Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Roundup

Article Icon 1 Wildfire Recovery Continues

Panhandle residents are finally starting to dig out from under the devastation caused by Smokehouse Creek and Windy Deuce fires, now both largely contained.

Officials say federal and state resources exist for anyone who suffered damage or property loss. For state resources, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension’s Disaster Assessment & Recovery Unit is working to provide financial assistance, as well as supply points for livestock and ranching equipment.

For federal support, the Farm Service Agency and Department of Agriculture offer programs that are specifically geared toward disaster relief. These programs include the USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program and the FSA’s Conservation Reserve Program.

If you wish to donate to recovery efforts, you can do so here.

Article Icon 1 Texas Needs Court Reporters

Texas courts are facing a shortage of court reporters, risking delays in court hearings of all types—despite the job paying over $100,000 a year in some cases.

Court officials say the shortage has several causes, primarily the closing of schools for training court reporters, as well as a rise in trained court stenographers opting for lucrative freelance work instead.

Efforts have been made to address the shortage, including recruitment campaigns and legislative remedies. House Bill 2383 sought to allow state-certified court reporters to work remotely. The state currently has just over 2,000 certified reporters.

Article Icon 1 Texas Judge Blocks New Labor Rule

A federal judge in East Texas blocked a new rule by the National Labor Relations Board that would have made it easier for workers at large companies to unionize.

The new rule redefined companies such as McDonald’s as “joint employers” in labor disputes, meaning they had to negotiate with unions over employees who worked for the franchisees and not for McDonald’s directly.

The judge said the new rule, which would have gone into effect on Monday, was too broad and violated federal labor laws. The plaintiffs argued that the rule made companies liable for employees they didn’t hire or at locations they don’t own.

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Which platform delivered millions to investors in 2023?

Masterworks just wrapped up another banner year, selling over $21.9M of paintings in 2023 and delivering the proceeds to investors. Talk about a Happy New Year… 

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Past performance is not indicative of future returns, investing involves risk. See disclosures masterworks.com/cd

Around Texas

➤ Houston: Police chief Troy Finner pledged to restore public trust after more than 264,000 cases were dropped and never investigated during an eight-year period due to a “lack of personnel.” (More)

➤ Del Rio: State officials have partnered with five construction firms to continue building the border wall in six counties, totaling $1.28 billion in contracts. Texas is the only state that’s building its own border wall. (See the Map)

➤ Austin: City officials warn dog owners to avoid the green algae growing in nearby lakes. While it’s not as deadly as the 2019 blooms, residents are expected to treat the growth as toxic and keep their pets away from the water. (Video)

➤ Boca Chica: SpaceX is running final engine control tests in preparation for its third Starship flight. The company hopes to launch the world’s largest rocket next week on March 14. (More)

Lubbock was ranked as the third cheapest location in the U.S. to buy gas, with an average cost of $2.85, according to AAA. The travel group said Texas had the lowest average gas prices in the nation. (Video)

Texas Sports

➤ Plano East High School took home their first-ever 6A state title for boys basketball. The Panthers closed their perfect season with a 53-41 win over Stony Point High School in San Antonio. (Video)

➤ The Savannah Bananas showcased their acrobatic ‘Banana Ball’ in front of a sold-out crowd of 41,000 fans at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The team’s first game in a major league stadium concluded in a 5-4 win over the Party Animals. (Video)

➤ Two-time Superbowl champion and UT football star Malcolm Brown has accepted a head coach position at Savio Catholic High School in Austin. The former defensive tackle played seven seasons in the NFL and three years at UT. (Video)

The Business Of Texas

➤ Texas AG Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its updated rules on releasing methane from oil and gas companies. State officials say the EPA overstepped states’ authority. (More)

➤ Oregon-based energy company GridStor has partnered with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to purchase a 900-megawatt battery storage site in Galveston. The project will begin construction in the summer to enhance the region’s electrical grid. (More)

➤ San Antonio property developers are expected to face a 23% increase in water fees due to a recent decision by the city’s water system board of trustees. The update awaits approval from the City Council. (More)

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Picasso’s $139 million sale reveals unexpected investment opportunity 

Just last month, an iconic Picasso painting shattered expectations when it sold for a whopping $139 million at auction. Impressive, considering it was purchased for around $1 million in the late 1960’s.

But there’s a surprising group of investors also celebrating this sale: 61,000 everyday users of one investment platform.

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Past performance is not indicative of future returns, investing involves risk. See disclosures masterworks.com/cd

Et Cetera

➤ Galveston: Nightly beach-goers noticing an odd blue glow in the waters off Crystal Beach are seeing bioluminescent algae that throw off light at specific temperatures, according to Texas A&M experts. (See the Glow)

➤ Gainesville: Hundreds of farmers and toy enthusiasts gathered at the 38th annual North Texas Farm Toy Show. Dozens of vendors showcased their collection of antique and modern farm toys, ranging from John Deere tractors to hand-crafted farm displays. (Video)

➤ Odessa: A lucky person in West Texas has won $17.5 million from the state lottery. The Texas Lottery Commission confirmed the winning ticket was sold at Heifer’s N Convenience Store on Saturday. (More)

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The Polling Station

 Have you ever vacationed at a Texas beach?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Mondays’s Results:

What’s your favorite Tex-Mex dish?

  1. Cheese Enchiladas: 25.3%
  2. Loaded Tacos: 19.5%
  3. Other: 16.9%
  4. Smothered Nachos: 15.9%
  5. Chili Con Carne: 14.4%
  6. I don’t like Tex-Mex: 8.0%
Texas Trivia

What 1985 novel by Larry McMurtry focuses on two retired Texas Rangers as they drive a herd of cattle to Montana?

Show me the answer

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