News Roundup: Texas Students Pen Open Letter To Gov. Greg Abbott On Gun Violence

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 23, 2018 1:42 pm

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

Dozens of students from across Texas published a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott on gun violence as an ad in the Houston Chronicle.

They demand policy change and say the governor is letting students die on his watch. Houston Public Media’s Laura Isensee reports.

High school junior Marcel McClinton reads part of the letter he and forty other students signed. “Dear Governor Abbott, our job is to be good students. Your job is to keep us safe. You have failed at your job like so many politicians cozy with the NRA,” he says.

McClinton says they want policy change from Abbott, like laws on safe gun storage. He says the recent school shooting has put students across the region on edge.

“Students who I talk to, myself included, we just want, like, to live through the summer,” he says. He and other organizers with March for Our Lives plan to keep pushing for change this summer.

A new survey out Wednesday finds Texas parks have room for improvement.

The nonprofit Trust for Public Land ranked park systems in the nation’s 100 largest cities. The annual ParkScore Index weighs four factors – acreage, park access, investment, and amenities like bathrooms and basketball hoops.

Plano is the Texas city that scored the highest, ranking 18th on the index. Charlie McCabe is the trust’s Director for the Center of City Park Excellence.

“Plano has benefited from being a newer city, and a city that has done a fair amount of planning and thinking about how residential areas are created, how they interface with commercial areas, and where you put parks,” McCabe says.

Most other large Texas cities landed in the bottom half of the ParkScore Index, except for Austin and Dallas, which ranked 42nd and 49th respectively.

A toothy beaver has emerged victorious in its legal battle with a lip-licking green gator. Buc-ee’s had sued a competing chain of travel-stop convenience stores, Choke Canyon, arguing its alligator logo is too similar to their own.

On Tuesday, a jury sided with Buc-ees and found the grinning gator logo violated state and federal trademark law.

Matt McCutchin is a lecturer with the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations at the University of Texas at Austin.

He says he’s a little bit surprised by the jury’s decision.

“I think it’s always surprising when you have a jury draw that line between what are too many elements of similarity,” McCutchin says.

McCutchin says a similar brand, Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q, also uses red and yellow in their logo, like both Buc-ees and Choke Canyon. But he says the heart of the issue here is whether there are too many overlaps between the two logos.

“When you start introducing animals then that takes it to another level,” McCutchin says. “Then you start introducing a circle element, that’s another element. And then you start taking a friendly angle, and then put a hat on that animal, and then it starts to be a whole lot closer, because if you literally just made a list of elements there are far more in common.”

The Houston Chronicle reports that lawyers for Choke Canyon found that 99 percent of the 300 people they surveyed were not confused between the two brands.