The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
The FBI is still looking for answers about what led to the death of a West Texas border patrol agent nearly two weeks ago. Now they’re expanding their search beyond Texas.
Reporter Mallory Falk has more:
The FBI is running digital billboards in four states along the southwest border, and offering a reward of up to $45,000 for information. They’re seeking drivers who passed through the Van Horn area between 10pm and midnight on November 18.
That’s when two border patrol agents were found, injured and unconscious, in a culvert. Agent Rogelio Martinez later died. The FBI is investigating the event as a potential assault but they aren’t ruling out accidental causes. Other Texas officials have made competing claims. Some say Agent Martinez was attacked, while others suggest he might have fallen while on patrol.
Most Texas school superintendents got raises this year, according to the latest salary survey from two statewide nonprofits.
Houston Public Media’s Laura Isensee has details.
Almost two-thirds of Texas districts gave their school chiefs a raise this year. On average they got about an extra three percent to their base pay, bringing the average salary to $146,000.
That continues a trend of steady increases in pay for superintendents across the state. The Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators released the results.
The joint survey also shows that leaders in the fastest growing districts outside metro areas got the biggest average increase – about four percent.
In major urban districts, like Houston, the average pay was more than $300,000 but only rose by about one percent.
Earlier this month, Big Bend Ranch State Park in west Texas was designated as an International Dark Sky Park. To earn this, the park needed to meet specific requirements related to the quality and health of the night sky in their area.
Amber Harrison is a park ranger at Big Bend Ranch State Park. “Our neighbor, Big Bend National Park was awarded this in 2012 and so we wanted to join them in the designation as a way to sort of show our support for preservation and conversation of dark skies,” Harrison says.
Harrison says as part of that commitment to maintaining natural night skies – she’s starting a dark sky steward program.
“And I’ll be enlisting volunteer – whether you’re an amateur astronomer or a professional astronomer or an amateur or professional astro-photographer, I will be soliciting volunteers from the public to help us monitor the quality of the night sky over time.”
Harrison expects to have that volunteer program up and running within the next month.