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Texas Politics
4:44 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Greg Abbott Refers Battleground Texas Investigation to Bexar County DA

While the Texas attorney general’s office has opted out of investigating the Democratic organizing group Battleground Texas, officials with the group called the allegations a partisan attack and said they fully comply with the law.

Attorney General Greg Abbott recused his office from a possible investigation that follows accusations and concern from elected officials like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. The San Antonio office of Battleground Texas is accused of data harvesting -- allegedly keeping phone numbers from voter registration cards.

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2014 Governor's Race
3:40 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Abbott's Lead Over Davis Grows To 11 Points In New Poll

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott at a campaign event.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

The University of Texas at Austin/Texas Tribune poll showed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis was down by 5 points in October, but this month’s poll shows a wider 11-point margin between her and Republican frontrunner Greg Abbott.

Professor Jim Henson with the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Project said there is something else to note.

"We’re seeing a bit of shrinkage in the undecided numbers in the state level general election numbers," Henson said.

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Education
1:30 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

CPS Energy Grant Helps Jefferson Students Study Renewable Energy

Junior Chris Harrison (left) demonstrates how the model ethanol plant creates the usable fuel.
Joey Palacios TPR News

Thanks to a grant from CPS Energy, students at Jefferson High School are using state-of-the-art equipment to study renewable energy before their senior year. The program is part of the school’s architecture & environmental studies magnet.

In Blu Odam’s advanced energy and environmental technology class, his six students have been studying how to generate renewable energy.

“Wind energy, solar energy, biofuels which includes bio-diesel and ethanol, and hydro energy which includes damns and water falls,” Odam explained.

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Literacy
12:49 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Texas Interactive: How Literate Is Your City?

Image created using data from the 2013 America's Most Literate Cities study: bit.ly/1k5Y6d8
Chris Eudaily TPR News

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them" -- Mark Twain.

Dr. John Miller, the author of the America's Most Literate Cities study, which ranked 77 of the nation's largest cities by six groupings of criteria, said that Twain quote perfectly encapsulates his attitude toward literacy.

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Community
11:26 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Stabbing Victim Given Peace Award For Efforts To Change Parole Violation Policy

Author Karin Richmond speaks to St. Mary's Criminal Justice students at the President's Peace Commission event Wednesday, Feb. 19.
St. Mary's University

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has changed the method for notifying victims of violent crime if their attacker has violated parole.

Karin Richmond is a former lobbyist, both in Austin and in Washington, D.C.. In 1983, while in her hotel room in Austin, Richmond was brutally stabbed more than a dozen times, her nose cut off, and blinded by her attacker, an employee of the hotel.

“He was imprisoned for a sentence of 90 years which came to 30 years and now he’s been released on parole with a GPS monitoring bracelet," Richmond said. 

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Teachers
9:46 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Education Commissioner Says More Districts Showing Interest In Teacher Eval.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams.
Christopher C. Leonard cc

Michael Williams, the Texas education commissioner, said some of the biggest school districts in the state are showing interest in a new state-initiated teacher evaluation program but teacher’s unions fear the pilot program will involve high-stakes test scores.

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Texas Politics
5:04 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Following New Undercover Video, Dewhurst Requests State-Led Investigation Of Battleground Texas

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has requested the secretary of state and attorney general’s office investigate Battleground Texas for possible voter harvesting. The allegations center on another undercover video produced by conservative activist group Project Veritas.

In the past, Project Veritas’ videos have been scrutinized for how they were produced and whether there was any truth to their content. The latest video featuring Battleground Texas San Antonio Field Organizer Jennifer Longoria has public officials believing there is enough to launch an investigation.

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Local Business
3:13 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

USAA CEO Joe Robles Set To Retire Next Year

Joe Robles.
Photo courtesy USAA

Insurance giant USAA is facing a change in management next year now that long-time CEO Joe Robles Jr. has announced he is entering retirement.

Robles, who served 28 years in the Army, first served on the USAA Board of Directors and joined the company as chief financial officer and controller in 1994. He also served as corporate treasurer and chief administrative officer before taking the helm as CEO and president in 2007.

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Small Business
2:18 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Accion Texas Says Small Business Lending Is Up

In another sign of a recovering economy, larger loans to new small businesses are on the rise.

Acción Texas, Inc. has announced its best fourth quarter to date for Small Business Administration 504 lending. The nonprofit small business lender this week announced its SBA 504 lending division had a record fourth quarter of $12.9 million in loans, a figure 77 percent higher than the previous year.

Bob Schraitle, vice-president of the 504 division, credits several factors, including pulling out of the recession, for the marked increase in new loans.   

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2014 Primary Election
12:33 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

In Attorney General Race, Many Voters Are Still Undecided

David Martin Davies TPR News

An internal poll put out by Dan Branch’s campaign for attorney general found 40 percent of those surveyed were undecided.

And that has political experts like Professor Cal Jilson, who teaches political science at Southern Methodist University, pointing to the fact that many voters don’t know the candidates in the race.

"The AG is the third most important statewide office and at that level voters start thinking, 'You know, I don’t really know these guys.' And if they recognize the names they don’t have any details behind that," Jilson said.

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