- Galveston, TX Weather :: 60F Overcast December 18, 201760F Overcast
- Galveston, TX Weather :: 60F Overcast December 18, 2017
- Jaguars thump Texans 45-7 for 1st playoff berth since 2007 December 17, 2017The Jacksonville Jaguars are returning to the playoffs for the first time in a decade thanks to a 45-7 drubbing of rival Houston on Sunday.Once the NFL's poster child for futility and a punchline for potential relocation, the Jaguars (10-4) are now one of the league's top turnaround stories.Blake Bortles threw three touchdowns passes, including […]
- Houston sports mascots come together for the holidays December 17, 2017The holidays bring a lot of family members together, but this year Houston sports mascots decided to link up.Orbit (Astros) posted a group photo with Clutch (Rockets), Foxy (Dynamo) and Toro (Texans)."I got the boys together to celebrate the holidays!" Orbit tweeted.It's been a busy season for all the mascots, but they all made time […]
- Harden, Paul lead Rockets to 13th straight victory December 17, 2017James Harden scored 31 points and Chris Paul had 25 in the Houston Rockets' 115-111 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night for their 13th straight victory.The winning streak is the Rockets' longest streak since a franchise-best 22 straight in 2007-08.Harden hit a step-back 3-pointer over Malcolm Brogdon and was fouled, giving Houston an […]
- Paul, Rockets rout Spurs for 12th straight victory December 16, 2017Chris Paul had 28 points, eight assists and seven steals to lead the Houston Rockets to their 12th straight victory, a 124-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.Paul became the first player in NBA history to post 28 points, eight assists and seven steals in a game against the Spurs. In the […]
- World Champion Astros sign reliever Hector Rondon to 2-year deal December 15, 2017The World Series champion Houston Astros have bolstered their bullpen by signing free agent relief pitcher Hector Rondon to a two-year deal.The Astros are making good on their commitment to re-shape their bullpen this offseason after the team signed righty reliever Joe Smith Thursday.Rondon has spent each of his five major league seasons with the […]
- MD Anderson honors legendary sports reporter Craig Sager with Craig's Court December 15, 2017MD Anderson Cancer Center just honored former patient and NBA sideline reporter, Craig Sager Sr.MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital named its pediatric basketball court "Craig's Court" in a ceremony Thursday honoring the legend. WATCH: Craig Sager speaks about cancer battle, family"Craig's Court" is where pediatric patients and young adults at MD Anderson spend time playing […]
- Joe Smith, champion Houston Astros agree to 2-year contract December 14, 2017Right-hander Joe Smith and the World Series champion Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year contract.The 33-year-old was 3-0 with one save and 71 strikeouts over 54 innings in 59 relief appearances this year for Toronto and Cleveland, which reacquired him for a pair of minor leaguers at the July 31 trade deadline. Smith pitched […]
- Richmond 2-year-old buys Tic Tacs for firefighters December 14, 2017A little boy's good deed for a group of Richmond firefighters is going viral! Two-and-a-half-year-old Dawson usually gets a little reward for good behavior during shopping trips with his mom, Summer Aldridge.Last Thursday, during a trip to the Walmart on FM 1640 in Richmond, he earned $5 to spend on a toy or snacks.But after […]
- Doping: Russia backs Winter Olympics athletes December 13, 2017Russian athletes wanting to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea will have the unanimous support of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), the body said Tuesday.Last week Russia was banned from taking part in February's Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) found the country had engaged in "systemic manipulation" of anti-doping rules, […]
- Chris Pezman introduced as University of Houston athletics director December 12, 2017Officials at the University of Houston introduced Chris Pezman as the school's new athletics director during a news conference Tuesday.Pezman, who served as the assistant athletics director for football operations at UH during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, comes back to Houston after spending four years as senior associate athletics director at the University of […]
- Jaguars thump Texans 45-7 for 1st playoff berth since 2007 December 17, 2017
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast December 17, 2017National Weather Service Houston/Galveston TX. 212 PM CST Sun Dec 17 2017. TXZ211-181000-. Austin-. Including the cities of Bellville and Sealy. 212 PM CST Sun Dec 17 2017 .TONIGHT...Mostly cloudy. Patchy fog in the evening. Areas of fog. after midnight. A slight chance of showers and isolated.
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast December 17, 2017TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast for Sunday, December 17, 2017. _____. HGXZFPHGX. FPUS54 KHGX 171527. ZFPHGX. FPUS54 KHGX 171526. ZFPHGX. Zone Forecast Product for Southeast Texas. National Weather Service Houston/Galveston TX. 926 AM CST Sun Dec 17 2017.
- TX Marine Warning and Forecast December 17, 2017TX Marine Warnings and Forecast for Sunday, December 17, 2017. _____. SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY. URGENT - MARINE WEATHER MESSAGE. NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX. 505 AM CST SUN DEC 17 2017 ...ELEVATED SEAS WILL PERSIST OFFSHORE ...
- Special Weather Statement December 17, 2017TXZ213-227-237-238-170415- Brazoria TX-Galveston TX-Harris TX-Fort Bend TX- 927 PM CST SAT DEC 16 2017 ...STRONG THUNDERSTORMS MOVING ACROSS GALVESTON...EAST CENTRAL FORT BEND...BRAZORIA AND EASTERN HARRIS COUNTIES UNTIL 1015 PM CST... At 925 PM CST ...
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast December 17, 2017
Travel through time!
- COM TRUSTEES LEASE TRAINING SPACE TO ADDRESS SHORTAGE OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS December 15, 2017College of the Mainland Trustees have approved a one-year, $54,264 lease with the Community Family Center at 2000 Texas Avenue in Texas City.
- Truman Taylor Insurance Joins Galveston Insurance Associates December 15, 2017Texas Senator Larry Taylor from Friendswood, president of Truman Taylor Insurance, is closing his agency after 55 years of operation and joining Galveston Insurance Associates, effective Dec. 15.
- City of Galveston December 15, 2017The City of Galveston will host the 6th Annual Santa Hustle 5K and Half Marathon on Sunday.
- H-GAC Transportation Policy Council December 15, 2017The Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council today voted unanimously to approve a set of amendments to the 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Program and the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan.
- Galveston City Council December 15, 2017Galveston City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to appoint Council Member Dr. Craig Brown and Assistant City Manager Rick Beverlin to the Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council and Public Works Director Kyle Hockersmith and City Engineer Daniel Christodoss to the H-GAC Technical Advisory Committee.
- Galveston Welcomes Hale as Next Chief of Police December 15, 2017Galveston City Council on Thursday officially welcomed Vernon Hale as the city's next chief of police.
- Santa Fe City Council December 15, 2017Santa Fe City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a collective bargaining agreement with the Santa Fe Police Officers' Association.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation December 14, 2017The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the public's assistance in gathering information regarding the case of a boy whose body was found on a Galveston beach in October.
- Galveston City Council Workshop December 14, 2017Galveston City Council, during its workshop today, talked about an ordinance to add provisions for the regulation of substandard buildings in Chapter 10 of the city code.
- COM TRUSTEES LEASE TRAINING SPACE TO ADDRESS SHORTAGE OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS December 15, 2017
- Trump Plans Shift to U.S. Security Strategy 18 Dec 2017 15:51 wsj.com WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump will put his domestic economic and trade policies at the heart of a new national-security strategy that depicts the world as one of heightened rivalries and potentially dangerous competition. The new strategy, with an …
- Trump to Declare China 'Strategic Competitor' in Security Speech 18 Dec 2017 15:49 News Max President Donald Trump will declare China a "strategic competitor" to the U.S. in a speech that lays out an official national security strategy heavily influenced by his views on trade and economic relations, senior administration officials said …
- Partial list of acts against Trump by Massachusetts’ Healey 18 Dec 2017 15:49 The Republic A partial list of legal and other actions announced by Democratic Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey targeted at President Donald Trump’s administration in 2017: JANUARY — Four days after Trump’s swearing-in, announced her office was intervening …
- 'Mean' Time: Greenwich Council Bans Donald Trump From Visiting 18 Dec 2017 15:46 Sputnik International Europe 18:31 18.12.2017(updated 18:35 18.12.2017) Get short URL The move is yet another episode in the prolonged row that British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing at home over her decision to invite the US president. This Tuesday, the councilors at …
- Putin thanks Trump for intel that thwarted terror attack 18 Dec 2017 15:46 Washington Times Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked President Trump in a phone call Sunday for U.S. intelligence agencies providing a warning that thwarted a major Islamist terrorist plot against a cathedral and other sites in St. Petersburg, Russia. The White House …
- Trump reverses Obama, eliminates climate from list of national security threats 18 Dec 2017 15:46 Washington Times President Trump will announce Monday his new National Security Strategy, putting his own stamp on a defense plan that reverses an Obama administration policy by eliminating climate change from a list of threats to national security. Senior administration …
- Trump Administration Dropping Climate Change As National Security Threat 18 Dec 2017 15:46 New York Magazine The year 2017 has seen a supercharged hurricane devastate Puerto Rico, wildfires raging out of control in California, and a catastrophic rainfall event in Houston. While it is notoriously difficult to link any one weather disaster to the effects of …
- Donald Trump is calm about the Russia investigation. For now. 18 Dec 2017 15:44 KITV Honolulu's Channel 4 Analysis by Chris Cillizza CNN Editor-at-large (CNN) -- Nothing has irritated President Donald Trump more in the first year of his presidency than the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russia. He has called it a witch hunt. A hoax. He's …
- Putin Thanks Trump For CIA Tip-off That Foiled Terrorist Attack 18 Dec 2017 15:41 RTTNews A tip-off by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) helped Russian security services foil a series of terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg. Russian President Vladimir Putin called his US counterpart Donald Trump to thank him for the unprecedented gesture of …
- Barron Trump Missing From Family Chrismas Card (Photo) 18 Dec 2017 15:40 Opposing Views President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have revealed their official Christmas card for 2017. The first lady debuted the card on Twitter on Dec. 14, reports Empty World. In the caption accompanying the Trump's Christmas card photo, the …
- Arrests along border dipped sharply under Trump, according to federal data
- Woman with criminal history accused of setting Galveston man on fire turns herself in
- Man’s body found near Seabrook highway
- Officer kills burglary suspect in shootout in La Marque
- Deputy shoots teenage driver after driver attempts to run deputies over
- Gorilla escapes barrier into hog exhibit at Houston Zoo, officials say
- Meet the man who took his daughter out of school early for deer season
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: Texas churches need to know they can have guns
- In Texas, you probably won’t get welfare benefits; even if you qualify
- Texas reform advocates want to close all state-run youth lockups
- Man exposes himself at tanning salon, League City police search for his identity
- Free Press Summer Festival is changing its name to this
- Assault charge against Johnny Manziel dismissed
- How Texas curtailed traditional welfare without ending poverty
- Texas parents wait in limbo as policymakers struggle to save Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Harris County man wanted for 2006 murder arrested in Mexico
- Members of street gang linked to series of burglaries of Apple products, police say
- Arrest expected soon after Galveston man set on fire, police say
- How Breitbart, Trump and Texas Politicians Spun a Tale out of a Border Patrol Agent’s Death
- Man accused of killing teen with whom he had inappropriate relationship appears in court
- Here’s what’s happening in Harris County now that the sheriff issues bail bonds
- Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halts state’s last execution of 2017
- Houston church threatened by gunman at Sunday’s service
- As Bayer and Monsanto push for merger, Texas farmers fear rising prices
- Civil Offenses: Those Calling for Political Civility Often Have the Least to Lose
- Without recovery funds, more than 50 Texas day cares close after Harvey
- 13-year-old robbery suspect shot in the head by apartment tenant, police say
- Man Mistaken for Burglar, Shot by Police then Shackled to Hospital Bed and Barred from Seeing Family
- Coyote attacks increasing: What you should know
- Postal worker accused of kidnapping, choking and fatally shooting co-worker girlfriend
- Medical marijuana in Texas: What you need to know
- Harris County deputy suspended after striking handcuffed man after chase
- Woman with F-Trump sticker adds Sheriff Troy Nehls to display on truck
- Abbott calls White House’s latest disaster aid request “completely inadequate”
- Former United Airlines pilot pleads guilty to running prostitution ring
- Abbott, Patrick push back on TxDOT’s plans for financing new toll projects
- Trial dates set for ex-deputy, husband charged in John Hernandez’s death
- Cities race to annex land before new Texas law goes into effect Dec. 1
- A “glitch” on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s website asked for visitors’ Social Security numbers
- Greg Abbott Declares War on Moderate Republicans
- He thought he had a free court-appointed lawyer. Then he got a bill for $10,000
- Man fights to prove he’s alive after bank reports him as deceased
- Scam costs Friendswood man thousands of dollars
- At the Texas Capitol, victims of sexual harassment must fend for themselves
- Human Rights Lawyer on How Government is Complicit in Mexico’s Drug War
- ‘Sean Hannity Show’ fans smash Keurig brewers over pulled ads
- Another woman accuses former President George H.W. Bush of groping
- Student sent home from school bruised, claims PE teacher slammed him onto concrete
- Gov. Greg Abbott endorses primary challenger to state Rep. Sarah Davis
- Analysis: A media exec in Texas politics, not quite ready for prime time
- Police dogs trained to ignore marijuana
- Former HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence makes first court appearance
- Rent-to-own complaints spur investigation by federal agency
- HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence
- Joel Osteen impersonator breaches security at Los Angeles event
- Former ‘All My Children’ star arrested in Galveston
- Cornyn and Cruz under pressure over allegations in Alabama Senate race
- Family’s beloved pony shot to death in Liberty County
- Coastal officials say feds failing Harvey victims on short-term housing
- 22 Houston gang members indicted for multiple violent crimes, officials say
- The Faith-Tinged Fatalism of Greg Abbott’s Response to Texas’ Deadliest Mass Shooting
- Execution date set for Sugar Land man on death row
- Trump in Japan…
- Free of criminal charges, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes says she was victimized
- With no state-approved textbooks, Texas ethnic studies teachers make do
- Texas back in federal court over anti-“sanctuary cities” law
- Clara Harris granted parole for husband’s murder
- Coast Guard searching area near Freeport after boat catches fire, sinks
- Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez emerges as potential challenger to Gov. Greg Abbott
- With Trump Cuts, Obamacare Enrollment is a Volunteer Affair in Rural Texas
- Explosion at vodka distillery burns 3 in north Harris County
- Documents: Texas National Guard Installed Cellphone Spying Devices on Surveillance Planes
- Police increase reward for information in case of child’s body found on Galveston beach
- Meet Nueces County’s New DA, a Self-Professed ‘Mexican Biker Lawyer Covered in Tattoos’
- Leon Jacob, man accused in murder-for-hire plot, faces new charge
- The Brief: The deadliest mass shooting in Texas history
- Counterprotesters say white supremacists, not Russian Facebook ads, drew them to rally
- What we know about Texas church shooter
- Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable shot several times, officials say
- $500 million in Ike relief is still unspent. Will Texas do better after Harvey?
