Texas

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

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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?


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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.


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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.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's recent visit to Mississippi has him bucking big criticism.

Miller went to compete for prize money – netting over $800 in winnings for calf-roping – and paid for the whole thing using a combination of state and campaign funds.

Shelby Knowles/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been charged in federal court with allegedly misleading investors in a technology company. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed the charges Monday in a Sherman-based court. They are similar to the allegations Paxton faces in a pending indictment handed up by a Collin County grand jury last year.

Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

Daniel Hernandez, an investigator for the state’s Child Protective Services agency, left his South Austin home at dawn on a recent Thursday holding a stack of folders. Their contents detailed troubles facing the children and families Hernandez was scheduled to check on that day: a starving infant, parents using drugs in front of a child and a teenager's suicide attempt.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas has the largest prison population in the country, with over 172,000 people serving prison sentences. Those prisoners make up a substantial workforce in the state, contributing to the  production of everything from mattresses to bacon. It's an industry that has been valued at nearly $2 billion a year. But inmates make only pennies an hour in return.

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From Texas Standard:

Some of America’s biggest school districts in New York City, Chicago, Miami-Dade County and Houston are hiring more security officers and police than counselors. In Houston, for example, there is only one counselor for every 1,175 students.

Policy and research editor Matt Barnum, from a nonpartisan news website focusing on education issues called The 74,  looked at the data.


Rod Aydelotte/WacoTrib

From Texas Standard:

Last May, nine people were killed, 20 injured and 177 people were arrested in a biker shootout at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. One hundred fifty people were indicted with a $1 million bail set for each of them. As we approach one year later, not a single person has seen trial. In fact, there hasn't been a single trial date set, either.

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