Texas

StateImpact Texas
3:35 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Want to Learn About a Nearby Dam? In Texas, Some Questions Are Off Limits

Texas has more dams than any other state in the country. This is a map of Texas dams from the USACE. Texas has more dams than any other state in the country. This is a map of Texas dams from the USACE.
USACE

This is part three of a series looking at the infrastructure of dams in Texas, and what can be done to improve it. You can find part one here, and part two here.

In 1978 a massive storm hit the West Texas town of Albany. It dumped 23 inches of rain in just eight hours. Waters caused 9 deaths, flooded hundreds of homes, and broke through a local dam. Troy Henderson, who now works on the Brownwood Texas Lake Patrol, says since then he’s followed a simple rule.

“If I were to build a home somewhere, I’d make sure that if it was downstream from a lake that their dam is property maintained,” he told StateImpact Texas, “and the reason I say that is, I lived in Albany in 1978.”

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Economy
3:16 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

How a Mexican Boom Could Be the Next Big Thing for Texas

This year, Mexico's economy is predicted to grow at a rate of 1.7 percent. Joseph Parilla of the Brookings Institution says that's not the whole story.
flickr.com/jstephenconn

This year, economists in Mexico are predicting an anemic growth rate for the country of 1.7 percent. Some say the number could be closer to 1.4 percent. However, longtime Mexico watchers, including Brookings analyst Joseph Parilla, say that’s not the big story.  

“In the Mexican case, they had robust growth last year and if you look past 2013, projections are still relatively good,” Parilla says. “Growth rates are between 3.5 and 4 percent over the next five years. I think the general consensus is while 2013 will prove a difficult year for the Mexican economy, there should be a pretty quick rebound after."

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Immigration
11:39 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Another Casualty of Government Shutdown: Texas-Bound Refugees

The Goddess of Liberty atop the Texas State Capitol. The government shutdown has slowed the journey of Texas-bound refugees.
Lizzie Chen for KUT News

A way station for immigrants the world over, New York’s Ellis Island is arguably the truest symbol of American identity. But the island is closed today – along with the Statue of Liberty and all other national monuments, memorials, libraries and parks – all as a result of the ongoing government shutdown

Here in Texas, the shutdown’s made an immediate impact on incoming immigrants: it has forced the State Department and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration to delay the arrival of refugees from Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Eritrea, Burma, Bhutan, Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  And approximately 10 percent of these immigrants come to Texas. 

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Women's Health
3:04 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Interview: College-Age Women Hardest Hit by Texas Health Cuts

Abortion rights supporters, gathered on the first day of the second special session at the 2013 Texas Legislature.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

After sparking raucous protests and a famous filibuster, new restrictions on abortion in Texas captured the nation’s attention this summer. But the fight over abortion and women’s health is not new in Texas.

In a new piece for The Austin Chronicle, investigative reporter Jordan Smith examines how the fallout from the abortion fight impacts care options for college-aged women. Her article, “From ‘Abstinence-Only’ to Plan Z” is part of a nationwide day of reporting on women’s health and reproductive issues.  

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Texas Abortion Law
10:41 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Advocates File Lawsuit to Block Abortion Restrictions

A protest inside the Texas Capitol on June 12, 2013, as the legislature approved new restrictions on abortion. Advocates have filed a lawsuit to block the restrictions from taking effect.
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUT News

The next stage in abortion rights advocates’ efforts to block implementation of strict new regulations on the procedure in Texas began on Friday, as the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and a group of abortion providers across the state filed a lawsuit in federal court.

“Today's lawsuit is a united strike back against the hostile politicians who have made clear their willingness to sacrifice the constitutional rights, health and even lives of Texas women in support of their extremist ideological agenda,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. 

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Williamson County
4:33 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Judge Ken Anderson Resigns Amid Ethics Lawsuit

Former judge and prosecutor Ken Anderson, speaking about the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton.
Justin Dehn, Texas Tribune

Williamson County state district Judge Ken Anderson, who oversaw the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton in 1987, submitted a letter to Gov. Rick Perry on Monday resigning his position effective immediately.

Anderson is facing both civil and criminal court proceedings for his role in prosecuting Morton for the 1986 murder of his wife, Christine Morton. Attorneys for Morton allege that Anderson withheld critical evidence that pointed to Morton's innocence and that he lied to the judge about the existence of that evidence. Morton was sentenced to life in prison and spent nearly 25 years behind bars before DNA testing revealed that he was innocent and connected another man to his wife's killing. He was released from prison in 2011.

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BIG TEX
3:35 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Big Tex 101: Check Out The Cowboy's Duds Through The Years

Shutterstock

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 8:21 am

Big Tex, the beloved State Fair of Texas icon, returns to Fair Park on Friday. (If you’ve been under a rock lately, the big guy burned down last October in spectacular fashion, attracting national headlines.)