- Prosecutor asks for current medical standards in death penalty evaluations
- How to earn quick cash by flipping items
- Rick Perry ties fossil fuel use to sexual assault prevention
- Abbott Supports Removing Inaccurate Capitol Displays. Do Slavery-Denying Plaques Count?
- A Russian Facebook page organized a protest in Texas. A different Russian page launched the counter-protest.
- 24 Texas Dairy Queens closing after franchise company files for bankruptcy
- USDA Rolls Back ‘Fair Practice’ Rule That Would’ve Protected Texas Chicken Farmers
- Trump nominating Ryan Patrick, son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to be U.S. attorney
- Fired in 2009, football coach Mike Leach still rages at Texas Tech and Texas law
- Texas Toxicologist Who Rejects Basic Science Appointed to EPA Science Board
- Abbott presses Congress for an extra $61 billion to rebuild after Harvey
- The ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Ban Has Already Reshaped Some Police Department Policies
- Hurricane Harvey flood looters exposed
- U.S. Supreme Court examines investigatory funding in Texas death penalty case
- Who’s Defending Texas’ Confederate Monuments?
- Kicking in doors and crushing credit: How a Texas-based retailer torments customers
- Harris County jailer accused of letting prisoner attack fellow inmate
- House Democrat: Abbott supports removing Confederate plaque from Texas Capitol
- Legislators mull changing Texas law allowing criminal charges against rent-to-own customers
- Houston woman’s daughter stranded at sea with another woman for 5 months
- ‘Fail State’ Delves into the Shadowy World of For-Profit Colleges
- Grambling State student charged in double homicide
- How renting furniture in Texas can land you in jail
- ‘Wedding crasher’ says she never attacked guest, apologizes to bride and groom
- Something Yuuuge was Missing From Franklin Graham’s Waco Revival
- Family: Florida deputy caught on camera breaking into dying man’s home
- Federal government rolls out eight border wall prototypes
- In ‘The Second Coming of the KKK,’ a Timely Lesson in the History of American Hate
- US launches ‘most advanced’ stealth sub amid undersea rivalry
- Houston man identified as victim of barge explosion near Port Aransas, officials say
- Controversial Halloween decoration in Katy leads to threats against homeowner
- What does boycotting Israel have to do with Hurricane Harvey relief?
- Rep. Dawnna Dukes cleared of criminal charges, attorneys say
- $5,000 reward being offered in shooting that caused man to lose his legs
- Tornado leaves trail of damage in two Dickinson neighborhoods, NWS says
- Former HPD officer indicted in 2016 shooting of unarmed neighbor
- State Rep. Victoria Neave pleads no contest to June DWI charge
- Texas attorney general opens investigation Into Harvey debris removal companies
- Police: 3 Texas men arrested after shot fired at Richard Spencer protesters
- Perry pursuing policy on coal, nuclear power at odds with Texas record
- Cornyn: Trump assured me more Harvey aid for Texas coming in November
- Dallas Fed CEO: Technology, not trade or immigration, is main reason for job loss
- Immigrant Workers in Texas Could Fill Farm Vacancies, but They’re Trapped in the Valley
- Texas Cities Embrace a Softer Approach to Pot Possession as State Reforms Stall
- This man robbed woman who was 9 months pregnant, shot her husband, authorities say
- Ex-KIPP Explore Academy staffer arrested after accusations of child indecency
- U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson walks back comments on sexual assault
- Who is this mystery man? Galveston woman begins search to find apparent veteran’s identity
- U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders face off in tax code debate
- A look back at Colt Stadium, the home of the Colt 45s
- After Failing to Prop Up Coal in Texas, Rick Perry is Trying Again Nationwide
- Potential new murder confession delays Texas serial killer’s execution
- Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial
- How much are property taxes in Houston going down next year?
- Cruz presses Sessions on Trump administration’s “catch-and-release” policy
- Federal Prisons Don’t Even Try to Rehabilitate the Undocumented
- Three teens charged with murder after missing teen’s body found
- Houston serial killer faces execution this week
- Insurance company accused of delayed response to storm claims
- Some Texas Republicans in Congress again outraised by challengers
- To fund bid against Ted Cruz, former mayor puts up building as prize in “essay and rib contest”
- U.S. House passes hurricane relief bill after tense day for Texas delegation, Abbott
- It’s Time to End Austin’s Failed Experiment in Police Oversight, Activists Say
- Prosecutors drop 1 of 13 felony charges against Rep. Dawwna Dukes
- League City mayor hospitalized after heart attack
- ICE Detained a Pregnant Rape Survivor for Six Months, Records Show
- Husband, wife each lose leg after hit-and-run crash in Waller County
- Temporary bans placed on fishing near site of busted cap
- Texas man travels to Orlando to sexually assault 9-year-old girl, police say
- Mom, older brother charged after 11-year-old found smoking meth
- Days from execution, man convicted in prison guard’s murder insists on innocence
- Truck involved in multiple accidents leaves 1 dead, 1 injured in Texas City, police say
- $1M worth of iPads mostly unused after being purchased for local elections
- Woman caught on camera stomping small dog inside elevator
- How much has been raised for Harvey relief — and how’s it being spent?
- The Case to End Assembly Line Justice for Poor People in Harris County
- Mother, son charged in murder-for-hire plot
- How scammers are using homeowners to defraud FEMA
- Police find man’s body stuffed in closet after victim ‘tortured’ to death
- In historic win, charters getting state funding for facilities for the first time
- Dreamers greet DACA renewal deadline with anxiety and unanswered questions
- Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial is delayed for a third time
- Judge blocks Texas secretary of state from giving voter information to Trump commission
- East Texas county sues drug companies, alleges role in opioid crisis
- North Korean workers prepare seafood for U.S. stores, restaurants
- 3 Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees indicted in assault cases
- Reward raised for man on Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list
- Texas business mogul Mark Cuban offers details for hypothetical 2020 presidential run
- Woman accused of killing taxi driver appears in court
- Texas death row inmate Duane Buck has sentence reduced to life after Supreme Court orders retrial
- Hearing in Paxton case to consider delaying trial for third time
- Appellate judges show concern over Harris County bail practices, court ruling
- 28 organizations that got money from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- Pasadena drops appeal, will remain under federal oversight of election laws
- Almost 400,000 Texans’ insurance at risk after Congress fails to renew CHIP
- How Harris County’s federal bail lawsuit spreads beyond Houston
- HHS Secretary Tom Price resigns amid criticism of his travel on private planes
- Houston mayor calls off property tax hike after Abbott delivers $50 million
- ‘I’m just gonna shoot him if things go sideways,’ cop tells college student during traffic stop
- Hearing set for Friday in wrongful death suit in John Hernandez case
- Aide found half-naked after sexual contact with student, deputies say
- Thousands of Poor Texans Could Lose Health Care With Congress Distracted by ACA Repeal
- Slideshow: For southeast Texas, recovery after Harvey is slow
- Even Hurricane Harvey Can’t Temper GOP Hostility Toward Texas’ Big Cities
- Murder suspect arrested in 27-year-old ‘killer clown’ shooting married to victim’s husband
- Texas attorney general now accepting complaints on “sanctuary” jurisdictions
- Abbott: Houston has enough funding for Harvey recovery
- U.S. House passes tax breaks for victims of Harvey, Irma and Maria
- New state law seeks to reduce the number of child brides in Texas
- Texas can enforce more of ‘sanctuary cities’ law
- Florida trooper accused of showing porn to child
- Town mayor facing assault charges
- 13-year-old accused in kidnapping and rape plot
- Hensarling to flood victims: ‘God’s telling you to move’
- Body Cam Policies in Texas Exacerbate a System Designed to Protect Police, Critics Say
- Army vet shown walking after claiming he couldn’t owes government $434K
- Analysis: X-factor in 2018’s Texas elections might be Harvey, not Donald
- Federal appeals court to hear arguments on Texas “sanctuary cities” law Friday
- Texas teens to be trained next year on police interactions
- Newlyweds say DJ robbed wedding cash
- How Galveston is offering a free beach weekend
- Lyft ride leads to hate crime charge for Houston man
- Florida woman makes ‘sexy’ plea to get power back after Hurricane Irma
- Report: Indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes spent $51k on online psychic
- Report: Trump’s judicial nominee from Texas called transgender kids part of “Satan’s plan”
- Hospital workers in hot water over Snapchat video, picture calling newborns ‘mini Satans’
- How some see Texas as the “gold standard” against wrongful convictions
- New leak discovered on Battleship Texas
- Texas House Speaker Joe Straus calls for removal of “inaccurate” Confederate plaque
- Hey, Texplainer: How is FEMA distributing money to areas hit by Harvey?
