In The Rio Grande Valley, Communities Have High Poverty Rates – But Low Maternal Mortality

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelNovember 29, 2017 1:29 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.


Parents of Sutherland Springs Shooting Victim Takes Legal Action

The parents of a victim in the Sutherland Springs shooting have filed a claim with the federal government, saying their son’s death resulted from Air Force negligence. Joe and Claryce Holcombe’s son, visiting pastor John Bryan Holcombe, was one of nine members of the family killed in the shooting – including an unborn child.

Texas Public Radio’s Carson Frame reports they’re seeking wrongful death damages.

The Holcombes’ claim states that even though Devin Kelley pulled the trigger, “failures by the U.S. Air Force and others allowed the shooter to purchase, own, and/or possess the semiautomatic rifle, ammunition, and body armor he used.”

Sutherland Springs shooter Devin Patrick Kelley received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force after a 2012 court martial for domestic assault. On November 6, the Air Force admitted that it failed to submit Kelley’s fingerprint card as well as the outcome of his court martial to the FBI as required. If that information had been filed, it should have prevented Kelley from buying guns.


A new report finds high poverty rates and low maternal mortality rates in the Rio Grande Valley

Sixty-eight percent of children in the Rio Grande Valley live in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to a new report. That’s compared to 18 percent of children statewide.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities has been examining how Texas kids fare in different regions of the state, and today they released a report on child well being in the Rio Grande Valley.

Kristie Tingle, a research analyst with the Austin-based think tank, says it’s important to keep in mind that the poverty level is the same across the state regardless of local variations in the cost of living.

“However what we’re seeing in the Valley is even when we consider there might be a lower of cost of living overall, these are still extremely high poverty numbers compared to the rest of the state”, says Tingle. “So it’s very concerning for children’s well-being.”

The report, which looks at things like education, immigration, and health, also found that women of childbearing age in the region are much more likely to be uninsured than in the rest of Texas. 47 percent of women in Hidalgo County and 38 percent in Cameron County lack healthcare – compared to 23 percent of women statewide. However, the rate of maternal mortality is much lower in the Rio Grande Valley than in Texas as a whole.

“And that’s interesting because the data we’re looking at would sort of us make it think it might go the other way,” says Tingle. “But one possible explanation is that statewide and countrywide we’ve seen that Hispanic women have lower rates of maternal mortality than white or black women.” The population of the Rio Grande Valley is predominantly Hispanic. Tingle adds that there still isn’t research that fully explains racial and ethnic differences in maternal mortality rates.


Texans dominate Twitter in 2017

Texans basically won Instagram in 2017. Houston’s-own Beyoncé garnered the most likes of the year for a single post on the social media platform. That was on her iconic pregnancy photo with 11.1 million ‘likes.’ She is also the fourth most followed celebrity on Instagram with 108 million followers.

Grand Prairie’s Selena Gomez is the most followed person on Instagram with 130 million followers. That’s up from 103 million followers last year.