Texas Standard For January 28, 2021

As the governor announces a plan to get more COVID-19 vaccines to rural Texas, a major urban county could be reaching a vaccination milestone. El Paso is fast approaching vaccination levels of 10 percent, though it’s a trade-off that could leave many in areas hardest hit by the virus without being vaccinated. That story coming up. And: The impediments to getting vaccines to people in more rural parts of the Lone Star State. Speaking of: President Biden is under growing pressure to do more at the federal level to reach out to help rural communities nationwide. Also: Is tech trendsetter Elon Musk getting into the Texas gas biz? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJanuary 28, 2021 9:30 am

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Thursday, January 28, 2021. Listen on your Texas public radio station, or ask your smart speaker to play Texas Standard. We’ll have full posts for each story, including audio, a little later today.

El Paso Vaccine Rollout

While many Texans complain of the short vaccine supply, one city has been able to vaccinate 10% of its population so far: El Paso. Bob Moore, CEO and founder of El Paso Matters, a non-profit news organization talks to the Standard.

Bastrop Vaccine Disparity

Smaller Texas counties are rolling out their COVID-19 vaccination plans. In Bastrop County, that means officials and community leaders need to address some unique hurdles. KUT Austin’s Ashley Lopez reports that includes issues with internet access, as well as fears among immigrant communities.

Lubbock’s Modified PIT Count

Counting homeless Texans could be a challenge this year thanks to additional COVID safety measures. Many communities have opted out of participating in the annual Point in Time count, but Lubbock will proceed. The decision could sacrifice important data, but as Texas Tech Public Media’s Kaysie Ellingson reports, it may protect already marginalized communities.

Growing Pains of Telegram/Signal

On January 6, the same day rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, the Facebook-owned messaging platform, WhatsApp, rolled out new policies that appeared to force users to share their data with WhatsApp’s parent, Facebook. Though WhatsApp has walked back the changes, millions of users left for other encrypted messaging services like Signal and Telegram. Tech expert Omar Gallaga is here to help us understand why an influx of new users isn’t all good news for Telegram and Signal.

SpaceX Gas Drilling

By now you’ve likely heard that Elon Musk has become big on Texas. The SpaceX billionaire recently announced he’d moved to Lone Star State, which is also home to one of his SpaceX launchpads and, soon, a Tesla factory. Musk also has his eye on one of the state’s old-school cash cows too: fossil fuels. Sergio Chapa, who is following the story for Bloomberg News, talks to the Standard.

My Guelo

The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to older adults across Texas is bringing with it the hope that the end is near for the loneliness that the isolation of the pandemic has required.

Michael Acosta Obituary

The passing of those who help make such music possible gets far less attention.  But there are many well-known Texas musicians mourning the loss of Michael Acosta. Though the San Antonio-based craftsman been in declining health for some time, thru the years, Acosta was instrumental in helping many of the greats make great music. Texas Public Radio’s Jack Morgan reports.

 Biden Rural Taskforce

The coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on rural communities. This is amping up calls among Democrats in Congress that President Biden pay specific attention to rural issues during the next four years. Liz Crampton has been writing about this for Politico, where she reports on agriculture.

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

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