“I thought there was a 90 percent chance it had got eaten by a fish or just drifted away.”

—Hannah Austin, of Colorado Springs, to the Austin American-Statesman. A scuba diver was miraculously able to recover Austin’s wedding ring from the bottom of Lake Travis. She lost it on Sunday afternoon when her husband accidentally knocked it off the table at a lakeside restaurant after she had removed the ring to eat a burger.


Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Nutella Slinging
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller again made news on Thursday, this time for a post on Facebook criticizing his election opponent for, of all things, having his photo taken in front of a chalkboard menu with “Nutella banana crepes” written on it, according to The Week. “What in the world is a Nutella banana crepe?” Miller asked in a Facebook post, showing the picture of former agribusiness lobbyist Trey Blocker, with a Photoshopped red arrow pointing to the chalkboard phrase in question. “More importantly, where in the heck did my opponent go to stage this photo op? Probably some Yuppie Austin Coffee Bar. Man of the people? I’ll stick to biscuits and gravy.” Miller, who has used taxpayer dollars to fund out-of-state trips to attend rodeos and receive pseudo-medical injections, also promised in a separate Facebook post on Thursday that he would reveal some sort of big news on Friday morning (so far, nothing). “Hold on to your hats. I’ve got big news . . . this one is really going to drive the Left crazy. Tomorrow morning,” Miller wrote. As of press time, Miller has not yet posted a review of his first Nutella banana crepe and announced that he’s a changed man.


Barton Out
U.S. Representative Joe Barton announced on Thursday that he will not run for re-election next year, marking a salacious end to the political career of the longest-serving congressman in Texas. Barton’s retirement was prompted by a series of sexts made public last week, starting with nude photographs he consensually shared with a woman years ago, and culminating with unwanted sexually aggressive messages he sent to another woman on Facebook while married to his second wife. Barton publicly apologized immediately and intended to stay in office, but one by one his fellow Republican leaders in North Texas called on him to not seek re-election. Eventually Barton caved to the growing political pressure. “I’ve always listened to people in Texas and worked for them in Washington, and I’ve been listening to a lot of people the last week in Texas,” Barton told the Dallas Morning News on Thursday. “. . . There are enough people who lost faith in me that it’s time to step aside and let there be a new voice for the sixth district in Washington, so I am not going to run for re-election.” Barton denied that he was guilty of sexual harassment and said the relationships with the women were consensual, and added that he still believes he could win re-election. “But it would be a nasty campaign, a difficult campaign for my family,” he told the Morning News. “I’m at peace with it,” he said of his decision. “I’m not happy about what’s gone on. But I did do the things and I’ve always been truthful . . . You have to be accountable for your actions, and I’m trying to do that.”

State of Disaster
After a rocky ten months as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson appears to be on his way out of the White House. The New York Times reported on Thursday that the Trump administration plans to kick the Wichita Falls native and former Exxon CEO to the curb, an unsurprising development in Tillerson’s turbulent saga in Washington. Tillerson has been largely useless during his tenure in Foggy Bottom, as he’s mostly been relegated to mop-up duty for the president’s diplomatic mistakes, while his own department has lost morale and clashed with Tillerson’s management style and mission. At one point, Tillerson reportedly privately called Trump a “moron” and was on the verge of resigning. Trump responded by challenging Tillerson to an IQ test. Trump also publicly criticized Tillerson for “wasting his time” with a diplomatic outreach to North Korea. While Trump has yet to sign off on the plan, senior administration officials told the Times that Tillerson could be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo within several weeks.

New Blood
Texas A&M is closing in on a new head football coach and is expected to settle on a finalist “very shortly,” Chancellor John Sharp said on Thursday, according to ESPN. The Aggies will hold a board of regents meeting as soon as Friday to discuss the parameters of a contract and set a timetable for landing their next coach. The university is believed to be targeting current Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, who it reportedly intends to make one of the highest-paid coaches in college football with an annual salary of more than $7 million. When asked what he’s looking for in a head coach, Sharp joked: “Nothing serious, just want him to win a national championship.” Sharp added, “We’ve got the best facilities in the SEC, we’ve got the best stadium . . . and we intend to have the best coach before this is over.” Florida State has gone 82-23 under Fisher and won a national title in 2013, but the team is a disappointing 5-6 this year after losing starting quarterback and preseason Heisman contender Deondre Francois to an injury in the first game of the season.


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

The new Dallas police chief is already shaking things up Dallas Morning News

A Fort Worth mom allegedly fired a gun into a crowd of teens who were fighting after a high school football game Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Believed to be brain dead, but actually conscious: an inside look at Memorial Hermann’s TIRR recovery center Houston Chronicle

A San Antonio woman is about to set the world record after being on dialysis for 42 years San Antonio Express-News

The VA won’t release its final report on abuse and corruption at the facility in Temple Austin American-Statesman