Texas Standard for December 29, 2021

Peak air travel meets pandemic spike. With delays, cancellations and hassles for holiday flyers…but wait: there’s more. As bad as the holiday season’s been for air travelers, the turbulence could last a good while for the airline industry in Texas and beyond. We’ll hear more. And: Not so solitary confinement: inmates at one of Texas’ most notorious prisons rig their own radio station to find escape, with the blessings of the warden. Also: Long before broadband, the isolated but ingenious rural Texans who found ways to hack the system and stay in touch. Commentator W.F. Strong with that story and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardDecember 29, 2021 6:41 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, December 29, 2021.

A doctor’s view of omicron’s current impact

Of major concern are the numbers of people needing hospitalization for COVID-19 even as more health care workers themselves become infected with the latest and apparently faster-spreading variant. Some experts are worried that the CDC’s rule change on isolation, intended to help relieve labor shortages could, in fact, backfire by leading to even more infections. Dr. James McDeavitt, Executive Vice President and Dean of Clinical Affairs at Baylor College of Medicine, shares insight with Texas Standard.

Omicron, weather delays and airline travel

Omicron is contributing to more turbulence in an industry that’s already been struggling to navigate the pandemic. Kyle Arnold, aviation reporter for the Dallas Morning News, talks with the Standard about the latest.

Investigating vaccine hesitancy among minority communities

Researchers at the University of Houston want to find out why people in some minority communities are hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Houston Public Media’s Jack Williams says they plan to ask residents one-on-one why they haven’t gotten a shot.

Serving up feral hog

Texas is home to a booming population of feral hogs – an invasive species that wreaks havoc wherever they’re found. One restaurant owner in Austin has a novel approach to the problem. Texas Public Radio’s Dominic Anthony Walsh reports.

How radio connects prisoners on death row

For the men on death row at a maximum security prison in Livingston, Texas, a life of extreme isolation is a part of their sentence. But they do have radios. And in the prison’s Polunksy Unit, there’s a radio station run by its prisoners. The Marshall Project staff writer Keri Blakinger recently visited 106.5 FM The Tank. She shares her story with the Standard.

Addressing hunger in the military

A survey this year found 20% of active-duty respondents experienced food insecurity and more than 10-percent experienced hunger. In mid-December, Congress passed a spending bill with additional pay for tens of thousands of families struggling to feed themselves. Texas Public Radio’s Paul Flahive reports that while that is progress, it isn’t clear whether it will be enough.

Stories from Texas: When barbed wire served as telephone lines

These days, if you’re out working on a ranch and you need some backup, you just pick up your cell phone. You might also have a walkie talkie handy. But not so long ago, the options were a little less sophisticated. Still, you might be surprised that there were phones around. Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong has the story.

PolitiFact check on Abbott’s claim about South African migrants

Shortly after the omicron variant was detected in South Africa, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said more than 50 migrants from that region were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Is that a fact? Texas Standard asks Nusaiba Mizan with PolitiFact Texas, based at the Austin American-Statesman.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Michael Marks with the talk of Texas.

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