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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Thevenot on bogus public school accountability rankings, Garcia-Ditta on what locals think of increased patrols on the border, Stiles and Ramsey on where Kay Bailey Hutchison's donors have landed, Grissom on the pay gap between state and local police, Cervantes on how tweaks to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder will impact Texas, M. Smith on the sinking prospects for an East Texas wetlands project, Ergenbright on the challenge of educating autistic children, Aguilar on efforts to legalize medicinal marijuana, Ramshaw on former foster children having trouble getting records from the state and Burnson on public health officials battling imported infectious diseases: The best of our best from August 2 to 6, 2010.

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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.

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.

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.

According to a review by the State Auditor’s Office, the salaries of state law enforcement officers in DPS, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission and other agencies lag as much as 20 percent behind those of big-city police.

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.

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.

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.

For nearly a decade, advocates of expanded use of medical marijuana have been spurned by the Texas Legislature — but giving up isn't how they roll. So they're trying again with a limited proposal.

Young adults who age out of Texas foster care often request their records to reconnect with estranged siblings, to track down biological families or to understand what they endured. But child welfare advocates complain the state routinely denies these requests, saying the records can't be found or will take months or even years to compile — assuming they respond at all. State officials admit they have a large backlog but insist they've beefed up staff and are putting new policies in place to address it.

The 1,200-mile border it shares with Mexico makes Texas one the most vulnerable states when it comes to imported infectious diseases. In a majority of cases, Customs and Border Protection officers are unable to detect these public health threats at ports of entry, according to a new Centers for Disease Control study.

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