Texas

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

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Walk onto any historically Black college or university campus across Texas and you’re likely to hear calls from a Greek organization like Kappa Alpha Psi. That's one of the many Greek organizations established by African-Americans. Greek life is often strong at HBCUs and so is the emphasis on black identity, empowerment and leadership.

Three Secrets of Life From My 101-Year-Old Mother

May 5, 2016
Courtesy W.F. Strong

My mom lived to be 101 and five months. She said once you reached 99, you started counting your age like a newborn – in months: 99 and six months, 99 and nine months. She used to advise that if you wanted to live to be a hundred, you should live to be 99 and then be very, very careful.

Mary B. Strong, whose name doubled as her motto, was a tough, no-nonsense woman. A Daughter of the American Revolution, survivor of the Great Depression; an honest as the day is long woman of the Texas soil. She had what John Wayne called True Grit.

I think anyone who lives so long, one in about 40,000, must have True Grit. So what was the secret to her longevity?


Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

These days clean water from the tap is often a privilege that is taken for granted. We're accustomed to running to the sink whenever we're thirsty. But as the brown tap water in Flint and Crystal City show, we cannot always trust that clean water will be available.

But water contamination isn't always something that is easy to sniff out because of its color or smell. For some, especially those living in rural agricultural areas, water may have substances that put pregnant women in danger without their knowledge.


Shelby Knowles / Texas Tribune

Across Texas, universities are preparing to make concealed handguns a part of campus life. The Senate bill known as campus carry, signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2015, takes effect the first of August. Under the law, public universities have only some power to regulate where guns are allowed on campus.

The University of Texas at Austin has been bolder than other state schools in designating gun-free zones, and the school is feeling the heat from pro-gun student groups.


From the Texas Tribune: Charles Smith, a longtime ally of Gov. Greg Abbott, will be the next executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the governor announced Tuesday.

Smith, the chief deputy executive commissioner at the massive agency, will start his new position on June 1.

WOCinTech Chat/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas led the country in exonerations last year, with 54 statewide. in the state. New York placed a distant second with only 17, according to the National Registry of Exonerations’ latest report.

Keith Allison/flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In February, seven U.S. Marshals showed up at Paul Aker's home in Houston and arrested him. His crime? Failing to pay a nearly three-decades-old student loan debt. The story went viral, and caught the attention of Fusion reporter Rob Wile. He and his colleagues were curious: if this was happening in Houston – where there were 25 arrest warrants for outstanding student debt in 2015 – how prevalent was it elsewhere?


ErikaWittlieb/Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Although the United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, it has 25 percent of the world’s total prison population. That's not counting things like county lockups and city jails.

Federal prisons are overcrowded and in Texas, nearly 19,000 people are incarcerated in federal prisons alone. According to a report in USA Today the job of overseeing the prisoners is falling to nurses with little or no experience in security.


Photo via Flickr/carlos-pacheco (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Cowboys, longhorns, barbecue – all part of the state's identity. But before barbecue became part of the legend, there was the original. But where was the original, exactly?

Where there’s smoke there’s Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor for Texas Monthly. His research revealed what could conceivably be the first barbecue joint in Texas was born not too far from Lockhart, the town largely considered to be a barbecue mecca in the state.


Mark Goebel/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In recent weeks there have been reports of the crumbling infrastructure of the state’s Child Protective Services – an agency responsible for the well-being of 12,000 of the most neglected and abused kids in Texas.

Hady Mawajdeh/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Former news anchor for the CBS Evening News and journalism great Dan Rather stepped into the Texas Standard studio this week, along with his grandson Martin Rather, to announce the inaugural winner of the Rather Prize. We asked them about the prize and spoke to Dan Rather about the future of journalism, presidential campaigns and more.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson/Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

A jury in Henderson, Texas has closed another chapter in a Texas murder story that captured the public's attention nearly two decades ago.

Don Davis/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated them from the Stegosaurus. That something that might be hard to wrap your head around, but the age of the dinosaurs was a longer period that we humans often imagine.

austinrecovery.org

Thousands of Texans would have qualified for Medicaid if state lawmakers expanded the program under the Affordable Care Act. A recent report from the Obama administration finds 23 percent of those in that gap are dealing with a mental illness or substance abuse disorder. Without Medicaid, they have fewer options when they are looking for treatment.


Shelby Tauber / Texas Tribune

The state agency in charge of preventing and investigating child abuse in Texas is in turmoil. Child Protective Services recently lost a slew of investigators in Dallas. A four-year-old child that was on the state’s radar because of abuse was beaten to death. As a result, Governor Greg Abbott announced changes in leadership at the agency, but state lawmakers on Wednesday discussed even more possible changes.


Courtesy of Jesse Sublett

Today’s podcast edition of Wayback Wednesday starts, like many Texas stories, with football. It also ends with football, but in the middle it’s got most of the things those other football stories don’t have: an amazing crime spree, with burglaries, bare-knuckle brawling, prostitution, federal investigations and a couple of murders. And it all starts with a kid from East Austin named Timmy Overton.

Courtesy Ann: The Ann Richards Play (Photo by Ave Bonar)

From Texas Standard:

A divorced woman who was a recovering alcoholic – a Democrat, no less – who did more than just get elected governor of Texas, she captured the American imagination. As Ann Richards was fond of saying about herself: "I walked through fire and the fire lost."

Courtesy of Gene Hall

Cuba’s ambassador to the United States is in Texas this week to meet with business owners who want to sell to Cuba. In February the state Department of Agriculture went on an official trade mission to the island, and another group of Texans is headed there for similar reasons later this year. 


Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

In August 1992, Dallas Police received a call from a witness who reported seeing a rape. When officers arrived, they found two men, a woman and two young children sleeping on the sidewalk. They interviewed those people, and the woman claimed that the men sexually assaulted her. That eventually led to both men going to prison.

William Welch and Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story contains language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

In Texas, the law is pretty clear when it comes to who's responsible for reporting abuse or neglect – pretty much anyone who thinks abuse or neglect is happening. Often, that person is a delivery nurse or a doctor.

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