Texas Welcomed 400,000 Newcomers Last Year as Population Hits 28 Million: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: Democrats sue to keep Blake Farenthold on the ballot, Houston’s famous bat colony struggles post-Harvey, and K-Lani Nava becomes the first girl football player to score points in a UIL state title game.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m still tripping, who steals a toilet? Like why a toilet, 1 toilet.”
—Former NBA player Charlie Villanueva tweeted on Wednesday, after robbers allegedly stole all the appliances—toilet included—from his Dallas home.
Texas welcomed 400,000 new people last year, according to a recent report by the U.S. Census. Estimates released Wednesday show the total population of Texas reached 28.3 million people between July 2016 and July 2017, continuing steady growth. According to the Texas Tribune, the Lone Star State was the seventh-fastest growing state in the country last year, increasing at 1.4 percent, and we had the biggest total population gain of any state. The makeup of last year’s incoming class was notably unusual: instead of new people moving to the state, most of the fresh faces belonged to newborn babies. The Census attributed about 209,690 of those 400,000 new residents to natural increase, while Texas brought in another 189,580 people as a result of net migration—the difference between the number of people leaving Texas and the number of people coming to the state. The nation’s overall population grew by 2.3 million between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, increasing to almost 326 million.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
A week after Texas Republicans sued to keep disgraced U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold off the ballot, Texas Democrats countered. On Wednesday, they sued to keep the Corpus Christi Republican from resigning after his current term, which he promised to do amid accusations of sexual harassment and abusive behavior from several former staffers. He decided to resign after the deadline passed to remove himself from the ballot, so the state GOP took legal action and successfully got his name removed. But Democrats, smelling blood in what would perhaps be a sure win for Democrats if Farenthold remained in the race, weren’t happy about the court’s decision. “Texas Democrats will not stand idle while Republicans rig the ballot,” Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said, announcing a legal effort Wednesday to keep Farenthold’s name on the ballot, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Only voters have the power to choose who leads our state and nation, not politicians and party officers in backroom decisions. Last we checked, this was Texas, not Russia.” A judge only needed a few hours to reject the party’s request for an emergency order, and the Democrats quickly dropped their lawsuit.
Houston’s famous bat colony below the Waugh Street overpass bridge has been “crippled” by Hurricane Harvey, bat experts told the Houston Chronicle. Tens of thousands of bats were killed or displaced from their home at the Waugh Bat Colony during the storm. Each day, the bats take flight from beneath the bridge as the sun goes down to search for food, and it has become a popular spectator event for families and wildlife lovers in the Bayou City. “Pre-Harvey, we had at least 300,000 bats in the bridge,” Diana Foss, a wildlife biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and coordinator of the Houston area bat team, told the Chronicle. “But watching the emergence at Waugh right now is kind of depressingly lower than that. What I’m seeing is, about half the bats are emerging.” As water rose from the bayou beneath the bridge during the storm, the bats found themselves with nowhere near the fifteen feet of clearance required to drop down from their roosts and take flight. Some residents dramatically tried to save the drowning bats, but they couldn’t save them all. “There are some dead bats up in the bridge,” Foss told the Chronicle. “We can see them, their little bodies, and it’s incredibly sad. But there are, thankfully, still living bats up in the bridge. And they’re using crevices that don’t have the dead bats in them.” A lot of the bats moved to nearby parking garages, and it’s unclear if they’ll return to the bridge.
K-Lani Nava, the kicker for Strawn’s six-man—well, not exactly six-man—football squad, made history on Wednesday as the first female player in a UIL state championship game, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The senior converted nine of ten extra points to help Strawn beat Balmorhea 78-42 and take the Class 1A Six-Man Division II state championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. “It’s amazing,” Nava said after the game, according to the Star-Telegram. “It’s the best way to end my career, my senior year, everything . . . it’s the best feeling ever.” Strawn ended its season with a perfect record, as its top-ranked defense in the state managed to stifle Balmorhea’s highest-scoring offense. But Nava’s historic accomplishments might overshadow the team’s achievement. Her story is already making national headlines and has been picked up by ESPN. “It feels pretty great,” she said. “I didn’t really think about it too much today because I didn’t it want it too much in my head and freak out. I just acted like every other girl played on this field like me.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Transgender Texans talk about what it’s like to navigate public restrooms Texas Tribune
Dallas County juvenile detainees are subject to cruel and unusual punishment Dallas Morning News
Trump’s border wall could threaten the Mount Christo Rey statue between El Paso and Juarez El Paso Times