is the editor of The Texas Tribune. Under her leadership, the Tribune has won three national Edward R. Murrow Awards, IRE's Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism and a general excellence award from the Online News Association. Before coming aboard as one of the Tribune’s original reporters, Ramshaw spent six years at The Dallas Morning News, where she broke national stories about sexual abuse inside Texas’ youth lock-ups, reported from inside a West Texas polygamist compound, uncovered “fight clubs” inside state institutions for the disabled and investigated a series of deadly transplants where patients received rabies-tainted organs. The Texas APME named Ramshaw its 2008 Star Reporter of the Year.
The former first lady on life in the Governor's Mansion vs. life in the White House, her newfound freedom living in Dallas, why she kept her personal politics out of her husband's presidency, the role she's playing at the Bush Library, the two works of fiction she's reading now and her fondest memories of the Texas Book Festival, which she launched when she was living in Austin 15 years ago — and whose annual gala she'll headline tonight with a reading from her best-selling memoir, Spoken from the Heart.
Barbara Cullison does her daughter Audrey's hair. Audrey, who is autistic, risks losing her Medicaid waiver services because of state budget cuts.
Advocates say the Department of Aging and Disability Services’ baseline budget request eliminates financing for more than 13,000 people — the majority waiting to receive Medicaid waiver services. Agency officials will only say that an “unknown number” of people already receiving the services could lose them. It's unclear if lawmakers can make these cuts without risking losing federal funding; federal health care reform requires states to maintain coverage at the same level it was when the Affordable Care Act became law in March.
Clay Boatright, the new president of the Arc of Texas
The new president of the Arc of Texas on why the disability community’s rallying cry to close state-supported living centers has become trite and ineffective, why the movement's messaging should be upgraded (employing everything from the iPad to the Bible) and why businesses and faith-based groups should be mobilized to fill the gaping holes in government services.
photo illustration by: Todd Wiseman
Double-billing taxpayers for travel expenses, driving a luxury car owned by a state transportation contractor and repeatedly failing to pay taxes won’t put a lawmaker in good standing with the ethics police, as state Reps. Charles “Doc” Anderson, R-Waco; Joe Driver, R-Garland; and Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, are finding. The three hope the headlines dogging their re-election bids won’t follow them to the polls, while their Democratic opponents are reveling in their misery at every campaign stop. Yet whether a scandal forces an incumbent from office depends on the scenario.
Scherry Levi with her mentally disabled nephew Deartis Preston in Preston's home in Bay City.
In the last year, Texas probate courts approved more than $6 million in payments from private estates to court-appointed attorneys, guardians and physicians, in many cases depleting funds left to care for incapacitated people. Critics say the practice amounts to destroying the village in order to save it. Probate judges say they're simply making sure people who can't defend themselves have proper representation.
Frank and Chila Covington could hardly be mistaken for cruel. For four decades, they showered their daughter, Ceci, who has Down syndrome, with love, affection and opportunity. But when they argued with a group home provider who insisted that Ceci needed psychotropic medication, their world turned upside down. In the time it took for the provider to accuse the Covingtons of “cruelty,” a Tarrant County judge called a secret hearing and removed their guardianship, telling them they could no longer communicate with their own child. And he had every legal right to do so.
An interview with the former mayor of Dallas.
Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller
The former Dallas mayor on her new life as an energy policy nerd, leaving journalism for the "dark side" of elective office, her continuing frustration over the Trinity River Project and her (lack of) political aspirations.
Aaron Hart, in a graduation photo (left) and a jail mugshot (right).
He can't read or write, struggles to speak, and at age 19 has an IQ of 47. Yet a judge in the northeast Texas town of Paris still sentenced Aaron Hart to 100 years in prison for performing sexual acts on a 6-year-old neighbor. An appeals court overturned Aaron's conviction this spring. Now he sits in jail facing the same charges a second time, and his family is praying for a different outcome.
A National Guard soldier receives a seasonal flu shot in Virginia in 2009.
The Texas commission charged with aiding economies hit by military base closures will spend millions for a vaccine plant in Bryan-College Station — even though the region’s military base closed nearly five decades ago.
DFPS Commissioner Anne Heiligenstein
The commissioner of the state's Department of Family and Protective Services talked to the Tribune about the planned redesign of Texas' foster care system — one she hopes will keep kids close to home and connected to their siblings and reduce their time in state custody.