Texas Standard

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From Texas Standard:

On Election Day, members of the Texas Army National Guard will be in the streets of some Texas cities. According to reporting on Monday, the order came from Gov. Greg Abbott. The troops are said to have been called in case of disturbances that arise during the Nov. 3 election.

But many questions remain about where exactly troops will be, and what they'll be doing. 

From Texas Standard:

Lubbock saw the same summer spike in COVID-19 cases as much of Texas. And, like much of the state, those cases decreased for a while after. But they jumped back up again in recent weeks, says Covenant Health Regional Chief Medical Officer Dr. Craig Rhyne.

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From Texas Standard:

On March 26, the Texas Public Utilities Commission, or PUC, took a rare step, temporarily suspending cutoffs for all the electric companies it regulates. The measure was a response to economic displacement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The PUC doesn’t regulate all utilities, but many of them do fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.

From Texas Standard:

Texan Hispanics will soon outnumber white, non-Hispanics in the state. But that demographic shift won't necessarily equate to Texas turning blue, politically. That's because although more Hispanics tend to vote Democratic, about 30% tend to vote Republican. More importantly, neither statistic is set in stone, and understanding the complexity of the Latino political identity could be key to understanding the future of Texas politics.

Lawmakers Say Texas Needs A Statewide Broadband Plan

Oct 2, 2020

From Texas Standard:

The pandemic has been hard for everyone, but especially for those who don't have dependable access to high-speed internet. One thing that might have helped – a statewide broadband plan. Texas is among just six states that don't have such a plan, even though over 2 million Texans lack access to high-speed internet, according to the state comptroller's office. 

From Texas Standard:

In 2018, Texas state health officials were preparing for the possibility of a future pandemic. But by the time COVID-19 reached Texas last spring, not much more had been done. As a result, the state was caught flat-footed like much of the rest of the country as the pandemic worsened.

Almost 16,000 Texans have died so far from COVID-19, and a recent investigation by the Houston Chronicle found that Texas failed to prepare for a major outbreak when it had the chance.

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this month, something unusual happened. Birds — thousands of them – seemingly dropped dead overnight in New Mexico. Jenna McCullough, a PhD student in ornithology at the University of New Mexico, went to investigate.

From Texas Standard:

Around the end of March, Chris Swenson thought he had a problem with his website.

Swenson is the head of Swenson ranches, a cattle operation in Elgin and Stamford that’s been in his family since 1882. It was started by his great-great-grandfather Svante Magnus Swenson, Texas’ first immigrant from Sweden.

From Texas Standard:

Of the more than 1.1 million public school students estimated to have returned to some form of on-campus school activity in Texas, just under 4,000 have tested positive for COVID-19. That's far less than many teachers and administrators feared. But are those numbers accurate?

From Texas Standard:

The Surplus Agricultural Products Grant is a program Feeding Texas CEO Celia Cole describes as a “win-win-win.” It’s been around for 20 years and Cole says it helps food banks across Texas like those within the network she leads. She says providing food keeps people healthy, which reduces other costs for the state and, she says, it helps specialty crop farmers by paying them for donated produce.

Political Divides On COVID-19 Could Risk Public Health

Sep 10, 2020

From Texas Standard:

For some, how they feel about the science, treatment and prevention of COVID-19 is related to their political beliefs.

Back in April, Politico and the research company Morning Consult polled almost 2,000 registered voters and found that 71% of Republicans supported treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine – a treatment President Donald Trump has touted, but that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned is unsafe for the self-treatment of COVID-19. Meanwhile, only 29% of Democrats felt the same about that drug.

From Texas Standard:

Federal Judge Janis Graham Jack of Corpus Christi said in a hearing Thursday that the state has let for-profit providers endanger the lives of vulnerable kids in the care of Child Protective Services, or CPS.

From Texas Standard:

COVID-19 cases at Texas' public universities are spiking. University and local health officials anticipated that might happen, as colleges and universities try to return to some semblance of a normal fall semester.

