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Posts under ‘The great state of Texas’

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 […]

Maybe we don’t need that much more water

More conservation would mean less demand and less need going forward. Drought-prone Texas could make better use of its existing water supplies and avoid spending billions of dollars on new reservoirs, pipelines and other big-ticket projects with more realistic forecasts for demand, according to an analysis released Friday. The report by the Texas Center for […]

It’s like the drought never really went away

If it ever did go away it didn’t go far, because here it is again. Even as light rain moved through the region Thursday, Houston officially slipped back into a moderate drought. Although most areas only recorded a few hundredths of an inch of rain, it nevertheless was the first measurable precipitation much of the […]

Brazoria looks at desalinization

Booming population growth plus greater upstream demands on their main water source equals thoughts of alternate water supplies. By the time the Brazos bisects Brazoria County on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, it’s all but tapped out, unable to keep pace with new urban demands. To firm up its water supply, a Brazoria […]

734K ACA enrollments in Texas

Pretty damn impressive, all things considered. New numbers out show that 734,000 Texans bought health insurance through the federal marketplace from last October to April 19, 2014, a report released by Health and Human Services shows. Prior to March 1, an anemic 295,000 people had signed up, but in the final stretch of the Affordable […]

The feral hogs of Montgomery County

Because three blog posts about feral hogs are better than two. Feral hogs – which some find more pesky than mosquitoes and more invasive than fire ants – are alive and well in Montgomery County. Officials in The Woodlands say that there have been no recent sightings of wild pigs in neighborhoods – but in […]

Texas insurance enrollment update

Enrollments are up and the number of uninsured are down, though both could have been a lot better. The sky-high rate of Texans without health insurance has dropped only slightly since the launch of the federal Affordable Care Act’s online health insurance marketplace, according to a new report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public […]

The dino turtle

Please don’t go extinct. The extremely rare, utterly impressive and scary looking alligator snapping turtle is actually even more rare than first thought, according to a study out of Florida this week. Researchers in in the sunshine state have found that the scaly creature, once common to Houston, is actually just one of three different […]

SA City Council to begin the plastic bag debate

I look forward to seeing what direction they go. City staffers Wednesday plan to recommend to the City Council’s Governance Committee that San Antonio move forward with a ban on single-use plastic and paper bags. The recommendation comes after vetting by the Solid Waste Management Department, which researched policies in other cities across the state […]

Another trip down Demography Lane

From the Sunday Chron op-ed pages: Texas is headed for the ditch, but few people are aware of the state’s perilous path. The demographers have seen the future, though, because it’s foretold in their numbers. And they’ve been sounding the alarm. There hasn’t been much of a public-policy response, so far. Texas could be the […]

Dallas adopts plastic bag fee

A fee, not a ban. Stores in Dallas will charge customers five cents for most kinds of plastic or paper carryout bags, under a measure approved Wednesday by the City Council. At the urging of council member Dwaine Caraway, the council voted 8-6 to assess an “environmental fee” for single-use carryout bags. The five-cent charge […]

New Braunfels can ban is now officially canned

Pending appeal, of course. A permanent injunction issued Friday bars the city from enforcing its controversial ban on disposable containers and cooler-size limits on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers inside the city limits. “You can start drinking from cans and bottles on the rivers, effective immediately,” said Jim Ewbank, attorney for plaintiffs who had sued […]

The Galveston oil spill

This is just awful. While the oil spill resulting from Saturday’s collision between a ship and barge was small by global standards – less than a third of what it would take to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool – the local impact is proving far more than a nuisance. The heavy marine fuel oil is […]

Oh, Buc-ee’s

Ugh. Convenience-store chain Buc-ee’s Ltd. has garnered lots of attention for its clean restrooms. But this week, it’s the owners’ endorsement of tea party favorite Dan Patrick, who faces incumbent David Dewhurst in the Republican runoff for lieutenant governor, that’s drawn the spotlight. Congressman Joaquin Castro has bashed Buc-ee’s owners over the endorsement and Monday […]

San Antonio plastic bag ban update

Here’s an update on the city of San Antonio’s effort to regulate plastic bag usage, which may include a ban. It’s written by San Antonio City Council member Cris Medina, who is the point person for the effort. Late last year, after multiple conversations with members of the Citizen’s Environmental Advisory Committee (members are appointed […]

The Texas Miracle that wasn’t

Washington Monthly’s Phillip Longman takes a closer look at the claims made by the likes of Rick Perry about Texas’ economic success, and finds them largely wanting. Here’s a taste: It’s hard to think of any two states more different than Texas and Vermont. For one, Texas has gushers of oil and gas, while Vermont […]

Vaccinating skunks

To prevent rabies, of course. Texas, which has long campaigned for family pets to be vaccinated against rabies, is now attacking from the sky one of the state’s foulest carriers of the disease: skunks. Skunks would obviously put up quite a stink if caught and hauled in to a veterinarian’s office for shots. So the […]