Columns/Opinions

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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