The State of Texas: June 3, 2015
Video of the Day
Yes, the floods are bad and people have lost their lives and homes. But for ABC News, the worst part about all the flooding are the piles of worms surfacing. To be fair, these “mysterious globs of earth worms” are kind of gross.
Texas By The Numbers
Lockdown – Number of bikers arrested after Waco shootout: 175. Number released on bond since May 17 incident: 25. Number of those released on a $100,000 bound: nine. On a $25,000 bond: eight.
Texas-Made – Amount for total goods exported by Texas in 2013: $279.7 billion. Number of companies that exported goods: 40,737. Percentage of small to mid-sized companies that exported Texas’s merchandise goods: 30.6 percent.
The Price of Education – Amount Texas ISDs spend per student: $8,299. Amount spent per year on elementary-secondary: $40 million. Total amount for salaries and wages: $27.7 million. Houston’s rank among nation’s largest elementary-secondary school systems: seventh. Dallas: fourteenth.
Dead Giver Walking – The soon-to-be oldest person ever put to death in Texas is expected to be executed tonight. “Lester Bower Jr. [age 67] faces lethal injection for the October 1983 fatal shootings,” according to the Associated Press, though he has “no remorse” as he maintains his innocence. “Bower is nearly 1½ years older than William Chappell, who was executed at age 66 in Texas in 2002. Nationally, a 74-year-old prisoner was put to death in Alabama in 2004.” In other execution news, 27-year-old Daniel Lee Lopez wants to ensure that his organs are donated to save others. “Non-death row Texas inmates are allowed to become organ donors and prisons facilitate secure travel to hospitals for the operations,” according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. “The problem with Lopez’ request is Texas injects a single dose of pentobarbital which poisons the organs, said Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.” Lopez has been legally pushing for the issue, but as the story notes, his “effort looks like an uphill battle, especially with his limited time. Lopez is scheduled to be executed Aug. 12.”
It’s Not the Size of the Gavel – Much ink has been spilled over the Eighty-fourth Legislature, but few stories are as interesting as this one from the Associated Press. “At 5 feet 5 inches tall,” Representative Kenneth Sheets is “one of the smallest members of the Texas Legislature.” But, wonderfully, Sheets has “broken six solid, walnut gavels … in this past 140-day session alone. None of the chamber’s other 149 members—even House Speaker Joe Straus, who wields them far more often—broke any.” At $38 each, Sheets strong-armed efforts may be expensive to taxpayers, but it is the most impressive display of brute strength.
Aquarium Glass Half Full – Or more than half full. “After nearly 400 fish were accidentally killed at the Texas State Aquarium in April, the facility’s animal population is almost back to original capacity,” reports the Caller-Times. “The Flower Gardens exhibit has been stocked with colorful fish and the aquarium is working on acquiring a sand tiger shark. The facility is also considering adding smaller Bonnethead sharks to the exhibit.” The restocking efforts have largely been of the it-takes-a-village mindset, with aquariums from other states like Louisiana and California donating fish to Texas.
Dream Job – Have you ever walked into a 7-Eleven and thought to yourself, “I’d love to be king of this castle”? Well, now’s your chance. Back in February, “the Dallas-based company … made a zero-franchise fee offer on 200 of its low-volume stores, including 31 in Texas.” The good news is that the offer—like a coupon for a free hot-dog-and-slushee combo—is still valid. As the Dallas Morning News writes, “This discount is equal to a savings of as much as $80,000 in franchise fees. Since that initial offer, 7-Eleven added a few locations. There are 33 stores still available in Texas with no franchise fee”