Texas Standard For September 30, 2020

Politics as unusual or the new normal? What’s the takeaway from a chaotic spectacle billed as the first presidential debate of this general election? We’ll have more on the so-called presidential debate, one which many analysts panned as neither a debate nor presidential. And: A brain-killing amoeba leads to a boil water notice in Lake Jackson Texas as officials attempt to answer questions surrounding the death of a 6-year-old. Also: Do cuts in police funding lead to increased crime rates? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardSeptember 30, 2020 9:30 am

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Wednesday, September 30, 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.

Debate Recap 

The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden delivered little in substance. James Riddlesperger, a political science professor with Texas Christian University talks to the Standard about the impact on viewers and voters.

Lake Jackson Amoeba 

Earlier this month, a brain-eating amoeba found in the Lake Jackson, Texas water supply killed a 6-year-old boy. Residents there remain under a boil-water notice that state officials say could last for three more weeks. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced Tuesday it could take an additional 60 days after that period to “scour” the entire water system with chlorine to kill the amoebas. Prathit Kulkarni, an assistant professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine explains how the deadly amoeba entered the city’s water supply in the first place and what it will take to remove it. 

Bird Deaths

This time of year, migratory birds are making their way southward through Texas. But a few weeks ago thousands of dead birds were found scattered over the ground in the Southwest, stoking fears that rampant wildfires on the West coast had something to do with it. The Standard’s Alexandra Hart tries to untangle the mystery that could have more to do with weather. 

Statewide Broadband Plan

More than 2 million Texans do not have dependable access to high-speed internet. Most states have a statewide broadband plan. But Texas does not. A group of nearly 90 state lawmakers say that has to be fixed and fast. The group recently sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott calling for a statewide broadband plan. One of the letter’s authors, state Rep. Trent Ashby, a Republican from Lufkin, talks to the Standard. 

APD Cuts

Two billboards were recently put up along I-35 just outside Austin that say this: “Austin Police Defunded, Enter At Your Own Risk.” The signs were put there by a police lobbying group, after the Austin City Council cut millions from the police budget. The signs seem to say that if you spend less on police, crime will go up. But as KUT Austin’s Audrey McGlinchy reports, that’s not the case.

 Human Trafficking

For victims of sexual assault and sexual trafficking, the approaches to healing are many. Dr Jeff Newport teaches psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UT’s Dell Medical School and is the director of Psychiatric Services at The Refuge, a Central Texas organization that works towards the healing of child survivors of human trafficking. He talks about his work with abuse trauma.


U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess, a Republican from North Texas, said: “In the last 10 years, less than half of adults in the U.S. received a flu shot.” But is that a fact? Each week, the Standard checks in with PolitiFact Texas’s Madlin Mekelburg who looks into claims like these.

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

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