Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Roundup

Article Icon 1 Panhandle Wildfires Costliest In State History

The wildfires that ravaged the Panhandle earlier this year were the costliest in state history, amounting to $123 million in agricultural losses, according to an analysis by economists at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

The fires burned through more than 1.2 million acres and claimed the lives of around 12,000 cattle over the course of three weeks in February and March.

Affected farmers and ranchers can apply for financial assistance from the Texas Farm Bureau, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Federal legislation to provide compensation for unborn livestock has also been introduced.

Article Icon 1Texas Oil and Gas Industry Sets Records

The Texas oil and gas industry set all-time production records last year, according to a recent statement from the state’s regulatory agency.

Oil output hit 1.92 billion barrels, surpassing the previous record by 51 million. And operators produced 12.01 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, an increase of 13% over the last record.

Texas is far and away the largest oil and gas producer in the nation, accounting for 42.7% of oil output and 27.9% of gas production. The industry totaled $221 billion in exports and paid $26.3 billion in state taxes last year.

Article Icon 1 Dallas Considers Rebate for Electric Leaf Blowers

The city of Dallas is considering an incentive plan that would pay residents to buy electric-powered lawn equipment in an effort to cut back on carbon emissions.

Council members discussed an outright ban on the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment in 2022, but the state legislature passed a law prohibiting such ordinances last year.

The new plan has an estimated price tag of $24 million and would offer rebates of $50 on electric leaf blowers and edgers, $100 on lawnmowers, and $200 on riding lawn mowers.

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Around Texas

Houston: Chief of Police Troy Finner is retiring after three years on the job. He’s leaving amid questions about his knowledge of a department code that resulted in the suspension of more than 260,000 cases due to lack of personnel.  (More)

Dallas: Over 400 anti-Israel protesters rallied in front of the city’s federal courthouse Tuesday afternoon. Police blocked off several streets as the protesters marched through downtown. One participant told reporters, “We are going to continue to make Palestine unavoidable.” (Video)

➤ San Antonio: Former Bexar County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Roxanne Mathai is receiving a $395,000 settlement for being wrongfully terminated after posting selfies outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot. Mathai didn’t enter the Capitol and was never charged with a crime, but Sheriff Javier Salazar said he believed “she was there in full support of a terrorist incident.” (More)

Waco: City council members held a public hearing Tuesday on a $130 million proposal to fund a riverfront development project that would include 1,887 housing units, 60 acres of commercial space, a marina, and additional parks and trails. (Video)

➤ Pflugerville: Former NFL defensive end Alex Okafor was elected to a three-year term on the school board Saturday. Okafor, 33, helped the Pflugerville Panthers reach the state championship in 2007 before attending the University of Texas at Austin. (See details)

Longview: City council members will consider a permit request for a “biomining” facility during today’s meeting. The proposed operation would use microorganisms to extract precious metals from recyclables. (More)

Texas Sports

The Stars and Mavericks both lost the first game of their respective second-round playoff series. The Stars blew a three-goal lead against the Colorado Avalanche to lose 4-3 in overtime, and the Mavericks were trounced by the Oklahoma City Thunder 117-95.

➤ The Dallas Cowboys visited with former Jaguars wide receiver and Texas native Zay Jones Wednesday. With the departure of Michael Gallup, the 29-year-old free agent would fill a hole in the receiving corps behind CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks. (See details)

 Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice is a suspect in an alleged assault that occurred Sunday at a Dallas nightclub. The former SMU standout was charged last month for causing a six-car crash while driving his Lamborghini 119 mph on a Dallas freeway. (More)

➤ Yesterday’s results: MLB | NBA | NHL

The Business Of Texas

Settlements have been reached in all but one pending lawsuit against rapper Travis Scott and Live Nation, the promoter of his 2021 Astroworld concert in Houston, during which a crowd stampede killed ten people. (More)

Mercantile Logistics Station, a 851,033-square-foot industrial complex in Fort Worth, is ready for tenants. Dallas-based private equity firm Velocis funded the project as part of a $250 million investment in industrial real estate across Texas. (More)

A group of business leaders met Wednesday with state agency officials to discuss the regulation of artificial intelligence in private enterprises. According to co-chair Tan Parker, the AI Advisory Council aims to propose policies that will help the legislature “manage the downside” while “making the most of the upside opportunities” of generative AI. (See details)

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Et Cetera

Texas icon Blue Bell ice cream is giving away three pairs of Nike shoes hand-painted with the company’s logo. You can win the blue and gold sneakers by posting about your love of Blue Bell on Facebook or Instagram. (See photo)

The director of the Southern Baptist Convention’s youth evangelism effort is calling out Taylor Swift’s “anti-Christian” lyrics on her new album. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Shane Pruitt confessed he used to listen to Swift but said her music has “taken a darker turn” over time. (More)

Two endangered Rice’s whales were recently spotted about 55 miles off the coast of Corpus Christi. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which photographed the rare whales in an aerial survey, there are fewer than 100 of them in the world. (See photo)

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The Polling Station

What is your favorite grocery store ice cream?

  1. Blue Bell
  2. HEB
  3. Ben & Jerry’s
  4. Häagen-Dazs
  5. Tillamook
  6. Blue Bunny
  7. Breyers
  8. Other

Wednesday’s Results:

Do you drive a pickup truck?

    1. Yes: 61.5%
    2. No: 38.5%
Texas Trivia

What Texas musician’s untimely death is memorialized as “the day the music died” in Don McLean’s No. 1 hit “American Pie”?

Show me the answer

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