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Amarillo City Council rejects so-called abortion travel ban

After months of debate, the Amarillo City Council rejected a so-called abortion travel ban, championed by statewide anti-abortion activists and certain residents. The council’s decision made Amarillo the largest conservative Texas city to reject the proposed policy, which would forbid the use of the city’s roads and highways to seek an abortion out of state. Now, a group of residents who petitioned for the ordinance will decide if the issue goes to voters in the Texas Panhandle city this fall. In rejecting the proposal, Amarillo Mayor Cole Stanley said the city has no authority to put the proposed policy in place. “What you’re asking me to do is put forward this ordinance and enact it into city law, that would exercise an authority I don’t believe I have,” Stanley said. The council first debated the issue last fall when a string of other Texas cities and counties passed similar local laws, which abortion rights advocates and legal experts consider dubious and unconstitutional. Amarillo residents, backed by Texas anti-abortion activist Mark Lee Dickson, forced the council to revisit the issue this year after they gathered enough petition signatures of registered voters. Two versions of the ordinance were considered during Tuesday’s meeting. Both were rejected on a…


Valley View community continues to recover and mourn one week after deadly tornadoes

“Just yesterday, by instinct, I was coming home,” said Carlos Pineda, standing on his front porch. But all that’s left of his home of 11 years is a tangled mess of debris behind him. Only traces of the memories inside remain: A tricycle, a toy dinosaur, a puzzle piece. A loss that’s hard to understand for some of his kids. “She started crying in her room, she was like, ‘What happened to my bedroom?’” said Pineda of his 9-year-old daughter. He said he was at work last weekend, and his wife and four children were able to drive off just minutes before the tornado tore through. His neighbors didn’t have enough time– the family was thrown 50 feet outside of their home, including a newborn baby. Pineda said one of the family members is still in the hospital with injuries, but the rest survived with cuts. “All we could do was just start cleaning up. That was our way of coping with this,” he said. It’s been difficult– even after a week of cleanup, debris still litters the properties of Valley View. “We’ve been cleaning nonstop since this happened. Nonstop. And it…


Texas Amber Alert issued for two children, ages 4 and 5, last seen in DeWitt County

A Texas Amber Alert has been issued for two children who were last seen on Tuesday night, officials said. According to the DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office, officials are searching for Aiydann Ribera who is described as a 4-year-old Hispanic male who is 3’0″, weighs 34 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a neon orange shirt, black shorts, and black shoes. Officials said they are also searching for Angel Ribera, a 5-year-old Hispanic, who 3’5”, weighs 45 pounds, and has black hair and black eyes. He was last seen wearing a neon yellow shirt, black shorts, and black shoes. Both boys were last seen at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, in the 120 block of East 5th Street in Yorktown, Texas, officials said. According to the DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office, police are searching for 24-year-old Julian Ribera in connection with their abduction. Officials said Ribera is described as a Hispanic male who is 5’11”, weighs 175 pounds, and has brown hair and black eyes. Ribera was last seen in San Antonio wearing unknown clothing. Officials said Ribera is driving a black 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe bearing Texas license plate number FVK0342. According to law…


The energy transition is happening in Texas. Here’s one example

Not only is money coming from the state legislature but also from Washington D.C. When the CEO of ERCOT gave an update in late April, he mentioned the Inflation Reduction Act money passed by Congress is bringing more renewable energy to Texas, which will help the grid overall. New projects are coming to Texas from the Biden Administration. Some projects will use power like $78 billion worth of semiconductor and electric facilities. Others aim to increase the use of renewable and green energy like $18 billion in clean energy manufacturing and infrastructure. Plus $49 billion in clean power according to a database from the White House. One of those programs will get more solar panels on top of North Texas homes and businesses. Lone Star Politics got a look at how that will happen. A class of apprentice electricians are well on their way to a profession in Grand Prairie. At the training center for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 20 more than four hundred students learn how power system work and how to install them in homes and businesses. A group that is in their second year. In year five they’ll learn solar panels…


Supreme Court leaves Texas law in place requiring adult websites to verify users’ ages

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block a Texas law requiring pornographic websites to verify the age of their users. The justices rejected an emergency appeal filed by the Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult entertainment industry. The provision of House Bill 1181, signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, remains in effect even as the association’s full appeal is weighed by the Supreme Court. There were no noted dissents from the court’s one-sentence order. Similar age verification laws have passed in other states, including Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia. The Texas law carries fines of up to $10,000 per violation that could be raised to up to $250,000 per violation by a minor. Last year, a federal judge blocked the law’s age verification requirement and health warnings, finding that they likely violated the Constitution. But in March, a divided panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the age verification ruling, although it upheld the health warnings ruling that adult sites can’t be forced to publish statements with which they disagree. The health warnings, disputed by the industry, included that pornography is addictive, impairs mental development and increases the…


Gov. Abbott orders flags in Fritch to half-staff to honor fire chief who died in the line of duty

