Texas Standard for December 16, 2021

Texas’ $35 billion infrastructure dollars: Governor Abbott is warning state agencies think twice before taking the money. Why? We’ll explore. And: As Texans wrap up holiday gathering plans, health care workers report a rise in COVID-19 cases. We’re checking in with Amarillo, where the hospitalization rate is rising fast. Also: Our go-to tech expert Omar Gallaga with a smart home gift guide. Plus: A former Texas TV journalist on more than half a century behind the scenes, or reporting live from the scene, finally telling his own story. Our conversation with Neal Spelce about his new memoir and much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardDecember 16, 2021 9:29 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, December 16, 2021.

Governor Abbott: Think twice about infrastructure funds

Texas is set to receive about $35 billion from the Biden administration to fund infrastructure projects: road and bridge repairs, broadband expansion, water infrastructure, charging stations for electric vehicles and more. But Gov. Greg Abbott has notified leaders of state agencies to be careful before accepting federal funds, citing potential strings attached. Is there more to the announcement than politics? For more, we’re bringing in Jim Riddlesperger, political science professor at Texas Christian University.

COVID cases rising in the Panhandle

As Texans prepare for the winter holidays, concern over COVID continues to rise. The state reported more than 3,100 COVID patients on Wednesday, including 1,000 people in ICU beds and 72 pediatric cases. One area experiencing above-average hospitalization rates is in the Panhandle. Dr. Todd Bell, health authority for the City of Amarillo and associate professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, joins us now.

How Texas handles adoption records

When children are adopted, a new birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parents’ names and their original birth certificate is sealed. Houston Public Media’s Caroline Love says there’s an effort to change that in Texas, but it keeps getting stalled in the state legislature.

A smart home gift guide

With holiday gift-buying and home decorating here for many of us, your thoughts may have turned to the smart home: lights, plugs and other doodads that turn on and off automatically or respond to your voice. But which smart home gadgets make the best gifts? Tech expert Omar Gallaga is ho-ho-here with his thoughts.

The pandemic and single parents

Even before the pandemic, loneliness could be common among single parents. But as COVID-19 began to spread, the isolation intensified. In the latest installment of mental health series “The Invisible Wall,” KERA contributor Sujata Dand explains how experts are calling for stronger social support systems – so single parents have somewhere to turn.

Neal Spelce: ‘With the Bark Off’

At many significant moments in history, journalist Neal Spelce was there. He broadcast live during the 1966 UT Tower shooting, and interacted with six U.S. presidents, most closely with Lyndon Johnson. Here to discuss his recently-published memoir “With The Bark Off,” Spelce joins the Standard for an extended Q&A.

How Texas almost banned forensic hypnosis

Forensic hypnosis has been called junk science. Nearly half the U.S. don’t allow testimony from a hypnotized witness to be used in court. But in Texas, it’s still permitted; Gov. Abbott vetoed a bill earlier this year that would have banned the practice. In the final part of a series examining forensic hypnosis, Texas Public Radio’s David Martin Davies explains what happened.

All this and the Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas – including this viral obituary you won’t wanna miss.

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