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It’s Tax-free Weekend! : Your Texas Roundup

Plus: Julian Castro takes a step toward a presidential run, the iconic voice of the Aggies plans to retire, and Bernie Tiede gets bad news.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“Howdy, my name’s Thor Harris, and I’m running for governor of Texas, ’cause f—k this.”

—Thor Harris, in a video posted on Twitter, on Wednesday. When asked by Pitchfork if he was really running for governor, Harris, the Austin-based frontman for the band Thor & Friends, responded: “Why the f—k not?” 


BIG NEWS


Chris Hondros/Getty

Shopping Spree
It’s tax-free weekend! This is your chance, thrifty Texan, to save a little bit of bank on items included in the state-sponsored holiday. Friday through Sunday, goods including school supplies, clothing, footwear, and backpacks will be exempt from the usual state sales tax. According to the Texas comptroller’s website, the weekend law exempts those items “priced less than $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.” (There’s a full list of what’s covered by the holiday and what isn’t, available over at the comptroller’s site.) On that list, you’ll find a virtual wonderland of stuff, tax-exempt and not, including plenty of things that you may think would be exempt but are instead taxable. Here is the tax-exempt status of some notable items: adult diapers (exempt); welding aprons (taxable); golf shirts (exempt); golf shoes (taxable); hiking boots and cowboy boots (exempt and exempt); suits, slacks, and suspenders (all exempt!) bras, bow ties, and bowling shoes (exempt, exempt, exempt!); rubber shoes, roller blades, and wet suits (taxable times three). For extra tips on how to live your consumerist life to the fullest this weekend, the Austin American-Statesman has a good primer of “Five Things To Know Before You Shop.” For all you smart shoppers seeking an even more-in depth preview, the Dallas Morning News has you covered with its own guide: “Six Things To Know About Tax-Free Shopping in Texas This Weekend.” Now, go forth and buy things.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


PAC Man
Former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julián Castro has been laying kind of low—politically speaking—ever since he was picked over by Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential candidate’s veep slot last year. But now he seems to be back. Castro has formed a new political action committee, Politico reported on Thursday, indicating he may be targeting a run for president in 2020. The new PAC is called “Opportunity First,” which has been Castro’s catchphrase ever since his days as mayor of San Antonio. The PAC will back candidates for federal, state, and local office, and it could also bankroll other political activities for Castro, who, according to Politico, has been helping out a few congressional and gubernatorial candidates across the country since January. Castro’s stayed mum about his new PAC so far, declining to comment to Politico and the San Antonio Express-News, and the PAC hasn’t listed any political activity yet. Still, Castro has long eyed higher office, and this is basically the first step toward a presidential run.

Quiet Down
The voice of the Aggies, Dave South, announced on Thursday that this season will be his last in the radio booth at Texas A&M. The 2017 to 2018 season will mark the 72-year-old’s forty-seventh year in collegiate broadcasting, and he spent thirty-two of those years calling football and basketball games at A&M. According to the Austin American-Statesman, South had an old-school way of calling games, offering a more personal approach by referring to players by their first names, while spicing things up a bit when the Aggies were rolling and slowing it down when they struggled. South will continue to do play-by-play for Texas A&M baseball, but his days as the voice behind football and basketball broadcasts are nearing the end. “I got a bucket list of things that I want to do,” South told the Bryan Eagle. It’s a good list: South wants to sit on the back porch at President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford and talk about life, continue a conversation he had years ago with Lyle Lovett, hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and visit Mount Rushmore and The Smithsonian Institution.

Behind Bars
Bernie Tiede’s legal battle was dealt another blow on Thursday, when a state appellate court denied the murderous East Texas mortician’s appeal for a new trial in an attempt to overturn his conviction in the 1996 shooting death of wealthy Carthage widow Marjorie Nugent, according to the Texas Tribune. Texas Monthly first wrote about Tiede in 1998, and in 2011 Skip Hollandsworth’s classic and bizarre true-crime story was turned into a film directed by Richard Linklater, starring Jack Black as the titular character, “Bernie.” Despite his celebrity status, the real-life Tiede has been unable to turn the renewed interest in his case into a new trial. Tiede was a companion to the elderly Nugent before he shot her to death and hid her in a freezer for nine months. When Tiede confessed following the discovery of Nugent’s body, he said he was simply ending an abusive relationship. He was sentenced to life in prison. Tiede was granted a new punishment hearing in 2014 in a different county and was released on bond, but last year a jury sentenced him to 99 years in prison. The appellate court upheld that sentence on Thursday, but Tiede will likely appeal that decision to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.


WHAT WE’RE READING


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

Texas is quietly cutting aid to colonias Associated Press

A homeowners association is trying to take away a Weslaco woman’s pet pig, Winston KRGV

A Denton ISD administrator published a children’s book starring white nationalist icon Pepe the Frog Dallas Morning News

Rio Grande City is the latest to join the lawsuit against SB 4 McAllen Monitor

At 111, Richard Overton, the oldest war vet in the U.S., has been hospitalized in Austin for pneumonia Austin American-Statesman

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