Columns

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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Thu
18
Oct

Panel hears about what’s being done to ‘harden’ school campuses

By ED STERLING

 

The Texas House Committee on Appropriations met Oct. 9 to hear ideas on improving school safety in the aftermath of the May 18 Santa Fe High School shooting that left eight students and two teachers dead and 13 injured.

 

“It’s an unbelievable reality that shootings in schools are occurring more frequently,” said state Rep. John Zerwas, chairman of the powerful, state budget-writing committee. “As a Legislature we must do what we can to ensure our schools are places of learning and not places of fear.”

 

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Thu
11
Oct

Paxton joins effort against climate change lawsuit

By ED STERLING

 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Oct. 5 announced he had joined an Indiana-led coalition of 11 state attorneys general in a friend-of-the-court brief seeking dismissal of a climate-change lawsuit against the energy industry. King County, Washington, filed the lawsuit naming the oil companies BP, Chevron,

Thu
11
Oct

Keep your bluetooth devices hands-free and hack-free

Cell phone users are increasingly turning to Bluetooth technology to talk hands-free on their phones, and the Better Business Bureau is offering a caution for maintaining security in the various devices. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, ten states have passed laws which prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. As hands-free devices gain popularity, scammers are finding ways to exploit it, according to the Bureau. Scammers use specialized software to intercept a Bluetooth signal and hack into a device. The technique is known as “bluebugging” and it gives scammers access to text messages, contacts, photos and call history.

Scammers tend to hang out in busy areas in order to hack into phones, the Bureau reports. They sometimes use hacked phones to make long distance calls. However, the newest scheme has scammers using the hacked number to set up pay-per-minute numbers to rack up charges

 

 

Thu
04
Oct

Abbott, Valdez present views on Texas in one hour forum

By ED STERLING

 

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lupe Valdez on Sept. 28 appeared together on television for 60 minutes in the only scheduled gubernatorial debate, a forum hosted by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum on the University of Texas campus.

 

A Republican and former Texas attorney general, Abbott is seeking a second four-year term as the state’s chief executive. His challenger, Guadalupe “Lupe” Valdez, a San Antonio-born Democrat, held elected office as Dallas County sheriff from 2005 to 2017 and previously served as a senior agent and investigator for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, earlier as an agent for other federal agencies, and as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve.

 

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