Columns/Opinions

Thu
08
Aug

Covert mission payback for Mexican raids

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Texas History

At Bird’s Fort north of present-day Arlington, the Snively Expedition officially disbanded on Aug. 7, 1843 and the dispirited members went their separate ways.

Seven tense years after San Jacinto, a state of war still existed between the independent province and its estranged mother country. On the diplomatic front, Mexico refused to recognize Texas sovereignty and periodically threatened full-scale retaliation. And it was not empty talk, as hardly a calendar went by without rifles replacing rhetoric in brief but bloody conflicts.

In June 1841, President Mirabeau Lamar tried to put teeth in the Lone Star claim to New Mexico, but the Santa Fe excursion was fatally flawed by poor preparation. The 300 Pioneers were taken prisoner without a shot being fired, and they languished in Mexican dungeons until their release the following spring.

 

 

Thu
08
Aug

Abbott, Patrick react after 20 die in deadly shooting

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AUSTIN — After a gunman was arrested in the killing of 20 people and wounding 26 others at a popular shopping venue in El Paso on Aug. 3, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt.Gov. Dan Patrick offered thoughts and prayers.

Abbott ordered flags lowered in memory of those who lost their lives and said flags should remain at half-staff through sunset on Aug. 8.

The suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas, surrendered after waves of first responders arrived on scene.

Crusius was charged with capital murder. He remains in custody in El Paso.

 

 

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Thu
01
Aug

Blind orphan whistled through life

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Texas History

With the encouragement of his piano teacher at the Texas School for the Blind, Fred Lowery got up the nerve to audition for a radio program on July 31, 1929.

A few days later, the station manager phoned the 19 year old blind orphan to tell him he had the job. For the first time in his life, he would be paid for what he loved most to do – whistle.

In reality Fred Lowery was neither an orphan nor completely sightless. His mother had died soon after his birth in 1909 at Palestine, but his no-account father was very much alive when he abandoned the boy and his three older sisters.

 

 

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Thu
01
Aug

Paxton lauds ruling against pre-clearance for redistricting maps

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AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded a federal court ruling allowing the state to proceed with redistricting legislation without asking the federal government’s permission.

The July 24 ruling by a three-judge federal court rejected plaintiffs’ petition to require the state to obtain permission from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court before redistricting legislation could take effect.

After the San Antoniobased panel ruled on the ongoing voting rights case, Perez v. Abbott, Paxton said, “This court ruling is a win for our Constitution and the right of Texans to govern themselves.”

 

 

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Thu
25
Jul

Saloon shooting changed young Texan’s life

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By Jul. 26, 1881, the desperate young cowboy had put a hundred miles between him and a blood-splattered barroom in Bryan.

Three days of hard riding in the broiling summer heat must have seemed like an eternity to Reuben Stillwell. But with the Brazos County sheriff breathing down his neck, the 21 year old cowpoke dared not stop.

Never in his worst nightmare could he have imagined Saturday would be the fateful day that changed his life forever. After taking in the horse races with his best buddy Lucien Reed, the two adjourned to their favorite watering hole to get out of the sun and to quench their thirst.

 

 

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Thu
25
Jul

Top officials attempt to clarify new hemp law for prosecutors

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AUSTIN — Some district and county attorneys reportedly have begun to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana possession cases following the Texas Legislature’s passage of House Bill 1325, a law creating a legal path for the cultivation and marketing of hemp and hemp products.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt.Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Attorney General Ken Paxton on July 18 sent a letter informing prosecutors that the Texas law, which takes effect Sept. 1, adopts the definition that differentiates between hemp and marijuana in the 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress last year.

The farm bill, which delegates authority over the regulation, production and sale of hemp to the states, differentiates hemp from marijuana by setting a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) threshold concentration of 0.3 percent for hemp and anything above 0.3 percent for marijuana.

 

 

Thu
18
Jul

FDR’s black sheep son marries texas socialite

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Texas History

Elliott Roosevelt stepped off a passenger plane at the Chicago airport on Jul. 18, 1933 and into a swarm of reporters.

Responding to the newshounds’ first question, the president’s 22 year old son confirmed he had indeed just returned from Reno, Nevada, where an obliging judge granted him a divorce from his first wife. But he deftly dodged the follow-up query about a possible replacement.

Rumor had it that Roosevelt had his eye on a pretty socialite he had met in Texas a couple of months earlier. He told the newspapermen that he had no intention of tying the knot so soon after regaining his freedom then added with a sly smile, “I haven’t had a chance to ask anyone yet!”

 

 

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Thu
18
Jul

Texas receives infusion of funding for border region law enforcement

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AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on July 9 announced the receipt of $15 million in federal funding meant to increase operational capabilities of federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.

The Operation Stonegarden Grant Program allocation is part of $30 million approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. The funds are meant to equip law enforcement “to confront the complex and dynamic challenges that exist along the Texas border,” according to the governor’s office news release.

Local jurisdictions to receive the grant funding include 50 law enforcement agencies operating in these 18 counties: Bee, Calhoun, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, El Paso, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Kinney, Kleberg, Nueces, Presidio, Refugio, Val Verde, Victoria, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

 

 

Thu
11
Jul

Big bend site of “the great camel experiment”

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Texas History

A caravan of 24 heavily loaded camels left Fort Davis on Jul. 11, 1859 for a make-it-orbreak-it field test in the Big Bend.

The U.S. Army noticed as early as the 1830’s that the climates of the camel’s native habitat in northern Africa and western Asia and the deserts of the Great Southwest were nearly identical. The animal seemed ideally suited for long-distance treks across the vast North American no-man’sland, where temperatures reached 120 degrees and water as well as vegetation were extremely hard to come by.

 

 

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Thu
11
Jul

Lieutenant governor names members to redistricting panel

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AUSTIN — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on June 28 released the names of his appointees to the Texas Legislature’s 2021 Redistricting Committee.

Patrick, who presides over the 31-member state Senate, named Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, as chair of the committee, and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, as vice chair. He also named 13 more Senate members to the committee, including Sens. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston; Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston; Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway; Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton; Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills; Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola; Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville; Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio; Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville; Angela Paxton, R-McKinney; Charles Perry, R-Lubbock; Kirk Watson, D-Austin; Royce West, D-Dallas; and John Whitmire, D-Houston.

 

 

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