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Posts under ‘The great state of Texas’

They don’t make libertarian paradises like they used to

I love a good cautionary tale. For the last few years, Von Ormy has been in near-constant turmoil over basic issues of governance: what form of municipal government to adopt, whether to tax its residents, and how to pay for services such as sewer, police, firefighters and animal control. Along the way, three City Council […]

Where have all the foreign students gone?

Wherever it is, it’s increasingly not here. Students from India, China, Iran and other countries have long flocked to Texas campuses to work with top professors and to earn a prestigious American degree. But this year, those students appear to be less enamored by the Lone Star State. International applications to Texas’ four-year public universities […]

Ten digit dialing comes to San Antonio

It’s the end of an era. The era of knowing someone is from San Antonio based solely on the “210” at the start of a phone number is drawing to a close. San Antonio is outgrowing its singular 210 area code and will have to add a second code, 726, later this year. The North […]

RIP, Mark White

Former Texas Governor Mark White has passed away. Former Gov. Mark White, who championed education reforms while serving as Texas governor from 1983 to 1987, died Saturday in Houston. He was 77. Julian Read, a close friend of White who served as press secretary to Gov. John Connally during the 1960s a confidant to many […]

Trumpcare would be a hospital killer

This is hardly a new problem, but it’s yet another aspect of Trumpcare that gets too little attention. Texas hospitals stand to lose billions under the Republican-backed health plan, as federal Medicaid dollars shrink, leading to a rise in uncompensated care, according to a new analysis by the Commonwealth Fund, a national health policy foundation. […]

Texas’ climate change future

Gonna be awesome. The Texas economy could face some of the costliest consequences of climate change as temperatures continue to increase over the next several decades, according to a new study. In the study published last week in the journal Science, researchers found that the economic burden of climate change will hit states along the […]

The Round Rock Bigfoot footprint

You know, it’s been too long since we had a good Bigfoot story to talk about. [Last] Saturday, the Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department released photos of foot prints found on various trails and parks in the Austin suburb. Officials have called it an “unexplained phenomena” and are urging anyone who knows about the […]

Telemedicine set to expand in Texas

Coming to a video screen near you, thanks to a bill signed in May by Greg Abbott. “This is a huge step forward, a real positive for Texas,” said Dr. Nancy Dickey, executive director of the Rural and Community Health Institute at Texas A&M University. She recently co-authored a report about the health crisis facing […]

Texas’ teen pregnancy rate is the result of bad policy choices

From the Rivard Report: In Texas each year, about 35,000 young women get pregnant before they turn 20. Traditionally, the two variables most commonly associated with high teen birth rates are education and poverty, but a new study, co-authored by Dr. Julie DeCesare, shows that there’s more at play. “We controlled for poverty as a […]

Birth control by mail

This is interesting, but doesn’t address a couple of key points. About half the counties in Texas don’t have the number of public clinics required to meet the contraceptive needs of the population. So Nurx, an at-home birth control delivery app, decided to give women in the state the option to get birth control whenever […]

Here comes Conroe

Not so little anymore. This isn’t the first time Conroe, population 82,286, has recorded notable growth. In 2015, it was one of the 13 fastest-growing cities by percentage, ranking sixth below other Texas cities like San Marcos, Georgetown and Frisco. The next year, according to Census numbers released Thursday, Conroe zoomed to the top spot […]

The stars at night are still not as brights as they could be

We need to do better. In the high mountains of a wild desert, day drains from the sky and night lights appear like halos on the horizon. There’s no moon. Just Mercury chasing the setting sun in the west, Jupiter rising to the east and another golden light emerging on the northern horizon. The view […]

Winning the battles but losing the war

That’s the story of reproductive rights, and access to reproductive health care in general, in Texas. “We have made tremendous gains,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life. He hopes that someday, perhaps under Trump, the Supreme Court will overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling upholding abortion rights. In the meantime, […]

Texas asks for Ike Dike money from the feds

Good luck with that. Almost a decade after Hurricane Ike killed dozens of people and caused $30 billion in damage, a group of Texas politicians and business leaders say they finally have “all the support necessary” to break ground on a massive coastal barrier that would protect the Houston area from another devastating hurricane. Now […]

No more feral hog poison

It was not to be. The manufacturer of a controversial bait used to kill feral hogs withdrew its state registration for the poison, putting Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s plans for a Texas “Hog Apocalypse” on hold. “We have received tremendous support from farmers and ranchers in the State of Texas, and have empathy for the […]

Texas Lyceum poll on immigration

Our state has more nuanced views than you might think. The pollsters found that 62 percent of Texans said immigration helps the United States more than it hurts the country. That’s an increase from 2016, when 54 percent of the respondents said they viewed immigration was more beneficial than harmful. The pollsters defined “sanctuary” entities […]

Hate groups are getting busy on college campuses

From the Anti-Defamation League, another reason to be worried, if you needed one. White supremacists, emboldened by the 2016 elections and the current political climate, are currently engaged in an unprecedented outreach effort to attract and recruit students on American college campuses. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has cataloged 104 incidents of white supremacist fliering on […]

