Texas Standard for June 7, 2022: Mexico questions whether Texas can make sotol

While Mexico has a long tradition of making sotol – made from a family of spiny plants common to the Chihuahuan desert – some Texas brands have started distilling their own liquors from the plant. And: The latest on heat warnings across Texas, and what it portends for the rest of the summer amid anxieties about whether the electrical grid can stand the strain. Also: A federal judge moves to hold Texas’ foster care services in contempt as court monitors continue to find deficiencies in a system once declared unconstitutionally unsafe for children.

Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJune 7, 2022 9:35 am,

Here are the stories for Texas Standard for June 7, 2022:

Extreme heat in June offers a test and a warning for the Texas grid

The weather forecasted for much of Texas this week would be considered extreme in the month of August – but it’s still spring. The heat will likely drive energy use to new highs and test the resilience of the state’s electric grid ahead of what’s expected to be a scorching summer. KUT’s energy and environment reporter Mose Buchele joins us with more.

Contempt charges for Texas coming over handling of foster care system

The federal judge overseeing Texas’ beleaguered foster care system says she will seek contempt charges and fines against the state for its continued failures. U.S. District Judge Janis Jack made the announcement Monday at a hearing addressing failures at The Refuge, a home for trafficked girls that was said to have participated in trafficking the girls themselves. For more on the latest we’re joined by Paul Flahive, accountability reporter for our partner station Texas Public Radio in San Antonio. 

Amid strike, San Antonio Symphony musicians conclude unusual season

The musicians of the San Antonio Symphony ended their unusual season over the weekend – and not at their home performance center, but at First Baptist Church. Texas Public Radio’s Erika Howlett spoke with audience members, who hope the performances will continue despite a now eight-month strike between the musicians and symphony management.

Mexico questions whether Texas can make sotol

In the U.S., sotol is a relative newcomer. But in Mexico, it’s a much better-known spirit – similar to tequila or mezcal – made from a family of spiny plants common to the Chihuahuan desert. While Mexico has a long tradition of making sotol, some Texas brands have started distilling their own liquors from the plant – and that hasn’t gone over well with some sotol devotees. B.E. Mintz, a freelance reporter based in Marfa who has covered the story for Texas Monthly, joins us today.

Schools are watching students’ social media. Has it done anything to make things safe?

The Uvalde school shooting has brought renewed attention to the increasingly common practice of monitoring social media activity among students. The goal is for schools to be more aware of threats of violence that might appear online, and schools in Texas do more social media surveillance than those in any other state. Ari Sen, computational journalist at The Dallas Morning News, joins us with more.

From living behind bars to reporting on prisons, Keri Blakinger shares her journey in ‘Corrections in Ink’

As a frequent guest on the Standard, Texas-based journalist Keri Blakinger has brought us investigations into the state’s prison and jail system. Her ability to get an insider’s perspective stems from the fact that several years ago, she served a two-year prison term herself. In “Corrections in Ink,” Keri takes readers from her successful adolescent figure skating career to her spiraling heroin addiction and incarceration for a drug crime in New York. 

Reporters notebook: U.S. guns, Mexican violence and the NRA

Stephania Corpi, a Mexico-based journalist who recently received a Pulitzer grant for crisis reporting, is documenting how gun smuggling from the southern U.S. to Mexico affects violence. Her research brought her to the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting last week in Houston. She offers insights into the gun culture in the U.S. and how it’s linked to Mexico.

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

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