— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) February 3, 2016
Texas by the Numbers
Child Brides — Number of children between the ages of 15 and 17 who were married in Texas between 2009 and 2013: 718. County with the highest number of marriages: Harris. Number of marriages: 120. Second highest figure, in Hidalgo County: 106. Tarrant: 40. Bexar: 40.
Avoiding Death — Number of exonerations nationally last year: 149. In Texas: 54. Rank among states for exonerating prisoners: First. Second place: New York. Number of exonerations in New York: 17. Texas county with highest number of exonerations: Harris. Number of exonerations there: 42.
Top Recruit — Number of 247Sports’ top-ranked 2015 high school football players: 300. Number that came from Texas: 42. As a portion: 14 percent. In 2014: 35. In 2013: 41. Number of FBS schools in the state: 11. Percentage of in-state commitments from high schoolers to those schools: 73 percent.
Getting Smaller — Where are you Rick Perry? We need you! As he was quite fond of touting, Texas was a great place for business, big or small. But that’s changed in the past year. As a whole, “Texas fell off its perch as the No. 1 state for small business jobs, ceding the spot to Washington last month,” writes the Dallas Morning News. Some metro areas are taking bigger hits than others. “While the state lost small business jobs from December to January, Dallas showed some weakness but kept its top ranking among metro areas for the 16th consecutive month.” Houston can never seem to learn from its history. The city, which was also a leading growth area until last year, fell harder than both Dallas and Austin which have more diversified economies. The drop was inevitable. “In 2015, Texas held the No. 1 spot only twice — in September and December — trading the ranking with Washington, which dominated. Georgia was the only other state at the top of the list last year, in January and March.”
Heroes — This is your infrequent reminder that The Man can be pretty cool sometimes. “The city of Austin’s Transportation Department confirmed Tuesday that they will not be pursuing criminal charges against [South By Southwest co-founder Roland] Swenson and Jason Carter, an Austin sign maker” the rebel, rebels who put the David Bowie Street sign after the legendary artists died late last month, according to the Austin American-Statesman. In keeping with the jovial spirit of the rebel art, the article said for “the Transportation Department, everything appears hunky-dory.” All’s well that ends well. “Swenson and Carter could have been charged with theft and criminal mischief for the changes they made to the Bowie Street sign at Third Street, following Bowie’s death on Jan. 10. Under pressure from the possibility of prosecution, the two confessed to being behind the sign change, which they altered by placing a decal over the original sign, which is across the street from the SXSW offices.” A couple fun facts about how official the tribute actually got, apart from de facto approval: “During that time, the Transportation updated the city’s 911 dispatch system to include the 300 block of David Bowie Street in case anyone referred to it that way in a 911 call. And one planner made sure workers in the sign department didn’t act too fast to fix the sign, which was restored to its original condition on Jan. 19.” Oh! You pretty things.
Our Cross to Build— From the “Bigger in Texas” Department: “If all goes to plan, one day Corpus Christi will be the home of the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere,” writes the Houston Chronicle. “On Sunday afternoon the project broke ground on a site off Interstate 37 … Eventually there will be a 210 feet tall (about 19 stories) cross on that plot of land for all to see. It will be visible to planes flying into Corpus Christi International Airport and be able to seen five miles away by land and double that by air.” The cross did have humble origins — it was originally going to be a mere 150 feet high. And it would seem that only God himself will be able to take it down. “The cross will be made of steel plating and reinforced by a concrete and steel base which goes down 48 feet below grade. Hurricane force winds shouldn’t be an issue.” The project is estimated to cost $1 million, “of which over $142,000 has already been collected.”