Migrants Expelled Under COVID-19 Rules Land In Mexico City

Aug 31, 2020

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported an increase of Mexican nationals crossing the border into the U.S. between March and May, raising concerns of COVID-19 spread into the United States. The concern prompted a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security and the government of Mexico to expel migrants through repatriation flights to Mexico City.

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. 

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.

From Texas Standard:

While some families in quarantine are spending more time together than ever before, those in the Child Protective Services, or CPS system must deal with even stricter physical separation. Since the beginning of lockdown this spring, courts across Texas have required video visitation between biological parents and children in foster care.

From Texas Standard:

The nonprofit Circle of Blue recently launched its reporting project “Water, Texas,” a series about the challenges Texas faces in managing its most vital natural resource.

The organization’s senior editor and chief correspondent, Keith Schneider, told Texas Standard that his reporting in “Water, Texas,” focused on the tension between Texas' economic and environmental interests.

From Texas Standard:

On Aug. 3, Texas reported 5,839 new COVID-19 cases. But that doesn't mean all positive cases are reflected in the state's tally.

From Texas Standard:

Democrats running for Congress in Texas are raking in some of the biggest fundraising hauls in years compared to their Republican opponents, according to new campaign finance analysis from The Texas Tribune. The survey found that Texas Democrats have a $7.5 million advantage over Republicans in House races. But how much will the extra cash really matter for Democrats come November?

Don't Plant Or Pitch Mailed Mystery Seeds

Aug 3, 2020

From Texas Standard:

Across the country, small packets of seeds have been showing up, unsolicited, in people’s mailboxes and at their front doors. The origin of the packages – where they came from, who sent them and why – is unclear.

From Texas Standard:

Texas ranks low when it comes to participation rates in the 2020 census – 40th in the nation. So far, only 57% of Texans have returned their census forms.

Demographer Lila Valencia from the Texas Demographic Center told Texas Standard on Thursday that could lead to an undercount of the population, which could mean a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding over the next 10 years.

From Texas Standard:

Less than three weeks ago, Texas was set to unveil its public-school reopening plan for the fall. That announcement was stalled after coronavirus cases and hospitalizations started to soar in the state.

But on Tuesday, the Texas Education Agency finally released its back-to-school guidelines, which included recommendations for preventing the spread of the coronavirus on campuses.

Lee esta historia en español. 

From Texas Standard:

Aubrey Matson, a 19-year-old college student, doesn't consider herself "anti-vaccine." But the pandemic hasn’t made her 100% in favor of them, either. She’s concerned that a fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine could be dangerous.

From Texas Standard:

Though quickly communicating positive COVID-19 test results can be an important way to limit the spread of the virus, Texans and their doctors don't always learn results within the recommended three-to-four days.

Houston Public Media Senior Producer Davis Land found himself at the center of such a story. He recently got tested before visiting some friends.

From Texas Standard:

Student athletes at the University of Texas at Austin are asking the university to change some of its practices and traditions in the wake of national protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

From Texas Standard:

The pandemic has had an outsized affect on Texas prisons. Almost 4,000 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, and 43 people in the system have died – that includes prison staff and inmates.

But Dallas Morning News investigative reporter Lauren McGaughy recently reported that thousands of prisoners who have been approved for parole can't leave lockup, and they're concerned for their health.

From Texas Standard:

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, and many Texans have been enjoying the holiday weekend at parks and beaches. But the COVID-19 pandemic presses on, with cases still rising in Texas, and public gatherings only increase the likelihood that that trend will continue.

From Texas Standard:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is facing bipartisan criticism for hastily awarding a nearly $300 million contract to a little-known North Texas company to lead the state's contact-tracing program in the fight against the coronavirus.

From Texas Standard:

Potter County, where Amarillo is located, has seen an outsized proportion of COVID-19 cases. Though the latest numbers show counties with most cases are also the most populous, Potter County ranks just below them at sixth even though it's the 38th most populous county.

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