Friday, May 10, 2024

The Roundup

Article Icon 1Charges Dismissed Against Illegal Immigrants

Rioting charges against 211 illegal immigrants who broke through a border barrier and overwhelmed Texas National Guard troops on March 21 have been dismissed on a legal technicality.

El Paso County Judge Ruben Morales, who last month dismissed similar charges against a separate group of 140 illegal immigrants after determining there was insufficient evidence to prosecute them, said his “hands are tied” since the state did not file a transfer order to move the matter from district to county court.

District Attorney Bill Hicks, who had been pursuing the cases, said Thursday “the procedure was proper” and indicated his intent to appeal.

In the meantime, the migrants will be transferred to U.S. Border Patrol and allowed to apply for asylum.

Article Icon 1UT Chairman Shoots Down Divestment Demands

The chairman of the University of Texas governing board said Wednesday that the school’s foundation would not entertain demands to divest from defense contractors whose weapons have supported Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas.

“Divestment is not an option,” Kevin Eltife said. “We will continue to maximize our investments to ensure our students have scholarships and that we can provide an affordable, accessible education.”

Since April 24, more than 130 people have been arrested during illegal anti-Israel protests at the UT campuses in Austin and Dallas. During Wednesday’s meeting, Eltife acknowledged his involvement in the decision to call outside law enforcement for assistance in dismantling the protests, maintaining that it was “the right decision” to ensure safety.

“This board is proud of how this has been handled on all our campuses,” he said. “Anyone that questions our decisions need only to look to Columbia and Yale.”

Article Icon 1Texas House Gets Interim Charges

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announced Wednesday what legislative policies committees should look at before next year’s session.

The list of interim charges is being released later than usual—in 2022, Phelan issued them in March—as the speaker is facing a tough challenge from a Trump-backed candidate to hold on to his seat.

Notably, one of the charges is evaluating proposals for state-funded school choice, an issue that House Republicans killed last year despite strong backing from Gov. Abbott.

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Around Texas

Houston: Two political strategists have agreed to plead guilty to conspiring with U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar to launder more than $200,000 in bribes. According to court documents unsealed this week, Colin Strother of Buda and Florencio “Lencho” Rendon of San Antonio struck plea deals with the Department of Justice earlier this year. (More)

➤ Arlington: The city is launching a federally-funded pilot program to deliver food to needy residents using autonomous electric vehicles and drones. Estonian self-driving vehicle manufacturer Clevon is supplying the delivery robots, each of which can travel 20 mph and carry six packages, while Aerialoop’s six-foot drones are capable of carrying nine pounds. (See photos)

El Paso: Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking a state judge to shut down operations at Annunciation House, one of the area’s largest migrant advocacy nonprofits, for failing to comply with records requests. In February, Paxton accused the nonprofit of unlawfully orchestrating border crossings and called its immigrant shelter a “stash house.” (More)

Houston: The Cypress-Fairbanks ISD board voted Monday to remove several controversial topics of instruction from area classrooms. Six of seven members approved cutting out sections of the curriculum addressing diversity, puberty, vaccines, and climate change. (See details)

➤ Midland: The FAA is investigating the crash of a small plane near Sky Air Park on Wednesday afternoon. 34-year-old Que Johnson was flying for American Patrol, an oil leak detection company, when he reported that the plane stalled. He was not hurt in the crash. (More)

Liberty County: The FM 787 bridge over the Trinity River collapsed earlier this week due to high water weakening the bridge’s supporting material. Crews are working on an emergency maintenance contract to begin repairs when it is safe. (See photos)

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Texas Sports

Texas A&M’s Blue Bell Park will get an $80 million renovation as part of a system-wide capital improvement plan approved Tuesday by the board of regents. The No. 3 Aggies baseball team can expect work on their home field to begin in 2025 or 2026. (See details)

Dallas Mavericks minority owner Mark Cuban is continuing to fight claims that he misled investors in promoting defunct cryptocurrency platform Voyager Digital after several other sports figures settled a pending lawsuit for $2.4 million. (More)

➤ FC Dallas is the lone Texas team remaining in soccer’s U.S. Open Cup and will play the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the Round of 16 on Tuesday of next week. The Houston Dynamo, last year’s champions, were upset by Detroit City FC in penalty kicks Tuesday, and San Antonio FC fell to the Indy Eleven 2-0 Wednesday.

➤ Yesterday’s results: MLB | NBA | NHL

The Business Of Texas

A proposed $850 million mixed-use development received unanimous approval from the Fort Worth Zoning Commission Wednesday, setting the stage for a city council vote next month. The 2-million-square-foot development is part of a 35-acre industrial renewal project spearheaded by FW Westside Investors LLC. (See details)

Harris County sued the state’s environmental agency Wednesday for approving a permit for a concrete crushing plant to be built near a hospital in northeast Houston, arguing the plans for the facility don’t comply with federal air quality standards. (More)

Arkane Studios, an Xbox video game developer owned by Microsoft, is shutting down its Austin office, eliminating 96 jobs. (More)

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Et Cetera

A Houston pastor is going viral for telling a woman in the choir to “hush” during worship. In an Instagram post of the incident, the woman can be heard wailing loudly before Pastor Keion Henderson admonishes her, demanding “silence in the name of Jesus.” (See details)

NFL wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who recently joined the Texans through a trade with the Bills, apparently isn’t a fan of Houston traffic. He recently complained on social media about his drive time being extended several minutes after missing an exit. (More)

You might have seen some fuzzy black caterpillars crawling around over the last few weeks. They’re “woolly bear” or salt marsh caterpillars, and after a relatively mild winter, more of them than usual are out and about looking for food before they make a cocoon and turn into moths. (See photos)

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The Polling Station

Have you ever visited Big Bend National Park?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Thursday’s Results:

What is your favorite grocery store ice cream?

    1. Blue Bell: 43.0%
    2. HEB: 12.1%
    3. Ben & Jerry’s: 5.7%
    4. Häagen-Dazs: 7.2%
    5. Tillamook: 8.4%
    6. Blue Bunny: 7.1%
    7. Breyers: 8.3%
    8. Other: 8.2%
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The first play-by-play broadcast of a sporting event occurred in Texas in 1921. What was the contest?

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