Texas Standard For October 1, 2020

T-minus 12 days and counting: are you ready to cast a ballot in Texas’ general election? We’ll have a list of practical steps to take now if you plan to cast a ballot in one of the most contentious elections in our history. And: The COVID-19 wake up call: why was Texas caught flatfooted even though plans had been in the works to deal with a pandemic? A Houston Chronicle investigation finds some surprising answers. Also: Harsh lessons in reality for some just starting college in Texas during COVID-19. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardOctober 1, 2020 9:30 am

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Thursday, October 1, 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.

Voter Need–Knows on Deadline to Register/Mail In Ballot-

Rebecca Deen political science chair for the University of Texas in Arlington gives Standard listeners an update about voter registration deadlines.

Bad Texas Pandemic Prep

Two years ago, pandemics were on the mind of top Texas state health care officials; before he took over the state Health and Human Services Commission, Dr. John Hellestedt was on a panel tasked with prepping Texas for a pandemic. But by the time the group met again it was March – and too late. What happened? Investigative reporter John Tedesco was part of a team who looked at just that for the Houston Chronicle. Their series “Exposed” lays out how flatfooted Texas was when COVID-19 hit this year, even though they had been bracing for just such an emergency for years.

Flu Shots

This month marks the beginning of flu season, which saw over 10,000 Texans die from flu-related illnesses last year. This year, experts are bracing for the combination of the seasonal flu and the coronavirus. Houston Public Media’s Matt Harab explains that’s why local health officials are urging individuals to keep taking precautions against COVID-19 and to get their flu shot.


You’ve heard, here on the Standard and elsewhere, too, that gardening is among the growth industries of the pandemic. But if you don’t have the outdoor space, or the skills to start a garden of your own, there is an indoor, tech-enabled way to do it. So says our tech expert Omar Gallaga.

Every 30 Seconds: Izcan Ordaz

Many college freshmen aren’t spending their first-ever semester on campus. Instead, it’s virtual classes from home. That’s reality for 18-year-old Izcan Ordaz. He’s one of the students we’ve been following for the project ‘Every 30 Seconds.’ It’s called that because approximately every 30 seconds, a Latino in the U.S. turns 18, and becomes eligible to vote. As KERA’s Stella Chavez reports, more time at home during a pandemic is shaping Izcan’s world view.

 Quarantine Streams

The Panhandle-South Plains Fair

The State Fair of Texas may have been canceled this year, but another large fair in the state is happening this week. The Panhandle-South Plains Fair in Lubbock is offering food and fun through October 3. Texas Tech Public Media’s Sarah Self-Walbrick talked with organizers and attendees about why the annual event is important to them, especially this year.

Peniel Joseph on Breonna Taylor

A Williamson County grand jury this week indicted the sheriff on a felony charge of tampering with evidence related to last year’s death of Javier Ambler. Ambler was a 40-year-old black man who died during his arrest by Williamson County deputies. The indictment in Texas comes just a week after a grand jury in Kentucky did not indict any Louisville police officer for the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. CommentatorPeniel Joseph says she is still awaiting justice.

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

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