Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Roundup

Article Icon 1 Wildfire Now 2nd Largest in State History

The Smokehouse Creek fire has now spread over 500,000 acres, making it the second-largest wildfire in Texas history.

Governor Abbott issued a disaster declaration for all counties affected by the wildfires that continue to rage through the Texan Panhandle. First responders are working to contain active fires in Moore, Gray, Oldham, Hutchinson, and Fannin counties.

Evacuations have been ordered for residents in nearby cities, including Canadian, Fritch, and Glazier, to get people out of the potential path of the fires. Authorities have reported no deaths or injuries so far.

Article Icon 1 Texas Judge Says Congress Overstepped

A federal judge in Lubbock ruled Tuesday that a $1.7 trillion spending bill passed by Congress in 2022 was unconstitutional because it permitted proxy voting instead of requiring legislators to vote in person.

However, U.S. District Judge Wesley Hendrix said his ruling had limited scope as he granted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s petition to block a provision in the funding bill that gave enhanced legal protections to pregnant state government workers.

Hendrix said the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was improper because it violated the Constitution’s quorum clause, which historically required physical presence for voting. Congress had suspended that rule during the Covid pandemic to allow proxy voting.

Article Icon 1 Crooked Tree Ranch For Sale at $40 Million

A ranch covering 9,400 acres is up for sale for nearly $40 million in Albany, complete with a three-bedroom house and 54 wind turbines, a rare sight in Texas. You can check out the property here.

The turbines are a “significant income source,” according to the listing. Additionally, the property includes a 200-acre hunting area filled with whitetail deer.

The same family has maintained the Crooked Tree Ranch for over 25 years. It includes water storage facilities, a small horse barn, a mobile home, and mineral rights.

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Around Texas

➤ McCallen: City officials launched the first-ever joint fire training between the US and Mexico. Carlos Ortiz, Mayor of Reynosa, Mexico, pledged to train his firefighters in McAllen and offer international training to Texas firefighters. (More)

➤ Fort Worth: School district leaders signed off on a new sex-ed curriculum that focuses on abstinence. The change will cost around $72,000 and is expected to be in lesson plans for spring 2024. (Video)

➤ Odessa: County officials approved new plans for a $58 million library. The 54,000-sq.-ft. project is designed as a two-story facility that will offer space for telehealth call rooms, passport processing, and increased book selection. (Video)

➤ Houston: A woman was arrested for inventing a fake TLC Network TV reality show that swindled between $30,000-$150,000 from local retailers. She’s accused of receiving money and merchandise from retailers under false pretenses. (More)

➤ Beaumont: The only inpatient behavioral health hospital in southeast Texas secured $70 million in state funds for renovations. Beaumont Baptist Hospital is set to add new therapy spaces, sensor rooms, and 72 beds. (More)

➤ Hutto Independent School District approved using chaplain volunteers on campus while ensuring they separate religious duties from school activities. A new Texas law allows schools to choose whether to accept chaplaincy services. (More)

Texas Sports

➤ Texas Tech fans tossed bottles and debris onto the court as the referees reviewed a foul call between Tech’s Darrion Williams and Texas Longhorn forward Brock Cunningham. Six officers escorted out one fan before Tech lost to Texas, 69-81. (See Video)

The NFL Players Association released its team report cards, and the Dallas Cowboys were ranked 12th for factors such as training room, travel, food, and locker room quality, dropping from fifth in the survey last year. (More)

➤ Texas State landed a new quarterback, Sun Belt Player of the Year Jordan McCloud, ending a rocky offseason of QB turnover. McCloud threw for 3,657 yards with an 11-2 record at James Madison last season. (More)

The Business Of Texas

➤ Charles Butt, chairman of the giant H-E-B grocery chain, has donated over $1 million towards the political opposition of Gov. Greg Abbott. Seven Texas GOP candidates that Butt has supported went against Abbott’s school voucher program. (More)

➤ Thirteen Plano businesses were ranked as the top shopping spots in Texas, according to Shop Across Texas. Key retailers that made the cut were Legacy WestNeiman Marcus, and the Shops at Willow Bend. (More)

➤ Mexican supplement company Omnilife is moving its American headquarters to Allen, Texas. The new 80,000-sq.-ft. facility is expected to host 140 employees. (More)

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Et Cetera

➤ Elizabeth Francis of Houston became the oldest woman in the United States at age 114 following the death of a 116-year-old California woman a week ago. Born in 1909, Ms. Francis urges people to “speak your mind, don’t hold your tongue.” (Photos)

➤ A Texas teacher underwent a quadruple amputation triggered by a case of strep throat that caused sepsis and pneumonia, affecting vital organs. When circulation to her limbs ceased, doctors had to amputate. (Photos)

➤ Houston: A trailer filled with 7-foot-tall walking dinosaurs was stolen from Oscar Bravo, owner of party entertainment service Jurassic Extreme. He’s offering a $1,500 reward to get his dinos back. (Video)

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The Polling Station

 Which Texan phrase is your favorite?

  1. “Howdy, y’all”
  2. “Fixin’ to”
  3. “Down yonder”
  4. “Bless your heart”
  5. “All hat, no cattle”
  6. Other

Wednesday’s Results:

Are you excited about the upcoming solar eclipse?

  1. Yes: 50.1%
  2. No: 49.9%
Texas Trivia

Which mountain is the highest point in Texas?

Show me the answer

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