Texas

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The State of Texas says it will allow all adults to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 29.

The civil rights lawyer told KERA Friday that the death of Marvin Scott III in the Collin County jail made it clear he needed to take a different approach to protect the civil rights of vulnerable Texans.

“I’ve decided that, this case being the line, that I’m running against Ken Paxton for attorney general in 2022,” Merritt said Friday morning.

Paxton, who lives in the Collin County city of McKinney, was first elected attorney general in 2014.

Texas led the country in documented incidents of white supremacist propaganda in 2020, according to a report out this week from the Anti-Defamation League. These incidents can range from hate groups recruiting people on the internet to distributing flyers to holding rallies.

There were 574 documented incidents in the state last year. Texas was followed by Washington state, which saw 345 incidents.

In the last month, Texans have received more than $95 million in federal funding for damages from the February winter storm.

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Shawn Fagan stokes a slow-burning fire just beyond the edge of his vegetable farm in Kyle. Usually, the pile is filled with debris from around the farm or leftover cardboard boxes from online orders.

After Specialist Vanessa Guillen was killed by another soldier at Fort Hood last April, a civilian review panel looked at how Army investigators handled the case — and the base’s ability to respond to sexual assault and harassment allegations.

Trisha Cunningham, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank, says the food-insecure families she serves ballooned by 25% in the past year.

"We’ve provided access to about 120 million meals and our goal for 2025 was 92 million," Cunningham said.

Xcel Energy/https://www.hppr.org/post/winter-storm-impacts-thousands-xcel-energy-customers-texas-panhandle

AMARILLO, Texas (March.17, 2021) – Close to 25,000 Xcel Energy customers in the Texas Panhandle were without power at midday after blizzard conditions damaged power lines across the area.

According to a press release from Xcel Energy, the storm struck early Wednesday morning closing roads in and out of Amarillo, causing numerous outages and making travel difficult. Xcel Energy has been staging crews in Amarillo and Pampa and crews from other regions have been mobilized and are on their way to assist.

Despite the pandemic, all school districts in Texas are required to offer in-person instruction — with few exceptions. But districts are also facing a shortage of teachers, who may be out due to COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation. They're also facing a lack of substitute teachers.

Aliyya Swaby is a reporter with The Texas Tribune. She joined KERA's Justin Martin for a look into how this is affecting classrooms across Texas.

From Texas Standard:

Texas Republicans have made a wish list of sorts, outlining how they want elections in Texas to proceed after some counties changed their voting procedures last year during the pandemic.

At least 57 people died in Texas as a result of last month’s winter storm, according to preliminary data the state health department released Monday.

The largest number of deaths — at least 25 — occurred in Harris County, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported.

Children may become an important factor in helping Texas and the U.S. reach COVID-19 herd immunity, according to preliminary results of an ongoing statewide study.

The research looks at the presence of antibodies for COVID-19 in people across Texas. Preliminary results from thousands of blood samples and patient surveys say between 14 and 24% of Texans have COVID antibodies due to past infection.

ERCOT Says It Doesn't Have To Release Power Outage Data

Mar 12, 2021

From Texas Standard:

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, is holding on tightly to records related to last month’s winter storm power blackouts.

Amazon To Open New Fulfillment Center In Amarillo

Mar 11, 2021
Amazon

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar. 11, 2021 -- Amazon.com, Inc. plans to open a new fulfillment center in Amarillo, Texas. The new operations facility is expected to create over 500 new, full-time jobs with industry-leading pay and comprehensive benefits starting on day one, according to a press release from Amazon.

Brenda Ramos, the mother of Mike Ramos, joined lawmakers Thursday as they announced a bill that would create uniform state laws surrounding the release of police bodycam footage, require de-escalation training and make it easier for officers accused of wrongdoing to be suspended.

Texans may soon have fewer electricity providers to choose from, and the most powerful corporations that remain are likely to scoop up even more of the market share.

Right now, most Texans choose from a handful of retail electric providers that offer competing rate plans. The prevailing idea is that more competition helps lower costs, but the market is highly consolidated.

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People 50 and older in Texas will be eligible to get the COVID vaccine starting Monday.

A Texas court ruled Wednesday that state officials can kick Planned Parenthood out of the state's Medicaid program. This decision could affect about 8,000 low-income Texans who rely on the women’s health clinics for medical services.

Last month, a Travis County district court temporarily blocked the state’s effort right before the ban was set to go into effect. The court ruled that "immediate and irreparable harm will result" to Planned Parenthood affiliates if they are stripped of Medicaid funding before they have time to make their case.

Valarie Smith

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Wildfire potential is increased through Thursday across portions of the state, including the Western Plains and Trans Pecos.

According to a press release from the Texas A&M Forest Service, the combination of above normal temperatures and dry conditions, as well as an extended period of forecasted elevated to critical fire weather, will create an environment conducive to wildfire activity this week. Impacted areas include Amarillo, Lubbock, Wichita Falls, Midland and Alpine. The peak day for increased wildfire potential is likely Wednesday due to above normal temperatures, high wind speeds and low relative humidity over dry fuel beds.

Twitter filed a lawsuit against Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a California federal court Monday and asked a judge to halt the state’s top lawyer from investigating the company.

The social media giant’s court filings include a request for a temporary restraining order that would keep Paxton and his office from enforcing a demand that seeks documents revealing the company’s internal decision making processes for banning users, among other things.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott visited Mission, Texas, on Tuesday to address the rising number of migrants arriving at the border and federal immigration policy changes.

Abbott spoke after being briefed by Border Patrol and law enforcement in the Rio Grande Valley, a high entry point for migrants.

From Texas Standard:

The Texas House of Representatives is considering several bills aimed at preventing future failures of the state’s electric grid.

Officials with the Plano school district and Plano police department are investigating allegations that classmates abused and bullied a Black middle school student.

Summer Smith said her eighth grader, a student at Haggard Middle School, was at a sleepover party when he was forced to drink a cup of urine. A video of the alleged abuse is circulating on social media.

From Texas Standard:

Many Texans who have faced economic hardships during the pandemic are now eligible for rent assistance through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

In January, Dallas resident Shannon Marrs paid $257 for electricity. But after Texas suffered the worst winter storm in years, Marrs' February electricity bill totaled more than $10,000.

Texas Biomed — a San Antonio research institute — played a key role in the development of the antibody treatment that former President Donald Trump credits with his recovery from COVID-19.

Texas lawmakers on Thursday heard testimony describing an energy market in crisis in the aftermath of last month’s historic winter storm and blackout. One way consumers could feel that pain is with skyrocketing residential gas prices.

Texas Gas Service supplies natural gas to around 650,000 customers, including many in Central Texas. When gas supplies dropped during the storm, the company had to buy it at higher prices on the spot market.

Poets of the High Plains, get your pens ready! Seward County Community College’s English department is accepting entries for its annual poetry contest, and the deadline is 12:00 a.m. CT on WEDNESDAY, March 10th! I caught up with Dr. Lori Muntz, English instructor at SCCC, and student poet Dulce Perez. They shared more info about the contest, it’s history, and we even got a poem.

Gov. Greg Abbott Taps New Head Of Texas Utility Regulator In Wake Of Power Outages

Mar 4, 2021

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday promoted Arthur D’Andrea to chair the state’s utility regulator, replacing the Public Utility Commission leader who resigned earlier this week following widespread power outages in February.

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