A happy ending

This was a long time coming. When I first reported on this family a year ago, the boys – who had behavioral issues and delays likely stemming from abuse, neglect and being shuttled through foster placements – had just been removed from the loving women they called Mama and Mommy, and the stable home where […]

The kindergarten face of SB6

Meet the Shappley family of Pearland. Kimberly Shappley’s former self is about as by-the-book right-wing as you can get: a Southern Baptist-identified evangelical, a Republican stalwart, an “ultraconservative” Tea Partier. When she heard of other parents with transgender kids, she remembers derisively thinking, “If my kid wants to be a dinosaur, am I just supposed […]

The travel ban and the rural doctor shortage

Just another unintended consequence. In Texas and across the country, foreign-trained doctors like the Iranian-born [Dr. Hossein] Yazdani fill a critical need in rural communities, which often struggle to attract physicians born and trained in the U.S. That reality has been highlighted in the weeks since President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning […]

Of course Obamacare repeal would have a big negative effect on Texas

I mean, duh. As many as a half-million Texans could become uninsured under the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, wiping out at least half the gains the state has made in reducing the number of uninsured residents in recent years, according to health care analysts. Texas still has the nation’s highest percentage […]

Border walls are bad for the environment

Not that anyone pushing for a border wall cares, but just so you know. There’s been a lot of debate about how effective the Bush-era barrier has been at keeping out illegal crossers and drug smugglers. Some data indicates the barriers have encouraged people to cross in places where there isn’t one. But the handprints […]

If you can’t porkchop ’em, poison ’em

The war on feral hogs enters a new phase. At a Feb. 21 news conference in Austin, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced the agency had issued a rule that would allow Kaput Feral Hog Bait, a pesticide containing the anticoagulant warfarin as its active ingredient, to be used in the control of feral hogs. […]

The border tax effect on your food

You’re gonna pay more. Any questions? The idea of a tariff on Mexican imports or a radical change to the North American Free Trade Agreement — another Trump promise — worries many Texas agriculture industry leaders, who say it is in the state’s best interest to continue fostering a positive trade relationship with Mexico rather […]

Alternate funding sources

That’s one way to do it. State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, announced plans Friday to raise public funds for Travis County, days after Gov. Greg Abbott canceled about $1.5 million in criminal justice grants over the county’s new “sanctuary” policy. Rodriguez’s initiative is called Travis County #StrongerTogether and it will allow the community to donate […]

“The Short, Tumultuous Tenure Of Corpus Christi Mayor Dan McQueen”

This is just amazing. After just 37 days in office, Dan McQueen announced his resignation as the mayor of Corpus Christi via Facebook last Wednesday. “Consider this my resignation. I resign immediately,” he wrote in the Facebook post, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. “The city can no longer deal with such differing views and divisiveness. […]

Texas’ first transgender Mayor

Meet Jess Herbst, Mayor of New Hope, Texas. The mayor of a small Collin County town has become the first known openly transgender elected official in Texas history. Jess Herbst, who was elected mayor of New Hope last May, came out as trans in an open letter to residents on the town’s website. “As your […]

Fire ant-killing robots

Let’s just luxuriate in the glory of that headline for a moment, shall we? Harley Myler is working on a “war of the worlds.” That’s what the Lamar Electrical Engineering Department chair calls his latest project: a walking robot that incinerates red fire ants. The idea is to use a camera to identify the species […]

The history of the Chicken Ranch

Chron columnist and Texas historian Joe Holley writes about an attempt to put a marker by the site of the infamous Chicken Ranch. It’s been 43 years since KTRK-TV’s crusading consumer affairs reporter (“Slime in the ice machine!!”) rolled into town with a cameraman to bust the unassuming, little country brothel that had flourished just […]

Galveston wants a bag ban

Good luck. Reacting to a groundswell of concern about the effect of plastic bags on the environment, Galveston is on the forefront of a statewide controversy over cities’ ability to ban plastic bags that are killing turtles, birds and fouling beaches. A proposed ordinance with unanimous City Council support and strong community backing faces fierce […]

It’s Santa season

Ho, ho, ho, y’all. For two months of the year, Houston aircraft mechanic Lance McLean trades in his coveralls at the end of the day for a red Santa suit. This year, McLean will don the suit 49 times, beginning Saturday. Twenty-nine of those events will be held at Houston public libraries. “My ex-wife thought […]

The coming measles outbreak

I hope we’re wrong about this. Peter Hotez used to worry mostly about vaccines for children in far-away places. An infectious diseases researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, Hotez is developing shots against diseases in poorer countries such as hookworm and schistosomiasis. But now, Hotez is anxious about children much closer to […]

An awful lot of Texans could lose health insurance

It sure will suck to be them. New public-health studies warn that hasty congressional action toward repealing the Affordable Care Act could have dire consequences for the poor and uninsured both in Texas and nationwide. The dismantlement of portions of the law, known as Obamacare, without a comparable substitute could mean 2.6 million more Texans […]

MUDs and debt

Another story about the least-understood form of debt and taxation in Texas. In Houston’s conservative suburbs, where local governments are loath to raise taxes, the thankless task of hiking revenues has fallen to hundreds of so-called municipal utility districts created for developers to finance water and sewage systems, roads and other amenities. These MUDs, as […]