The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
John Sealy Hospital in Galveston will be closed indefinitely after a fire on Wednesday. The hospital is part of the University of Texas Medical Branch.
The Galveston County Daily News reports that the fire started on the second floor of a south tower – it forced about 200 people to evacuate the building. Forty-three patients were taken to emergency rooms, and five non-patients received treatment for smoke inhalation. The exact source of the fire has not yet been identified.
State sales tax receipts were almost 5 percent higher in December 2016 than they were in December 2015. That’s the largest single-month increase in more than a year-and-a-half.
But Texas lawmakers will still face a tighter budget than in past sessions when coffers were filled with taxes collected in the oil and gas boom. Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News explains one month of good news doesn’t mean state revenues are back on track:
“End of the fracking boom really sort of hurt sales tax revenues, and that’s our revenue workhorse is sales tax,” he says. “All indicators have been that it’s going to be a tight budget session, and all indicators remain that it’s going to be a tight budget session.”
On Monday, state Comptroller Glen Hegar is expected make his two-year revenue estimate, which tells lawmakers large the state’s budget will be.
James Kenner of Houston could be in for quite a windfall, thanks to a French naturalist sculptor and public television program “Antiques Roadshow.” Kenner brought a family-owned sculpture to Fort Worth, where Antiques Roadshow was filming its season premiere.
The sculpture turned out to be “Eternal Spring” by 19th-century French artist Auguste Rodin.
The big question now is whether the cast that made Kenner’s sculpture was a reproduction or one of the originals. So before Kenner can rush off to the auction house, he’s got to get the sculpture certifying that it’s the real deal by the Committee Auguste Rodin in France.