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered flags in the Panhandle town of Fritch to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Fritch Fire Chief Zeb Smith. According to a letter sent to Fritch Mayor Tom Ray, Abbott’s office said Smith died in the line of duty “while responding to a structure fire.” “The first lady and I extend prayers of comfort for the Smith family during their time of grief,” said Abbott. “We urge all Texans to remember and honor Chief Smith’s service as a brave and dedicated firefighter.” Smith’s obituary said he was “a true hero” who died “serving his fellow man.” Smith, 40, will be remembered in a memorial service on Saturday at Grace Church in Fritch. Smith began firefighting in 2016 and began volunteering for the Fritch Volunteer Fire Department in 2017. He was named chief in 2020. He is survived by his two sons, Zane and Braylan. The governor’s order covers the flags of Texas and the United States. Individuals, businesses and government facilities in the surrounding area are also allowed to fly their flags at half-staff in Smith’s honor, the governor’s letter said. Flags should return to full staff within 10 days. Courtesy of Texas…


Unanswered questions remain after Dallas woman with loss of memory found in Mexico

A Dallas woman is back in the U.S. with her family days after she was found driving in a small town in rural Mexico with no knowledge of how she got there. Enola Harris, 76, told police in Muzquiz, Mexico, that she had left her home in Dallas two days earlier – somehow ending up nearly 10 hours away and crossing the border into the Mexican state of Coahuila. “It is so strange,” said Tania Flores, mayor of the town of Muzquiz. After driving Harris back across the border into Texas on Sunday, the small-town mayor in Mexico told NBC 5 she still had questions about how this situation happened. “An old lady, 76 years old, that has amnesia, she ended up in a small little town in Mexico two days after,” Flores said. “She didn’t have clothes, and like how, how?” It all started just after midnight on Saturday morning in the rural town of Muzquiz, Coah., located about an hour and a half southwest of the U.S.-Mexico border. Police saw Harris with Texas plates driving the wrong way through downtown. “And they pull her over, and they realize that she did not have a clue where she was,” Flores…


Federal court hearing to decide whether controversial immigration law can take effect in March

Texas’ controversial state immigration-enforcement bill heads to federal court in Austin on Thursday morning. Senate bill 4 will allow law enforcement to arrest and remove migrants believed to have entered the state illegally. Two lawsuits, including one by the U.S. government, are trying to stop the bill from officially becoming law in three weeks. It essentially comes down to the United States versus the state of Texas – the federal hearing is set to begin at 9 a.m. SB4 was passed by Texas lawmakers late last year during their fourth special session. It will allow state and local law enforcement to arrest people they suspect entered Texas illegally. Law enforcement can jail and prosecute migrants from any country and state judges would also be authorized to order a migrant to return to Mexico, regardless of their nationality and not having any ties there. Just days after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law, a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project on behalf of El Paso-based Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, American Gateways, and El Paso County. A motion for preliminary injunction followed in January 2024. Then the Department…


How a small Texas city landed in the spotlight during the state-federal clash over border security

As a ceremony with the blaring horns of mariachi musicians and rhythmic click-clack of horse hooves was about to begin, Mayor Rolando Salinas took a moment to reflect that his Texas border city is “more than just the immigration crisis that you see in the media.” Cowboys and cowgirls from Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras, Mexico, met Friday on one of their two international bridges to begin a weeklong ride to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. The annual ritual is a point of local pride even as Eagle Pass draws wide attention for a showdown between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Biden administration over policing the border for illegal crossings. “It shows you the connectivity between the United States and Mexico,” Salinas said as he observed final preparations for the annual ”La Cabalgata Internacional La Grande.” A few hours later, about 200 advocates were in a festive mood in the nearby town of Quemado ahead of a “Take Back Our Border” rally on Saturday. Connie Hinton, 56, said she showed up with her father from Austin, Texas, because “they need to get the people that are here illegally under control.” The rally, which began with a trucker convoy…


Federal officials consider adding 10 more species, including big bumble bee, to endangered list

Federal wildlife officials announced Wednesday they will consider adding 10 new species to the Endangered Species Act, including a big bumble bee that serves as a key pollinator across the United States. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said they had completed 90-day reviews of petitions to add the species to the list and determined that listing may be warranted. The finding triggers reviews of the species’ status. One of the more prominent species up for consideration is the Southern Plains bumble bee. This large black-and-yellow bumble bee inhabits open prairies, meadows, and grasslands in the mid-Atlantic states and the Plains states from Texas to North Dakota. It’s also found in the grasslands and savannas in the southeastern U.S., including Florida. Queens can grow as large as an inch (26 mm); workers can grow to as large as three-quarters of an inch (18 mm). The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2022 to include the bee on the Endangered Species List. According to the center, habitat loss and degradation, as well as pesticides, have led to sharp population declines in the southern Plains states, including Texas and Oklahoma, as well as in Alabama and Mississippi….