Texas Standard for November 10, 2021

Executions in Texas have halted while courts resolve whether Texas prisoners can have a spiritual advisor touch them as they’re being put to death – we’ll have the latest on the arguments in Washington. And: What went wrong at Astroworld Festival? A crowd safety expert gives us his thoughts on avoiding future catastrophes. Also: A steel house on the Staked Plains: it could be yours, for the right price. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardNovember 10, 2021 8:48 am,

SCOTUS and ministers witnessing executions

Whether or not a Texan on death row can have a religious advisor pray with them or touch them when they are being executed is being considered by the US Supreme Court. The case at hand involves a prison’s denial of the request of 37 year old John Ramirez, a Corpus Christi man sentenced to death for robbing a store clerk and stabbing the man to death. Ramirez wanted a pastor to pray over him and put his hands over him as he was killed – but that request was denied. Justices heard arguments in the case yesterday. Jolie McCullough is reporting on the case for the Texas Tribune, where she covers criminal justice. She speaks with host Michael Marks about the latest.

Fort Bend redistricting

People of color accounted for virtually all Texas’ population growth over the past ten years. Yet, when lawmakers met to redraw the state’s congressional maps, they actually created more white-majority districts. As Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider explains, nowhere was that more evident than in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston.

Texas A&M’s doctor of nursing practice program

The pandemic has been tough on many health care workers, especially nurses. Nurses have been called to action during a seemingly endless cycle of COVID-19 surges. And many have left their jobs because of burnout. Texas now has thousands of unfilled nursing positions. But a new doctor of nursing practice degree program at Texas A&M University means some nurses could find the career change they’re looking for without having to leave the profession altogether. Here to tell us more is Nancy Fahrenwald, dean of A&M’s College of Nursing.

Veterans Day profile: Clifton Hicks

Clifton Hicks came from a family with a long history of military service. Watching the 9/11 terror attacks on TV in high school, all he wanted to do was join the Army and serve his country. But his deployment to Iraq in 2003 fundamentally changed his relationship to the military. Listen to his story and more, via the PBS series “American Veteran” and the podcast “American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories.”

A unique house on the market in Lubbock

85 East Canyonview drive in Ransom Canyon, Texas, is a remarkable place. It’s better known as the Steel House, and it’s the work of inventor, sculptor and architect Robert Bruno. The house is a bizarre assemblage of salvaged steel that Bruno himself welded into place on the edge of a canyon outside Lubbock. The house has never been “finished” per se, even though Bruno worked on it for more than thirty years. Now, it’s up for sale. Mark Lamster, architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News, joins the Standard to talk more about it.

LBJ High School band

This year has been a transition year at LBJ High School in East Austin. One of the biggest shifts at the school came when an Austin ISD magnet program that shared the campus with LBJ left to move to its own campus. KUT’s Claire McInerny reports the split has affected a lot of things, including the school’s extracurricular activities.

Crowd safety in the wake of Astroworld

Investigations into last weekend’s Astroworld festival tragedy that left 8 dead and many more injured are underway. Civil suits are also rolling in – among the defendants are performers Travis Scott and Drake, as well as the event’s organizer, LiveNation. But how do events like the one in Houston become dangerous..and what can be done to prevent these situations in the future? Host Michael Marks speaks to Professor Keith Still. He’s visiting Professor of Crowd Science at University of Suffolk and founder of Crowd Risk Analysis Limited, a crowd safety consultancy.

All this plus the Texas News Roundup, and Shelly Brisbin with reactions from the Standard’s friends and listeners.

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