WF Strong

Hidalgo County election overturned after being decided by handful of votes

Some top politicos are sensing that, for the first time in decades, this could be the year Texas sends a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.
Texas lawmakers are lining up to clamp down on hemp-based products like Delta 8 and Delta 9 being sold statewide.
Last fall, Edinburg City Council Member David White won re-election by just 10 votes. His challenger contested the results – and this past week, White’s win was overturned when a judge ruled that several votes were placed illegally.
A new book explores some lesser-known stories of courage from the D-Day invasion of 80 years ago.
And: Vigilante groups are repelling migrants at the southern border. What does law enforcement think about that?

Are unlicensed teachers affecting student performance in Texas?

After the worst-ever wildfire disaster for Texas agriculture, there’s now an effort to help ranchers who lost large numbers of pregnant cows.
A year after the mall shooting in Allen, what the data reveals about gun violence there more broadly.
A new report documents how unlicensed teachers are becoming fixtures in many Texas schools.
Organizers of the Texas Eclipse Festival in Burnet County are now offering partial refunds to attendees because the event ended a day early.
Also, just how smart is artificial intelligence getting? Commentator W.F. Strong tried a little experiment.

An AI Experiment

There’s been a lot of talk lately about artificial intelligence — what it can do and what its limitations are. And if you’ve been keeping tabs on it at all, there’s no doubt that it seems to be getting better — and fast.

Texas Standard commentator WF Strong wanted to find out for himself just how good its become. So he did a little experiment.

Xcel Energy target of multiple lawsuits after Smokehouse Creek Fire

A pilot program for guaranteed income in Harris County is put on hold by the Texas Supreme Court.
Could residents of Corpus Christi become the first in the state to drink treated seawater from the tap? Some say a desalination plan’s needed to meet growing water demand, but many locals say the downsides are too serious to swallow.
The northern Panhandle is recovering from the devastation brought by the Smokehouse Creek Fire, caused by a downed electric pole belonging to Xcel Energy. Now, Xcel is the target of multiple lawsuits from people who lost assets during the blaze.
Also, efforts to get people living in flood zones out of harm’s way – could Harris County’s approach teach the federal government a thing or two?

Counting Cattle With the Fathers

Longtime listeners may know — Texas Standard is fast approaching a milestone birthday. We’re turning 10 next March. With us almost from the beginning have been signature segments including the Typewriter Rodeo and Stories From Texas — these bi-weekly commentaries from WF Strong. He says he has a goal beyond entertainment.

‘Texas, Being’ poetry collection takes reader on a Texas tour

Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued to block a guaranteed income program in Harris County, calling it “plainly unconstitutional.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz insists his podcast is a volunteer gig and not about the money. But a new complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission says the arrangement violates campaign finance laws.
Houston’s mayor claims the city is broke. What’s the backstory, and just how bad is it?
A new book of poetry called “Texas, Being: A State of Poems” doesn’t attempt to sum up all things Texan, but it does take the reader on a journey. We’ll hear from Jenny Browne, who put the collection together.

What’s next for Ken Paxton?

After reaching a deal to dismiss securities fraud charges, Ken Paxton’s political fortunes appear on the rise. What’s next for the attorney general?
One day after a US abstention in a UN Gaza cease-fire vote, how some Arab Americans in North Texas are planning to make their voices heard at the ballot box.
The San Antonio Police Department is getting pushback over the its participation in an international competition alongside police forces the U.S. State Department says have violated human and civil rights.
And with a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse on the horizon, a UTSA astronomy professor talks us through what to watch for in the hours and minutes before and after the main event.

Will third time be the charm for SpaceX’s Starship launch from Boca Chica?

The University of Texas at Austin is among other colleges in the country that are bringing back a standardized test requirement for applicants.
A city report has exonerated the Uvalde Police Department for its response to the Robb Elementary School shooting. Despite the report, Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez announced his resignation.
SpaceX plans a new try at launching its Starship super heavy rocket on Thursday from its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
And the discovery of an artifact that one SMU professor believes could be a link to Coronado’s fabled expedition.

The mystery of the Texas box

We’ve all heard the proverb about one man’s trash being another’s treasure. Well, for generations of a family now living in Texas, the treasure in question was an old box found discarded many years earlier. Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong has the story.

The latest on the Smokehouse Creek Fire in the Panhandle

The Smokehouse Creek Fire in the Panhandle, already the second biggest wildfire in Texas history, is so far 0% contained. We’ll talk with an evacuee and officials with the Texas A&M Forest Service to get the latest.
With increasingly unpredictable rainfall and extended droughts, you may be thinking about what to plant to survive our new weather reality. The Standard’s Alexandra Hart has ways you can cut water use without letting your lawn die.
Plus: Director Richard Linklater and filmmaker Alex Stapleton on the new HBO three-part series based on Lawrence Wright’s recent book “God Save Texas.”

