Texas Station Collaborative | KERA News

Texas Station Collaborative

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

This is not a ghost story.  But it’s a story about the ghost of a dream – a French dream – to build a colony for Frenchmen fleeing political and economic upheaval that began in Paris and swept across Europe in the late 1840s.

Open enrollment for health plans through the Affordable Care Act starts Nov. 1. But, this year, cutbacks in federal money for outreach efforts for potential enrollees could mean fewer people signing up for health insurance in Texas.

That gap in federal outreach means the work of getting people signed up could fall squarely on local advocates like Vitoria Ortega of Foundation Communities.

November’s election ballot is packed with lots of local items – from city council races to school bonds – but there are also seven proposals to amend the Texas Constitution.

This post has been updated.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is giving the Trump administration until Oct. 31 to find and approve a sponsor for a pregnant unaccompanied minor in federal custody in Brownsville, Texas.  

Kathleen Hartnett White was a top environmental regulator in Texas from 2001 to 2007.

From Texas Standard:

Over the last year or so, state lawmakers have taken steps to improve the working conditions of caseworkers at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Efforts were especially focused on raising the pay and reducing the caseloads of Child Protective Services caseworkers. (Caseworkers with Adult Protective Services did not receive raises as their counterparts in CPS did.)

At first glance, Mu Delta Alpha might seem like any Greek organization on UT-Austin’s campus.

It has letters, colors – teal, white and peach – and had rush week last month. While that may be pretty typical for a sorority, Mu Delta Alpha is different. It’s the first Muslim sorority on the University of Texas campus.


A major earthquake-monitoring network is up and running across Texas.

Thanks to an interactive website hosted by TexNet, you can now see where quakes are happening and learn about them in real time. The tool could be useful for the growing number of people who’ve felt earthquakes here.

Federal regulators are calling for stricter requirements to fly hot air balloons after a crash near Lockhart last year that killed all 16 people aboard.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday released findings and recommendations of its investigation into the July 30 accident in which a balloon operated by the Heart of Texas Balloon Ride company struck high-voltage power lines about 30 miles south of Austin.

From Texas Standard:

While the Trump administration says the "war on coal" is over, market forces are having their say when it comes to the fossil fuel, closing plants in several Texas communities.

Texas' largest generator of coal-powered energy, Luminant, says it is ceasing operations at two plants in the state. The company says Texas' competitive energy market and cheap natural gas  make these older coal-fired plants unprofitable. Another Texas coal operator has already announced plans to close two facilities.

From Texas Standard:

Stephanie Garcia is a high school student. She’s also a 24-year-old inmate at the Lockhart Correctional Facility, a minimum-security women’s prison in Central Texas. Outside, her life was hectic, but here, every day is the same.

From Texas Standard:

After months of demands from many rank-and-file Democrats to impeach the president, formal articles of impeachment have been filed against President Donald J. Trump. The resolution, field by Rep. Al Green (D-Houston), cites four reasons for impeachment, ranging from incitement of bigotry and racism, to falsely accusing opponents of voter fraud.

A federal court denied a request Wednesday from attorneys advocating on behalf of a pregnant minor in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Brownsville. The teenager is being prevented from getting an abortion because of a Trump administration policy that bars unaccompanied immigrant minors from accessing them.

From Texas Standard:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a lot of Puerto Ricans are setting their sights on becoming Texans. Because Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., its citizens are American citizens, too – free to locate anywhere in the country they wish.

From Texas Standard:

All eyes were on Alabama, Tuesday, as incumbent Luther Strange and conservative firebrand Roy Moore faced off in the state’s Republican senate primary. Moore won, despite the fact that Strange was supported by President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The race will be decided next month, when Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones. And the upset of Strange, who was appointed to the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has many wondering whether other Republican incumbents should be worried. Even in Texas.

From Texas Standard:

After more than 20 years of losing every statewide election, Texas Democrats are searching for a candidate who can finally beat the odds in 2018. Right now, their hopes are pinned on El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke. He’s the Democrat likely to face Sen. Ted Cruz, who’s running for reelection.

Nora Chovanec showed off the chickens in her backyard last March while talking about a newly proposed Republican health care bill to replace Obamacare.

The 29-year-old was on a health care plan through the online marketplace created by Obamacare. It allows people who don’t get insurance through an employer to buy a plan on their own.

The Travis County Sheriff's Office will honor all federal immigration detainer requests following a federal court ruling that held parts of Texas' "sanctuary cities" law can go into effect.

Texas phased out the use of solitary confinement as punishment for prisoners this month, but it still plans to keep thousands alone in cells.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Jason Clark said the department has been moving in this direction for some time.

From Texas Standard:

Following this year's contentious regular and special sessions at the Capitol, the divide between the Legislature's upper and lower chambers couldn’t be more apparent. Many of the priorities of Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, like the hotly debated transgender bathroom bill and sanctuary cities law, didn't fly in the House.

From Texas Standard:

Certain events in history have changed the lives of Texans forever. The Great Storm of 1900 in Galveston is still the deadliest hurricane on record. On a day in Dallas, in 1963, a nation lost a president. In 1966, a shooter atop the UT Tower terrorized a city by committing the first mass murder on a college campus. And now Harvey. These defining moments are embedded in the memories of those who lived them, but for everyone else, we rely on the written record.

A federal program that provides health insurance for about 390,000 Texas children must be reauthorized by Congress by the end of the month.

From Texas Standard:

The middle class is making gains, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The latest numbers show the median household income for a family of four is now $59,030, the highest median income on record, topping the previous high set during the dot-com days of the late 1990s.

The start of the 2018 election cycle is just around the corner and Democrats remain silent on who will be at the top of their ticket.  Political experts believe the party may now be frantic to find a candidate for the job.


From Texas Standard:

After weeks of legal and logistical wrangling, a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee that had been in Dallas' Oak Lawn neighborhood for 81 years, was removed Thursday night. Meanwhile, State Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) will meet with Gov. Greg Abbott to discuss removing or altering Confederate monuments and plaques on the Capitol grounds.

Austin is one step closer to being at the center of the world's first Hyperloop transportation system.

The technology — the brainchild of SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk — is envisioned as passenger pods traveling at speeds up to 700 miles per hour through a low-pressure tube. So far, only a short test track has been constructed.

Texas hasn’t been enforcing compliance with a 30-year-old law requiring public and private high schools to hand out voter registration applications to eligible students at least twice a school year, civil rights groups say.

While we’re still a long way from understanding the full environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey, the damage has been done, and experts say Harvey has highlighted inconsistencies in Texas’ ability to contain hazardous materials in the face of future storms.

Texas has the highest population of uninsured people in the nation. 

Roughly 4.5 million people in Texas didn’t have health insurance in 2016, leading the nation in both the number and percentage of residents who are uninsured, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today.

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