- Friendswood man accused of raking in nearly $2 million in decadelong pay-phone scheme
- Mayor Sylvester Turner has strong words for Red Cross after problems surface
- Trump Nominee to FEC Tried to Shred Texas’ Already-Weak Ethics Laws
- Dad in clown mask shot at while chasing daughter through neighborhood
- As a result of Hurricane Harvey, 600 more Texas prisoners getting AC
- Trooper fired for Sandra Bland stop: “My safety was in jeopardy.”
- Mysterious sea creature that washed up on Texas beach after Harvey identified
- Within days, this Austin company hopes to start legally growing marijuana
- Former officer accused of stealing $2,400 from dead man indicted on theft charges
- 135,000 gallons of sludge released into Galveston Bay after equipment failure, officials say
- Post-Harvey, Houston officials hope Congress is up for funding Ike Dike
- Ex-husband strangled Baytown realtor while children in next room, prosecutors say
- Pizza Hut manager threatened workers evacuating for Irma
- The Road to Huntsville
- Now you can carry any knife (almost) anywhere in Texas
- In beleaguered La Marque schools, Harvey stirs up old anxieties
- Flooded cars already being put up for sale
- Trump Nominates Lawyers from Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Group to be Texas Federal Judges
- Man survives being shot 16 times outside southwest Houston home
- Floridians jam highways to flee wrath of Hurricane Irma
- U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul again top contender to be Trump’s homeland security chief
- Experts: Much of Harvey-Related Air Pollution was Preventable
- Texans in Congress aim for united front ahead of long fight for Harvey aid
- Texas churches damaged during Harvey sue FEMA for federal funding
- Amazon wants to open $5 billion second HQ in North America
- New law allows hunting hogs from hot air balloons, but few balloonists will offer it
- New texting while driving ban full of loopholes
- Woman urinates herself, yells racial slurs during DUI arrest, police say
- Police shoot, kill tiger running loose in neighborhood
- What to do if your vehicle flooded during Hurricane Harvey
- House overwhelmingly passes $7.9 billion Harvey aid bill
- Selena’s family mourning the death of Houston relatives killed in Harvey flooding
- Trump ending immigration program that has impacted more than 120,000 in Texas
- Cinco Ranch flood victims demand buyout from federal government
- The Impossible City
- Our Lady of the Underground
- Texas officials see long road from Harvey for state transportation network
- Officials are starting to grapple with the costs of Harvey. Here’s what you should know today.
- Thanks to their State Rep, Friendswood Family Rushes to File Insurance Claim for their Flooded Home
- President Trump to visit Houston today to survey Harvey destruction
- As floodwaters continue to rise in Lake Jackson, crews come in to help with evacuees
- Residents being warned of people impersonating city of Houston, FEMA inspectors
- Renters find issues with flood-damaged units, property
- Crosby plant explosion highlights state efforts to block access to chemical information
- Where the government spends to keep people in flood-prone Houston neighborhoods
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: No special session needed for Harvey aid
- Five days after Harvey, here’s where things stand in Texas
- Harvey brings catastrophic flooding to Houston; 5 reported dead
- Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Why Houston isn’t ready for Hurricane Harvey
- Judge Emmett, Mayor Turner say ignore ‘rumors’ about Hurricane Harvey
- Galveston Island prepares for Harvey’s impact
- Former Galveston ISD teacher accused of having sex with high school student
- Galveston deputy accused of assaulting girlfriend, investigators say
- In San Antonio, Cops Punch Down
- The Brief: Battle lines are (curiously) drawn in Texas’ redistricting fight
- Analysis: Firing the opening shots in the 2018 GOP primaries
- As Houston plots a sustainable path forward, it’s leaving this neighborhood behind
- Harris County emergency officials preparing for tropical system Harvey
- Federal court puts hold on Houston ordinance aimed at homeless camps
- Puppy attacked by pet store owner’s dog
- Mother left kids in hot car while she drank at bar, police say
- Angela Paxton, Texas attorney general’s wife, eyes Texas Senate run
- US imposes sanctions on Russian, Chinese firms over North Korea
- Parents’ plea for help in finding teenage couple missing for 48 hours
- 2 women claim they were groped by local massage therapist
- Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller criticizes Six Flags’ removal of Confederate flag
- El Paso City Council votes down city ID program
- League City Man Sentenced to 6 Years for Online Solicitation of a non-existent Minor
- UT-Austin removing Confederate statues in the middle of the night
- Galveston County Deputies Prevent Jumper on Bridge at 646 & I-45
- Dickinson Cops use Facebook to Catch a Burglar Named Jesus
- Evading Theft Suspects Taken Into Custody After Causing Accident in League City
- Father faces charges after he and missing boy found at hotel, authorities say
- Confederate Monument Protest Draws Hundreds in Houston
- Former HPD officer among those arrested in prostitution sting
- Mother charged with murder after child ejected during drunken driving crash
- Over 250 sex buyers, traffickers arrested on prostitution charges during sting
- Remember the Alamo (Differently)
- Your phone’s Bluetooth can locate illegal skimmer devices
- With Supreme Court appeal, Texas wants to keep congressional map intact
- Dallas, Houston Protests Planned as Confederate Monuments Under Fire in Texas
- With Trump’s Infrastructure Plan, Rural Texas Could be Left in Disrepair
- Body found in Bayou Vista while searching for woman who disappeared under ‘suspicious circumstances’
- South Florida woman accused of DUI with 3-year-old unbuckled in back seat
- Deputies: Mother tells son to buy her drugs
- HPD officer relieved of duty after DWI charge, officials say
- Abbott: Removing Confederate monuments “won’t erase our nation’s past”
- Prosecution rests at trial of woman accused in 2012 death of husband
- Confederate statue controversy hits Houston
- Selena’s brother taken into custody after landing on most wanted list
- In special session rubble, spotlight shines bright on Straus
- President Trump disbands White House business councils as CEOs leave
- Video shows deadly jailbreak; Man who pleaded guilty in deputy’s death sentenced to life
- Fisherman hooks gator in Buffalo Bayou
- Squatters or scam victims? Homeowner finds another family living in home
- Charges sought against those who toppled Confederate statue
- Houston group asks mayor to remove Confederate statue from downtown park
- Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map
- Texas to receive millions in federal funding for wildlife conservation projects
- How a total solar eclipse created France, Italy and Germany
- Deputies Go Unpunished for Invasive Cavity Search on Houston Roadside
- Florida man gets 6 years for firing gun during strip club selfie
- Map details where Texas hate groups are in 2017
- Man blames ‘hookah-smoking caterpillar’ for wrecking liquor store, police say
- ‘I feel like I was raped,’ woman says of invasive roadside strip search
- New Mexico Bandidos members held in Texas in firearms case
- Man, 57, commits suicide after shooting juveniles during road-rage incident, police say
- Mother charged with child abandonment after newborn found in flower bed
- President Trump condemns KKK, neo-Nazis as ‘thugs’
- Woman hit, killed by Houston garbage truck while crossing street
- Legislature advances annexation bill to Gov. Abbott
- 2 Teens Who Attacked Man Shot After Auto Accident in Galveston
- White nationalist rally, counter protest planned at Texas A&M on Sept. 11
- Hundreds Clash over Confederate Monument in San Antonio
- Greenspoint Mall to close in 60 days, sources say
- Texas House approves “compromise” city annexation bill
- Asps — poisonous, stinging caterpillars — back in season
- Texas bathroom bill appears to be all but dead in special session
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- FBI agents searched former Trump campaign chair’s home
- Special Session a ‘Battle Royal’ for Dominionists Who Seek Christian Rule
- Zoo employee accused of sex with 14-year-old boy
- New requirement for Texas driver’s license begins soon
- With 8 days left in special session, Texas House and Senate remain far apart
- What you need to know if your vehicle is flooded
- City of Houston applies for FEMA grant to help elevate homes in flood-prone areas
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- Texas backs Wisconsin in battle to protect partisan gerrymandering
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- 4 arrested in connection with 2 deadly shootings in Montgomery County
- 1 drowns, 2 injured in incident at San Luis Pass
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- Near Drowning at Bacliff Chase Park Pool
- Drunk Wrong Way Driver Arrested in Dickinson
- Lasker Park Community Swimming Pool to Open on August 15th
- Man accused of touching girls’ buttocks in back-to-school aisle at Walmart
- Rare pink dolphin spotted in Louisiana waterway
- Woman found hiding in bed of pickup truck says she ‘was just looking at the stars’
- Amazon sells out of toilet paper with Trump’s tweets
- Teen home invasion suspect killed, man on the run in Baytown
- Houston man last seen throwing life jacket to daughter before going underwater at Canyon Lake
- Deadly dare: 8-year-old girl dies after drinking boiling water
- 2nd Man In Robbery Spree Gets 20 Years Prison
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- 4 officers taken to hospital after 2 patrol units run into each other, police say
- STATE LEGISLATURE PUTTING THE BRAKES ON TEXAS CITY ANNEXING SAN LEON WITHOUT SAN LEON RESIDENTS APPROVAL:
- 2 men charged in teen girl’s shooting death in Bacliff
- Weed company buys town in hopes of creating pot-friendly tourist destination
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calls city governments the source of “all our problems in America”
- Man, 25, arrested for DWI after crashing into patrol car, deputies say
- Texas man snags “bucket list” 12-foot tiger shark off Padre Island
- Chauna Thompson, deputy terminated in wake of Denny’s choking death, appeals firing
- Humble ISD police officer accused of child pornography
- Angry woman robs cellphone store with large gun
- Dalia Dippolito discusses prison break in recorded jail call after recent conviction
- Tiny mermaid-painted shed drifted 200 miles in Gulf of Mexico
- Uber ride turns into nightmare for recent Texas A&M graduate
- ‘Sugar daddy’ banned from beaches after handing out provocative cards
- Business owners fight against crime in Chinatown
- 14-year-old girl clocked driving 107 mph during chase in Montgomery County
- Fight outside Spire Nightclub ends in crash, shooting
- When school’s out, rural Texas towns struggle to feed their hungry kids
- Guided bus tour of Houston’s strip clubs, massage parlors sheds light on human-trafficking business
- NASA looking to hire officer to protect earth from alien harm
- In Texas House, property tax proposals range from minor tweaks to abolishment
- Man exposes himself to woman outside fitness center, police say
- Man accused of robbing people who post items on buy, sell sites
- What it means for Texas colleges if Trump targets affirmative action
- ‘Cash Me Outside’ girl sentenced for stealing mother’s car, using her credit cards
- President Trump signs bill imposing sanctions on Russia
- Wife shoots, kills husband after finding him with another woman, police say
- Humble restaurant employees accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls
- Family reunited with dog 3+ years after it went missing
- Angleton animal sanctuary facing fines after filing lawsuit
- Woman finds evidence bag full of marijuana at neighborhood park
- State Rep. Dawnna Dukes declines deal from Travis County District Attorney
- Report: Texas could lose billions if new immigration enforcement law stands
- Texas’ War on Local Control is Part of National Trend
- Wife of accused gunman dies after double shooting that led to innocent woman’s death
- ‘Ghost forests’ appearing from Canada to Texas
- Man charged after leaving crash that left motorcycle rider in critical condition, police say
- Flight in Vegas delayed by naked passenger, officials say
- Galveston’s Pleasure Pier ride Revolution shut down temporarily
- How often do shark attacks happen in Texas waters?
