Tuesday, April 9, 2024

The Roundup

Article Icon 1 The Total Solar Eclipse in Texas

Despite canceled events, uncertain weather, and heavy traffic, Texans and thousands of visitors got what they were looking for on Monday: a long-anticipated total solar eclipse. Photos can be seen here.

Spotty clouds cleared just in time for excellent views in various Texas locations. However, some parts of central Texas had to cancel events due to bad weather, including Burnett County’s Total Eclipse Festival.

Texas officials reported heavy traffic after the eclipse, with highways around Austin, Waco, and Dallas seeing significant delays. Severe weather was forecast for later in the day, including rain, hail, and possible tornadoes.

It will be days before the total economic impact of eclipse travel can be tallied, but the expectation is that many towns saw a significant influx of business over the past few days.

Article Icon 1 Voting Software Owner Demands Payment

Voting software company VOTEC admitted to making a “coercive” demand to thirty-two Texas counties by requiring an additional 35% surcharge for using their election software this year or risk losing access before November.

John Medcalf, owner of VOTEC, agreed that the new charges were presented as an ultimatum. However, he said he had to do it because multiple counties have fallen behind in making payments, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

Texas election officials have begun discussions with county leaders on how to handle the situation. VOTEC is one of only three authorized for use in Texas.

Article Icon 1 Texas Needs Bus Drivers

Texas transportation officials are seeking people willing to work as school bus drivers to fill a critical state-wide shortage.

The Texas Rural Student Transportation said the six-week training process and irregular hours have contributed to the difficulty of finding enough bus drivers.

Kevin Webb, a manager within TxRST, also stated it can be hard finding young drivers willing to work less than forty hours per week. The agency is putting out a call for people willing to take the job.

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Around Texas

➤ Houston: City officials must pay $45 million in federal funds back to the state after failing to complete an affordable housing project. The funds were meant to help the city rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. (Video)

➤ Irving: A 40-year-old man received a seven-year prison sentence for a $7 million healthcare fraud scheme. The fraudster used patient medical information to create fake COVID tests, which were used to collect $7 million in insurance claims. (More)

➤ Beaumont: The city’s police department will star in an upcoming Cold Justice episode on the Oxygen network. The show will work with the department to solve the case of Kimberly Langwell, who disappeared in 1999. (Get the Details)

 Georgetown: School district officials are considering hiring uncertified teachers to fill vacant jobs. The proposal would allow newly hired teachers to gain certification through a partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University. (More)

➤ The San Antonio metro area has been ranked No. 7 in the top ten U.S. cities for first-time home-buyers. According to Zillow’s data, city residents only spent 23% of their income on rent. (See the Ranking)

Texas Sports

➤ Houston Astro Ronel Blanco gave up only one hit in six innings against the Texas Rangers in his first outing after throwing a no-hitter last week. The Astros defeated the Rangers 3-1. (More)

➤ Former UT defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The 2024 NFL draft hopeful was booked into the Travis County Jail and posted a $3,000 bond shortly thereafter. (Video)

➤ A Texas Open volunteer took a hilarious fall on TV after trying to get away from a long drive hit by Max Homa. The volunteer quickly bounced up and bowed to an applauding audience. (Watch the Video)

The Business Of Texas

➤ Samsung reportedly plans to build another semiconductor chip fabrication complex in Taylor, Texas. A total of $44 billion is expected to be invested in the construction project and R&D operations. (Get the Details)

➤ Austin-based Cavco Industries faces $272,000 in penalties after a federal investigation revealed over 24 construction violations for the company’s manufactured and modular homes. (Read More)

➤ Houston: The Whiskey Riot Festival comes to town on April 20. Attendees will be able to sample over 200 diverse whiskies from local and global brands, and tickets range from $90 to $160. (Get Event Info)

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Et Cetera

➤ A United Airlines 737 was forced to divert to DFW airport after an emotional support dog pooped in the first-class aisle. After two hours of cleaning, diverted passengers were re-boarded. (More)

➤ Fort Worth: The city’s botanical gardens hired a herd of goats to clean up invasive plant species. These four-legged grass-eaters are becoming extremely popular for large-scale landscaping operations throughout Texas and the nation. (More)

➤ A Texas native has officially broken the world record for completing the most lunges in one hour. Originally from the city of Kilgore, Austin Head knocked out 2,825 lunges while living in New York City. (Video)

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The Polling Station

 Have you ever visited a historic Texas dance hall?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Monday’s Results:

What international cuisine has made the greatest impact on Texas culture?

  1. Mexican: 67.1%
  2. German: 11.5%
  3. Czech: 8.6%
  4. Italian: 6.7%
  5. Other: 6.1%
Texas Trivia

Which Texas city set the state record for the largest hailstone?

Show me the answer

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