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Posts under ‘The great state of Texas’

Plastic bag makers fight back

I expect they will be busy during the legislative session working to block municipal laws that tax, limit, or ban single-use plastic bags. For years, Superbag in northwest Houston quietly manufactured the sacks that grocers and retail chains hand out to customers in the checkout line. The business garnered little attention. Now, however, the industry […]

Houston pastors to fight against the Plano equal rights ordinance

Of course they will. When Houston passed its Equal Rights Ordinance earlier this year, the Texas Pastor Council came out strongly in opposition of the law. Now the Houston-based group is challenging the nondiscrimination ordinance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents of Plano. Director Dave Welch says the group will work with pastors in […]

Plano passes equal rights ordinance

How about that? In a split vote Monday, the Plano City Council passed the controversial Equal Rights Policy over the objections of many residents in the standing-room-only crowd. The amendment to the city’s 1989 anti-discrimination policy extends protections from housing, employment and public accommodation discrimination to include sexual orientation, gender identity and other categories. “Providing […]

Making room for quail

Preservation isn’t just for urban elites. Jim Willis knows it isn’t easy to love a prairie. The quilt of burnt orange and brown that covers his Colorado County land can’t awe or inspire the way a canyon or mountain range does. But he can step onto his porch on a crisp morning, take a sip […]

Other towns consider fracking bans

If Denton can do it… A Texas hamlet shaken by its first recorded earthquake last year and hundreds since then is among communities now taking steps to challenge the oil and gas industry’s traditional supremacy over the right to frack. Reno Mayor Lyndamyrth Stokes said spooked residents started calling last November: “I heard a boom, […]

Obamacare 2.0

The open enrollment period for the Obamacare insurance exchanges is going on right now. This year, the feds are taking a more direct approach to getting people to enroll. Secretary for Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, whose appearance at Monday’s news conference [in San Antonio] is part of a national tour to talk up […]

EPA climate change plan would save water

Well, what do you know? As state regulators fret about how President Obama’s effort to combat climate change would affect the Texas power grid, a new study says the rules would be simpler to adopt than those regulators suggest – and that it would save the state billions of gallons of water annually. In an […]

Kemp’s ridley sea turtle in trouble

Dammit. Texas’ official sea turtle is on a slide that could eventually lead to extinction after a spectacular comeback and years of effort to save it, according to figures released Tuesday at a gathering of scientists and environmentalists. “It was on a rapid road to recovery and the recovery came to an abrupt halt in […]

Texas For Marriage

This. Law enforcement officials, state legislators, faith leaders and a great-grandmother are among those lending their voices to a new campaign to bring marriage equality to Texas. The national group Freedom to Marry plans to spend $200,000 on the campaign launched Tuesday, in advance of oral arguments before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals […]

The wildlife was here first

Not that it does them any good. For years, caretakers have tended to injured wildlife displaced by development, which has replaced lush treetops with sprawling rooftops. Now, local suburban wildlife centers face a secondary complication of having a shortage of secluded acreage in which to release rehabilitated animals as islands of shrinking forests in the […]

Where Texans got their Obamacare information

The Baker Institute tells us. While most Texans used healthcare.gov earlier this year to get information or to enroll in a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), larger percentages of Texans found talking to the call center or a navigator was the most helpful. Those are just some of the lessons learned […]

Mayor Parker for pot reform

The list of people who think it’s time to talk about reforming our drug laws keeps growing. Add Houston Mayor Annise Parker to the growing list of officials calling for a new approach to the nation’s drug laws, especially when it comes to marijuana. She said as much during an interview this week with community […]

UTMB continues to do well post-Ike

Good to see. The morning after Hurricane Ike crashed into Galveston Island six years ago, David Callender surveyed the sea of mud coating the 84-acre University of Texas Medical Branch campus. The UTMB president saw oak tree limbs blocking the doors to John Sealy Hospital, which would be knocked out of service for the rest […]

A home where the Texas State Bison Herd can roam

Very cool. It was a little confusing at first, but the bison at Caprock Canyons State Park are settling into a pasture that’s 10 times what they were used to — basically the entire park. Park staff opened up 10,000 acres to the approximately 100 members of the Official Texas State Bison Herd on Tuesday, […]

Two environmental stories

Some good news, and some bad news. The bad news: We have an oyster shortage. Add an oyster shortage in Texas Gulf Coast to the problems exacerbated by the state’s years-long drought. But Texas’ dry spell isn’t the only reason the slimy delicacies are harder to come by lately. What was once an abundant supply […]

San Antonio has begun curbside recycling of plastic bags

As of August 1, to be exact. “We are starting with a new recycling processor that can accept the bags so that allows us to add it to the list of items we can accept,” [Solid Waste Management Department Public Relations Manager Tiffany] Edwards said, adding that the move gives San Antonians another option to […]

Ivy Taylor named interim SA Mayor

Congratulations, Madam Mayor. The City Council appointed Councilwoman Ivy Taylor to become San Antonio’s next mayor. She did not win a majority of the council vote, as her colleagues split 5-3 over her and Councilman Ray Lopez. Lopez then withdrew from consideration, saying that it was important for the city to move forward. Mayor Julián […]

