local news

Government
11:29 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Feds Deny Education Commissioner's Testing Request

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams.
Christopher C. Leonard cc

The U.S. Department of Education has denied the Texas Education Commissioner’s waiver to opt-out of  testing requirements connected to the No Child Left Behind program.

Since taking office, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has petitioned the federal government to allow Texas to opt-out of 15 provisions in the Department of Education program known as No Child Left Behind.

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Bexar County
9:12 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Commissioners Approve Bexar County Budget

Bexar County

  Bexar County Commissioners have approved a budget of $1.6 billion for the coming fiscal year, which includes an increase of $2.5 million in record management funds -- things like fees for platting and marriage licenses.

The property tax rate did not increase, but Precinct 3 Commissioner Kevin Wolff explained in court Tuesday morning that in good economic times when property values go up, taxpayers are often confused about why their tax bill is higher.

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Texas Supreme Court
5:14 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Gov. Perry Appoints New Chief Justice

Texas Supreme Court justices, January 2013. Hecht is seated on left (in blue tie) and Jefferson is seated in the middle.
State of Texas

Gov. Rick Perry has announced a successor to lead the Texas Supreme Court following the resignation of Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson.

Perry has appointed Justice Nathan Hecht to replace Jefferson, who announced his departure starting Oct. 1. Hecht has become known as a champion of indigent defense ensuring that everyone has access to legal aid.

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Environment
4:21 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Environmental Group Says Coal Power Plants Are "Putting Texas In The Frying Pan"

Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger.
Environment Texas

New Environmental Protection Agency rules for power plants go into effect on Sept. 20 and a new report details how Texas power plants are one of the leading causes of global warming in the country.

Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger said their study shows Texas is the leading nation when it comes to power plant pollution. Texas is home to two of the dirtiest plants in the United States in the Martin Lake Plant, located south of Longview, and the W.A. Parish Plant, which is just outside of Houston. 

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State Board Of Education
3:06 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Textbook Reviewers Target Evolution And Climate Change In Biology Books

Flickr user Corey Seeman (cseeman) cc

The Texas Freedom Network say book review teams for the State Board of Education are pressuring publishing companies to change how climate change and evolution are presented in next year’s biology textbooks.

The SBOE set up several groups to review different textbooks and this week their comments and suggested changes have been made public.

Texas Freedom Network's Executive Director Kathy Miller said they suspected that the review teams would go after evolution and climate change.

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UIW Medical School
12:53 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

SAISD & UIW Sign Letter Of Intent For Medical School

San Antonio Independent School District

The idea of a medical school on the campus of Fox Tech High School has taken a major step forward with an agreement between San Antonio Independent School District and the University of the Incarnate Word.

The letter is currently only agreed-to terms between the SAISD and UIW and the full contract is still in negotiations. 

UIW wants to build a medical school, and Fox Tech, now a magnet-only campus, has an empty football field. Per the agreement, the SAISD will supply 2.5 acres of land to the UIW for 25 years. A cash payment of $1.5 million would be made over two years.

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Military Schools
10:42 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Military School Districts Struggle To Survive Sequestration

Cole High School cheerleaders and football players under the Friday night lights.
Eileen Pace TPR News

A recent Fort Sam Houston ISD Cole High School game found the cheerleaders, pep squad, and band all out in support of their team running plays on the field.  And it's likely none of these kids had any idea that their education programs are being threatened by a governmental body that school officials say is not doing its job.

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Same-Sex Benefits
9:40 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Van De Putte And House Dems See National Guard Refusal In Opposite Ways

State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte says she understands Gen. Nichols' reasons for approaching the matter with caution.
Chris Eudaily TPR News

With Attorney General Greg Abbott now advising the Texas National Guard about the legal side of their refusal to process federal same-sex couple benefits, a group of House Democrats are urging Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the head of the Texas National Guard, to rescind his decision and start processing the benefits.

But the issue is more complex than you might imagine.

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Non-Discrimination Ordinance
5:35 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Opponents Of NDO Lodge Ethics Complaints Against Bernal

Councilman Diego Bernal gestures as he explained his position on the city's non-discrimination ordinance at the Sept. 5 meeting.
Ryan Loyd TPR News

The non-discrimination ordinance has passed, but opponents are not giving up their fight.

Opponents of the ordinance are retaliating against Mayor Julián Castro and each of the eight council members who voted to pass the measure -- they are gathering signatures for recall petitions.

On Aug. 10, District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal was holding his regular Coffee with the Councilman event at Linda’s Mexican Restaurant #2.

But this time the room was populated with opponents of the LGBT non-discrimination ordinance.

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Community
4:59 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

City Libraries May Not Face One Day A Week Closure After All

Central Library downtown.
City of San Antonio

If an amendment remains in place when San Antonio City Council votes on the budget this week, then the doors at city libraries will stay open all week long.

Library board chair Jean Brady cautioned that nothing is final until the city council votes Thursday on the proposed budget. But right now it looks like library funding will be restored to keep branch libraries open.

"If this funding’s been restored then that means we’ll be at seven days a week doing business as usual," Brady said Monday. "We’re delighted."

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