Texas

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Take a quick look at some of the top stories from across Texas, from phony Salvation Army bell ringers in Austin to a formal border crossing opening inside Big Bend National Park, and more...

From High Plains Public Radio in Amarillo and the Panhandle:

Jeffrey Boyd will become the newest Texas Supreme Court justice, an appointment that scrunches the foreheads of Rick Perry critics who think it odd that the governor would name his chief of staff to the state’s highest civil court.

It’s the latest brick in a wall Perry has been building for a dozen years — a period that has seen him appoint 224 Texans to state district and appeals court judgeships.

His hold on the executive branch is well documented and regularly noted; Perry has been in office long enough to twice go through the entire cycle of six-year executive appointments.

Despite Gov. Rick Perry’s firm opposition to a key tenet of federal health reform — expanding the state’s Medicaid program for those with low incomes — Texas Democrats remain optimistic that the 2013 legislative session can yield a deal that brings in billions in additional federal dollars.

It will be a tough sell: No Republican lawmakers have gone on record supporting the Medicaid expansion, which would add an estimated 1.8 million Texans onto the joint state-federal health plan by 2022.

But state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said fiscal conservatives have an incentive to reach an agreement “because the alternative is going to cost us much more economically and dig a much deeper hole in our budget.”

The Texas Longhorns will play Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio this post-season.

The Longhorns have played the Oregon State Beavers twice. UT won both times. Oregon State does have a better record and a higher rank this season. The game is Dec. 29.

Some expected the Longhorns to head to the Cotton Bowl. Instead, that’s where UT’s Big 12 rival Oklahoma will play former Big 12 rival Texas A&M on Jan. 4.

The Sooners lost out on a chance to play in a BCS bowl when Mid-American Conference champ Northern Illinois moved up in the rankings and earned an automatic bid.

The new Perot Museum of Science and Nature is tough to avoid in these parts, with its opening Saturday and the weeks  of coverage leading up to the big debut. But one of the coolest products just arrived: a time-lapse video showing the construction of architect Thom Mayne's landmark building.

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