Former Dewhurst consultant Buddy Barfield walks to Austin federal court to plead guilty of embezzling almost $2-million in campaign funds on Oct. 21, 2014.
Former Dewhurst consultant Buddy Barfield walks to Austin federal court to plead guilty of embezzling almost $2-million in campaign funds on Oct. 21, 2014.

Former Dewhurst Aide Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's former adviser Kenneth "Buddy" Barfield pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of wire fraud, making a false tax return and embezzlement of funds contributed to a federal candidate.

 
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

At First Bullet Train Meeting, Location is Everything

Attendees at the first public meeting on a proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston told federal officials they're for the project — so long as the stations are conveniently located downtown. 

Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.
Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.

Oil Price Tremors Not Rattling Texas. Yet.

A steep drop in crude oil prices threatens to slow drilling in some U.S. oilfields, but officials in Texas' hottest shale plays say they're not worried. 

At First Bullet Train Meeting, Location is Everything

The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

Attendees at the first public meeting on a proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston told federal officials they're for the project — so long as the stations are conveniently located downtown. 

Oil Price Tremors Not Rattling Texas. Yet.

Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.
Don Tymrak, city manager of Karnes City, in his downtown office. He says the recent tumble in oil prices shouldn't affect the South Texas city's conservative plans for development – at least not yet.

A steep drop in crude oil prices threatens to slow drilling in some U.S. oilfields, but officials in Texas' hottest shale plays say they're not worried. 

 

Wealthy Donor Pumps Cash, Consternation Into Bexar County DA Race

Personal injury lawyer Thomas J. Henry of Corpus Christi, (bottom) is backing Democrat Nicholas "Nico" LaHood in the Bexar County district attorney's race against 16-year Republican incumbent Susan Reed (top)..
Personal injury lawyer Thomas J. Henry of Corpus Christi, (bottom) is backing Democrat Nicholas "Nico" LaHood in the Bexar County district attorney's race against 16-year Republican incumbent Susan Reed (top)..

Thanks to a wealthy and generous personal injury lawyer, Democrat Nicholas LaHood is mounting a well-funded challenge in his bid to unseat 16-year Republican incumbent Susan Reed as Bexar County district attorney.

 

The Playlist: A Busy News Week in Texas

An exterior view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on Oct. 1, 2014.
An exterior view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on Oct. 1, 2014.

With the Dallas hospital that handled the first Ebola case in the U.S. saying it's sorry for its mistakes, we begin our weekly playlist of songs inspired by Texas news with Gregory Isaacs' "I Owe You Some Apology."

Schools Face Fears of Ebola, Drop in Attendance

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles (red) attached and budding from a chronically infected VERO E6 cell (blue) (25,000x magnification).
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles (red) attached and budding from a chronically infected VERO E6 cell (blue) (25,000x magnification).

Though Texas schools are relying on the guidance of health officials to determine the level of risk to their communities, they are making decisions like whether to cancel classes, give notice to parents, or change health screening policies largely on their own.

As Election Draws Near, Fracking Fight Puts Denton in Spotlight

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Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.
Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.

A ballot initiative to ban fracking in Denton has put the North Texas city at the center of a nationwide debate over the safety of drilling, the money it produces and the role cities play in regulating it. As Election Day nears, the fight is growing fiercer. 

UT Looking to Make More of Massive Online Courses

University of Texas at Austin professor Michael Webber discusses the next steps for his Energy 101 massive open online course during a meeting with the design team at UT-Austin on Oct. 13, 2014.
University of Texas at Austin professor Michael Webber discusses the next steps for his Energy 101 massive open online course during a meeting with the design team at UT-Austin on Oct. 13, 2014.

At the University of Texas System, "massive open online courses" are being reimagined. University leaders believe that the shift will provide them with a more effective tool in meeting their goals.