Columns/Opinions

Wed
05
Aug

Record number die in Highway 81 horror

By Bartee Haile

Two Greyhound buses collided on a Central Texas hilltop before dawn on Aug. 4, 1952 killing both drivers on impact and burning an estimated 26 passengers to death. The horrendous head-on crash happened on U.S. Highway 81 seven miles south of Waco. The night was clear, the moon was shining and the two-lane road was dry. But the drivers were young (24 and 23) and inexperienced. It was only the fifth day behind the wheel for Milburn Berry Herring in the northbound San Antonio-to-Dallas bus, and Billy Malone in the Dallas-to-Brownsville southbound had been on the job just four months. The southbound carried 20 passengers and the northbound 37 with several riders standing in the aisle.

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Wed
05
Aug

Panel hears testimony in wake of jail death

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — The Texas House Committee on County Affairs met on July 30 to hear testimony on Sandra Bland and jail standards. Bland, 28, was pulled over by a state trooper in Hempstead on July 10. Soon after, she was placed in the Waller County Jail and was found dead in her cell on July 13. Investigators ruled the death a suicide. The story, covered by local, state, national and world news agencies, has emerged in the context of other tragic outcomes involving black citizens and law enforcement.

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Wed
29
Jul

Governor: Family of death in custody deserves answers

By Ed Sterling
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on July 22 issued a statement regarding the arrest and death of Sandra  Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois resident who had driven toHempstead in response to a job offer from Prairie View  A&M University. On July 10, Bland was pulled over by a state trooper,  arrested and placed in the Waller County jail in Hempstead.  Three days later Bland was found dead in her jail cell.
 
Wed
29
Jul

Texas Panhandle wiped clean of buffalo

By Bartee Haile
With no more buffalo left to slaughter, the last of the High Plains hunters, as shaggy as the beasts they once  stalked, departed the Panhandle on Jul. 23, 1879. The wild rush of gold-seekers to California in 1849 split in half the multitude of North American bison. The coming  of the transcontinental railroad a couple of decades later made permanent the division of the mighty millions into   the northern and southern herds.
 
Wed
22
Jul

Utopia failed to take root on Texas frontier

By Bartee Haile
After three wave-tossed months at sea, a shipload of thirsty Germans streamed ashore at Galveston on July  17, 1847 and went in search of the nearest tavern. The previous year, Prince Carl Solms-Braunfels had made the rounds of the universities in his fatherland  to talk restless students into taking the Texas challenge. As a recruiter for the  Adelsverein, an association of German aristocrats advocating Lone Star colonization  as a way to relieve revolutionary pressures, his mission was to fire the  imagination of the younger generation with glowing accounts of the New World paradise.
 
Wed
22
Jul

Governor’s order enchances readiness on military bases

By Ed Sterling
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on July 18 authorized Adjutant General John Nichols of the Texas National Guard to arm personnel  at military facilities across Texas. Abbott’s action comes following the July 16 shooting  on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., that resulted in the deaths of four  U.S. Marines and one U.S.  Navy sailor. A suspect was killed at the scene. An investigation is in progress.
 
Wed
15
Jul

‘Mosquito brigade aids rebels

Mosquitoes know nothing of the sort of strongly held if often illogical beliefs that lead partisan factions, revolutionaries or nations to war, but when federal soldiers occupied Texas after the Civil War the flying blood suckers attacked the Yankees with a vengeance. One of the great Civil War-era “battles” fought in the Lone Star state took place three months after Gen. RobertE. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, VA. when swarms of mosquitos made life miserable for thousands of newly arrived federal soldiers at a natural water body in Calhoun County known as Green Lake.  

 

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Wed
15
Jul

Presidential candidates for 2016 are off and running

There is a sense that America is adrift, that we don’t quite know how to deal with the forces of globalization, technological change, economic uncertainty, or terrorism. Americans are looking for aleader who can restore confidence. The economy in particular weighs on ordinary Americans’ minds. There’s widespread agreement that the growing economy has done very little to help people of ordinary income — not just in recent years, but really for the past generation. Americans may feel better about the economy now than they did a few years ago, but that hasn’t lessened their long-term anxiety that it’s harder than ever to get ahead, and certainly harder than it was in their parents’ generation.  

 

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Wed
08
Jul

Wiley Post set flying records with one eye closed

By Bartee Haile

Wiley Post and his Australian navigator landed in New York City on July 1, 1931 completing an epic around-the-world flight in record-breaking time. Two states claimed Wiley Hardeman Post as a native son. Texas had birth going for it since the intrepid aviator began his short life in Van Zandt County a couple of years shy of the twentieth century. Oklahoma, however, had residency on its sidebecause the Posts relocated north of the Red River when  Wiley was nine.      

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Wed
08
Jul

High court puts Texas abortion law on hold

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote on June 29, granted a stay preventing revisions to the state abortion law made by the Texas Legislature in 2013 from taking effect on July 1. The stay will remain in effect while the court is on hiatus. When it reconvenes in October, the court will decide if the issues at stake in the Texas case, Whole Woman’s Health (and others) v. Cole, merit further review. Voting to deny the stay were Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito.  

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