Columns/Opinions

Thu
04
Jul

Lawmen beat the bushes for fugitive inmates

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Texas History

By Bartee Haile

Texas History

In the second mass escape in two weeks from the same Texas prison farm, eight more convicts bolted from infamous Eastham on Jul. 8, 1937.

This was how the Associated Press reported the manhunt for the first bunch on Jun. 23: “Nineteen ‘hard-boiled’ convicts who fled to freedom from Eastham prison farm sought to keep out of the reach of an army of men and bloodhounds searching for them in the scrub oak and pines of East Texas.”

The large work detail had just arrived at the designated field the previous morning, when the single guard put down his shotgun to roll a cigarette. Two alert convicts, Hilton Bybee and James Rice, quickly overpowered him seizing the shotgun as well as his pistol, uniform and horse. They rode off on the mount followed by 17 fellow inmates on the backs of mules.

 

 

Thu
04
Jul

Attorney general announces crackdown on annoying calls

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July 14, 1964

AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in cooperation with the Federal Trade Commission, on June 25 announced a crackdown on “illegal robocalls.”

The crackdown nicknamed “Operation Call it Quits” is part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to help stem the tide of annoying and unsolicited pre-recorded telemarketing calls. Paxton said the effort includes nearly 100 actions targeting operations around the country responsible for more than one billion calls pitching everything from fraudulent credit card services to auto warranty protection.

The Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division took legal action on several cases affecting Texans, including legal action against two companies that have placed calls to individuals who are on the Texas or federal no-call list.

 

 

Thu
27
Jun

Bogus millionaires pull fast one on everybody

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Texas History

A Gainesville jury tried to decide on Jun. 30, 1967 whether Ernest and Margaret Medders were a couple of folksy con artists or bumbling bumpkins caught up in an incredible charade.

The strange saga began in 1961 in Memphis, Tennessee, where the impoverished parents struggled to support ten children. Ernest was a four-grade dropout, who worked days as a mechanic’s helper and peddled vegetables out of his station wagon on the weekends. Margaret, a practical nurse, pulled 16-hour shifts at a local hospital.

Then one day an attorney informed Ernest that he and his many kinfolks were among the 3,000 plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit challenging a petroleum company for the rights to a Texas oilfield. At stake was an estimated $500 million in royalties.

 

 

Thu
27
Jun

Governor orders guard troops to border to assist feds

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AUSTIN — On June 21, the day before President Trump called off a national sweep to find and detain undocumented noncitizens, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the deployment of 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Rio Grande.

Accompanied by Lt.Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Adjutant General Tracy Norris in a state Capitol news conference, Abbott said the deployment would assist the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol with the “escalating humanitarian crisis” at the Texas-Mexico border.

“In the past three weeks alone,” Abbott said, “more than 45,000 individuals from 52 different countries have been apprehended illegally crossing the border into Texas. The crisis at our southern border is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before and has put an enormous strain on the existing resources we have in place.”

 

 

Thu
20
Jun

Hole anglers versus pattern anglers

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Fishing and Hunting Southeast Texas By Capt. Bill Watkins

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Courtesy photo

We were sitting at anchor on a shell reef near a steep drop-off just south of the Causeway Bridge. Shortly after dawn we picked up several speckled trout on soft plastics fished on a ¼ oz. jig head. Then the bite died. The tide was coming in and the current was quite strong. I had been fishing for several days straight and had been able to gain an understanding of when and how the trout were feeding given tide direction, current speed, and time of day. With the help of my new Hummingbird Helix 12 I was able to see where the trout and bait were holding along the nearby ledges as well as how deep they were. Knowing that they were nearby, all I had to figure out was when they would all move up into the three to five-foot depths to feed. That could only be determined by playing the waiting game and then carefully observing all of the conditions that were at play when it happened.

 

 

Thu
20
Jun

Governor signs disaster-related legislation

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AUSTIN — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, and 23 House and Senate members joined Gov. Greg Abbott in Houston on June 13 as he signed four disaster preparedness and relief bills into law.

The group met at Gallery Furniture, owned by Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, to look on as Abbott put his signature on the bills. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August 2017, McIngvale opened two of his stores to shelter storm-displaced Houstonians and his company deployed its largest moving truck to rescue people in flooded neighborhoods.

Thu
13
Jun

Southwest founder “Democraticized the skies”

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Texas History

After three years of courtroom battles, Southwest Airlines finally got off the ground on Jun. 18, 1971 with a trio of Boeing 737’s flying passengers between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Co-founder Herb Kelleher was there to meet the inaugural flight at its destination. For the rest of his days, he relived the magical moment with anyone who would listen: “I walked up to it and I kissed that baby on the lips and I cried.”

Everyone that ever knew the rule-breaking maverick, who passed away in January at age 87, has his favorite Kelleher story. For business writer Bill Taylor it was the first time he heard him talk at one of those conferences where it is hard to stay awake.

 

 

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Thu
13
Jun

Governor signs school safety, mental health bill

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AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on June 6 signed three bills into law to improve school safety and expand access to mental health resources.

“After the horrific shooting (at Santa Fe High School on May 18, 2018) and the subsequent school safety roundtables, I made school safety an emergency item to help prevent a tragedy like this from happening again,” Abbott said. “Today, I am proud to sign legislation to make Texas schools safer for students and teachers. I thank members from both chambers, as well as the many stakeholders, who worked tirelessly to get these bills through the Legislature and to my desk today.”

 

 

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Thu
06
Jun

Legislature passes property tax, school finance reform

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AUSTIN — While the Memorial Day holiday was observed across Texas, lawmakers stayed busy at the state Capitol, voting on key bills in the final three days of the 86th Texas Legislature’s 140-day regular session.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt.Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen did what they jointly set out to do at the beginning of the session in January. They exercised their leadership skills well enough for the Senate and House to pass property tax reform (Senate Bill 2) and school finance reform (House Bill 3), and to pass a state budget for fiscal years 2020-2021 (House Bill 1).

Thu
30
May

President houston outfoxes dangerous rabblerouser

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By the end of May 1837, the demobilized majority of the Texas Army was either headed for home or looking for work in the Lone Star Republic, much to the dismay of a reckless general who wanted to fight another round with Mexico.

The swift victory at San Jacinto robbed hundreds of American volunteers of their share of the glory. They had not come all the way to Texas to toast other heroes and stubbornly stuck around in the hope of getting in a few licks of their own.

In the fervent belief that an army was a terrible thing to waste, Felix Huston lobbied loud and long for taking the war to the Mexicans. Since his bellicose rhetoric was music to the ears of the disappointed latecomers, the ambitious adventurer became their unofficial spokesman.

 

 

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