- Naked bank robbery suspect tosses stolen money
- Harris County officials continue crackdown on unlicensed after-hour bars
- Wife: Disagreement over Trump contributed to divorce from state attorney
- Kingwood native torches 8 cars after wedding called off, police say
- HPD officer hit by car, plunges 16 feet off Southwest Freeway
- Texas executes man who claimed his lawyers committed fraud
- Woman arrested on suspicion of posting ‘revenge porn’ online
- Statue honoring Alvin’s hometown hero, Nolan Ryan, topples
- Man arrested after showing porn to child at supermarket, authorities say
- Underage woman claims she was raped after being served at Houston-area restaurant
- The Woodlands teens accused of Florida crime spree after posting Snapchat videos
- La Marque residents asked to boil water after order issued
- Man who fled to Mexico after murder charge 21 years ago arrested trying to re-enter US
- Texas Senate passes bill to allow people to vote on whether a city can annex them
- Spring man caught filming up skirts arrested on child porn, invasive photography charges
- One-armed, machete-wielding clown arrested, police say
- Despite Knowledge of Climate Change in 1970s, Texas Utility Companies Funded Climate Denial
- Venus Williams accuses 78-year-old man killed in crash of not wearing seat belt
- Scammers target college students eager for scholarship money
- Woman accused of kidnapping baby while hitchhiking
- Every Texan in the U.S. House just voted for sanctions against Russia
- Man accused of producing child pornography
- Persistence pays off for rural Texans besieged by sky-high power prices
- Man accused of beating dog with crow bar
- 2 charged with prostitution after offering sex acts to undercover constables, authorities say
- Senate votes to start debate on health care bill
- Harris County pastor charged with sexual abuse of a child
- Trump’s New Immigration Lockup Draws Local Opposition in Conroe
- Set for execution, death row inmate alleges legal fraud in hopes of a stay
- Concerns raised over new Harris County bail system
- Crooks return to rob dentist office after police leave
- 2 throw drugs out window during high-speed chase, police say
- 5 arrested after drugs, gun, money seized from Magnolia home
- 15 years later, Clara Harris remains in state prison for husband’s murder
- Woman, 91, kicked out of Sunnyside home
- Congressman: If female GOP senators were South Texas men, I’d challenge them to a duel
- Turning Tail
- Death toll in San Antonio immigrant-smuggling case rises to 10
- Ex-Mexican drug cartel leader gets 30 years in US prison
- Kushner’s statement on Russia: What to know
- Analysis: In special session, Texas Senate’s the hare, House is the tortoise
- Texas Senate panel targets mail-in ballot fraud after high-profile case
- Drunk Driver Sentenced to 50 Years for Fatal Crash
- Tanker Crew Rescues 5 In Capsized Boat
- Man Sentenced to 45 Years on Drug Charges
- After Texas “human trafficking crime,” Lt. Gov. Patrick lauds sanctuary city law
- Charges possible in disturbing Florida drowning case
- Texas Senate committee OKs bill to outlaw city cellphone restrictions
- Texas Senate panel approves teacher bonuses, retirement benefits
- Carjacking suspect opens fire on officer during chase in SW Houston
- Man, 2 children killed in crash in NE Houston
- Katy woman arrested for DWI after man follows, records her erratic driving
- Mickey Mouse mask-wearing burglar caught on camera breaking into 2 stores
- Houston pastor Victoria Osteen says she does not endorse skin care product
- Senate committee passes bills on private school choice and school finance study
- Bill limiting city, county spending fuels war over local control
- Woman, 93, dragged during carjacking at church, police say
- Trans Texans, Advocates Swarm Texas Capitol to Oppose ‘Bathroom Bills’ (Again)
- Man admits to killing 14-year-old half-brother, authorities say
- Monkey on the loose in south Houston after attacking girl, police say
- ‘Million Dollar Ho’ arrested in Florida prostitution sting
- Turner reopens bids for recycling contract to 4 companies
- District attorney to pursue death penalty against 4 suspects
- Houston woman charged in connection with ransom scheme
- Pastor in The Woodlands accused of prostitution
- Academy Sports + Outdoors laying off 100 employees
- 1 dead after shooting at NW Harris County apartments
- Kay Bailey Hutchison vows toughness on Russia as NATO ambassador
- Conroe horse-riding trainer accused of sexually assaulting child
- Environmental groups sue EPA over lax Texas air pollution permits
- Abbott adds school finance, retired teacher benefits to special session
- Bodycam allegedly shows Baltimore cop planting drugs
- Key events in OJ Simpson’s fall from sports hero, movie star
- Heat is part of life at Texas prisons, but federal judge orders one to cool it
- Growing health trend bypasses doctors’ offices for diagnosis, treatment
- HPD chief answers questions about Josue Flores murder case
- Sarah Davis wants more information about “misconduct” at TABC
- Texas Bill Would Revoke Medical License of Doctors Who Perform Abortions
- Senate gives early OK to must-pass “sunset” legislation
- Lead singer of The Suffers featured in national campaign
- Man wanted in 2016 fraud case
- Couple arrested for second time for impersonating Adele’s manager, police say
- Mexico says electronic device checks on US flights begin
- Dancing with Denial
- Teen shot at high school party at AirBNB house in southwest Houston
- Toll road drivers getting fed up with erroneous charges
- Trump administration: Trust Texas on voter education spending
- Baby dies after being infected with cold sore virus through kiss, parents say
- 24 firearms stolen after Texian Firearms robbed twice in one day
- Texas Republicans in Congress process health care bill’s collapse
- Florida man arrested after reporting cocaine stolen, deputies say
- Teens arrested after Facebook Live video of 23-year-old woman’s assault
- Girl, 17, fires shot at intruder while chasing him out of her house
- Police: Aunt charged after leaving young neice, nephew in hot car outside grocery store
- Texas Senate moves to fast-track special session agenda
- President Trump: ‘Let Obamacare fail’
- Why the murder charge against the Texas police officer who killed Jordan Edwards is rare
- What happens if Congress fails to repeal Obamacare?
- Four Texas Republicans in Congress were just outraised by Democratic challengers
- This crazy thread got deleted off /pol/ and subsequent threads were 404'd trying to carry on the convo... December 18, 2017https://archive.4plebs.org/pol/thread/153674689 An alleged 33rd degree mason talking about a major happening in the next few months possibly regarding aliens. Someone posts a picture of a Mossad stamped handgun, and the thread 404's shortly afterwards. Picture: https://img.4plebs.org/boards/pol/image/1513/58/1513581194133.jpg /pol/ has way more threads than usual currently, users are saying in threads something weird is happening shortly before […]/u/Fusion7778
- Netflix's "Wormwood" - a series that delves into the "suicide" of Dr. Frank Olson, an Army biological warfare scientist involved in the CIA's Project MKUltra. What did everyone think of the docudrama? December 18, 2017For clarification: Dr. Olson was himself an unwitting subject of Project MKUltra while he worked with the CIA in another capacity. submitted by /u/thesadpumpkin [link] [comments]/u/thesadpumpkin
- So i'm lying in bed with my long skinny black phone and it hits me.... December 18, 2017submitted by /u/russianbot01 [link] [comments]/u/russianbot01
- We have video footage from US military documenting an encounter with UFO's but we STILL don't have a shred of video from Mandalay Bay before or during the Las Vegas false flag. December 18, 2017submitted by /u/SixVISix [link] [comments]/u/SixVISix
- Operation mockingbird in real time December 18, 2017submitted by /u/NOTT-kgb [link] [comments]/u/NOTT-kgb
- WTF is this doing in the NY Post? X post from r/WTF December 18, 2017submitted by /u/deeznootz [link] [comments]/u/deeznootz
- For the anybody that hasn't seen this amazing and complex documentary by Adam Curtis called "HyperNormalization", do yourself a favor and spend 2:40 hours witnessing the puzzle of the world today. Is confusion the real goal behind everything happening right now? December 18, 2017submitted by /u/mentallo [link] [comments]/u/mentallo
- Whatever it takes to get Google Home or Amazon Alexa in your home. Hmm wonder why?? December 18, 2017submitted by /u/Jocramid [link] [comments]/u/Jocramid
- Someone scratched "666" into the car on the Fox Live showing of "A Christmas Story" tonight. Why add a blatantly satanic message into a live Christmas special, Fox? December 18, 2017submitted by /u/HehTheUrr [link] [comments]/u/HehTheUrr
- I left in love, in laughter and in truth; and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit. ~ Bill Hicks December 18, 2017submitted by /u/dreamslaughter [link] [comments]/u/dreamslaughter
- Q Said 10 Days of Darkness, Has It Begun With Power Outage At Atlanta Airport? December 18, 2017submitted by /u/WeAreTheResistance [link] [comments]/u/WeAreTheResistance
- There’s no way in hell that the busiest airport in the world just went total blackout. This is a beta test for something. December 18, 2017I’ve been to Hartsfield dozens of times. That place has got to have multiple redundant power systems in different locations so that something like fire can’t knock it all out at once. I’m calling BS submitted by /u/rbsams72888 [link] [comments]/u/rbsams72888
- New York Times 1902: "GIANT SKELETONS FOUND.; Archaeologists to Send Expedition to Explore Graveyards in New Mexico Where Bodies Were Unearthed." December 17, 2017submitted by /u/Question_History [link] [comments]/u/Question_History
- I know what is happening to Terry Crews. IDK why it's not talked about much here. December 17, 2017Targeting and Gang Stalking is a massive set-up by TPTB & Deep State. This is/was prevalent in Scientology communities to silence dissenters, etc. They may be the originators. It involves government agencies, Private detective but also regular citizens, neighborhood watch groups led to belie they are doing something good. These tactics have been used on […]/u/positiveascension
- Brittany Murphy and her husband had serious conflicts with Weinstein and his people. Tried to blame husband? December 17, 2017submitted by /u/aquamansneighbor [link] [comments]/u/aquamansneighbor
- This crazy thread got deleted off /pol/ and subsequent threads were 404'd trying to carry on the convo... December 18, 2017
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Author Archives: Aliyya Swaby
ORANGE — With her husband incarcerated on a murder charge, Jacquene Fontenot single-handedly wakes and dresses five kids under the age of 5 every morning, drops them off at a local child care center and drives two hours to her job as a custodian in central Louisiana.
Fontenot, who lost her furniture when her apartment in Orange flooded during August’s hurricane, could not imagine what she would do if she lost her child care. “I really don’t have a second option,” she said.
During Hurricane Harvey, the James Hope Center, her children’s for-profit day care, took on water and a layer of mold began carpeting its walls, leaving owner Jacqueline James floundering for a solution that wouldn’t leave more than 100 families, many of them low-income, stranded.
Across Harvey-affected counties, 52 child care centers have permanently closed and an additional 65 are voluntarily suspended and expected to reopen with three months, as of Nov. 10, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Those facilities had the capacity to serve almost 5,000 children.
With so many day cares closed and more in danger of closing, parents face difficulty moving back to their homes and getting back to normal, with no one to take care of their kids when they’re at work. Private child care centers, often run by individuals, churches or nonprofits, are struggling to recover from the hurricane’s destruction, especially in rural communities where they are among few options.
“For communities to be able to recover economically, you have to get your child care and early education programs up so people can get back to work,” said Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais, senior director for U.S. emergencies at Save the Children, a nonprofit international aid group working to help child care centers recover from Harvey. “The communities are not going to get fully back up until the child care is back.”
