Category Archives: State News

DPS Increases Traffic Enforcement for Labor Day Holiday

NEWS RELEASE

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will be joining law enforcement efforts from across the state to increase traffic enforcement during the Labor Day holiday weekend. From Friday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 3, DPS Troopers will be looking for drivers who violate traffic laws, including impaired drivers, speeders and safety belt violators.

“DPS is committed to protecting travelers on our roadways, and Troopers will be working around-the-clock this Labor Day weekend to keep impaired and dangerous drivers off the road,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We are urging all drivers to do their part to keep our roads safe by simply obeying Texas traffic laws and driving courteously.”

DPS offers drivers the following tips for enhancing safety on our roads during the Labor Day holiday:

  • Do not drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.
  • Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits using a portable wireless device to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
  • Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS and Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
  • Don’t drive fatigued – allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • If you see a road hazard or if you observe anything suspicious, report it to the nearest law enforcement agency.
  • Before your trip begins, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and always double check to make sure all cargo is secure.
  • Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions/closings in Texas, visit https://drivetexas.org.

As part of Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), police agencies across the country will also increase enforcement efforts over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

By Lauren McGaughy, Texas Government Reporter

WACO — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is backing an effort to keep defendants with violent pasts behind bars.

On Tuesday, Abbott appeared in Waco to ask state lawmakers to pass a new law that, among other things, would require judges to set bail based partly on whether the accused person is a threat to law enforcement. 

Abbott’s announcement comes as Dallas County fights a lawsuit that claims the county’s bail system violates the rights of people who are kept in jail because they can’t pay their bonds.

Read more from DallasNews.com…

‘We’ve heard many of you didn’t know’: TxDOT says left lane is for passing only

Author: Rebecca Flores

TEXAS — Texas Department of Transportation has a public service announcement for drivers who like to hang out in the left lane.

Most drivers think of the left lane as the “fast lane,” and speed along the highway until they meet their destination. However, TxDOT is taking the time to remind drivers that that’s not how the left lane works.

“We’ve heard many of you didn’t know: The left lane on a divided highway is a PASSING lane,” the department said in a tweet Aug. 2.

Read more from WFAA…

North Texas Municipal Water District receives $300M financial boost for reservoir project

By 

PLN-2016-08-water-hero1

(Kelley Crimmins/Community Impact Newspaper)

A North Texas Municipal Water District reservoir project in Fannin Country received a $300 million financial boost Thursday from the Texas Water Development Board.

This brings the total approved by TWDB for the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir project to $1.5 billion, NTMWD spokesperson Janet Rummel said in an email to Community Impact Newspaper.

“This low-interest financing will result in over $230 million in savings in borrowing costs,” Rummel said.

Read more from Community Impact…

Chance Westlake Starbucks meeting spurs friendship, book

By Suzanne Majors Davis, Contributing writer

newsEngin.22650527_DOMINANT

Lane Orsak (left) and David Griffin (Photo: SUZANNE MAJORS DAVIS)

Local writer Lane Orsak is a warm, gregarious guy who knows everyone by name at his favorite Starbucks in the Westbank Market. This camaraderie led him to the topic of his sixth, recently published book, “Dylan’s Divide.”

It’s the story of a character named Dylan Griffith, a Texan who joins the Army to serve his country in Afghanistan and returns questioning the value of his mission and course of his life.

The tale is partially based on experiences of David Griffin, a 29-year-old Marble Falls man who was the roommate of Orsak’s Starbucks barista he identifies only as Mikey. He introduced the two at the coffee house.

Read more from The Statesman…

Mega Millions Jackpot Hits Half a Billion for Tonight’s Drawing

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 5.12.12 PM

We’re at half a billion now. 

The Mega Millions jackpot has swelled to $512 million for tonight’s drawing, making it the fifth-largest prize in the game’s 16-year history.  

All it takes to win the pot is $2 for a ticket and having the odds of 1 in 302.6 million in your favor. 

Read more from NBCDFW…

The future of “The Alamo Cenotaph” uncertain

By Stacey Doud

800px-AlamoMemorial-0727

The Alamo Cenotaph (Photo: Wikipedia)

In early 2017, the San Antonio City Council proposed the relocation of the historic Alamo Cenotaph, which would be part of the, “Alamo Master Plan, which calls for a major makeover of the plaza and relocation of the granite Cenotaph — possibly to a small park by Market Street, near a site where Alamo defenders’ bodies are said to have been burned.” [Source: MySanAntonio.com]

This Master Plan would eliminate many tourist destinations, such as Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, which many believe cheapens the Alamo’s historical significance.

