As 2012 draws to a close, media organizations across the state are reviewing the stories that got Texans talking, and sometimes even taking action. The Texas Tribune, a non-profit online news organization based in Austin, names toll roads, water shortages, education, women's health, and wrongful convictions among its top stories of the year.
For the last week of the year, we picked a sampling of our best of 2012: Hamilton on four-year graduation rates from Texas colleges, Ryan and Galbraith map the troubling levels of the state’s water reservoirs, Galbraith on groundwater fights in the Panhandle, Aaronson on the state insurance commissioner’s turbulent first year, Grissom, Ryan and Dehn on prosecutorial errors in Texas, M.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 12:39 pm
Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is accusing one of his aides of stealing at least $600,000 from his campaign.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield, an Austin political consultant who has worked for Dewhurst for years, is alleged to have use accounting tricks and false invoices to take the money. The embezzlement allegedly goes back years, and could involve up to a million dollars of campaign funds.
As the major metropolitan counties in Texas push the state legislature to rethink the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism, one program is already seeing results. This special four-part series from KUHF in Houston takes a look at the ups and downs of the Cleveland Correctional Center program.
One in every four inmates released from the Texas prison system is back in prison within three years. But an hour north of Houston, an experiment is unfolding that could slash the rate of recidivism. In the first of our four part series, KUHF business reporter Andrew Schneider looks at the Prison Entrepreneurship Program.
Premont ISD has struggled with low attendance, low test scores and poor finances for years, but when a letter from the TEA came threatening to close the school, everyone knew that something must be done.
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 12:54 pm
The number of state employees let go this year was down dramatically compared to 2011, according to a report from the State Auditor's Office. But that’s mainly because so many people lost their jobs last year, after lawmakers slashed the two-year state budget by $14 billion.
Those cuts led to a round of government layoffs: 1,225 people lost their jobs last year as the result of a "reduction in force," the bureaucratic term used to label job cuts caused by budget reductions. This year, that number was 96. A lot of people were fired for other reasons, but the number of state employees "involuntarily" laid off still dropped by more than 15 percent compared to last year.
School districts in Texas are required by law to conduct and report a safety audit to prepare for emergency situations on campus. The Newtown shootings have given these preparations a greater sense of urgency.
Texas Matters: After reviewing school district safety audits, the attorney general's office found that 78 Texas school districts were not compliant with the law. The Newtown tragedy is also having an effect in San Antonio school districts, where two students who were making jokes about bomb threats and shootings on their own campuses were arrested. Texas Monthly crowns its 2012 Bum Steer of the Year: Lance Armstrong.
With federal spending cuts looming, cases working their way through the courts questioning state funding of education and gun control control at the front of public debate, Texas lawmakers have their work cut out for them this session.
The 83rd Texas Legislative Session Begins on January 8th December 20, 2012 There's no doubt about it. Federal dollars pay for a lot of things in Texas. This year's state budget included $33 billion in federal money. Overall federal spending in Texas totaled more than $220 billion in 2010.
Seven-year-old Kaitlyn Brown has a very limited field of vision, but thanks to a new machine that magnifies images, she will be able to see things she never could before -- like the color of her favorite toy's eyes.
Christmas came early for one local visually impaired 7-year old. Kaitlyn Brown is the lucky recipient of a machine from nonprofit sight savers and The University of Texas Health Science Center. The machine can magnify objects up to 79 times which allows her to read and learn like other kids her age.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:43 am
Ken and Cecilia Christopherson are channeling Saint Nick in a very real way. Part treasure hunter, part master craftsman, Ken builds dollhouses from scratch. Each one takes 100 hours to construct, and each one goes to a very sick child stuck in the hospital for the holidays.
The Mexican revolution drove people into the United States and those that settled in South Texas helped shape the cultural and economic landscape of the area. This is especially notable as the Hispanic population continues to increase in the United States, and the country -- as Mayor Julián Castro put it -- begins to look like San Antonio. The last part of the show highlights a performance of Tchaikovsky’s "The Nutcracker," a production that is a holiday tradition in San Antonio and the U.S.