Wonkblog on Texas cities’ efforts to combat payday lenders

It’s always nice when the national media notices something positive happening in Texas instead of the usual. Four years ago, ACE Cash Express was the company that turned Dallas Council member Jerry Allen into the payday loan industry’s worst enemy. The day before he was about to celebrate the launch of the Bank On Dallas […]

San Antonio’s “Little India”

I love stories like this. On a recent Saturday morning, about two dozen men in team jerseys gathered on grounds in the far North Side with their kits of helmets, bats and protective gear, pumped to play cricket. The scoreboard went up. Stumps were placed 66 feet apart, defining the wicket. Morning drizzle gave way […]

Going where the payday lenders are

The most frequent defense I hear of payday lenders it that there’s a demand for the kind of short-term low-dollar loans that they provide that aren’t provided by other financial institutions, and even if they were those institutions don’t exist in the neighborhoods that generate the demand for these loans. That doesn’t come close to […]

We don’t need no (sex) education

Here’s the state of Texas leading the nation in yet another unflattering category. In Texas and across the country, the rate of teenage births has declined significantly since its peak in 1991. Birth rates among teenagers in Texas dropped 43 percent between 1991 and 2012. In states like California and Connecticut, the drop was even […]

White return flight

Some interesting demographic trends going on. Between 2000 and 2010, [Harris] county, like much of the U.S., saw a sharp decline of its white population, losing about 12 percent of Anglos or about 83,000 people. The drop mirrors demographic shifts across the nation as white birthrates have slowed. But in the past three years, Harris […]

We really need to do better on vaccinations

Cherise Rohr-Allegrini, PhD, MPH and self-proclaimed “crunchy granola hippie”, writes in the Rivard Report about how we are letting infectious diseases regain a foothold. In 1998, the World Health Organization declared that measles would be eradicated worldwide by 2007. In 2000, public health officials declared measles to be eliminated from the US. But instead of […]

Make sure you check for zebra mussels

New boating rules are in effect in an effort to combat the spread of zebra mussels. Starting on [July 1], boaters are going to have to take an extra step to clean their vessels if they want to cruise around on different lakes. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says people will have to drain […]

The Mexican abortion option, one year later

Exactly as predicted. The Alamo flea market sits right off South Texas’s lengthy Highway 83; a sprawling, dusty, labyrinth of a place. Under canopies in the converted parking lot, vendors in dark sunglasses stand behind tables heaped with piles of clothing, barking in Spanish and hawking their wares. The air is hot and muggy, thick […]

On e-cigarettes

From the Rivard Report: After a 2011 ordinance banned indoor smoking in public places around San Antonio, some smokers were left trying to find options to leave tobacco behind. In the ensuing three years, electronic cigarettes and vaporizers have seen exponential growth around the country, with several retail outlets popping up in and around San […]

A poison plan for feral hogs?

It could work, though probably not any time soon. A preservative used to cure bacon is being tested as poison for the nation’s estimated 5 million feral hogs. […] The USDA program that began in April includes $1.5 million for the research center headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado. Its scientists have made sodium nitrite studies […]

The people who signed up for insurance via Obamacare got themselves a pretty good deal

It worked the way it was supposed to work, in other words. Texans who received financial assistance to purchase health coverage through the federal insurance exchange are paying less in monthly premiums than individuals in most other states using that online marketplace, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human […]

Billboards above the trees

Is this really necessary? In the latest conflict, billboard opponents are objecting to a proposed policy change that would allow billboards as high as 65 feet – taller than a typical six-story building – in spots along Texas highways. The provision would increase the maximum allowable height of billboards along interstates and primary roads – […]

Waco finally adopts non-discrimination policy for LGBT city employees

Very glad to see it. Without fanfare or controversy, the city of Waco has quietly agreed to bar discrimination against city employees who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. City Manager Dale Fisseler said Monday he has made an administrative decision to add sexual orientation and sexual identity to the city’s internal personnel policy on […]

Look out for zebra mussels

Take proper care of your boat, y’all. Fishing and boating enthusiasts take note: you’re probably going to need a little extra time as you head out on the lake this year. Rules to prevent the spread of the invasive zebra mussel will be going into effect statewide. “All boats operating on public fresh water anywhere […]

On “potty water”

I have three things to say about this. Wastewater reuse in Wichita Falls has been in the works for years and would have happened with or without the drought. It was fast-tracked as the city deals with reservoirs that are only 25 percent full today. In addition, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality — not […]

The stars at night could use a little less competition

The stars at night may indeed be big and bright, but too much brightness here on earth makes them harder to see in the sky. A West Texas astronomical observatory known for discovering the largest supermassive black hole is facing the threat of growing cities and increased oil and gas play lighting up the horizon. […]

Give up the green

Note: From time to time, I solicit guest posts from various individuals on different topics. While I like to think I know a little something about a lot of things, I’m fortunate to be acquainted with a number of people who know a whole lot about certain topics, and who are willing to share some […]