Since, then, numerous protests and rallies have been held by various groups and private citizens wanting the historic monument to stay right where it is.

“This sits in in the correct spot,” said Lee Spencer White, president of the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, which organized a rally in April, 2017. “Why would you think it needs to go to a funeral pyre site? This is an empty tomb. It’s commemorating the defenders. I don’t want it moved an inch. It’s right where it needs to be.” [Source: MySanAntonio.com]

HISTORY OF THE CENOTAPH: Although there had been previous plans for Alamo monuments starting in the late 1800s, the Alamo Cenotaph was the first such erected in San Antonio. During the 1936 Texas Centennial celebration, the state of Texas provided $100,000 for the monument, commissioned from local sculptor Pompeo Coppini. San Antonio Mayor Maury Maverick held a dedication ceremony on November 11, 1940.

The shaft rises sixty feet from its base and is forty feet long and twelve feet wide. The monument was erected in grey Georgia marble and pink Texas granite. It was entitled The Spirit of Sacrifice and incorporates images of the Alamo garrison leaders and 187 names of known Alamo defenders, derived from the research of historian Amelia Williams. [Source: Wikipedia]

THE LATEST: According to TheAlamo.org, “The City of San Antonio owns the cenotaph and plans to repair and restore the monument, as well as add the names of additional defenders who were unknown when the cenotaph was erected in 1939. Discussion is ongoing about where the cenotaph will be located once restoration work is complete. One idea is to relocate the cenotaph (which means “empty tomb”) to the location of one of the funeral pyres, which would serve to restore the 1836 battlefield footprint and to properly honor the location where the defenders’ bodies were burned. Evidence indicates that two of the funeral pyres were located near St. Joseph Church on Commerce Street, and the third was some distance east of the Alamo’s church. While the City of San Antonio has made no final decision on the cenotaph’s future location, what is certain is the monument will be repaired, and it will always stand to honor the Alamo Defenders.”

Where the Cenotaph will land, no one knows, but it will always stand as a reminder of the hard work and sacrifice of the Alamo Defenders. As Texans, we will always, “Remember the Alamo!”

For more information, visit TheAlamo.org.

Hottest temps in two years likely coming to North Texas this week

Author: Kyle Roberts

Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 8.30.42 AMJust plain hot. That’s the simple forecast for the week ahead.

North Texas will be under the grip of a heat wave during the upcoming week, and likely the hottest temps we’ve seen in two years or longer by the end of the work week.

Sunday will be hot for everyone, but a lucky few could see a shower or storm before the day is done. The “highest” chances will be across western and northern North Texas, but coverage will only be around 20 percent. So even in those areas, most places will stay dry.

Read more from WFAA…

The ‘Blobfish’ takes the trophy in Kimmel vs. Cruz Charity Basketball game

By Chris Daigle

The much anticipated charity basketball face-off between late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and Texas senator Ted Cruz has come and gone. Cruz was the victor with a score of 11 to 9.

Trash talk was thick between Kimmel and Cruz before their game in Houston on Saturday June 16 at Texas Southern University’s Athletic Education Arena.

blobfish_0

Blobfish

The idea for this charity game resulted from Houston-based senator Ted Cruz tweeting a picture of himself court side for Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. His hometown Houston Rockets were trying to keep the Golden State Warriors from getting to the NBA Finals. The Rockets lost, which prompted talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to mock the senator on Twitter, saying he looked like, well, a Blobfish.

Cruz, a basketball benchwarmer in high school, was nonetheless swooshing the hoops playing Varsity about the same time Kimmel was tooting around on his clarinet. Cruz said in a recent interview that he wasn’t taking this insult lying down. “And so I sent a tweet,” Cruz said. “All right big guy, you talk a good game! You have besmirched my support for the Houston Rockets. Let’s settle this man-to-man, one-on-one hoops.”

During a broadcast of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel said he was in.

“I immediately went online and Googled how to guard a blobfish. I’ll accept on one condition: We both wear short shorts, right?” Kimmel asked.

Wrong, said Cruz.

So it was settled. The late night talk show host and the Texas senator squared off in the gym on the campus of Texas Southern University. The contest benefitted two charities: Generation One, based in the Third Ward in Houston (Cruz’s choice). Its mission is to, “Be a catalyst for systemic change in the education system, by creating an equitable educational landscape across the city.”  Kimmel chose Texas Children’s Hospital, because his one-year-old son Billy has had three heart surgeries, and is waiting on a fourth.