Bonnie and Clyde: Star-synced lovers

February the 14th may be one of the more divisive days on the calendar. Though Valentine’s Day is meant to celebrate love — many find it cheesy, commercial, or downright depressing. Others, lean into the holiday. In the latter camp, it seems, were a pair infamous lovers from Texas. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has the story.

Is the industry ready for Beyoncé’s country music album?

As Texans prepare to cast their first ballots in 2024, a conversation with Colin Allred, one of the top Democratic challengers for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Ted Cruz.

Lubbock throws the switch to join Texas’ open electricity marketplace – for better, and some fear, for worse.

A new ‘queen’ of country music? Houston-born Beyoncé generates buzz with a stylistic shift.

Also: Commentator WF Strong on a notorious Texas partnership in crime, and a love story at the heart of it.

Exploring SpaceX’s potential land swap with Texas

The Texas Supreme Court hears arguments in a case challenging a law banning puberty blockers and hormone therapy for trans minors.

John Whitmire, Houston’s new mayor, campaigned to be “tough-but-smart on crime.” Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider takes a look at some of Whitmire’s plans for law enforcement.

SpaceX wants to give the state 477 acres of land near a national wildlife refuge in exchange for 43 acres from Boca Chica State Park, near its launch site – but the plan is drawing local pushback.

And: West Texas A&M University plans a new institute to advocate what the school’s president calls “Panhandle values.” Critics fear it’s a push to spread conservative values across the university.

New Year’s Eve on Houston Street

Champagne toasts, fireworks, making resolutions, fancy meals… those are just some of the many ways Texans chose to to ring in 2024. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong, however, decided to welcome the New Year by reflecting on the past.

Residents fight proposed Brazoria County primate facility

Is artificial intelligence coming soon to Texas government? A new report says it’s already here.

More than 300,000 immigrants arrived at the southern border in December. Angela Kocherga of KTEP takes a look at one of the busiest border crossing areas year-round: the El Paso sector.

Volunteer pilots are helping abortion-seekers get out of Texas.
A biomedical company wants to build a massive facility for primates in Brazoria County. But locals are fighting back.

And: remembering the music and legacy of Rocky Morales.

New proposals would let ranchers kill two birds. But is one really a predator?

New laws on arresting migrants who cross the border into Texas illegally are just one of many changes related to border security from this year’s legislative sessions. Julián Aguilar of The Texas Newsroom takes a closer look at what passed, what didn’t, and what it means.

How do Texas voters think lawmakers did dealing with top-line issues in 2023? Jim Henson of the Texas Politics Project shares the findings of a new poll.

A Texas perspective of the struggle over campus free speech.

Democratic lawmakers in Congress are pitching a plan to stop hedge funds from buying rental homes.

And the Standard’s Michael Marks dives in on Texas ranchers’ ongoing fight against predatory birds.

The Gift of the Tidelands

Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong has a little holiday tradition. Every December he likes to count our collective blessings as Texans by highlighting a great gift to Texas.

He says the tidelands were special because the giver didn’t realize how much goodness would continue to flow from them.

La Pitada

554 miles from AT&T Stadium you will find a Dallas Cowboys celebratory tradition that is unique in Texas. You might expect it in Dallas or Arlington, but to find this three decade tradition thriving in a Brownsville neighborhood, is both surprising and heart-warming. It is called La Pitada. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has more.

Exploring the Lone Star State with the evolving Texas Almanac

Charges have been dismissed against 17 Austin police officers accused of assault during racial justice protests of 2020. Andrew Weber of KUT has more.

A prison assault and what records suggest about a lack of transparency over security and safety in Texas lockups.

First published in 1857, the Texas Almanac has evolved and changed hands several times. We’ll hear about the 72nd edition of the journal from its managing editor, Rosie Hatch.

Worried about the power grid holding this winter? Why Houston Chronicle columnist Chris Tomlinson says, he, for one, isn’t.

And a tradition for football fans of the Cowboys, hundreds of miles from Big D.

How this man survived in the West Texas desert for 27 hours

What does Congress’ budget deal to avert a partial government shutdown mean for food and the farmers and ranchers who produce it? We’ll hear more on the Farm Bill extension, and the implications for Texas.

The push for police accountability: An investigative report from the Austin American-Statesman reveals that police indictments rarely lead to convictions.

Last weekend’s destructive rocket launch was a big fail for SpaceX – or was it? What explains radically mixed reviews of the Starship test launch.

Plus the harrowing account of a Texas hiker, lost in Big Bend Ranch State Park in triple-digit heat, and his near-miraculous survival.

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