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Federal Judge Approves $20.8 Billion BP Spill Settlement

Apr 5, 2016
Marc Morrison

A federal judge on Monday approved a $20.8 billion settlement negotiated between BP and a group of plaintiffs including the federal government, Texas and four other Gulf Coast states and hundreds of local governments stemming from the energy giant's 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

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In our series, "Vital Signs,"  living with artificial devices like stents, valves and grafts intended to improve blood flow to the heart. Doctors in the U.S. insert the devices in about a million procedures each year. But after that, the work falls to the patient.

BNSF Railway

The chairman of Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway says about 4,600 railroad employees are furloughed nationwide due to declining oil prices and a reduced demand for coal.

Commentary: When Cuba Became Personal

Mar 30, 2016
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Barack Obama recently became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years. The island was also on commentator Stephen Whitley’s wish list of places to visit. But Cuba always seemed out of reach until the recent easing of restrictions on travel. He learned some lessons during a Spring Break trip there.

Indictment Aside, Crystal City Mayor Is Running Again

Mar 28, 2016
Robin Jerstad / Texas Tribune

CRYSTAL CITY — Leaning forward on a two-seat swing beneath a shady tree, Ricardo Lopez ticked off his lofty political ambitions: First, win his re-election bid for mayor in this South Texas town. Next, swiftly resign to prepare for an all-out sprint for Texas lieutenant governor. After that, maybe focus on something more grandiose. 

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Sold over-the-counter, activated charcoal can be beneficial when used by a medical professional. But some people use it on their own for such things as high cholesterol, hangovers or stomach pain at serious risk to their health.

D.Fajio/Flickr

The English language can be pretty confusing to even native speakers. Vowel sounds change depending on the word. There are letters that are silent in some words, but not in others. However, one of the biggest linguistic debates centers around the lack of a second-person plural pronoun.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Campaigns for the Texas Board of Education seldom make news, especially in the 31 rural and small-town counties east of Dallas that make up District 9. Republican candidate Mary Lou Bruner has changed that.

Rethinking How Prison Works

Mar 22, 2016
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The United States is the world’s biggest jailer, with 2.3 million people locked up here.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Dade Middle School in Dallas has had a history of problems. Some community leaders want the Dallas school district to boost neighborhood involvement and turn Dade into what’s called a community school. Some folks believe more community and parental involvement would make a difference there.

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Lactose Intolerance is a common problem - about 65 percent of the human population has it. And while it can’t be cured, it’s rarely dangerous and you can manage lactose intolerance.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Funeral services were held Thursday for Jose Raul Cruz, the North Texas teen killed Sunday by an off-duty Farmers Branch police officer.  At Cruz's funeral, one man shared his story about the teen.

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March Madness will dominate televisions. But not everyone's a fan of the organization that puts on the event.

TxDOT-Beaumont / Twitter

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Serious flooding in Southeast Texas continues; Gov. Abbott’s claim of “rampant” voter fraud in Texas has some holes; Dallas ISD kids talk through issues rather than head to the principal’s office; a Dallas real estate developer is the new “bachelorette”; and more.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The Dallas Independent School District is trying out a new approach to discipline in six of its schools. It’s called restorative discipline. Instead of suspending kids from school or sending them to the principal’s office, teachers first get students together to talk about the problems they’re having, or causing. 

State Fair of Texas

Five stories that have North Texas talking: The countdown to the State Fair of Texas begins; TCU fired its basketball coach of nearly four years; SXSW apologizes for asking a Muslim presenter to remove her hijab for a badge photo; and more.

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Head lice is a common problem among kids.  The CDC estimates the parasitic insects infest between six and 12-million children, ages three to 11, each year.  But Texas and at least 24 other states have reported cases of so-called super lice, which are harder to eliminate.

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At least two North Texans ended up in the hospital after using a synthetic opioid called U-47700 at a recent party. One is in ICU. Other cases involving the drug across the country led to deaths. 

Joost Nelissen / flickr

About 500 Dallas school district employees have to move out of the building they work in. That’s because small amounts of lead and other substances were found in the water there.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

How do you get girls passionate about engineering? On a middle school field trip, one group is using marbles.

FanDuel.com

The nationwide debate over daily fantasy sports has focused on Texas for the last few days. Last Friday, one of the two major fantasy websites FanDuel agreed to pull out of Texas. The other site, DraftKings sued in Dallas County to have fantasy sports betting declared legal.

Travis County GOP Apoplectic Over New Chairman

Mar 2, 2016
YouTube screengrab/Texas Tribune

The newly elected chair of the Republican Party in the county that includes the Texas Capitol spent most of election night tweeting about former Gov. Rick Perry’s sexual orientation and former President Bill Clinton’s penis, and insisting that members of the Bush family should be in jail.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Some teachers are back in class, learning to teach cursive writing. It’s been cut way back in our digital, keyboarding age. Some teachers, though, say it’s vital to learning.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

People in Texas are significantly more likely than adults nationwide to report that it has gotten harder to see a doctor in the past two years. That’s one finding in a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Arina P. Habich / Shutterstock

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Only a small percentage of Texans think background checks are bogus; the Oscar nominations lack minorities and Texans; SNL’s creator will speak at the George W. Bush Center about political parody; and more.   

Commentary: Why We Need More Lawyers Like Atticus Finch

Feb 25, 2016
Flickr.com

Writer Harper Lee died last Friday at age 89. But her classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, lives on. With more than 40 million copies sold, it’s never been out of print. Lee’s tale of racial injustice in the South had a major impact on contributor William Holston -- in particular, its central character. 

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Research in Texas shows for the first time that electromagnetic fields from things like cellphone towers and power lines can amplify pain in people.

Fort Worth Independent School District

Texas has a handful of schools built underground. One of them is in Fort Worth. Washington Heights Elementary was built nearly 40 years ago to reduce energy costs and noise. KERA recently went underground to dig up dirt on this unusual school.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

John Wiley Price is facing the two biggest challenges of his three decades as a Dallas County commissioner.

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Jeb Bush isn’t expected to win the Republican primary in South Carolina, but where the former Florida governor finishes might impact the major donor support he’s had in Texas.

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