Texas Standard for February 17, 2022

Looking back at the winter storm of last February and why one year later, disparities in the death toll persist – Mose Buchele of KUT-Austin, has more on that story. And: Efforts to secure federal recognition for Texas’ Emancipation Trail. Also: The state’s legal challenge to the company formerly known as Facebook. These stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardFebruary 17, 2022 9:37 am,

How many Texans died in last year’s winter storm?

As the one-year anniversary of last year’s devastating winter storm passes this week, more entities are questioning the official death count of the freeze and blackout. KUT Austin’s Mose Buchele has more.

The perils of partisan judicial races

Early voting for the Texas primary election is happening now through February 25. But many Texans going to the polls won’t know who they are voting for in partisan judicial races. KERA’s Alejandra Martinez reports on why that’s a problem.

New vaccine outreach for Houston’s underserved communities

Now that the latest wave of COVID hospitalizations is going down, many health officials are recharging their efforts to get more people vaccinated. Some are focusing on Houston’s underserved communities, where vaccination rates are low and COVID death rates are high. Houston Public Media’s Matt Harab reports on how a partnership between the University of Houston and the city is trying to lower vaccine hesitancy among people of color.

The labor shortage has hit state-run veterans homes especially hard

Every state has at least one veterans home that’s owned by the state government. They get federal funding to pay part of the operating costs, but states are expected to kick in money too. And in many of them, funding is too low to pay competitive wages. As Jonathan Ahl reports for the American Homefront Project, the staffing issues have led some states to stop accepting new residents.

Texas is suing Facebook over facial recognition tech

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Meta – the parent company of Facebook – on Monday. Paxton says Facebook’s now discontinued use of facial recognition technology violated a state law protecting the privacy of Texans’ personal, biometric data. The Wall Street Journal reports Paxton seeks “hundreds of billions of dollars” in civil penalties. Our tech expert Omar Gallaga is here with more on the story .

Freed slaves walked this path from Galveston to Houston. It could soon be a historic trail.

Texans are familiar with Juneteenth, the day commemorating slaves’ freedom in Texas two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Less well known is the journey that followed: the migration of freed slaves from Galveston to Houston on what came to be known as the Emancipation Trail. Now, the National Parks Service may potentially designate it as a National Historic Trail. That honor would be based in large part on the research of Naomi Mitchell Carrier, founder of Texas Center for African American Living History in Houston. She joins us today.

How cities can communicate better during future disasters

In the aftermath of last year’s weather event, North Texans have been forced to rethink how they stay in touch when disaster strikes. Meanwhile, North Texas cities have changed the way they communicate too. KERA’s Kailey Broussard zooms in on new disaster preparation standards.

All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Wells Dunbar with the Talk of Texas. 

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