Columns

Thu
16
Nov

Harvey debris removal funding gains approval

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott and leaders of the Texas Legislature on Nov. 9 announced the approval of $90 million in emergency state funding to help Hurricane Harvey disaster-declared counties pay for the removal of debris.

Cities and counties in impacted areas are responsible for 10 percent of costs associated with debris removal. The funding, to be administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, is intended to help alleviate that burden as the rebuilding process continues, the Governor’s Office said.

 

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Thu
16
Nov

A measure of filth

By MARC ROBERTSON

I’m not sure how to put this politely, but I’d like to know how it became okay to say the rude word for ‘bottom’ on television.

It’s been a while since this started, I know. But, you see, saying the word for ‘bottom’ on television, in general referring bluntly to the human fundament as opposed to the slang for ‘donkey,’ appears to have evolved quite rapidly into everyone somehow believing that it’s okay to say a lot of other things in public that just weren’t said before.

 

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Thu
09
Nov

Proclamation honors World Series-winning Houston Astros

By ED STERLING

 

Gov. Greg Abbott proclaimed Nov. 3 as Houston Astros Day, honoring the American League champions for winning the 2017 Major League Baseball World Series. The Astros won their fourth game in the best-of-seven Series against the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers on Nov. 1. It’s the first World Series championship for the Houston Astros in the 55-year history of the franchise and the first for a Texas team.

 

Players wore “Houston Strong” patches on their uniforms in honor of those affected by Hurricane Harvey’s widespread devastation. More than one million fans lined the streets of downtown Houston Nov. 3 to see the players hoist the championship trophy during a victory parade.

 

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Thu
02
Nov

Skittering on their bottoms

BY MARC ROBERTSON

And then, all of a sudden, everyone stopped complaining about the intolerable heat and started saying rude words about how bitter cold it was in the morning and how they wished summer would come back.

Honestly, we’re never satisfied.

One minute, we’re mopping sweat off the backs of our legs with car upholstery, and then we’re shuffling about the house like refugees in blankets. People seem to believe there’s very little middle ground in Texas. The joke, of course, is that both of these extremes can occur on the same day.

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Thu
02
Nov

Paxton asks high court to approve court-drawn House maps

BY ED STERLING

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Oct. 27 filed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that required nine of the state’s 150 House districts to be redrawn.

In September, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily stayed the federal district court’s ruling. That allowed Texas to continue to use the existing maps while the redistricting case remains pending.

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Thu
26
Oct

Portal enables donors to help Harvey-stricken schools

By  ED STERLING

 

Texas Education Commissioner Morath on Oct. 17 announced that school systems needing instructional materials — either because of enrollment of students displaced by Hurricane Harvey or from property damage caused by the hurricane — can create an online list for donors to access. Potential donors can find the lists through the Texas Education Agency’s Instructional Materials Assistance web page: https://tea. texas.gov/Academics/Hurricane_Harvey_ Instructional_Materials_Assistance/.

 

Thu
26
Oct

The importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated

By  WILL HURD

 

October marks Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an opportunity to recognize the increasing importance of digital security and to share best practices for keeping our digital information safe. As we continue to become more dependent on computers, automation and digital data storage, every aspect of our lives – from personal banking information to private health records to our credit records – is vulnerable to hacks. Government, private-sector and individuals have a long way to go to implement basic cyber hygiene, but the first step towards achieving this goal is having an awareness of the problem. While October is devoted to spreading cyber awareness, we have to protect our systems all year long.

 

Thu
19
Oct

State creates mental health task force for Harvey-affected schools

By ED STERLING

 

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath on Oct. 11 announced the establishment of the Hurricane Harvey Task Force on School Mental Health Supports to deliver needed attention to schools and higher education institutions impacted by the storm.

 

The Texas Education Agency, acting on orders from Gov. Greg Abbott, is spearheading the effort in partnership with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Health and Human Services Commission, in collaboration with the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. The task force will develop a list of tiered supports and resources that can be used by school leaders to address the mental health needs of affected staff, students and families.

 

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Thu
19
Oct

Whistle When You Sneeze

By MARC ROBERTSON

 

If I had looked at the pictures stored in my cellphone, I would have noticed the ever-darkening sky in the background, the strangely intense light that made all the colors of the landscape so vivid, and the notable absence of pedestrians.

 

I was too preoccupied with catching a view of this building or that, at just this particular angle or that, to notice what anyone setting off through the Scottish Highlands would have noticed, and the advice that all the other backpackers and hikers before me had clearly heeded.

 

There was a storm coming. Ignoring all life lessons about marching off into a threatening drizzle, I missed the last train on purpose and followed a wooden sign that promised a gentle stroll back to the little town of Aviemore, where I had taken lodgings for the night.

 

 

Thu
12
Oct

Abbott, Texas delegation ask Congress for hurricane relief funds

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott and members of Lone Star State’s congressional delegation last week signed a letter seeking $18.7 billion in Texas-specific Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery funding in the next federal supplemental appropriations bill.

Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Emergency Management Commission is working with county judges and mayors to secure funding and resources requested by those local officials.

 

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