News Roundup: San Marcos’ First African-American Church Is Now A Historic Landmark

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartNovember 9, 2018 1:08 pm

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

The San Marcos City Council has voted unanimously to designate the city’s first African-American church as a historic landmark. It was burned down in 1873 by the Ku Klux Klan and took almost three decades to rebuild. KUT’s DaLyah Jones has more:

The church was built in 1866 in a historically black neighborhood, and served as the religious and social center for black people in San Marcos. The historical designation comes after San Marcos won a $150,000 preservation grant last month to restore the church, which has been vacant since 1986. Josie Falletta is with the city of San Marcos:

“It’s a really beautiful story because they’ve included the members of the original congregation in this conversation. They’ve included the Calaboose African American History Museum, which is directly across the street, in the conversation. So, there’s been a lot of community input and buy-in in the process, which is pretty amazing.”

A private landowner bought the property last year and planned to scrap it, but after learning about its history, the landowner partnered with the city to preserve it.

The state of Texas is pushing to execute an inmate on death row, even though prosecutors and defense lawyers agree he’s intellectually disabled. Earlier this week, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office took the unusual step of siding with the defense attorneys for Bobby Moore in a supreme court filing. But then the Texas Attorney General’s office stepped in.

“In a somewhat unusual move, the AG’s office filed a brief saying that they would like to represent the state on this case and, you know, argue that he is fit to execute,” says Keri Blakinger who covers criminal justice for the Houston Chronicle.

She says Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office argued that that the DA’s office represents only one county, and not the attorney general’s interest.

“They also argued that the court requires that there be an opposing party when it’s in front of the supreme court at this point, and that the DA’s office was not actually representing opposition, in this case, if they agree with the defense,” Blakinger says.

It’s just the latest in a case that has had implications on how the state determines intellectual disability. A 2017 U.S. Supreme Court ruling said that Texas had not been properly calculating an inmate’s fitness to be executed in cases similar to Moore’s.

It’s still unclear whether the AG’s office will be allowed to take over the case.

Historic Mission-Control consoles have landed in Houston. On Thursday, refurbished equipment used during the Apollo-era space missions returned to Houston from Kansas-based company SpaceWorks. The restoration is part of a multimillion-dollar project celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The plan is to restore Mission Control to look exactly as it did for the 1969 moon landing. The full exhibit is expected to open to the public in July 2019.