Columns

Thu
29
Nov

Texas unemployment rates hits lowest level since 1976

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Texas has its lowest unemployment rate in more than 42 years. The Texas Workforce Commission on Nov. 16 announced that Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in October, down from 3.8 percent the prior month.

It is the lowest level of unemployment the state has seen since January 1976.

 

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Thu
29
Nov

Weather Whys

Acid rain is rain that contains pollutants, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University.

“The term has been around a long time, having been coined by an English scientist in 1872,” he reports. “Even then, scientists believed acid rain could lead to a natural destruction of many of Earth’s resources, which many still believe today. Much of the acid rain today comes from products of burning coal or other fuels and from industrial sources.

“If there is a significant concentration of these products, chemical reactions with water molecules will lead to acid rain.”

 

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Thu
22
Nov

Field of candidates for House speaker narrows to one

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Eight members of the Texas Legislature filed papers with the Texas Ethics Commission to declare themselves candidates for speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and as of last week, only one remained.

The candidacy of state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, gained momentum in October, and Bonnen on Nov. 13 announced he had the support of 109 members of the 150-member House. At minimum, it takes 76 votes to elect a speaker, which is 50 percent, plus one, of the 150 members of the House.

 

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Thu
22
Nov

Weather Whys Different Thunderstorms

You hear about thunderstorms, severe storms and supercells. What’s the difference?

A thunderstorm by definition is a storm accompanied by lightning and thunder, while severe storms and supercells are the most intense types of thunderstorms, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University.

“All can be responsible for rough weather such as tornadoes, hail, strong winds and flash floods, which are the biggest weather-related killer in the US,” he says. “Thunderstorms must have unstable air to form, and then need a push to give that air an upward shove, which is why most form in the spring and summer. A severe thunderstorm is one that has or is suspected of having winds of 58 miles per hour or faster and/or hail of at least one inch in diameter.

 

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Thu
15
Nov

Every veteran has a story

By WILL HURD

 

This week’s Hurd on the Hill column is a truly special edition. In honor of Veterans Day, I asked my Military and Veterans Liaison, Ashley Estep, to tell you why she joined the U.S. Air Force and what motivates her to continue to serve today. I hope you enjoy her story. - Will

 

Thu
15
Nov

Election results reveal larger than usual turnout

By ED STERLING

 

More than 8.3 million of Texas’ 15.8 million registered voters cast ballots in the Nov. 6 general election, as shown in results posted by the secretary of state.

 

The turnout of almost 53 percent was recognized widely as the highest in nearly 50 years for a Texas election without presidential candidates on the ballot.

 

U.S. Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, D-El Paso, garnered national attention in his quest to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Houston, but Cruz won the race with 4,244,204 votes (50.92 percent) to 4,024,777 (48.29 percent) for O’Rourke.

 

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Thu
08
Nov

Secretary of State Pablos applauds early voting turnout

By ED STERLING

Statistics compiled by the office of the secretary of state show Texans cast ballots in record numbers during the early voting period before the Nov. 6 midterm general election.

Of the 12,255,607 registered voters in the 30 most-populous counties of Texas, some 4,884,528 individuals voted in person or by mail during the early voting period of Oct. 22 through Nov. 2. That comes to nearly 40 percent of registered voters for those counties. If not a record, that is unusually high in comparison to early voting in previous nonpresidential elections.

Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, the state’s chief elections officer, on Nov. 2 encouraged the 11 million registered voters who did not take advantage of early voting to get to the polls and vote on Election Day.

 

Thu
01
Nov

Texas receives grant to help fund anti-terrorism measures

By ED STERLING

 

Gov. Greg Abbott on Oct. 24 announced $55.5 million in funding from the federal Homeland Security Grant Program to support state and local efforts to prevent terror attacks and crack down on terroristic activity in Texas.

 

These awards, according to a governor’s office news release, will go toward local anti-terrorism efforts across the state, including 227 different State Homeland Security Program projects and 134 Urban Area Security Initiative projects.

 

“Texas is confronted with a wide range of threats that pose a risk to our safety and security each day, and as governor, my first priority is to ensure the safety and security of all Texans. These grants will enhance state and local officials’ efforts to not only confront, but also prepare for and prevent, attacks before they happen,” Abbott said.

 

Thu
25
Oct

Weather Whys

What are clouds made of?

 

A cloud is a visible mass of condensed water droplets or ice crystals, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University.

 

“These droplets or crystals are suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere,” McRoberts explains. “Water vapor forms tiny droplets of water or ice crystals, and when these are surrounded by billions of other droplets or crystals, they become visible as clouds. Clouds form when moist air rises and cools, causing water vapor to condense into liquid droplets. Clouds can also form near warm and cold fronts, near the slopes of mountains or when cool air blows over the surface of warm water.”

 

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Thu
25
Oct

Disaster declaration affects counties hit by heavy rains, flooding

By ED STERLING

 

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state disaster declaration for 18 Texas counties recently impacted by deadly weather that claimed at least four lives and caused extensive flooding.

 

On Oct. 16 Abbott authorized the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions to aid in response efforts.

 

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