Many child care centers are small, for-profit businesses that don’t qualify for federal disaster funding despite the crucial services they provide to families, De Marrais said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency only provides public assistance to nonprofit centers, including those run by churches, according to a FEMA spokesperson. Directors of for-profit centers can apply for federal disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration, but they often do not qualify, De Marrais said.
In the Houston region, many of the damaged centers accept children from families who received subsidies through the Texas Workforce Commission, according to Christina Triantaphyllis, chief officer of public policy for the early education nonprofit Collaborative for Children. Almost 40 percent of 977 centers the nonprofit surveyed had no flood insurance.
“The uncertainty is probably the number one challenge for both families and child care programs,” Triantaphyllis said. “Are [child care centers] going to replace materials and move on and then hope that there’s reimbursement later, or do they operate at the level they can with the materials they have left?”
In Orange, James plowed forward with the resources she had. She got the state to let her shut down her family’s restaurant and use the open eating space as a temporary center for about 60 older children. She and her husband own an additional building already in use to care for about 25 infants. And she found a former bakery up for lease in West Orange and put her family members to work replacing ceiling tiles and ripping out walls to create a permanent center.
Last week she started offering day care and after-school activities in the new building for kids 18 months to 12 years old.
“Children have to know safety, and they have to know you’re consistent,” she said. “We are still right now feeding kids who are going home with nothing to eat. We’re still clothing kids who still don’t have any.”
The new normal for James is a building with a smaller capacity. Many families were forced to leave Orange after three low-income apartment buildings flooded and shut down, and not all are back, she said. Just seven of 15 staff members are back in Orange; the others remain displaced after Harvey.
Lack of child care is one of many factors keeping families from returning to their homes, De Marrais said.
Farther south along the coast, LaVeta Rodriguez, director of Little Lights Learning Center in Rockport, drained the day care’s savings — more than $10,000 — for renovations after major water damage in the roof and ceiling. Most of the community around the day care has not yet returned.
Dependent on the tourism industry, many Rockport residents can’t count on employment now that restaurants and hotels are out of service, said Timothy Baylor, the day care’s founder and pastor of New Beginnings Ministries, which houses Little Lights.
The day care lost eight of 10 staff members and a larger percentage of its students. With not enough staff or students to operate, Rodriguez and Baylor surrendered Little Lights’ child care license, hoping to reapply and reopen once Rockport is rebuilt. They are using money they’ve raised to host a full-day program of activities and meals twice a week, taking children off their parents’ hands while they look for work.
The families who are back, rebuilding their homes, are asking for child care.
“In the relief tent, they’re asking, ‘When are you going to open? I can’t work because there’s no child care,'” said Jose Alvarado, a volunteer for the church and a parent at the daycare. He’s the founder of a small local business repairing and detailing yachts.
Few in Rockport are thinking about their yachts, with walls of debris turning rural roads into labyrinths and homes stripped down to skeletons in battered lots. Even if Alvarado wanted to work full-time, he’d have a hard time. He and his wife, who works full-time at a medical office, are fostering an 11-year-old girl who had attended an after-school program at Little Lights Learning Center. Now, Alvarado picks her up from school every afternoon.
There aren’t many other day care choices in the area. State records show just four other licensed child care centers in Aransas County, including one that is temporarily closed.
In rural areas, “there might not be another child care center within 20 or 30 miles of them,” said Anna Hardway, director of programs for Save the Children. She recalled speaking to a school principal who begged her to help get the local child care center up and running so teachers and parents could get back to work.
Children at least 3 years old who meet the federal definition of homelessness, which includes many of those displaced by the hurricane, are eligible for free public pre-K in local school districts, according to the Texas Education Agency. But parents, educators and experts interviewed by The Texas Tribune said they didn’t know that option was available.
With limited assistance coming from the state and federal government, some day care owners have found creative solutions.
When Harvey swept through the coastal town of Portland, Methodist Day School’s flat roof turned into a “swimming pool,” and water leaked into the building, said the day care’s director, Jamie Hartley. “Our building isn’t really old and it’s in good condition, so we weren’t expecting for the building to be damaged at all,” she said.
As they wait for their roof to be rebuilt, the day care’s directors are indefinitely leasing space from the Gregory-Portland school district for $3,259 per month.
Paul Clore, superintendent of Gregory-Portland ISD, said the day care is welcome to lease the space for as long as they need. “It’s important to us to support them,” he said. “Those youngsters will eventually be students of ours.”
When 16-year-old Adán Zylberberg was in need of a book about Malcolm X for an ethnic studies project, Elizabeth Close handed him a copy of “Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography,” which brought to life the civil rights activist’s history in vivid black and white drawings.
It was not an unusual pick for Close’s students. During the six-week unit on civil rights, the ethnic studies teacher at Anderson High School in Austin taught her class from a wide array of sources: a college-level multicultural history book, teaching materials from the Southern Poverty Law Center, video clips from “The Daily Show,” contemporary news articles and old photos of segregated public facilities from the Library of Congress.
She doesn’t think all that could fit into one textbook.
“It’s a constant process to continue finding better sources, better connections, better ways to make it relevant to them,” said Close.
The Texas State Board of Education will vote this week on whether to approve two ethnic studies textbooks — a Mexican-American studies textbook and a Jewish Holocaust memoir — submitted in response to a board request last November to offer approved texts aligned to the statewide curriculum. Last year, the board rejected a different Mexican-American studies textbook proposal that advocates and academics decried as error-ridden and racist.
Tony Diaz, an activist who helped get last year’s book struck down, submitted “The Mexican American Studies Toolkit” in response to the board’s call last year. If the board votes yes, Diaz’s proposal would be the only Mexican-American studies textbook officially approved by the state.
But would Texas teachers actually use the book? That depends on the district.
Austin ISD developed its ethnic studies program over the past year, without additional state resources. But a smaller district might not have the staff or money to build a program from scratch, educators said. Texas does not require districts to choose textbooks the state board approves, but many administrators find it easier to use a state-vetted book rather than research other texts on their own to ensure they meet state standards, according to Texas Education Agency spokesperson Debbie Ratcliffe.
In 2010, Arizona state legislators banned ethnic studies for being too divisive, prompting a nationwide backlash that has, in turn, spurred enthusiasm for teaching the subject to high school students. (A federal judge later ruled the Arizona law violated students’ constitutional rights.) Many advocates cite a Stanford University study showing Hispanic and Asian students who took ethnic studies in San Francisco high schools improved their grades and attendance.
In Austin ISD, one of the only districts in Texas with a multi-ethnic studies program, administrators and teachers started last fall figuring out what credit students would receive and what skills and concepts students would be expected to learn, said Jessica Jolliffe, the district’s social studies supervisor.
This year, nine teachers across eight campuses in the district offer a general ethnic studies class, looking at the histories of different ethnic groups and races within the context of U.S. history.
Rather than try and shoehorn such a sprawling, nuanced topic into a single textbook, Jolliffe bought copies of Ronald Takaki’s “A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America” — a college-level ethnic studies resource — for each classroom, and then gave teachers a $500 budget to buy additional books to suit their classes’ abilities.
Close found Takaki’s multicultural history too advanced for most of her students, so her bookshelf is also filled with graphic novels, memoirs and illustrated histories of various ethnic groups. Diaz’s book would not be particularly useful for her class, she said, since she already has a wealth of Mexican-American studies resources.
Yet for 15-year-old Chloe Hightower, having a traditional textbook would make Close’s ethnic studies class more convenient — and easier to explain to her friends, many of whom don’t even know the school offers it. “I would love the idea of having a book we could get to read instead of having to look up everything,” she said. “People are not trying hard enough to make ethnic studies something people hear about.”
That sentiment comes up a lot, Close said.
“The number one question from students is, ‘Why haven’t we learned about this before? Why did we have to wait for this optional class to get some of this?’” Close said.
The State Board of Education in 2014 rejected a push to approve ethnic studies as a new required class. Instead, the board put out a call for ethnic studies textbooks with the goal of making it easier for districts to offer relevant courses as general social studies electives. Since the board has not developed specific curriculum standards for ethnic studies courses, publishers can’t know how many districts will offer them or what form those classes will take so they are less likely to spend time and money writing relevant textbooks for them, said Christopher Carmona, Mexican-American studies professor at University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley.
“That’s one of many problems with the state board. They’re asking us to create textbooks for a course that doesn’t exist yet,” Carmona said.
He leads a coalition attempting to advance Mexican-American studies in high schools across the state. He took an informal survey showing only about 30 teachers in Texas offer Mexican-American studies courses, either as a stand-alone course or dual-credit course with a local university. Most are along the border or in urban areas with higher percentages of Hispanic students.
Carmona, along with a few other high school teachers and university academics, informally reviewed Diaz’s book to ensure it was academically sound. “There were a lot of things we had to fix,” he said.
The group added in sections detailing crucial parts of Mexican-American history, such as the Supreme Court decision to give Mexican-Americans equal protection under the Constitution and Mexican-American involvement in the Civil War. The scholars also removed existing sections, including one essay that references drinking beer, thought to be unsuitable for high school students.
An earlier official state review of the book found similar issues. Diaz said he is addressing the errors found by both groups.
When El Paso ISD teachers were deciding on a textbook this summer for a new Mexican-American studies program, they read through Diaz’s textbook proposal alongside several existing books already used in other districts. They decided not to use Diaz’s book, in part because they were not sure it would get approved this fall.
Instead, teachers unanimously picked “Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement” by F. Arturo Rosales, which they found on a textbook list for a course Houston ISD offers.
“They said the language is more student friendly, it has more pictures, it gave students a chance to actually expand on it,” said Velma Gonzalez Sasser, El Paso ISD student success coordinator.
This year, three high schools offer Mexican-American studies, and two middle schools have integrated Mexican-American studies into their Texas history classes.
Visiting a high school class recently, Gonzalez Sasser sat riveted as students discussed the 1917 El Paso-Juárez Bath Riots, which were sparked after a 17-year-old Mexican girl refused to submit to a toxic fumigation procedure federal officials were using to kill lice on Mexicans crossing the border and convinced others to do the same.
“I never heard of this in my life,” Gonzalez Sasser said. “I went to school here. I’ve lived in El Paso all my life. I’ve never heard of it.”
Disclosure: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors is available here.
For the first time in Texas, public charter schools will receive state funding to pay for leasing and maintaining buildings and facilities — expanding their access to the state’s limited money for public schools.
In August, the Legislature passed House Bill 21, a school finance law that included up to $60 million annually for charter facilities funding beginning in fiscal year 2018-19. That funding will be divided per student among the charter schools that meet state standards. Charter advocates, who have petitioned for decades to get such funding, argue that the law is the first step toward receiving the same total dollars per student as traditional school districts. However, critics counter that the law diverts funds from the larger number of students who attend traditional public schools.
Traditional public school districts primarily pay for facilities through bonds repaid with local taxes. Some receive help with bond payments through two state funding programs passed in the 1990s. Instructional funds come from a different pot of state and local money.
Publicly funded and privately managed, charter schools do not levy taxes and, until this year, did not receive any state funding for facilities. They receive the average per-student funding of all traditional school districts, and have used that for both instruction and facilities.
In 2012, the Texas Charter School Association sued the state for facilities funding, arguing their schools were being funded inequitably by the state. The $60 million allotted through HB 21 will help charters that have not been able to build on existing property to serve more students, said David Dunn, the association’s executive director. “This is a good first step. It’s a great start toward covering the gap in funding, but it doesn’t get us the whole way,” he said.
This year, Houston-based YES Prep charter carved $3 million out of a state instructional allotment of about $86 million to fund repairs across 14 of its 17 campuses in the city. HB 21 would provide administrators with just under $3 million for those repairs, meaning an additional $3 million is free to spend in the classrooms.
