Alexa Garcia-Ditta Contributing Writer

Alexa Garcia-Ditta is a graduate student in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas. While earning her bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington in print journalism and Spanish, she was a reporter and editor at The Shorthorn for three years. A Houston native, she has also interned for The Baytown Sun, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina.

Recent Contributions

Checkpoint Blues

Border Patrol Checkpoint on HWY 118, south of Alpine, Tex.
Border Patrol Checkpoint on HWY 118, south of Alpine, Tex.
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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.

The Big Hungry

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Texas' participation in the federally funded summer food service program is dismally low compared to the national average — meaning only a small percentage of the state's 2.5 million low-income kids are getting free meals.

A Voice but No Vote

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It took decades to get Texas lawmakers to allow students to sit on each university system's board of regents — and only on the condition that they can't vote. But most other states with student regents do grant voting privileges.

Admission Impossible

The wait to get into one of Texas' 10 state mental hospitals — already long — may be about to get longer. Last month, as part of its attempt to comply with Gov. Rick Perry’s request that each state agency reduce its budget by 5 percent, the Department of State Health Services proposed eliminating 50 beds from four of the state's 10 mental hospitals: San Antonio, Rusk, Terrell and North Texas Wichita. The state's mental hospitals are already almost at full capacity, with nearly 2,500 self-admitted patients and allegedly criminal patients awaiting treatment so they can stand trial.

A Medicaid Mess

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Texas' senior care industry — still reeling from federal Medicare cuts — may face another financial blow, as the state considers reducing Medicaid provider rates to balance the budget in the face of a $10 billion-plus shortfall.