Sonia Smith

Sonia Smith, a native of Houston, is a graduate of Georgetown University. She has reported on convict cowboys at the Angola Prison Rodeo, celebrity magazines in Moscow, and aerial hog hunting in Knox City, Texas. She has also written for Slate, the Associated Press, the Baton Rouge Advocate, the Kyiv Post, and the Dallas Morning News and was a finalist for the 2008 Livingston Awards for Young Journalists. Her great-great-grandfather was a Texas Ranger in Kerr County in the 1870’s.


Is Fear of Obama's Reelection Prompting Run on Gun Stores?

Local gun stores have seen record sales, and in 2011, the FBI conducted more than one million background checks in Texas alone. 

Kangaroo Knocks Out Homeowners Association

Homeowners Associations have long had a bad rap, and that was before one tried to take away a disabled girl’s pet kangaroo.

How the Drought is Impacting Rice Farmers and Hot Tub Owners

The drought leaves nothing untouched. This week the drought impacts the state’s rice farmers, migratory bird populations, and hot tub owners. 

Woman Hopes to Become Oldest Cheerleader in NFL History

Sharon Simmons, a 55-year-old grandmother from Carrollton, plans on trying out to become a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader this May.

Life in the “Deadliest Place in Mexico”

The Texas Observer’s Melissa del Bosque traveled to the Juárez Valley, where the murder rate is 1,600 people killed per 100,000 inhabitants, to report on the violent drug war gripping the region. 

Meanwhile, in Lufkin...

Our favorite recent items from the Lufkin Daily News’ police blotter.

Last Madam at the La Grange Chicken Ranch Dead at 84

Edna Milton Chadwell was the madam running the famous brothel when authorities shut it down in 1973.

Parents of Slain Soldier Sue Dating Sites for Using Son’s Photo in Ads

The family of Lt. Peter Burks was horrified to discover that two dating websites used a photo of their son, who died in combat in Iraq in 2007, alongside the text “Military Men Looking for Love.”

Samantha Ketcham Headed to Runoff in Yell Leader Election

UPDATED: After recalculating the vote, it has been determined that Ketcham is out of the race and the school will not have its first female yell leader. 

Leader of “Texas Seven” Set to be Executed

Texas is set to execute George Rivas, who killed an Irving police officer on Christmas Eve 2000 after a legendary jail bust. 

Warren Buffett’s Texas-sized Mistake

In his annual letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett writes that Berkshire Hathaway’s $2 billion investment in TXU Corp.’s bonds could be wiped out if natural gas prices do not rise.

How Many Medical Schools Should the Valley Get?

Senator Eddie Lucio Jr., said that building two medical schools in the Valley is “totally unrealistic” and the focus should be kept on the plan to build a University of Texas system medical school in Harlingen.

Shocker: “Active” Video Games Not a Substitute for Actual Exercise

A new study from the Baylor College of Medicine finds “active” video games like Wii Sports and Dance Dance Revolution don’t lead to an increase in physical activity.

Stolen Emails from Austin-Based Stratfor Get WikiLeaked

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange claims the released emails depict a company bent on obtaining intelligence information by any means necessary, but is it as sinister as he makes it out to be?  

Hico Rodeo Star Arrested in Rhino Horn Smuggling Ring

Wade Steffen, a champion steer wrestler, was arrested after TSA officials found $337,000 and photos of rhino horns in his carry-on luggage at the Los Angeles airport.