“It’s still not enough in the long run,” YES Prep CEO Mark DiBella said. “It won’t be enough to cover maintenance alone. It certainly won’t be enough to cover any new buildings.”
The same school finance law also provided a $60 million boost for one of the state facilities funding programs passed in the 1990s, which will help some traditional school districts repay their bonds. But the majority of Texas’ fastest-growing school districts receive no state support for facilities and will not see any through this law, said Guy Sconzo, executive director of the Fast Growth Schools Coalition, which advocates for such districts.
Sconzo said he was disappointed that the Legislature granted 5 million students in school districts the same total amount for facilities as the 300,000 in charter schools. “There’s something grossly inequitable about that,” he said.
Mike Feinberg, founder of KIPP charter schools, said the $60 million allotted to charters in the law would not have been enough to fund all the traditional public schools that need it. “This is not game-changing money at the end of the day” for fast-growing school districts, he said. “It’s hard to rationalize how $60 million would have made a big difference when what they needed is in the billions.”
The state is working toward increasing the number of high-performing charter schools. Currently, the number of charter licenses is capped statewide at 305 by 2019, and about 171 are operational at latest state count. The U.S. Department of Education last week granted the Texas Education Agency $38 million in grants for the 2017 fiscal year to expand its charter schools — one of nine awards to state agencies across the country.
With the door open for charters to get state facilities funding, charter and traditional public school advocates will be vying for funding increases from the same pot of limited money in future legislative sessions.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board and figure out how we continue to advocate for more facilities funding,” DiBella said. “Across the board, [the school finance system] is not equitable.”
Disclosure: The Fast Growth School Coalition has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
LA MARQUE— As hundreds of parents sat nervously in the La Marque High School auditorium last Thursday, Nicole Gardner stood from her seat and raised her hand to ask what was on everyone’s minds.
“I was wondering how long this relocation is going to last.”
The response was just as Gardner, the mother of a kindergarten and second-grade student, had feared.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know,” said Susan Myers, Texas City ISD deputy superintendent.
Gardner’s children are enrolled in two of three schools in Texas City ISD closed temporarily due to damage from Hurricane Harvey, pushing officials to relocate about 1,600 students to other buildings within the district, starting Monday. For parents and administrators of the three closed schools, the flooding means more disruption in a period already marked by upheaval.
In 2016, the state forced the Galveston Bay school district to annex, or absorb, its neighboring district, and once football rival, La Marque ISD, which was hemorrhaging enrolled students and failing to prepare those who stayed for graduation. For months, tensions were high with rumors swirling that outside forces had conspired to destroy La Marque’s schools. When school started last fall, people from both communities were nervous about how their hybrid district would work.
“This year, it feels like we’re redoing last year,” said Flo Adkins, principal of La Marque Middle School, as parents queued up around her to pick up their kids’ new building assignments Thursday evening. “You know, when the annexation and all that happened, it feels like there was so much anxiety in the community.”
The three buildings flooded due to Harvey all belonged to former La Marque ISD, where the newest school building was constructed 47 years ago. Texas City ISD was promised $17 million over five years from the state in June to improve its recently acquired, neglected facilities. In just a few days, Hurricane Harvey, slow-moving and destructive, knocked back the timeline for renovation.
“We got through last year with the annexation, we can get through anything,” Adkins said. She pulled out her phone and swiped through photos of Texas City teachers helping their La Marque colleagues fill boxes with school supplies Thursday morning. The storm will bring the district closer together, she said.
Hundreds of parents filled the La Marque High School auditorium Thursday evening, after two weeks of cancelled classes, to hear the plans district administrators had for where and how to relocate their students. They were terrified and unhappy.
Administrators made sure to stay cheery as they explained how students from three La Marque schools that cover preK through eighth grade would temporarily attend classes in other school buildings, starting Monday. All their teachers and principals would go with them. They would all get free meals, and new bus routes as needed. Teachers would work hard to get students academically on track. Students, including some who lost their homes in the storm, would finally have a routine again.
“Our teachers know right now our instruction has to be intentional and intensive,” said Ricky Nicholson, La Marque High School Principal. “We have to the stop the bleeding on the loss of instructional days.”
Gardner was trembling as she later lined up to get a copy of the map showing her where her children would temporarily attend school, miles away in Texas City. Her second grader is behind in math and reading, and now has missed two weeks of instruction. The family moved from Deer Park to La Marque, before the start of the new year. “I’m hoping it’ll be six weeks or something,” she said, estimating the length of the school closures. “I feel like it will be two or three months.”
The main priority, officials repeated over and over, was to keep La Marque students in Texas City ISD.
“We’re one big school district,” said Superintendent Rodney Cavness, new to Texas City this year, to the crowd of attentive parents. “Annexation, all that’s behind us.”
Not everyone was buying it. Monique Lazard planned to transfer her daughter Radiance Willson from Dickinson ISD to Texas City ISD this fall. When Lazard heard her 11-year-old would be studying in the same building as 17 and 18-year-olds, she immediately decided to re-enroll her in Dickinson ISD instead.
Already prone to letting water leak in, La Marque Middle School filled with two inches of water during last month’s hurricane. Those students will be relocated to La Marque High School, two miles away. Administrators promised to keep the two student bodies on different floors of the building, with no overlap, and to ensure teachers accompanied the fifth and sixth graders around the high school.
“Although they say they’re going to separate it, kids will be kids,” Lazard said. “Texas City can’t tell me there’s not other schools.”
She said she didn’t expect a better solution from the district. “Texas City and La Marque have always had their separation,” she said. “Even though it’s supposed to be one district now, there’s still a lot of separation. And it’s not good.”
Lazard and her children are still living in a home that filled with three feet of water over the course of the storm — among hundreds inundated in La Marque and Texas City. She was denied a hotel voucher through federal shelter assistance but she has filed for long-term federal disaster assistance while looking for a safer place to live.
Texas City ISD officials will soon submit a flood insurance claim for the damaged schools. They are also working with a FEMA consultant to apply for federal public assistance, along with all the other qualifying municipalities and institutions in 43 counties included in the federal disaster declaration.
Before the flood, La Marque buildings were safe, but not in good shape, projected to need $42 million for repairs and about $100 million for replacement. The state granted Texas City ISD $17 million over a five-year period in June to fix the buildings.
Meanwhile, Texas City ISD replaced and renovated the Texas City buildings in 2007, after its voters approved a $118 million bond referendum. Those buildings weathered the storm.
“All Texas City ISD students deserve the same educational experience,” said former Superintendent Cynthia Lusignolo, who lobbied the state for the $17 million this winter. That dream of equity is now even further away.
Heather Dummar toiled for three weeks last summer hanging sheets of corrugated metal from the walls and constructing long tables and stools to transform her eighth-grade English classroom in La Marque Middle School into an “industrial coffee shop.” She spent more than $1,000 of her own money to bring to life the calming environment she found at her local coffee shop in college.
“It was more than just slapping up posters,” she said.
It took her and a team of Texas City ISD teachers three hours last Thursday to pack up all the textbooks and pencils they would need to hold classes in a completely different building, as contractors in the middle school rip out soggy drywall and bleach the mold that had started to grow at the base of the chair legs.
None of the coffee shop’s decorations went with Dummar to La Marque High School. Her new temporary classroom was previously used for high school science and has laboratory tables attached to the walls. She went back to her middle school classroom to pack up books Thursday and saw some of the chalkboard paint peeling off the walls and the dirty water line two inches up the corrugated metal.
“That’s heartbreaking, because that’s our home,” she said.
Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series about the declining participation in Texas’ summer meals programs for students. You can read the first story here.
REKLAW — Clara Crawford tapped the horn three times. Seconds later, two young boys ran down the steps of their house, their mother waving goodbye from the porch.
Each summer, most days of the week, the 86-year-old Crawford drives a 1995 Ford cargo van 35 miles to gather up about 20 hungry children in Fairview, an unincorporated community in Rusk County, and the neighboring city of Reklaw. She takes them to a program she runs at a local community center where they can play basketball in the hot sun and get a full lunch plus a snack.
In this sparsely populated part of East Texas, where some houses don’t have regular access to potable water, for seven years Crawford and her blue van have been providing a summer lifeline to kids who otherwise might be home alone and without a healthy meal.
The Texas Department of Agriculture administers a summer meals program providing federal reimbursement for school districts and nonprofits to give out meals to hungry children — but in recent years, the program has failed to draw students in, with July participation rates crashing by 20 percent in 2016.
Experts and even the state have had trouble pinpointing exactly why, but they cite lack of transportation as the main reason rural Texas kids can’t reach free summer meals available at hundreds of locations across the state. The federal government does not compensate school districts or nonprofits for getting students to and from the free meal sites.
Which is why folks like Crawford who are willing to drive kids to those meals are so important. Despite the tight pickup schedule, Crawford sometimes finds herself waiting several minutes longer than planned outside a particular house, hoping a kid will hear the honks and rush out. Most of their parents are working, or are stuck at home with illnesses or disabilities, she said.
“I hate to not get them if they want to come,” she said, peering over the steering wheel anxiously. Every summer, she considers giving up on this volunteer chauffeur gig. She’s old and doesn’t need the extra stress. But then she wonders: Who else would do it?
The need for volunteers like Crawford goes beyond this corner of East Texas. In the tiny Panhandle town of Quitaque, residents also struggle to find summer volunteers to help provide food to hungry children after the local school had to end its program. Rural communities across the state face similar challenges.
In Texas, more than 4 million people don’t always know where their next meal will come from, often resorting to skipping meals, buying less food or choosing between buying food and paying other bills. Though it’s decreased over the years, the percentage of people at risk of hunger in Texas is significantly higher than the national average.
Even in towns that have a summer meal program, “if a site’s half a mile from a kid’s home, they’re unlikely to walk up there, let alone five or 10 miles,” said Tim Butler, coordinator of child hunger programs at the East Texas Food Bank, which gets federal money to provide meals for program sponsors like Crawford who want to feed kids locally.
The food bank also pays for Crawford’s gas and vehicle upkeep through a privately-funded “rural transportation grant.” Without that extra financial boost, kids in Fairview might not make it to the community center.
The federal government used to offer similar transportation grants to rural organizations that sponsored free summer meal programs, but it ended them after 2008 when the funding ran out, calling them “cost inefficient” for supporting rural areas.
‘It used to be a big community’
A lifelong Fairview resident, Crawford is related to many of the kids in the area, or knows them well enough that they’re basically family. As she drove — never faster than a steady 45 miles per hour — she spun out the stories imprinted in the lush landscape crowded with pine trees. She pointed out the place where, at eight years old, she got paid $3 daily to plant tomatoes. The place where her dad drove a tractor on another man’s farm. And all the empty places left by folks who moved to the cities.
“There used to be a lot of people here. Now they let their trailers rot here. It used to be a big community,” Crawford said ruefully.
Larger school districts in East Texas don’t typically need someone like Crawford because they can usually offer their own programs, and sponsor others nearby. The East Texas Food Bank seeks to fill the smaller, more rural gaps across 26 counties and 20,000 square miles, in a region where one of every five adults and one in every four children is at risk of going hungry.
“There are tons of communities out there with little resources and low population,” Butler said.
Partnering with people like Crawford ensures the meal sites draw more kids, Butler said. “They know the people in the community. They know how to get something started. They know where the kids are.”
Besides the 20 kids Crawford drives to the community center, two or three wander over on their own, chattering and playing while the adults start to hand out food. At 14, Erica McCuin is one of the oldest in the room. She ends up watching over the younger ones, sitting and joking with them as they bite into cheeseburgers with whole grain buns and pick seeds out of orange slices.
