The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
Hailstorms caused over $5 billion in damage to Texas homes in 2016, setting a new record.
The old record was set just the year before in 2015. That year hail losses totaled $1.9 billion.
“But last year it seemed like the hail was relentless. And we had several…weeks where every day someplace in Texas was getting hit by large hail,” says Mark Hanna, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas.
He says 2016 was so costly because cities like Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, El Paso and San Antonio took a beating.
“And when you have a hailstorm that covers a metropolitan area like this. It has a lot of damage and it’s very costly as we found out,” Hanna says.
In fact, San Antonio set the record for the costliest hailstorm in Texas history, when an April 2016 storm caused $1.4 billion in insured losses.
Hanna doesn’t know for sure, but he suspects Texas felt hail’s icy wrath more than any other place in the country last year.
“It may be the costliest year on record for any state,” Hanna says.
He says despite two record-breaking years in a row, hailstorm damage this year isn’t on track with that trend.
Fresh off an appearance at an Independence Day celebration in McAllen where he was met with protests, Senator Ted Cruz headed to McKinney.
The Republican senator was in north Texas Wednesday for the first of three town hall-style meetings hosted by the advocacy group Concerned Veterans for America.
Before the event started, Cruz told reporters he was optimistic Republicans will be able to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act soon.
He then told the McKinney crowd he doesn’t just embrace choice and competition at the VA.
“I’m a big believer that the more individuals can have choice, the more competition we have the better,” Cruz said. “That is front and center. We’re obviously having major debates about Obamacare. I’m doing everything I can to lead the fight to repeal Obamacare and to give people choice.”
The next town hall is Thursday in Austin, followed by a third in Houston on Saturday.
The sweet stylings of the 323rd Army Band at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio were captured in a 2014 YouTube video.
But soon, this historic band will play its final song.
It is one of four armed service bands nationwide being deactivated next year. The band, informally called Fort Sam’s Own, performs roughly 350 times a year at military funerals, command changes and parades.
The band is the last in a continuous line of Fort Sam bands stretching back to the 1890s.