New Tool Helps Track Spread of Bat Disease

Bracken Cave, just north of the burgeoning San Antonio metropolitan area, has been home to the largest colony of bats in the world for thousands of years. But the keepers of the preserve that holds the cave say a developer's attempt to build 3,800 homes next to the cave threatens the bats' very livelihood.
Bracken Cave, just north of the burgeoning San Antonio metropolitan area, has been home to the largest colony of bats in the world for thousands of years. But the keepers of the preserve that holds the cave say a developer's attempt to build 3,800 homes next to the cave threatens the bats' very livelihood.

Though bats in Texas appear untouched by a fungus that has decimated populations in the Northeast and Midwest, the disease is spreading west. Now, however, researchers have a powerful tool to track the spread of the disease.

Galveston Bay Spill Presents Grave Risks

A barge loaded with marine fuel oil sits partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel on March 22, 2014.
A barge loaded with marine fuel oil sits partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel on March 22, 2014.

With no end in sight to containing a spill that may have dumped 150,000 gallons of fuel oil into Galveston Bay on Saturday, the hit to Texas’ economy and environment is already huge — and sure to grow.

 

Despite National Efforts, Texas Not Enthusiastic About GMO Labeling

Gerald Cole, owner of Organicare Farms in Taylor, checks his kale plants. The vegetables are grown using aquaponics, a system in which waste matter from fish in tanks is broken down and used as nutrients for the plants.
Gerald Cole, owner of Organicare Farms in Taylor, checks his kale plants. The vegetables are grown using aquaponics, a system in which waste matter from fish in tanks is broken down and used as nutrients for the plants.

A small group of Texas farmers and environmental advocates is pushing for the labeling of genetically modified foods. But the effort has received little interest from Texas' Republican-dominated Legislature or from major agribusinesses.

In Cigarroa's Wake, Major Gains, Significant Discord

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa at a Board of Regents meeting in Austin.
University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa at a Board of Regents meeting in Austin.

Francisco Cigarroa's improbable tenure as chancellor of the University of Texas System was as notable for its achievement as it was for its discord. In some ways, his arrival was more surprising than his departure.

Analysis: A Movable Definition of Conservative

From left to right, state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and former state Sen. David Sibley, R-Waco.
From left to right, state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and former state Sen. David Sibley, R-Waco.

The Texas Senate's swing to the right started more than 20 years ago, when the incumbents' definition of extreme simply meant a Republican had entered the Capitol. Now some of those same Republicans are under fire for being too liberal.

In Sprawling Texas, Walkability Gains a Toehold

Klyde Warren Park, a five-acre space built on a platform over a freeway in Dallas, was completed in 2012, providing a lively, walkable link between downtown and neighboring Uptown.
Klyde Warren Park, a five-acre space built on a platform over a freeway in Dallas, was completed in 2012, providing a lively, walkable link between downtown and neighboring Uptown.

Advocates for more pedestrian-friendly urban cores and communities say interest in making Texas cities more walkable is on the rise — a shift spurred in part by changing demographics and the state’s growing population.

Neal Smatresk: The TT Interview

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The president of the University of North Texas on his institution's unique approach to fixed-rate tuition, how he hopes to get students to graduate on time and what the school is going to do about its revenue shortfalls.

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