Texas Newsroom

A note to listeners: this story discusses suicide. If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

More Americans are reporting thoughts of self-harm as social distancing measures continue. In Fort Worth, the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation is virtually training people to intervene when someone is in crisis.

The streets of Beaumont were largely empty Wednesday morning, dotted with boarded-up businesses closed well ahead of Hurricane Laura's landfall. Beaumont officials were loading people into buses at Westbrook High School amid a mandatory evacuation order.

As families, educators and students adjust to remote instruction, teachers say that in these initial days, they’re spending more time than ever checking in on students and their families, dealing with connectivity issues and answering questions about virtual learning technology.

Several teachers said they’re working longer hours than usual as they constantly seek new ways to engage students. Attention spans already waned during pre-pandemic schooling, and being behind a screen doesn’t make it any easier.

When Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act at the end of March, part of the goal was to help keep people in their homes as the nation battled a pandemic by trying to get people to stay home. A number of housing experts say that legislation, bolstered by state and local government measures, helped drive down evictions throughout the spring and summer as the nation’s economy saw record job losses.

Now, with the bulk of those protections mostly expired or reduced, 1 in 10 Texans are vulnerable to eviction in the coming months.

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The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission passed rules Tuesday aimed at making it easier for bars to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress is investigating a billion dollar program that includes a controversial contract given to a San Antonio company. Federal investigators may also be looking into the program.

Young people have the potential to influence races in seven congressional districts in Texas, according to a new study from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University.

Originally, the Republican National Convention was supposed to bring together more than 2,500 delegates — including 155 from Texas — in Charlotte, North Carolina. But, with COVID-19, that’s been scaled back to just six per state or territory.

Shortly after Allen West took over as the Texas GOP chair last month, he gave the party a new slogan — "We are the storm" — and plastered it everywhere: fundraising emails, social media accounts, even on T-shirts and hats for sale.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Unemployed Texans could begin receiving $300 in extra weekly jobless payments as soon as next week, a Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson said, after the state received federal approval Friday of funding that President Donald Trump announced in early August.

Authorities on Friday are searching in Central Texas for another soldier who has gone missing from Fort Hood, with the man’s family members and the U.S. Army asking the public for help.

From Texas Standard:

Reviews for Joe Biden's speech accepting his party's presidential nomination on closing night of the Democratic National Convention were generally positive – even from Republicans, like Karl Rove. Democrats, perhaps more predictably, praised the speech. 

That includes the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, Gilberto Hinojosa. He told Texas Standard that Biden's speech came from the heart, and provided a contrast between Biden and President Donald Trump.

"I think it was a speech that told America what he was all about, and what he stood for, and why he believed it was important that we unite together to save our democracy," Hinojosa said. 

A fading Tropical Storm Marco continued its steady path along the Gulf Coast on Monday, and forecasters estimated further weakening would follow landfall in southeastern Louisiana on Monday. Once over land, Marco's remnants would cross into East Texas Tuesday night and dissipate.

From The Texas Tribune:

Texas State Health Services is spending over $6 million to partner with social media influencers and enhance awareness of COVID-19. 

On Thursday. Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas will apply for federal funding to provide an extra $300 every week for people who have lost their jobs. More than 10 states have already been federally approved for the additional jobless relief, providing an extra $300, and in some cases, $400 in unemployment checks.

The delivery of medicine, packages, bills and letters has been delayed across the country as a result of new controversial changes issued by the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

The July memo was blunt. Students at Sam Houston State University had been promised “direct contact” with faculty, and even in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, the Huntsville school needed to deliver, Provost Richard Eglsaer told the faculty.

From Texas Standard:

For many students, starting a new school year completely online is an adjustment. For students experiencing homelessness, that adjustment will likely be even greater. And now, some homeless advocates worry that more students will experience homelessness and challenges with their education because of economic hardship resulting from the pandemic.

When the pandemic hit, 16-year-old Amruth Nandish of Houston found he had a lot of time on his hands. 

Chocolate can bring people together — as Ena Ganguly found when she stopped at a store in her hometown.

Earlier this year, we put out a call for your stories about overcoming differences — true stories about finding common ground.

The 19th Amendment was ratified 100 years ago today, giving women the right to vote – but not all women.

“What that amendment did is it removed sex as a restriction,” Stephanie Cole said. “I don't think it's fair to say that it gave women the right to vote because it did not give so many women the right to vote.”

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In the hopes of discouraging cities from reducing money spent on police, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday he and other state leaders support the passage of a bill halting a property tax revenue increase for any Texas city that cuts its police budget.

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Support for mail-in voting is soft among Texas Latinos, a key demographic in the upcoming elections, according to a new poll conducted by Latino Decisions.

The poll, released on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, was commissioned by Latino groups SOMOS and UnidosUS.

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Texans should prepare early if they want to vote by mail in the upcoming presidential election, voting groups say.

Texas officials were recently warned by the U.S. Postal Service about potential delays delivering mail-in ballots, so getting an early start is more important than ever.

Texas is among the states the U.S. Postal Service has warned about potential problems with delivering mail-in ballots this fall.

Black lawmakers at the Texas Legislature unveiled on Thursday the George Floyd Act, a sweeping police reform proposal that would ban chokeholds across the state and require law enforcement officers to intervene or render aid if another officer is using excessive force while on the job.

In response to Texas’ recently plummeting coronavirus testing numbers and heightened rate of people testing positive, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that state health officials were “investigating” the trend and working to increase the number of Texans being tested for coronavirus.

In Bergheim, Texas, just north of San Antonio, there’s a skunky smell in the air.   

The Big 12 is planning to move forward with football, volleyball and soccer seasons in the fall.

The conference will continue with its football plan: playing nine conference games and just one nonconference game. Meanwhile, volleyball and soccer seasons will be limited to Big 12 opponents only.

When a gunman opened fire at El Paso's Cielo Vista Walmart last year, the store was packed with shoppers from both sides of the border.