TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 10/17/11

It's not just a UT and A&M thing. Some say efforts to boost productivity at all levels of higher education threaten to cause a statewide faculty morale problem with serious long-term consequences.

Jesse and Caitlin Baker recently learned of the most dramatic development in the mystery of their mother's murder in nearly two decades of probing for clues. The DNA discovery has prompted new hopes for long-awaited answers.

Workers are stringing thousands of miles of wires across Texas to aid the wind-power boom, despite lingering controversy — and an estimated cost of $6.8 billion. West Texas businesses have found a niche providing for workers.

In the inaugural edition of the Texas Tribune Weekend Insider, executive editor Ross Ramsey talks about the influence super PACs have on political campaigns, and energy and environment reporter Kate Galbraith explains the challenges Texas faces with its wind power boom.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced this week it deported more immigrants during the 2011 fiscal year than it did in any year since the agency's 2003 inception.

Gov. Rick Perry "hates" cervical cancer, which is why he tried to make the HPV vaccine mandatory. Yet he signed a budget that defunds Planned Parenthood, which provides four times more cervical cancer screenings in Texas than abortions.

The State Board of Education may try to modify the state's rigid new standardized exams — the STAAR tests — in a way that allays school districts’ concerns that they're losing local control over grading.

A new Rick Perry showed up to the GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas. In his strongest performance yet, Perry took every opportunity to attack Mitt Romney, and to turn the attention back to his talking points and rehearsed lines.

In the debate in Las Vegas this week, Republican presidential candidates focused almost exclusively on the economy and immigration. All of them ignored one of Nevada’s and the nation’s other key issues: water. But the next president’s role in water allocation will be far different from this one's.

Texas congressional incumbents raised more than $4.7 million during the third quarter of the year, but some of them face challengers who also displayed a knack for raising political cash.

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