Meanwhile, in Texas...

  • High school engineering students in Mansfield developed a working prosthetic hand for a man who lost his fingers in a wood chipper.
  • A San Antonio cemetery threw away Spurs-themed decorations that had been placed on gravesites after the team won the NBA championship.
  • A pregnant elephant at the Houston Zoo was put on a diet to lose five hundred pounds in order to make the birthing process safer.
  • Twenty-year-old West Tawakoni resident Lucy Millsap and her parents took three different top honors at noodling t

The Senator From San Antonio

San Antonio’s Leticia Van de Putte may be a pharmacist by training, but her calling has been her work in the Legislature: she served in the House for ten years before winning a special election to the Senate in 1999, where she has served ever since. Now the 59-year-old Democrat stands as her party’s nominee for lieutenant governor. In the November election she will face Dan Patrick, a fiery Republican senator from Houston who defeated the incumbent, David Dewhurst, in a primary runoff in May.

The Checklist

MUSIC

I Got More Soul!, Bobby Patterson (Omnivore, July 22)
The seventy-year-old Dallas soul singer’s first album in sixteen years—ably produced in Austin by former Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears guitarist Zach Ernst, who did similar honors for gospel group the Relatives last year—finds him in astonishingly strong voice and good humor; a title like “Your Love Belongs Under a Rock” is all the hint you need that this is no mere reverential revival. 

The Archer City Kid

As he sat at the broad wooden table next to his godmother, Kim Whitsitt, Kelvin Cletus Green looked like a student working through an algebra problem with his tutor. But the sandy-haired eighteen-year-old, whose skin is as smooth and tanned as a brand-new pair of calfskin boots, wasn’t working on an assignment for math class. On this particular June evening, he was running his first city council meeting as the newly installed mayor of Archer City.

Payback’s a Glitch

The five members of the Dallas County Commissioners’ Court unanimously voted for a resolution commemorating Juneteenth without realizing that it also endorsed reparations for slavery. Aside from Commissioner John Wiley Price, who put forth the resolution, none of the other commissioners had bothered to find out what was in the proposal before voting for it.

 

Billy Joe Shaver Is Still Alive

Billy Joe Shaver celebrates two major milestones this month, and it’s hard to say which deserves the longer parade. On August 5 the Corsicana-born singer-songwriter will release his seventeenth studio album (and his first in seven years), Long in the Tooth. But the record’s title indicates what may be the greater accomplishment: eleven days later, the one outlaw-generation songwriter who everybody agreed was out of his mind and not long for this world will turn 75.

Asylum Politics

In a small visitation room with painted cinder-block walls and one-way mirrors inside an El Paso immigration detention center, Gurbinder Singh sits at a metal table fiddling with his blue ID bracelet. Printed on the plastic band are the 26-year-old’s grainy mug shot, his birth date, and, perhaps most important, his “date of arrival,” May 20, 2013. That was when Singh walked north across a bridge that spans the Rio Grande and, in the little English he knew, asked a border guard for political asylum.

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