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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Aaronson examines the Texas jobs "miracle," Root on how Rick Perry built his financial portfolio, Tan and Wiseman on Perry vs. Ron Paul, Philpott on how budget cuts will affect a mental health provider, yours truly on a House freshman who was less than impressed with his first legislative experience, M. Smith on public schools charging for things that used to be free, Hamilton on a new call to reinvent higher education, Grissom on a rare stay of execution, Galbraith on the end of a Panhandle wind program, Aguilar on the increase of legal immigration into the U.S. and Texas: The best of our best content from July 25 to 29, 2011.

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The “Texas jobs miracle” is a hot topic, but Texas’ unemployment rate is higher than all four states that border it — and it’s up slightly from last year. So why is everyone touting Texas, and Gov. Rick Perry, for its strong economy?

Gov. Rick Perry wasn't born into wealth and has drawn relatively modest pay as an elected official since 1985, but he's made a small fortune on land transactions — some with the help of rich and politically connected friends.

Texas may have two well-known Republican candidates running for president, and some say Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul are "diametrically opposed" to one another. The real battle between them isn't over money. It's over ideas.

Mental health service provider Bluebonnet Trails escaped budget cuts that would have shut off services to more than 2,000 people. That number turned out to be less than 500, but as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, the cuts still hurt.

Maybe it’s because he was a mayor, a position with some executive authority and a low need for rhetorical flame throwing. But Lanham Lyne, a freshman member of the Texas House, is seriously reconsidering his decision to work in the Capitol.

As cash-strapped public schools attempt to squeeze every possible dollar out of their budgets, an unpleasant reality awaits parents: They will most likely have to pay for programs and services that schools once provided for free.

Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes says that the state is coming to "the painful realization that improving access is not enough" and that the time has come to "reinvent public higher education."

In a rare move this week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, stayed the scheduled Aug. 18 execution of Larry Swearingen, convicted of the 1998 rape and murder of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter.

As the Department of Agriculture focuses on biofuels, it is pulling out of wind and solar research. For the tiny Panhandle hamlet of Bushland, this means the end of a wind program that has operated for 35 years.

If current trends continue, the federal government will approve nearly 18,000 more applications for citizenship this year than it did in 2010, according to data recently posted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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