East Texas

How East Texas is recovering after massive storms

As heat replaces rain as the top weather concern, East Texas is still weathering the remnants of our stormy spring.
You’ve heard about a shortage of mental health facilities and doctors, but for those who do get treatment, what comes the day after discharge? How little-known clubs are filling the gap.
In a year that started with excitement for the San Antonio Spurs, it’s now the Dallas Mavericks with a shot at the title. Looking ahead to the NBA Finals, which start tonight.
And: Why are so many finding that “breaking up is hard to do” when it comes to tech providers? Omar Gallaga breaks it down.

Four dead after severe storms batter Houston, East Texas

Deadly and destructive storms sweep across downtown Houston, killing four and leaving hundreds of thousands without power. We’ll have an update on the latest as damage assessment and recovery efforts are underway.
A new controversy surrounding Houston Superintendent Mike Miles is getting the attention of state lawmakers and the Texas Education Agency – this one involving an apparent transfer of Texas education dollars to charter schools in Colorado.
Plus: the week in politics with Matthew Watkins of The Texas Tribune.

What does Azerbaijan want with Texas politicians?

After weeks of rains in East Texas, hope for a shift into recovery mode is on hold with more rain tap for today and much of this week.
Strong winds, hail damage, what next? Sangita Menon of KUT News looks at the next steps of navigating insurance.
What does Azerbaijan want from Texas? Christopher Hooks of Texas Monthly shares how the indictment of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar may be just the tip of the iceberg.
For decades, the Tower Life building defined San Antonio’s skyline. Changes are on the horizon after the building’s recent sale – but tours are being offered first.
Also: A new report on the pace of global renewable energy shows how Texas and the U.S. stack up.

The challenges facing Texas food banks as hunger rises

At least three members of Congress from North Texas have decided not to run for re-election. Is it a broader signal for Texas politics? Alexandra Samuels of Texas Monthly has more.

One man and thousands of open records requests: A push for government accountability? Or something else?

Texas veterinarians are keeping a close eye on the spread of a deadly respiratory illness affecting dogs. We’ll learn more about what to look for.

And Texas food pantries say they’re serving more families than ever.

East Texas county lacks power during summer heat wave

Weekend storms knocked out power to tens of thousands in East Texas, amid dangerously hot temperatures and few options for cooling down. We’ll have the latest.

LGBTQ+ teens in Katy, outside Houston, are creating community in the midst of a culture war.

In San Antonio we’ll meet people who are building new lives after escaping the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Some North Texas neighbors found a solution to their fireworks problem – in church.

Plus, ever seen a ‘robot ump’? More changes ahead to Major League Baseball are already underway at AAA stadiums, including one in Central Texas.

How Ro-Tel became a staple of Texas cooking

Lawmakers at the Capitol are considering changes to how Texas handles bail. The push would give judges more leeway to deny bail for violent offenses – and Democrats may have a considerable say in what happens.

More fallout from this month’s ice storm: why the Texas capital city may be looking for a new city manager soon.

Amid concerns about rising prices, layoffs and more, the Dallas Fed weighs in with a forecast on the Texas economy.

And why a can of diced tomatoes – you know the one – has such a rabid Texas following.

How Ingersoll, Texas Lost Its Name

Go east of Dallas on Interstate 30 until you reach Highway 67 near Mt. Vernon. Take that on east and about 30 minutes before you reach Texarkana, you’ll arrive in a little town of about 1,000 people named Ingersoll. Well, it was called Ingersoll when it was founded around 1875. But the name was unofficially changed to Redwater ten years later and was made official by the Post Office almost a decade after that. How the name came to be changed is a story worth telling.

