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John Clare / TPR Arts

The San Antonio Symphony’s Strauss Festival continues this Friday and Saturday, and Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing has high words of praise for the Symphony’s next target: Mozart's "Requiem," which is paired with Richard Strauss's "Death and Transfiguration." 

“It is extraordinary and gifted, a dark, extremely beautiful color," Lang-Lessing says of Mozart's work. "And now you would say ‘Oh, it’s a depressing piece.’ I find it the most uplifting requiem ever written. It gives so much hope. There is nothing bitter in this piece. Nothing.”

Ryan E. Poppe

Some Republican lawmakers believe the Texas Dream Act is another way for the state to be involved in the act of “picking winners and losers” and they want the law to go away. Many Republican lawmakers have stated that the repeal of the state’s Dream Act would be one of their legislative priorities this session.

Efforts to stop the repeal of the Texas Dream Act, however, organized by the group Keep HB 1403, drew dozens of proponents and students affected by the law to a rally at the State Capitol Wednesday.

An organization that says it was founded to “to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns,” decided to opt for an unconventional path of exploration on Tuesday. The group, called The Truth About Guns, gathered at Patriot Protection, in Plano, Texas, and organized a simulation of last week’s 'Charlie Hebdo' massacre, to see how people would react under the extreme stress of being shot at. Volunteers took turns on a set designed to look like the offices of the French weekly. The difference was, one volunteer was an “armed civilian,” who had a shot at taking out one of the two “gunmen.” Of the 12 volunteers, only two were able to take out a single gunman, no one took out both, and only one volunteer survived — by running away.

In a written statement Wednesday, Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said: “In the wake of recent revelations at the Health and Human Services Commission, my transition team has taken steps to ensure there is a full and thorough outside review of management, operations, and contracting at the agency.” The state HHSC had come under fire for contractual procedures to private vendors, including the award of a $110 million contract outside the regular bidding process. In December, Gov. Rick Perry had fired its inspector-general over contracting procedures. Abbott also announced the setting up of an independent “strike force” that would monitor how the agency functioned, specifically focusing on how it awarded private contracts. The Executive Vice Chancellor and CFO of the Texas A&M University System, Billy Hamilton, and the CFO of the Texas Department of Agriculture, Heather Griffin, would lead this oversight team.

ODESSA, Texas — Eight inmates and two corrections officers died Wednesday when a prison bus skidded off an icy West Texas highway, slid down an embankment and collided with a passing freight train, authorities said.

The overpass on Interstate 20 was slick with ice Wednesday morning when the Texas Department of Criminal Justice bus left the roadway in Penwell, just west of Odessa, according to Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson.

An earlier accident on the I-20 overpass may have contributed to the prison bus losing control, Donaldson said.

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