Texas Standard for December 14, 2021

All politics is local, the saying goes…but hyperpartisan, too? How the Texas landscape is changing for local and school board races. Republicans in Potter County, home to Amarillo, say they’ll conduct their own primary without the help of election officials and they’re urging other Texas counties to do the same. We’ll have the latest. And: Texans sparked a lithium battery revolution, now another Texas breakthrough that could lead to something more sustainable and stable. Also: A critically acclaimed Texas trio hits it big, inspired by the sounds of Houston. Our conversation with the members of Khruangbin and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardDecember 14, 2021 9:30 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

GOP and the Local Level

Positions on Texas school boards and city council are supposed to be nonpartisan. But local disputes over school materials and COVID-19 protocols are increasingly scrambling that notion as conservatives charge into these races. It’s the subject of Ross Ramsey’s latest analysis for the Texas Tribune where he’s executive editor and co-founder. He joins with more at the top of the show.

Potter County GOP Primary

In Potter County – home to Amarillo, Texas – the local Republican party says it plans on conducting its own 2022 primaries without the help of county election officials. Why they want to do this is a little more clear than how they plan on doing it. Jessica Huseman is reporting the story for VoteBeat.org. She joins us today.

County Disability Park

A new playground that accommodates children and adults of all abilities is now open in Northeast Harris County It’s one of only a handful of such parks in Texas. Houston Public Media’s Cory McGinnis tells us how children and others with disabilities now have a park to call their own.

Sodium Sulfur Battery Research

Lithium ion batteries are the dominant technology when it comes to just about anything rechargeable, from cars to cell phones. But lithium mining also wreaks havoc on the environment – essentially trading out one ecological problem for another. Now, a new breakthrough from University of Texas researchers hones in on a more sustainable alternative to lithium: sodium. UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering professor David Mitlin helped develop the new material, and joins us today with more.

Invisible Wall, part 1

Almost 800,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, and just over 73,000 of those people died in Texas. But psychologists say the loss goes beyond the official death count: the devastating effects of loneliness and isolation may stay with us long after the pandemic is over. KERA contributor Sujata Dand explores the impact in a new series called “The Invisible Wall,” focusing on how loneliness connects to both mental and physical health. It’s a part of KERA’s On Our Minds reporting initiative.

Khruangbin on 2021 Success

In Thai, Khruangbin translates to “airplane.” And indeed, Houston trio Khruangbin has soared to new heights since takeoff over a decade ago: three acclaimed full-length albums, a televised Austin City Limits debut, collaborations with Fort Worth’s Leon Bridges and more. Ahead of a string of year-end Texas dates, we’re speaking with Khruangbin bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer and drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson.

Forensic Hypnosis in Texas, part 1

When police have an eyewitness to a crime but that witness is fuzzy on the details, what can they do? In Texas, cops can turn to forensic hypnosis. Hypnotizing witnesses is controversial, and even called “junk science” by some. Still, testimony obtained via hypnosis is allowed in Texas courtrooms – and has even been used to send people to death row. Texas Public Radio’s David Martin Davies explains how hypnosis helped send Charles Don Flores to death row in part 1 of this in-depth look.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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