Let’s begin with the name Ingersoll, or should I say, Robert Green Ingersoll. That’s the man the founders admired and decided to name their new town after. You may have never heard of Robert Green Ingersoll, but that’s only because you didn’t live in the late 1800s in America. Back then Ingersoll was one of the most famous people in the nation. He was friends with Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant. He was a giant in the Republican party and any Republican who wanted to succeed at the national level needed and lusted after Ingersoll’s endorsement – and his oratorical talents. Had he wanted to, he would have made a formidable candidate for the Presidency himself, except for the little problem of his nickname: he was known everywhere in America and abroad as “The Great Atheist” or the “Great Agnostic.” There is, of course, a great deal of difference between atheism and agnosticism, but for fundamentalist theists, there is no difference because both groups are destined for eternal damnation. Ironically, it was the concept of Hell that Ingersoll most despised and likened to a vengeful fairy tale. In any case, such a label, whether agnostic or atheist, was considered too great a liability for a politician in that era to overcome. Might be still.

Despite his reputation as a free-thinker and anti-religious zealot, he was well liked. Many religious people truly enjoyed his company and found him warm, engaging, charismatic, eloquent, even brilliant. Ingersoll attacked religious belief, but never the believer. From 1860 to 1899, he was one of the highest paid speakers in America – and mostly he spoke about the dangers of religion, even though he himself had been a Presbyterian minister’s kid. The subjects he spoke about, like “Some Mistakes of Moses” and “The Frightful Dogma of Hell,” were considered blasphemous by many, but he nonetheless packed the halls where he spoke with believers and skeptics alike. He called HIS religion “humanity.” His central doctrine was this:  “Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”

Ingersoll was quite ahead of his time. He was an outspoken abolitionist and for voting rights for blacks and women. He said it was a shame to think that women were always restricted to the shallow wisdom of their husbands.

People used to gather in front of his home in Washington, D.C., to pray for his conversion. One woman visited him in his home often to try to convert him, but she finally, after seeing him accept both the high and mighty and impoverished into his home with equal graciousness, gave up. She apologized and told him, “I do not care what you believe. You are leading more of a Christian life than I ever hope to accomplish.”

But Ingersoll’s fame died with him, in 1899. It seemed he would be confined to the century that had defined him.

So we return now to Texas. How did Ingersoll lose his town? Well, in 1886 a revival meeting was held there and it was a mighty successful one in terms of saving souls. There were 110 people from that region baptized, or – you might say – born again in that week. And given that the town only consisted of about 50 to 60 people then, it suddenly became thoroughly devout and could not suffer the indignities of living under the name of a famous agnostic. So they all agreed to rename the town Redwater, after a new well was found to yield red water.

So that is how Ingersoll, Texas, became Redwater, Texas. And how Robert Green Ingersoll became, as The Washington Post called him in 2012, “the most famous American you never heard of.”

Texas Standard: May 31, 2019

A 5% tariff on all Mexican imports. What could President Trump’s latest effort to curb immigration do to the Texas economy? We’ll have the latest. Also, it’s a disturbing fact fairly well-known in East Texas, the area has a higher-than-average suicide rate. But what do we know about why? We’ll take a look. Plus, Texas school children got a boost from the latest legislative session. But did that focus take away from efforts to help kids in foster care? We’ll explore. And a Texas farmer is trying something new that’s actually very old. We’ll look at why. And Friday means the Typewriter Rodeo and wrap of the week in Texas Politics. That and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 3, 2018

Who will be the next speaker of the Texas house of representatives? The answer could have a big impact on you. We’ll look at how the race is shaping up. Who’s the next Joe Straus? That is: who’s likely to take over as the third leg in the triumvirate of Texas politics, and what will that mean for the rest of us? We’ll explore. Also, guess who’s coming to Dallas: the National Rifle association in the spotlight. And the Texas school that gave out too many scholarships- UT tyler struggles with a perfect storm. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 13, 2015

Why did Sandra Bland die in an East Texas jail? The county now blames her friends and family. Now an official change to curb jail suicides. Also asylum seekers in the US unwittingly raking in millions for a big corporation? NPR’s John Burnett joins us to talk about his investigation…And Texas versus Washington in Shanghai- the first regular season game in US sports history set to get underway this weekend in China…What’s the big idea? Probably not what you think it is. Plus our review of the week in politics with the Texas Tribune and much more, check your watches its Texas Standard time.