Thursday, February 8, 2024

The Roundup

Article Icon 1 Workplace Vax Mandate Law Takes Effect

A new state law went into effect this week prohibiting private employers from mandating COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Texas Senate Bill 7 is an expansion of Senate Bill 29, which blocked vaccine mandates for state and local government employees.

The law does include exceptions for the healthcare industry. If a healthcare employee isn’t vaccinated, the employer must provide reasonable policies that manage the use of protective medical equipment.

If any private employer takes adverse action against any employee for not having the COVID-19 vaccination, the Texas Workforce Commission will fine the company $50,000 for each violation and reinstate the affected employee with full benefits and pay.

Article Icon 1 Texas Education Agency Visits Houston

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath made his first visit to the Houston Independent School District since the state took control of it in the spring of 2023.

His visit aimed to assess the district Superintendent’s implementation of the New Education System. The new system aims to improve results in standardized testing, and it’s been mandated for 26 school campuses.

Test scores have improved, but some teachers say that the fast-paced NES program has left them unable to accommodate the needs of individual students, contributing to higher turnover.

Article Icon 1 Austin Serial Killer Theories Return

A body has been found in Austin’s Lady Bird Lake, and it was the tenth discovered there since July of 2022.

The string of similar deaths has created theories about a potential serial killer in the area. Local authorities say they’ve found no connection between the deaths nor signs of foul play, but that hasn’t stopped amateur sleuths from theorizing about the “Lady Bird Lake Killer” in dozens of social media groups.

The serial killer idea gained traction when four bodies were found within four months during the spring of 2023, and some residents are urging the city to do more in response to the deaths. 

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Around Texas

 Garland: The US Department of Labor set $290,358 as a proposed fine for Sherwin-Williams following an OSHA investigation for an explosion at the company’s facility. (Video)

 Lockhart: A federal judge ordered Caldwell County to make all future bail hearings open to the public. This comes after journalists sued the county for closing off magistration proceedings to the public. (More)

 Tyler: Residents are prepping for the 34th annual East Texas Auto & Cycle Show. After paying $10, guests can explore cars from all decades and be entered to win a ’65 Mustang. (More)

➤ The City of Houston hosted the first Texas Power Grid Summit. On February 6th, company executives and state officials discussed building more power plants to alleviate future energy concerns. (Video)

➤ Edinburg: Couples wishing to get hitched quickly and for free will have their chance on Valentine’s Day. The Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace will host a mass wedding at 10 am in Promenade Park Amphitheatre. (More)

The Christoval Lady Cougars remain undefeated after beating Sterling City 30-15 and securing the title of district basketball champions. (More)

Texas Sports

Houston Cougars coach Kelvin Sampson was ejected from Tuesday’s game after storming the court to yell at the referees. The Cougars were up by 20 points. (See Video

NFL analyst and former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has interviewed for the vacant defensive coordinator position with the Dallas Cowboys. Ryan’s last coaching position was in 2016. (More

➤ Houston Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve signed a 5-year, $125 million extension to stay with the club. The former MVP and eight-time all-star has been with Houston for 13 seasons. (More)

The Business Of Texas

Five North Texas cities were recognized by the Financial Times as the best cities for foreign businesses. Plano, Irving, and Dallas made the top five, while Fort Worth and Arlington were in the top 20. (More

Imperial Star Solar, a Cambodian solar panel manufacturer, will open a new facility in Tomball, Texas. The 384,000-square-foot factory is expected to create 300 new jobs in the Houston area. (More)  

➤ Boingo Wireless was named as a 2024 Best Place to Work in the Dallas region by tech job site Built In. Boingo Wireless was cited for its culture and growth opportunities. (More

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Et Cetera

➤ A 23-year-old woman was arrested in Austin for impersonating a police officer. She’d been pulling people over and stealing from them, and now she’s facing multiple state felonies. (Video)

➤ Paranormal enthusiasts are gearing up for the 2nd annual West-Tex Paracon in Ballinger. On April 12th and 13th, guests can participate in ghost hunts, explore new paranormal tech, and meet special guests. (More)

 Hays County police posted a video about an upcoming “Valentine’s Day special.” If your ex has an outstanding warrant, Hays PD encourages you to turn them in so they can receive their “platinum wrist bracelets” and “free chauffeured transportation to cozy lodgings.” (Video)

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The Polling Station

 Have you ridden a horse in the last year?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Wednesday’s Results:

Which large Texas city has the best food?  

  1. San Antonio: 24.5%
  2. Houston: 20.6%
  3. Fort Worth: 16.4%
  4. Austin: 14.9%
  5. Dallas: 13.5 %
  6. El Paso: 10.1%
Texas Trivia

Which TV character from The Big Bang Theory is a native Texan?

Show me the answer

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