Dozens of USPS mailboxes like these were broken into when a pair of Central Texas thieves hop-scotched through 96 post offices, stealing money order imprinting machines and mail containing checks, credit cards, tax returns, and personal identification information from thousands of customers. Postal service investigators say they have been working since March and still haven't located all the victims.
Two people this week entered guilty pleas in a Waco federal court on charges of stealing mail and identities from thousands of victims in over 90 Texas cities and towns.
From North Texas to the Gulf Coast, Austin through San Antonio and west to San Angelo and Midland, the thieves made their way through the state, breaking into 96 post offices.
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas in Waco Mark Frazier said more than a dozen of the post offices hit were in the Austin area but the thieves also hit Rockport and Corpus Christi, Killeen and San Marcos.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum is inviting the public to their art-strewn courtyard. The party is called Summer Sol Fest, and as for party places, the McNutt Courtyard off of the Briscoe is well-positioned.
“We now have several sculptures out there, it’s a beautiful space," said the Briscoe’s Jennifer Wijangco.
And it's not just beautiful; it's shady. Massive oaks cool the courtyard and the western art that’s positioned all through it.
Texas Matters: Republican lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick supports speeding up the immigration hearing process for unaccompanied minors housed in Texas; but Democrat Leticia Van De Putte says it is a death sentence. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is also putting forward a plan. Also on this show: Texas Nationalist Movement calls for day of action, how payday lending stays unregulated, blues great Johnny Winter dies.
The Mission Reach continues with its massive, multi-year transformation. I was there Friday morning to get an update after heavy overnight rains had swollen the river. The artist who is creating the artfully imagined portal at Mission Concepción is Stacy Levy.
“This park lies right between the San Antonio River and Mission Concepción," she said. "So my job is to create a place that is talking about both the river and the mission.”
The installation is massive: nearly 200 ft. long and 90 ft. wide.
Fronteras: The USDA has lifted a ban on inspectors working in Mexico, which could invigorate a cattle trade that has been hurt in both countries. We look at how one border city provides a model for solar power in Texas. State health officials have alerted the CDC about conditions in border facilities where thousands of Central American minors are being detained. Commentator Yvette Benavides takes us inside an immigration court room in San Antonio where these children and teens are making their cases.
A modest grant may play a no-so-modest role in the local arts scene. A National Endowment for the Arts grant has been awarded to Gemini Ink and Bibliotech. As Gemini Ink's Executive Director Sheila Black noted, it's not a massive amount of money.
“It’s $25,000, which is small for this funding source, but we’re thrilled," Black said. "The focus of the grant is creative placemaking.”
I asked Black exactly what creative placemaking is.
University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa told a Texas House committee that the UT Board of Regents relationship with UT at Austin President Bill Powers had become strained and his negotiated resignation had nothing to their impeachment investigation of Regent Wallace Hall.
The Texas House Select Committee on Transparency in Government Agency Operation asked Cigarroa and the Board Chairman Paul Foster to explain some of the reasoning behind Powers negotiated resignation.