The choice of an arena was a little more challenging. The advance team first considered a middle school gymnasium, and they even looked at using the George R. Brown Convention Center. Texas Southern University stepped up and offered its Athletics Education Arena, which fit perfectly. There, the challenge would commence: The American versus the Canadian; the baller versus the blobfish. It would turn out to be the Blobfish Basketball Classic.

Cruz wasn’t guaranteeing victory going in, but he made one promise: “Under no circumstances will Kimmel dunk on me. I’ll pull his shorts down to the ground rather than let him get to the rim.”

Fanfare is something Kimmel knows about, and his arrival came amidst lights and smoke, and with him was, naturally, a mascot: A blobfish mascot named “Blobby.” Kimmel said he carbo-loaded to get ready for the game. He practiced a little last week, but after 25 years of not playing basketball regularly, “I decided to wing it,” he said.

During the game, Kimmel and Cruz had brief discussions about detention centers and Cruz’s support for President Donald Trump. “This won’t be the first time you lose to a TV host,” Kimmel said. He also asked Cruz why he didn’t support covering pre-existing conditions. Booing from the decidedly pro-Kimmel crowd drowned out the Senator’s answer.

Senator Cruz had his fan base out there, and they had their cut-outs of his face to wave. The Kimmel fans had theirs as well, and a noticeable mixture of boos from the Kimmel fans upon each Cruz basket was heard, but no boos from the Cruz camp were noticeable.

Cruz and Kimmel proved they should each keep their day jobs, missing more than 100 shots between the two of them during the game. Cruz joked that they also set the Guinness World Record for fouls.

The pace of the game, however, became a matter of Kimmel keeping up with Cruz. Lead scoring was by Cruz, then Kimmel would rally for a tie game three times. But he just couldn’t pass Cruz. The original plan was that the first 15 points would win on this half court, one basket, one-on-one challenge, but early on, both decided to shorten the game to an 11-point winner.

At half time, the score was Kimmel 6, Cruz 5, and the blobfish decided to hold a dance competition. Blobby showed his style by doing three backflips in a fish costume. That took some practice!

Cruz and Kimmel kept the defense tight, but both got lucky on long shot baskets. Kimmel had a better cheering section. Oddsmakers were watching the game too. The Texas senator was favored to beat Kimmel by sports book Bouada. And Las Vegas was begging fans to take the talk show host at 8/5 odds. Cruz was listed at -220 , or 5/11, which basically meant to win $100, fans had to plunk down $220, and hope that Cruz would prevail. At a height of 5’10” to Kimmel’s six feet, perhaps that is not a good enough payout for low stakes prop betting. Cruz, who is three years younger than Kimmel, appeared to have the girth advantage, which helped out in the paint. Plus, some high school basketball time came in very handy.

Things heated up as the score tied, then Cruz was ahead. It was 10 to 8, then 10 to 9 (Cruz). It was a cliffhanger, folks! The crowd was on its feet! Cruz needed one more basket! Kimmel pressed his defense, but Cruz broke to the outside and took a shot…IT’S GOOD!

Ted Cruz won the Blobfish Basketball Classic! No more boos were heard as the arena erupted, confetti was fired, and Kimmel looked astonished. It took almost two hours, but Ted Cruz made the oddsmakers drop their cigars.

“Is that the ugliest game winning shot you’ve ever seen?” Cruz asked. Kimmel said, “I know I’m not a great basketball player, but I’m at least as good at the game as Senator Cruz is at being a senator.”

The real winners in this tournament were the charities. Generation One in the Third Ward received $30,000 and Texas Children’s Hospital received $10,000.

When complimented on his winning shot from the outside, Cruz said, “Next time I’ll try to open my eyes.” Rematch, anyone?

***  

Chris Daigle is a Houston Historian and a regular contributor to The Grapevine Source. He may be contacted at blue69@att.net.

The most exciting place to live in every state — and the most boring hometown you can have

By 

Debates about “best” and “worst” cities elicit strong feelings. It’s a tricky issue because such debates are largely subjective.

So Business Insider attempted to use data to definitively prove which are the most exciting and most boring cities in every state across America.

Read more from Business Insider…

[Spoiler alert: DFW/Arlington was ranked “The Most Exciting” in Texas!]