QUOTE OF THE DAY
“She said that we were angels sent from heaven.”
—Waco paramedic Matt Linda to KWTX. Linda and his East Texas Medical Center ambulance crew partner Kent Haney were between calls on Wednesday when they noticed a 98-year-old woman struggling to mow her front lawn, so they stopped and decided to finish the job for her.
CP3 To HTX
The Houston Rockets landed Chris Paul, one of the best players in the NBA, in a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, according to ESPN. Paul, a nine-time all-star and surefire future Hall of Famer, will pair with James Harden and his beard to give the Rockets one of the best backcourts in the league. Houston had to give up a lot to get Paul, though, trading away fan favorite and defensive stalwart Pat Beverly, scorer Lou Williams, former first-round draft pick Sam Dekker, quality backup big man Montrezl Harrell, a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick, $661,000, and three throw-ins—Kyle Wiljter, DeAndre Liggins, and Darrun Hilliard. The Rockets and Harden had long been targeting Paul, and they beat out the San Antonio Spurs, who had also reportedly hoped to bring in the 32-year-old point guard. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne, the Rockets are looking to add another star, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, to make their own big three, though it’s unclear if they have the goods to make a second major deal this offseason. Trading for Paul is a move that Rockets fans should get excited about, although it introduces a few questions for Houston. For one, Harden and Paul alone are unlikely to be enough to beat the super team that is the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets will also somehow have to balance two ball-dominant superstars on the court. Plus, Paul’s massive contract will have the Rockets continue to pay him big bucks when he’s an old man well past his prime. But the Rockets are clearly in win-now mode. “You can’t have too many point guards, can’t have too many smart guys, can’t have too many stars,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said, according to ESPN. “… [Paul] is one of the best point guards to ever play the game. If we can’t figure it out, we are in a lot of trouble.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Wheels of Justice
The Texas State Trooper who arrested Sandra Bland in 2015 had his only criminal charge related to the case dropped on Wednesday, according to the Houston Chronicle. Special prosecutors dismissed a perjury charge against former trooper Brian Encinia after he agreed to relinquish his police credentials and sign a sworn statement promising not to look for work as a licensed peace officer in Texas or anywhere else. Encinia was fired in March 2016 for his handling of the controversial arrest, during which he threatened Bland with a taser and dragged her out of her car. She had been pulled over near Prairie View A&M University for allegedly not using a signal to change lanes. Three days after the arrest, Bland was found dead in a Waller County Jail cell. Her death, which was later ruled a suicide, sparked national protests over police brutality and the mistreatment of mentally ill people in jails. Bland had indicated on her jail intake form that she had recently contemplated suicide. According to the Chronicle, Bland’s family is upset that the charges have been dropped. “In September, we were expecting to be in Texas sitting in the courtroom, but today they cut him a deal,” Bland’s sister Shante Needham said. “Why? Why? Why? Why did you cut him a deal when you sat in our faces and you seen our pain and you told us you were going to take it to court?”
Two of the top three highest-paid public college administrators in the nation are from Texas, according to a survey recently released by the Chronicle of Higher Education. University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven and Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp are second and third in the country, raking in $1.5 million and $1.3 million, respectively, according to the Chronicle‘s yearly executive compensation report. A third Texan made it in the top ten, with Texas A&M University President Michael Young and his $1 million salary landing at number eight on the list. University of Houston System Chancellor Renu Khator, meanwhile, slipped from the number one spot on last year’s list all the way down to number fourteen on this year’s ranking. According to the Texas Tribune, she topped last year’s list because she collected $200,000 in bonuses and $400,000 in deferred compensation, which universities use to convince employees to stay put.
Whataburger has announced that it will close all of its stores by February 2018, according to Channel 45 News. Except, uh, that’s not true. The fake news article went viral on Wednesday, duping many fans of the Texas-based burger chain. According to Snopes, the fake news article’s claim that Whataburger was forced to shut down after filing for bankruptcy following a rash of lawsuits after a salmonella outbreak is, to put it simply, a load of hot garbage. Whataburger is good, people. “Channel 45 News,” meanwhile, is bad. It’s an outlet that brands itself as a “prank website” and exists solely for viral fake news, allowing users to create their own headlines and images, according to the Daily Dot. So if you see this Whataburger heresy floating around online, please say something to ease the hearts and minds of your ill-informed friends, and worry not, because your beloved Whataburger is safe and sound.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
A woman will be deported following a traffic stop in Deer Park Houston Chronicle
Where’s the beef? On the move from Texas to China, apparently Waco Tribune
Why does it seem like the rest of the U.S. is only now learning of Houston’s incredible diversity? Voice of America
About a dozen protesters took to the streets in Abilene to oppose the GOP’s healthcare bill Abilene Reporter-News
Donna ISD’s police chief has been fired, again McAllen Monitor