News For August, 2010

Jacob Villanueva

Banned Parenthood?

State Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, wants Planned Parenthood's clinics out of the state’s Women’s Health Program, which provides family planning services — but not abortions — to impoverished Medicaid patients. He says a 2005 law should exclude them already. But for years, the state’s Health and Human Services Commission has allowed those clinics to participate, for fear that barring them might be unconstitutional. Deuell has asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to clear up the matter, hoping it will free up the agency to push Planned Parenthood out.

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

The New Math

Despite just-released ratings that show huge improvements, a Texas Tribune analysis finds that the performance of the state's public schools — when decoupled from the controversial Texas Projection Measure — is little changed from 2008, the year before the accountability formula took effect.

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Spencer Selvidge

Checkpoint Blues

As more U.S. Border Patrol agents descend on the Texas-Mexico border, residents of some of the most remote West Texas towns say they feel harassed and disrespected by the new arrivals watching over their communities.

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An Itchy Situation

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently said that children should not be kept out of school if they get head lice — the opposite of what Texas law requires. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune has this report. Full Story 
Jacob Villanueva

The Brief: Aug. 2, 2010

Officials announcing controversy-laden public school ratings Friday could barely contain their upbeat unease.

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TribBlog: Obama the Remover

A report released today from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University shows that during the first nine months of 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 279,035 non-citizens, compared to 254,763 for the same time period during the final year of the Bush administration.

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TribBlog: Efficiency Sufficiency

Within 10 days, the Public Utility Commission plans to adopt stricter requirements for energy efficiency, though they are lower than originally proposed.

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"A Big Step Forward"

A change in policy by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs granting extended benefits to soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder should disproportionately impact Texas: Seven PTSD treatment programs are located in the state, and an estimated 13 percent of the 2 million troops who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11 are from here.

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Graphic by Todd Wiseman

Interactive: Kay's Cash

When U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison lost the Republican primary for governor, her supporters became political orphans. But many of them have landed with either Rick Perry or Bill White. A Texas Tribune data mash-up shows that more than $1 million has flowed to Perry from Hutchison supporters since March, while at least $600,000 has gone to White.

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T-Squared: The Nine-Month Stats

Monthly uniques and page views are much higher than we projected; more of our visitors are from outside Austin than we ever could have hoped; and our search engine optimization strategy is paying off: All is better-than-well here at the Trib.

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Justin Dehn

Special Needs

After a decade in which Texas has seen a 400 percent increase in the number of children with autism, lawmakers are wrestling with how best to educate the afflicted — and how to pay for it.

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Jacob Villanueva

T-Squared: The Kids Are All Right

Our remarkable crop of summer interns — optimistic and high-spirited at a low moment for our business — are the future of this thing we do. Their schools should be proud of what they accomplished over the last two months. They themselves should be. We certainly are.

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Kip Averitt: The TT Interview

The McGregor Republican — who quit the Texas Senate earlier this year — talked to the Tribune on Tuesday about politics and parties, redistricting, things left undone and how the Legislature changed during his time there.

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Graphic by Todd Wiseman

Reservoir Dogged

In 2004, two brothers thought they had found the perfect ecologically friendly business venture: create a wetlands preserve on 4,000 acres of neglected farmland along the Sulphur River in Northeast Texas and make a pile of money selling mitigation credits to developers who build over environmentally sensitive lands elsewhere. Seven years later, the only thing stopping them from realizing that dream is the state of Texas, which has plans to submerge their property under 80 feet of water.

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