Before Big Tex makes his triumphant return, we’re offering a daily online look at All Things Big Tex until Friday.

In today's edition of Big Tex 101, we take a look at Big Tex, the fashion icon.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument
11:55 am
Mon September 23, 2013

South Vietnamese Figure Removed from Texas' Vietnam War Memorial

Members of the Vietnamese community outside the Texas State Preservation Board hearing inside the Texas Capitol.
Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

The Texas State Preservation Board voted Friday to move forward with a proposed Vietnam War veterans' monument at the Texas Capitol. The final design features American combat troops – and not a South Vietnamese solider as initially proposed.

In 2005, the Texas Legislature authorized a Vietnam War memorial for the Texas Capitol grounds. The proposed design featured several combat-weary soldiers – one of them a South Vietnamese solider. But the backers of the memorial, the Texas Capitol Vietnam Monument Committee, chose to remove that figure. The preservation board approved the final design Friday. 

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Photojournalism
10:07 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Donna DeCesare's Unsettling Portraits of Children of War

Photo taken from the book "Unsettled."
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Donna DeCesare is one of four gold medal winners of the 2013 Maria Moors Cabot prize, awarded by the Columbia Journalism School for outstanding reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean. “The Cabot Prize honors journalists who have covered the Western Hemisphere and, through their reporting and editorial work, have furthered inter-American understanding,” reads a statement on the journalism school’s website.

You can see more of DeCesare’s work on her website.

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Tom Delay
10:26 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Appeals Court Overturns Tom Delay's Money Laundering Conviction

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (left) and his defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin at the Travis County Criminal Justice Center on November 1, 2010.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

A state appeals court in Austin has overturned the money laundering conviction of former Texas Congressman and House Majority Leader Tom Delay. 

Three years ago, DeLay was convicted for conspiring to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate campaign contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002.

Delay has been free since his conviction while the case was appealed.

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Politics
8:45 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Interview: The Calculus of a Wendy Davis Run for Governor

Wendy Davis during her filibuster of abortion-restricting Senate Bill 5. "She is now an official, certified celebrity who has some life and legs beyond this election cycle," Evan Smith says.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Not since Ann Richards has the star of a Texas Democrat risen as fast or conspicuously as that of Wendy Davis.

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Libraries
11:48 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Bookless Public Library Opens In Texas

An artist's rendering shows computer stations at the new BiblioTech bookless public library in Bexar County, Texas. The library is holding its grand opening Saturday.
Courtesy of Bexar County

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 5:02 pm

An all-digital public library is opening today, as officials in Bexar County, Texas, celebrate the opening of the BiblioTech library. The facility offers about 10,000 free e-books for the 1.7 million residents of the county, which includes San Antonio.

On its website, the Bexar County BiblioTech library explains how its patrons can access free eBooks and audio books. To read an eBook on their own device, users must have the 3M Cloud Library app, which they can link to their library card.

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Texas
8:46 am
Fri September 13, 2013

This Map Carves the U.S. Into Seven Nations - And Splits Texas Three Ways

Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill, Forbes Magazine

"America is not a single country. It is a collection of seven competitive nations and three quasi-independent city-states, each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems.”

So writes geographer and futurist Joel Kotkin for Forbes Magazine.  In his new map of America’s future, entitled America’s Next Decade, Kotkin sees not only the outlines of a remarkably robust nation running from south Texas to western Florida, but also the emergence of Americas next major "global city" - right here in Texas. 

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Military
12:11 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Van De Putte And House Dems See National Guard Refusal In Opposite Ways

Chris Eudaily TPR News

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:58 pm

With Attorney General Greg Abbott now advising the Texas National Guard about the legal side of their refusal to process federal same-sex couple benefits, a group of House Democrats are urging Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the head of the Texas National Guard, to rescind his decision and start processing the benefits.

But the issue is more complex than you might imagine.

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Military
4:11 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Texas National Guard Won't Process Benefits for Same-Sex Couples (Update)

Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment of the Texas Army National Guard participate in a parade in Laredo earlier this year. The Texas National Guard won’t process benefits for same-sex couples despite a Pentagon directive.
flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces

Update: Sixteen Democratic state lawmakers have signed a letter asking the head of Texas Military Forces to process benefits claims for same-sex spouses.

“We call on you to respect Texas’ military families, to reconsider your position, and to follow the lead of virtually every other Adjutant General for the National Guard of the United States by, without further delay, enrolling all eligible spouses of National Guard service members at facilities operated by Texas Military Force,” the letter reads.

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