Texas Standard For September 15, 2020

No other state has shown as many cracks in its system of counting COVID-19 cases as Texas. Now the numbers are set to shift again. Why is Texas having such trouble with coronavirus case counts? Edgar Walters of the Texas Tribune has the latest. And: A plan for affordable housing gets slammed as a tax windfall for developers, we’ll hear why. Also: An indigenous tribe pushes the University of Texas to hand over Native American remains. Plus: The ultimate how-to book for those ready to leave it all behind: “How to Astronaut.” Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardSeptember 15, 2020 9:30 am

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Tuesday, September 15, 2020. 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.

Texas COVID Data

From the start, Texas has struggled to count the number of coronavirus cases here. Texas health officials announced this week they are changing the way they report key parts of coronavirus data. Texas Tribune health and human services reporter Edgar Walters talks to the Standard about how the counting will change. 

Affordable Housing Tax Break

In 2015, state lawmakers passed a last-minute tax break for nonprofit groups trying to increase the number of affordable housing units in Texas. But a new report out this week by the University of Texas Law School shows that private developers used it to earn a 100% property tax break. Those units are hardly affordable for low income renters.  Eric Dexheimer, investigative reporter for the Houston Chronicle talks with the Standard.

Houston Bars

The statewide shutdown order for bars has endangered some longtime Houston watering holes. Houston Public Media’s Florian Martin visited some of the oldest bars in Houston to see how they’ve been faring and what the future holds for them.

Parents Plan to Homeschool

Some Texas parents are giving up on public school because they have no access to the internet and they’re frustrated by slow district efforts to remedy the situation. KERA’s Bill Zeeble caught up with one Dallas parent living in an internet desert south of downtown about her decision to leave the district behind in favor of home school.

A Wife is Trying to Get Her Husband out of ICE Detention

More than 5,000 people in ICE detention centers have contracted COVID-19. At least 600 of those are active cases. ICE officials have released some medically vulnerable detainees during the pandemic. Texas Public Radio’s Reynaldo Leaños Jr. has the story of one woman who’s struggling right now to get her sick husband out of an ICE facility in the Rio Grande Valley.

How To Astronaut

For future space travelers out there, a helpful new guide hits the shelves today. It’s called “How To Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth.” The book’s author, retired astronaut and Air Force Col. Terry Virts, joins the Standard.

Indigenous Tribe Reclaiming Remains

For the past four years, members of the Miakan-Garza Band in San Marcos have been asking the University of Texas to repatriate three sets of Native American remains held by the school’s archeological research laboratory. The tribe wants to rebury them. KUT Austin’s Riane Roldan reports on the group’s efforts to get the remains, including a recent protest.

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

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