She’s visiting her aunt for the summer two towns over and said without the program, she’d end up hanging around her aunt’s house. “I’d sit down and watch TV or play on my phone,” she said.
McCuin’s aunt, Savannah Williams, is one of three women who found out about the program through the local church and volunteer to run it. They said they’re determined to keep it going after Crawford someday turns in her car keys.
Panhandle volunteers try to restart summer meals
While volunteers in East Texas fight to keep kids fed, volunteers more than 400 miles away in a small Panhandle town are trying to bring back summer meals after the local school shut its program down.
In Quitaque — recently proclaimed the bison capital of Texas for its proximity to a herd of the shaggy beasts in neighboring Caprock Canyons State Park — a third of the 478 residents lives below the poverty line, nearly double the state average, according to recent Census estimates.
Kay Calvert wears a few hats for Quitaque, as a founder and president of the local emergency food pantry and assistant vice president at First National Bank. She’s working with a local teacher to apply for federal funding to start a summer meals site in Quitaque for local kids, to take some financial pressure off their parents.
Having lived in Quitaque most of her life, Calvert was ignorant of the depth of need in the community until she helped start the food pantry 13 years ago.
She fought back tears when she told the story of seeing a pair of young siblings cooking beans on the stove in a house otherwise empty of food. At another house, a volunteer for the pantry checked in on an elderly woman and found cat food in her fridge — and no cat in the house.
“I thought I knew our neighbors. I thought I knew everybody was OK,” she said. “Guess what? We don’t take care of our neighbors.”
Turkey-Quitaque ISD Superintendent Jackie Jenkins said the district stopped offering summer meals two years ago, around the same time it stopped hosting summer school for lack of funding. Before that, Jenkins drove a van taking kids home from summer school and bringing sandwiches and fruit to hungry kids who were not able to attend the summer classes. She knew parents were likely working in the fields and unable to drive kids even 10 miles to get lunch.
“We knew it would be hard for them to come out here, so we delivered them,” Jenkins said. But the federal program that paid for the district’s meal program didn’t cover those transportation costs. Now the closest program is in Memphis, a town almost 50 miles to the northeast.
Local food pantry is a lifeline
It’s not just students who need help getting fed. In Quitaque, where the tiny town center is surrounded by thousands of acres of red-dirt cotton fields, many residents are day laborers, cleaning homes and mowing yards in town or working on farms seasonally during the cotton harvest.
“There’s not enough work here in these small communities. But yet they want to raise their kids here because it’s the cheapest place they can live,” Calvert said. “They don’t want to go to the cities because they can’t survive in the cities.”
The local food pantry, Tri-County Meals, collaborates with the regional High Plains Food Bank to bring boxes of food each month to elderly people and families who are regularly deciding whether to pay for heat during the winter or buy groceries at the single store in town. The food bank trucks the food to an old fire station in Quitaque, and volunteers from three nearby towns haul it away for local distribution.
By noon, the floors and tables in the old station are piled high with boxes of all types of foods: organic baby spinach, bananas, croissants and other assorted breads, packages of Hamburger Helper (popular with the kids), giant frosted chocolate cakes.
The box of food Judy Myers and her brother Danny Barrett receive every month from the mobile food bank gets their family almost through the full 30 days. Myers, 55, a former prison employee, and Barrett, 57, a former mail carrier, both had to stop working because of chronic health problems. Myers has back and kidney issues; her brother suffers complications from diabetes.
They live together in a house that sits on 200 acres that’s been in the family for nearly a century. Myers has about $1,700 in pension payments coming in each month, and they both are applying for disability benefits.
Last Christmas was “really black in our house,” Myers said, sitting on her back porch with two kittens napping at her feet. “We had nothing at the time to cook with.”
They got an emergency food delivery through Tri-County Meals. In January, when her daughter Breanna turned 12, Myers asked the food pantry for cupcakes so Breanna could hand them out to her classmates.
But during the summer, Breanna is home from school, and Myers babysits her 2-year-old grandson — two extra mouths to feed during the day. Myers said she wishes the school district was still giving out free food in the summer, to take some of the pressure off her wallet.
Local kindergarten and first-grade math teacher Shadi Buchanan is working with Calvert to re-start a summer meals program in Quitaque, applying for reimbursement from the federal government.
But first they need committed volunteers. Parents and teachers already serve several roles for the school district, transporting kids to sports practices or teaching four or five different grades of a subject, because the district can’t afford to hire additional employees.
“It takes us all to run this village, and I think sometimes it’s overwhelming to say, ‘Here’s one more thing to do,’” she said.
Buchanan wants to run the program at two separate sites, one providing meals in Quitaque and the other in Turkey, so students don’t have to make the trek more than 10 miles to school for a free meal without a bus. Jenkins has her fingers crossed that enrollment will increase once school starts in late August since more students means more state money to spend on school programs.
In the meantime, Calvert and the rest of the team at the pantry will continue to serve as many families as possible, for as long as they have the money.
“They’re out there if we open our eyes and look. The need is out there,” Calvert said. “We can only do so much.”
Following the deaths of nine people in what police are calling a “human trafficking crime,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took to Facebook Sunday to highlight the importance of cracking down on “sanctuary cities.”
Police found eight people dead in a tractor-trailer in a Walmart parking lot early Sunday morning, with no air conditioning in the sweltering summer heat, according to the San Antonio Express-News. One later died in the hospital, and about 20 survivors suffered from heat stroke and dehydration. Some survivors identified themselves as Mexican nationals.
Patrick wrote the incident was indicative of why Senate Bill 4 is so important. The law, scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1, requires local authorities to cooperate with federal immigration officials and allows police to ask about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain.
“Today’s tragedy is why I made passing Senate Bill 4 to ban sanctuary cities — which is now law — a top priority,” Patrick, a Republican, wrote on his Facebook page Sunday afternoon, with a link to an ABC News report. “Sanctuary cities entice people to believe they can come to America and Texas and live outside the law. Sanctuary cities also enable human smugglers and cartels. Today, these people paid a terrible price and demonstrate why we need a secure border and legal immigration reform so we can control who enters our country. We continue to pray for the families and friends of the victims.”
The cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso and El Cenizo are among the local governments suing Texas over the law.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a formal statement with no mention of SB 4, instead highlighting the importance of a bill he signed to help the trucking industry report signs of human trafficking.
“The loss of these lives is a heartbreaking tragedy,” he said. “Human trafficking is an epidemic that Texas is working to eradicate. To that end, Texas will continue to provide protection for the victims who have been robbed of their most basic rights, and bring down the full weight of the law for the perpetrators of this despicable crime.”
Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.
The Senate Finance Committee Saturday approved a proposal Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick listed as a priority for Texas education: providing bonuses and pay raises for long-term teachers, and reduced health-care costs for retired teachers.
The committee voted 10-3 to approve Senate Bill 19, authored by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, which would provide $193 million for teacher bonuses starting September 2018, put $212 million into state-run health insurance for retired teachers, and require school districts to increase teacher pay by $1,000 starting in 2019.
The senators who voted for the measure were Republicans; those who opposed it were Democrats. State Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, was present but decided not to vote.
The full Senate could consider the bill as soon as Monday.
Educators and activists who testified opposed the part of the bill requiring districts to raise teacher pay, since it would not necessarily come with additional money from the state.
Nelson proposed borrowing money for the bonuses and health benefits from the Health and Human Services Commission, by deferring payments to health care companies that provide Medicaid through the state’s privatized system. “I will work to ensure that the deferral will not affect any services” for Medicaid, Nelson said.
She called SB 19 a “bridge” while legislators work to solve larger issues with the school finance system.
Legislators argued about whether, and how, to turn the short-term changes in the bill into long-term solutions to help teachers. With limited flexibility in the budget, which has already been approved by the governor, they are looking for creative ways to fund provisions they hope to pass during the special session.
Even with the additional money through SB 19, the state-run Teacher Retirement System will see a projected shortfall of $500 million to $700 million in 2020-2021, which will increase to $2 billion by 2022-2023, according to Brian Guthrie, TRS executive director. School employees have absorbed most of the healthcare premium increases over the years, with state and district inputs remaining close to fixed.
“We say we’re going to make a commitment, but we are also saying we’re not going to increase the state statutory contribution rate,” said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.
Tim Lee, executive director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, begged the panel not to let political debate get in the way of accomplishing TRS reform during the special session.
“I am almost begging you. Please do not let the session end with nothing happening,” he said.
“We are going to stay focused,” Nelson responded, despite likely disagreement with the House on how to pay for school finance issues. She called the House’s willingness to use the Rainy Day Fund, a pot of emergency cash for the state, a “false promise” and short-term solution.
Educators opposed the part of the bill that would require school districts to fund teacher pay raises, without the promise of state funding to help bolster the cost. “We don’t want to have to reprioritize money from within our districts to find money” for pay raises, said Tonja Gray, a member of the Association of Texas Professional Educators and a reading intervention teacher at Abilene ISD. “I would rather have nothing than this bill.”
“It’s this or nothing,” Nelson said. She argued there are ways to fund the pay raises, which would start in 2019. Legislators would have to decide how to fund the pay raises during the next legislative session.
Disclosure: The Texas Retired Teachers Association and the Association of Texas Professional Educators have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
The Senate Education Committee got two major bills out of the way Friday, passing legislation that would create a “private school choice” program and start a commission to study the school finance system.
The committee voted 8-2 to pass Senate Bill 2, creating a tax credit scholarship subsidizing private school tuition for students with disabilities. It voted 10-0 to pass Senate Bill 16, which would task a 13-person committee of legislators and educators with developing recommendations on how to fix the beleaguered system for funding public schools before the 2019 regular session.
The bills could be taken up on the Senate floor as soon as Monday.
Gov. Greg Abbott listed both issues in his 20-bill agenda for the July-August special session, which the Senate has wasted no time in tackling, with several committees set to meet through the weekend.
Parents, educators and activists sat in front of the Senate panel from 10 a.m. until just after 6 p.m. to explain how subsidizing private school tuition for students with disabilities would sap resources from public schools, or how it would offer families a wider array of options.
Abigail Tassin, a 17-year-old Fort Bend ISD student with Down Syndrome, asked legislators not to pass the bill, instead urging them to focus on improving public schools’ resources for kids with disabilities.
“I want to be with everyone else,” she said. “Help my teachers be able to help me better.”
SB 2 is similar to several proposals that its author, Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, pitched to the Senate during the regular session. Insurance companies would receive premium tax credits in exchange for contributions to scholarship organizations.
An estimated 6,000 students with disabilities would receive up to $10,000 in scholarships to private schools under the bill. In addition, an estimated 26,000 eligible students with disabilities could receive up to $500, if they stay in their school districts, to pay for transportation or needed services. The tax credits for businesses would be capped at $75 million per year.
Tara Cevallos, principal of St. Austin’s Catholic School, said Catholic schools do not have all the resources to provide services for students with special needs, but that tax credit scholarships would help them. Private schools can provide a “niche approach,” because they have so few students, she said.
Taylor also added a few unrelated programs to the bill, including $60 million for charter schools, $60 million for facilities funding for traditional public schools, and $150 million for a hardship grant program for struggling small, rural schools that relied on a now-expired state aid program.
The $270 million for those programs would be borrowed from the Health and Human Services Commission, by delaying payments to health care companies providing Medicaid.
Sen. Bob Hall, R-Canton, said he was concerned about that “deficit spending,” before he voted yes on the bill. “I would hope that between now and when we get to the floor, we find a way to solve that problem,” he said.
Monty Exter, a lobbyist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators, said adding programs that school districts actually want to a “private school choice” bill prevents in-depth discussion of school funding. He said the bill would not help improve public schools for kids with special needs who decide to remain in that system.
