The State of Texas: July 30, 2014
The Houston Zoo’s famous two-headed turtle, Thelma and Louise, went to that big ocean in the sky. The cause of death is unknown. She was about a year old.
Texas By The Numbers
Unhappy Trails — Amount state parks contributed to Texas economy in 2013: $173.4 million. Number of visitors: 3.5 million. Number of jobs supported: 2,374. Amount contributed in 2012: $188.1 million. Visitors: 457,000 more than 2013. Jobs supported: 2,592. Cause of decline from 2012 to 2013: the government shutdown.
Show Me The Money — Amount a Johnny Manziel A&M jersey is expected to sell for at an upcoming auction: $100,000+. Price paid for Paul Hornung’s 1954-55 Notre Dame jersey, reportedly the highest for such an item: $26,290. Amount originally posted on eBay forManziel’s jersey: $300,000. Amount paid for a pair of Manziel’s cleats at a previous auction: $7,760.
Our Little Miracles — Number of Texas metro areas that made the list of 150 recession recovery cities: sixteen. Number in the top ten: six. Rank of San Antonio: 49th. Rank of Laredo: First.
Star Border Presence — All those unaccompanied minors crossed the border to come to America and, now, America has literally come to them. The star of Ugly Betty, America Ferrera, visited the Sacred Heart Church shelter in McAllen over the weekend. As far as guest appearances at the border go, this one wasn’t too bad, lacking completely in the sanctimonious posturing of the politicians who’ve done the same.The Emmy-winning actress is also a humanitarian-immigration advocate and “spearheaded a donation of nearly $10,000 worth of supplies to the shelter,” reports The Monitor. The issue is right up Ferrera’s wheelhouse. Her parents came from Honduras and her husband, Ryan Piers Williams, hails from El Paso. While the pair were making their appearance at the border, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the National Guard’s Major General made an appearance in Austin, before the “House Select Committee on the Fiscal Impact of Texas Border Support Operations,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. The gist of their testimonies was … confusing. They both said Governor Rick Perry’s decision to send 1,000 National Guardsmen to the border was probably kinda pointless, but they support it nonetheless. “I did not make that recommendation [of sending the troops],” stated DPS director Steve McCraw. During the testimony, Committee Chairman Dennis Bonnen summed up the contradictory thoughts: “I agree with decision to deploy the Guard, but I don’t think it’s the most intelligent long-term strategy.”
All-American Chancellor — When the University of Texas needs a new chancellor, it does not mess around. The UT board of regents has named Admiral William H. McRaven as the sole finalist for the position being vacated by Francisco G. Cigarroa. If the Admiral’s name doesn’t ring bell, perhaps his previous accomplishments might: The UT alumnus is “best known for commanding the Special Operations team that killed Osama bin Laden,” according to the Houston Chronicle. That’s right. UT, being in a bit of disarray with regard to leadership, decided to pull out all the guns and get an actual American war hero to right its ship. “McRaven will retire on Aug. 28 from the Navy. But his transition to UT won’t be immediate; Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa will stay on until December before returning to his pediatric transplant practice at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.”
Los Raiders — It seems that San Antonio’s NBA Championship win has suddenly made it the sports capital of the future. “Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and two top lieutenants met recently with several San Antonio officials to discuss the potential of moving his NFL team from the Bay Area to the Alamo City, local leaders involved in the talks confirmed Tuesday,” reports the Express-News. “San Antonio has often been used as a bargaining chip for pro sports franchises trying to negotiate better deals in their own respective cities, but sources have characterized [owner Mark] Davis’ interest in San Antonio to be at least somewhat more serious. He is clearly perturbed with his current situation in Oakland, where the team’s lease expires after the 2014-15 season.” The Raiders’ office met with top officials, including then-mayor Julián Castro, and took a tour of the Alamodome. City manager Sheryl Sculley “wrote that those discussions were preliminary and confidential and that she would update the council as things progressed. … If the Raiders moved here, though, Davis is expected to seek a new stadium within a few years, after the team had proved itself in the Alamo City.”
Dog Day Afternoon (Explained) — A little more than a year ago, Weatherford resident Sara Elizabeth Soto’s arrest went viral. That’s because she was reportedly caught in a house, completely naked after having shimmied her way via the doggie door. Why is she being mentioned now? Well, “not a single journalist reached out for her side of the story,” reports MTV’s Marty Beckerman, who actually did the due diligence and came back with a story that’s “weirder than anyone imagined.” This is an undisputed fact, evidenced by the epic interview with Soto. The piece is definitely worth a read in-full. Among the highlights: Soto “got naked as a weirdly logical safety strategy” — she didn’t want to appear to be stealing anything from the house. She didn’t actually go through the doggie door, but reached in to unlock the human-y door. Her underwear is still considered a missing person. She is currently a budding rapper who goes by the name Sara Toke-A-Lot. These are things you cannot make up.