Texas Standard
3:47 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Water Fight in Wimberley Could Have Statewide Implications

A sign in Wimberley protesting the Electro Purification plan.
Laura Rice/Texas Standard

About 60 percent of the water we use in Texas comes from aquifers – natural underground reservoirs that often aren’t easily replenished. In Hays County, aquifers have raised a critical question: Who has the right to draw from the Trinity Aquifer, how much they can draw – and can anyone stop them?

A private company based out of Houston – Electro Purification (EP) – plans to pump groundwater from around the city of Wimberley and pipe it to other thirsty communities. EP has contracts to pipe more than 5 million gallons of water a day from this part of the Trinity Aquifer through the year 2036.

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Energy & Environment
8:01 am
Sun March 22, 2015

Texans Can Expect Vibrant Spring Wildflowers, Expert Says, Though They May Arrive a Bit Late

Experts are anticipating a colorful wildflower season in Texas this year.
Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Experts say this wildflower season might be one of the best in years, but we’ll have to wait a little longer than usual to find out.

That's because a cooler-than-normal March has postponed the blooming season. 

Texas
10:22 am
Thu March 19, 2015

People From All Over Texas Travel To Houston's Sari Stores

There are more than a dozen sari stores along Houston's Hillcroft Avenue
Brenda Salinas/KUT

Farrah Akhtar says there's no such thing as getting a quick sari.

“No, no, no, you want to try everything on, then you need the jewelry, the shoes, and then you want to bargain, and then you might not be happy with the deal, so you’ll go somewhere else," Akhtar says.

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