“One of the biggest philosophical problems we have with this bill is that it changes the mentality from ‘Let’s fix the problems that we have’ … to saying, ‘Well, now we’ve provided you with this out,’ ” he said.
The committee took under an hour to hear testimony and approve a bill that would create a 13-member commission to study the school finance system. The commission would have four members appointed by the governor, four appointed by the lieutenant governor, four appointed by the House Speaker, and a member of the State Board of Education. It would deliver recommendations to the Legislature by Dec. 31, 2018, intended to guide lawmakers during the 2019 legislative session.
Policy experts who testified asked the bill’s author to make the commission more transparent about how it conducted the study.
“We would appreciate the opportunity to ensure that the public can in some fashion or procedure submit public comments to the commission,” said Steve Aleman, policy specialist with Disability Rights Texas.
Taylor said regular public input was unlikely. “Generally someone who just comes from the public, they have a very limited view of public education Texas,” he said. “I don’t foresee us having a public hearing every time.”
Disclosure: The Association of Texas Professional Educators has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors is available here.
Texas legislators could end up passing bills to reform the state’s school finance system and help out retired teachers this special session.
After the Senate voted early Thursday morning to pass a bill keeping several key state agencies alive, Gov. Greg Abbott immediately expanded the special session agenda by adding 19 items — and dramatically expanded the focus of two education-related priorities he had announced last month.
When Abbott announced his call for the special session in June, he said he would ask legislators to increase teacher pay by $1,000, and to establish a commission to recommend improvements to the beleaguered school finance system. The expanded call Thursday would allow legislators to pass bills improving a state-run health care plan for retired teachers and making major reforms to the school finance system, including the extension of a state aid program that would help mostly small, rural school districts.
The governor’s announcement came almost a week after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick held an education-themed news conference to discuss school finance and teacher pay increases, a departure from his priorities during the regular session.
Patrick proposed a plan, funded through the Texas Lottery, that would provide bonuses for long-term and retired teachers, add $200 million to the Teacher Retirement System, and give $150 million to struggling small, rural districts that lost money through an expired state aid program.
Abbott’s additions of the new items appear to be a nod to the House, where his overall agenda is expected to face the most resistance. In a speech last month, House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, said legislators did not need a commission to tell them how to fix the school finance system, because they have already studied the issue at length. Abbott has pushed back against that notion, questioning why legislators have not come to a consensus if they have examined the issue so thoroughly. But the inclusion of retired teacher benefits, school finance reform and a fix for the expired state aid program in the final call looks like an overture to such skeptics.
State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, the House public education chairman, welcomed the additions to the special session call — and said that school finance reform was particularly important for legislators to address.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to address this critical need for our children and parents,” Huberty said in a statement to the Tribune Thursday morning. “The House had made this a priority the last two sessions. I am glad the governor added this to the call as he recognizes we need school finance reform to accomplish property tax reform.”
Educator groups on Monday rallied in front of the Capitol against the governor’s agenda, demanding that the Legislature put more state money into public schools and reform the school finance system.
On Thursday morning, a number of House members took to Twitter to thank Abbott for listening to their chamber and adding their priorities to the call.
Huberty filed a bill this week — mirroring one he filed during the regular session — that would inject state money into public schools and simplify the formulas for funding them. It would also help small, rural school districts depending on the expired state aid program.
Several legislators in both chambers have filed bills to increase benefits for retired teachers.
Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.
With less than a week before the start of a special session of the Texas Legislature, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out a proposal Thursday to give teachers bonuses and increase their retirement benefits, with plans to pay for both long-term using money from the Texas lottery.
Patrick called a press conference to roll out his own priorities for the next 30 days and tear down the House’s plan for revamping a faulty school funding system as a “Ponzi scheme.”
Patrick’s plan, in part, would provide $600 to $1,000 bonuses to long-term and retired teachers, inject $200 million into the Teacher Retirement System, give $150 million to struggling small, rural districts, and provide $60 million for new facilities for fast-growth school districts and charter schools.
Over the next two years, Patrick said, $700 million to pay for the plan would come from a deferral of funds to managed care organizations. Over the long-term, $700 million would be directly allocated from the Texas Lottery if voters approved an amendment to the Texas Constitution to ensure that transfer of funds continues indefinitely.
Patrick called on school districts to reprioritize 5 percent of their funds over the next four years to increase teacher salaries. Districts, he said, “have to be better about how they spend the money. They have to put more focus on teachers.”
Mark Wiggins, lobbyist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators, said most schools don’t have the financial wiggle room to reallocate funding without additional money from the state. “We haven’t seen any of these proposals. That’s why it’s tough to say where our members would come out on them,” he said.
The House passed a bill during the regular session that would have put $1.5 billion into public schools, in part by deferring a payment to schools to 2019. Patrick Thursday called that budget trick a “dangerous political stunt” and a “Ponzi scheme.”
The Senate tacked a “private school choice” provision to the House’s school finance reform package, effectively killing both issues in the regular session, since House members oppose public subsidies for private schools.
House Speaker Joe Straus and top House education leaders have appeared before education groups in the last month, chastising the Senate for not approving key reforms to the school finance system and refusing to change their positions on controversial issues such as “private school choice.”
Gov. Greg Abbott announced a 20-item agenda for the a special session beginning on July 18, including several education issues that the House and Senate clashed over during the regular session. Patrick stressed Thursday that he supported all 20 items, while pitching a multi-layered plan beyond the governor’s agenda.
Soon after Patrick’s press conference, Abbott praised the lieutenant governor’s efforts.
“My office has been working with lawmakers in both the Senate and House these past six weeks, and if these items do not get passed, it will be for lack of will, not for lack of time,” Abbott said.
Disclosure: The Association of Texas Professional Educators has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
The top House education leader said Sunday that “private school choice” is still dead in the lower chamber.
“We only voted six times against it in the House,” House Public Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty said. “I’m prepared to have that discussion again. I don’t think [the Senate is] going to like it — because now I’m pissed off.”
Huberty, R-Houston, told a crowd of school administrators at a panel at the University of Texas at Austin that he plans to restart the conversation on school finance in the July-August special session after the Senate and House hit a stalemate on the issue late during the regular session. Huberty’s bill pumping $1.5 billion into public schools died after the Senate appended a “private school choice” measure, opposed by the House.
Huberty was joined by Education Committee Vice Chairman Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio, and committee member Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston, on a panel hosted by the Texas Association of School Administrators, where they said they didn’t plan to give in to the Senate on the contentious bill subsidizing private school tuition for kids with special needs.
Gov. Greg Abbott has called legislators back to Austin for a July-August special session to tackle a hefty 20-item agenda that includes several public education issues that the Senate and House could not agree on during the legislative session. Huberty, Bernal and VanDeaver on Sunday refused to budge politically from where they stood on major education issues during the regular session.
“I pretty much stand where I stood then,” VanDeaver said.
Educators argue private school choice saps money from the public school system, while proponents say it offers low-income parents choices beyond the limited scope of the public education system.
That position could put the representatives in private school choice advocates’ crosshairs as they gear up for re-election in 2018. Huberty, already a target of efforts to unseat him in the next Republican primary, called it an “onslaught” against public education.
VanDeaver said educators have two options: They can give in to the Senate’s attempts to attach school finance and private school choice, or they can vote against legislators who want those issues linked.
“If you don’t stick up for yourselves in a real way … we are going to lose,” Bernal added.
Abbott put several public education bills on the special session agenda, to be addressed only after the Senate passes crucial “sunset” bills that would keep several state agencies, including the Texas Medical Board, operating during the next budget cycle.
Huberty said providing public schools with additional revenue is the only way to decrease local property taxes, another priority of the governor on the agenda for special session. “I’m planning on filing a property tax bill that will address school finance,” he said.
Educators have argued school districts must push for higher taxes because the state is underfunding public schools.
Huberty said he did not know if he would re-file the exact same piece of school finance legislation the House passed in the spring. That bill simplified the formulas for funding public schools and injected $1.5 billion into public schools, in part by using a budget trick to defer a payment to public schools until 2019.
Huberty said the Legislature could still fund the bill by using that mechanism. “If there’s no money, I get it,” he said. “But we got a mechanism set up to be able to deal with it.”
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin and Texas Association of School Administrators have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors is available here.
SAN ANTONIO — Speaking to educators Wednesday, House Speaker Joe Straus took some jabs at the Senate for focusing on a bill to regulate public bathroom use instead of putting more than a billion dollars into public schools.
The lower chamber’s leading politician spoke about the upcoming special session to hundreds of school board members and superintendents in San Antonio on Wednesday evening at the Texas Association of School Boards’ annual summer leadership institute. He urged educators in the room to keep speaking out for the issues important to public schools — and to act.
“There have been a few of you who would make good members of the Texas Senate,” he said, a joke that got him a round of laughter and applause.
Straus’ appearance comes as Texas legislators prepare to return to the Capitol for a July-August special session, with a packed agenda of 20 pieces of legislation Gov. Greg Abbott wants to see passed. Several of those bills would directly affect public schools, including a bill to regulate public bathroom use for transgender Texans.
“I don’t know what all the issues are with bathrooms in our schools, but I’m pretty sure you can handle them, and I know that you have been handling them,” Straus said. He said the “bathroom bill” sends the wrong message about Texas, instead of “making decisions that attract jobs, that attract families.”
Abbott put several public education bills on the special session agenda, to be addressed only after the Senate passes crucial “sunset” bills that would keep several state agencies, including the Texas Medical Board, operating next budget cycle.
He asked legislators to revive and pass two specific bills that died in the House — one that would create a commission to study school finance reform and one that would create a voucher-like state program to subsidize private school tuition and homeschooling expenses for kids with disabilities.
School finance reform and “private school choice” died in the same bill late during the regular session. The Senate voted to attach a private school choice program to a major House bill injecting $1.5 billion into public schools. That angered the House, which staunchly opposes subsidies for private schools. Neither side would compromise.
Straus said Wednesday that even if the House had compromised on private school choice, the Senate stripped about $1 billion in funding for public schools. “Even if we approved vouchers, they still cut out the vast majority of the funding we had proposed for public schools, so there was hardly anything left,” he said.
He said the school finance reform study was too little, too late. “The Texas House has been studying this for years. We already passed a bill that’s a very strong first step,” he said. “We can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”
Abbott also put property tax reform on the special session agenda, pushing a provision the House excluded during the regular session to create automatic rollback elections when local property taxes rise by a certain amount.
Educators have argued school districts must push for higher taxes because the state is underfunding public schools. Before Straus arrived, Bret Begert, school board president of Fort Elliott CISD, explained that his property-wealthy school district sends a large portion of its tax revenue back to the state through a program known as “Robin Hood,” where wealthy districts subsidize poorer ones.
“We don’t mind sharing our money, but we don’t want to go broke doing it,” Begert said.
The Senate and House deadlocked on several issues during the regular session, with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blaming Straus for blocking legislation that would restrict bathroom use for transgender Texans, cap property taxes and subsidize private school tuition for kids with disabilities.
Straus blamed the Senate for holding sunset measures hostage.
Abbott also added to the special session agenda two provisions that were not debated during the regular session. He called for a $1,000 increase in teacher pay and for more administrator flexibility on hiring and retaining teachers.
Public education advocates worry this means schools will be required to do more with less funding. The governor said in his special session announcement that the increase in teacher pay could be done by “reprioritizing” spending, without additional funding. He also said principals and superintendents need flexibility “to retain and to reward the very best teachers and to replace those who are ineffective.”
Linking those two issues does not bode well for public schools, said Dax Gonzalez, TASB assistant director of government relations. “Something that districts don’t want to get into the position of is giving raises to some by firing others,” he said.