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David J. Phillip / The Associated Press

Leaders in two of Texas’ biggest cities are calling on the governor to empower local governments to order residents to stay home as the state’s continued surge in coronavirus cases tests hospital capacity.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley sounded the alarm Saturday as their beds filled to capacity with COVID-19 patients and some began transferring patients elsewhere.

Rex C. Curry / The Associated Press

Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic is going ahead this year, but to reduce concerns about the coronavirus the event will be virtual.

Fans can tune in to the nearly 50-year-old music bash Saturday via and Tickets for the picnic are on sale at

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

After urging from Texas law school deans and aspiring lawyers, the Texas Supreme Court on Friday canceled the two-day in-person bar exams scheduled for later this month, citing growing concerns about COVID-19. The bar exams will be offered online in October.

Rex Nelson said that Fourth of July fireworks show cancellations have led to booming sales.
Keren Carrion / KERA News

Fourth of July fireworks shows across Texas have been canceled or modified due to COVID-19.

Old mobile phones fill a bin at the Out Of Use company warehouse in Beringen, Belgium.
Associated Press

The world’s mountain of discarded flat-screen TVs, cellphones and other electronic goods grew to a record high last year, according to an annual report released Thursday.

The U.N.-backed study estimated the amount of e-waste that piled up globally in 2019 at 53.6 million metric tonnes - almost 2 million metric tons more than the previous year.

Vanessa Guillen, seen here in a poster released by U.S. Army investigators, was last seen alive at Fort Hood in April. Her family is demanding answers.
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command

Army investigators believe a Texas soldier missing since April was killed by another soldier on the Texas base where they served, the attorney for the missing soldier’s family said Thursday.

Protesters demonstrate against police brutality in Dallas on June 13, 2020. Activists and Dallas City Council members are considering ways Dallas Police Department's $514 million budget could be used.
Associated Press

Calls to defund the police may have started in the streets, but the outcries of protesters seeking an end to police brutality have made it to Dallas City Hall — and the city's leaders are listening.

Gov. Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a nearly statewide mask mandate Thursday as Texas scrambles to get its coronavirus surge under control.

Hugh Downs at the "Today" show 60th anniversary celebration in New York on Jan. 12, 2012.
Associated Press

Hugh Downs, the genial, versatile broadcaster who became one of television’s most familiar and welcome faces with more than 15,000 hours on news, game and talk shows, has died at age 99.

Downs died of natural causes at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday, said his great-niece, Molly Shaheen.

President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden.
Jonathan Ernst: Trump | Xavier Collin: Biden via REUTERS

President Donald Trump would beat former Vice President Joe Biden in Texas by 4 percentage points if the election were held today, according to a new poll from the University of Texas and the Texas Politics Project.

As of Tuesday, there were 950 reported positive cases of COVID-19 — 307 children and 643 staff members — at 668 Texas child care locations.
Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune

Although COVID-19 transmission rates nationwide among children have appeared to remain relatively low, more than 300 children at Texas child care centers have tested positive, and the numbers are rising quickly.

Keren Carrión/KERA News

After weeks of protests, the Dallas Police Department is making changes. Chief Reneé Hall announced Tuesday that the department will now release videos when police shoot people or are accused of using excessive force within 72 hours of someone being hurt or dying. The policy also applies to deaths in police custody.

An American Airlines plane sits parked at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, on March 25, 2020.
Associated Press

Fort Worth-based American Airlines is pausing or dropping dozens of international routes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to crush travel demand.


The Texas Women's Foundation defines the basic building blocks of financial security as child care, housing, education and health care. But what happens when those building blocks become stumbling blocks?

At Victoria Park in Irving, volunteers with the group Dems Care Vote Safe pack Ziploc bags with gloves, face masks and hand sanitizer to pass out to voters before the July runoff election.
Syeda Hasan / KERA News

On an overcast Saturday morning at Victoria Park in Irving, a couple dozen volunteers sit at picnic tables, packing Ziploc bags with gloves, face masks and hand sanitizer. 

A Kroger pharmacist explains how to administer the self-swab test at a COVID-19 testing site in the Fifth Ward in Houston on June 27, 2020.
Annie Mulligan / For The Texas Tribune

As Texas becomes a national hotspot for the new coronavirus, the state is still falling short on the governor’s months-old goal to employ up to 4,000 contact tracers — and the number of virus detectives dropped recently when the state health agency reassigned hundreds of state workers.

Confetti falls as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, center, greets supporters after speaking at the 2018 Texas GOP Convention in San Antonio.
Associated Press

The president of the Texas Medical Association, Dr. Diana Fite, is urging the Republican Party of Texas to reconsider its in-person event in Houston. The event is scheduled for July 16 to 18.

Reversing Course, Texas Will Delay Work-Search Requirement For Unemployment Benefits

Jun 30, 2020
The Texas Workforce Commission Building in Austin on March 30, 2020.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The Texas Workforce Commission decided Tuesday to postpone reinstating a work-search requirement for out-of-work Texans receiving unemployment benefits.

Students at Lyons Elementary school pass by logos for major universities on their way to lunch in this archive photo.
Courtesy of Houston ISD

For 40 years, Robin Stauffer has taught high school English in seven different school districts in three different states. Most recently, Advanced Placement English in Katy, where she says working with kids has kept her young and lighthearted.

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Voting is complicated during a typical election season, but the coronavirus pandemic has made the situation even more confusing. From what’s on the ballot to where to vote, here’s a helpful guide on what you need to know to vote on July 14 in North Texas’ runoff elections. 

A sign outside the West Alabama Icehouse shows the bar is closed Monday, June 29, 2020, in Houston. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shut down bars again and scaled back restaurant dining on Friday as cases climbed to record levels.
David J. Phillip / Associated Press

A group of Texas bar owners filed lawsuits Monday seeking to overturn Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that closed their businesses to help contain the spread of the coronavirus in Texas.

Bret Jaspers / KERA News

Years ago, when his kids were young, Texas Sen. Royce West remembers getting stopped by a cop.

Health care workers collect coronavirus tests at a drive-thru site in the Fifth Ward in Houston.
Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune

As Texas grapples with soaring coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, local elected officials in some of the state’s most populous counties are asking Gov. Greg Abbott to roll back business reopenings and allow them to reinstate stay-at-home orders for their communities in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

Students gather in an auditorium before class.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

For the first time since 1997, Texas education officials will consider a new statewide sexual education policy, and it could include teaching middle schoolers about birth control options beyond abstinence.

Senaida Navar

Senaida Navar had just arrived to work at an immigration law office on the morning of June 18, when a colleague came running over.

"I was about to refresh my browser looking for DACA news, and she just rushed through the door yelling my name," Navar said.

That's how she learned the Supreme Court had issued its ruling: for now at least, the Trump administration cannot end the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Keren Carrión/KERA News

Dressed in rainbow attire, hundreds of protesters gathered at Oak Lawn Park in Dallas for a Pride for Black Lives Matters rally. 

They held up signs that read “Black Trans Lives Matter” and “No pride for any of us without liberation for all of us.” 

Fort Worth ISD staff conducting a town hall meeting on Zoom.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Because of COVID-19, the entire world of teaching moved from the classroom to the computer, usually at home — and that hasn’t always worked out so well.

Fort Worth ISD discussed solutions to the challenges of virtual learning at a Zoom town hall meeting recently.

Texas has open primaries, meaning you don't have to be a registered member of either party to cast a ballot in a primary runoff.
Michael Stravato / For The Texas Tribune

On July 14, Texas will hold its 2020 runoff elections to decide the final spots for Democrats and Republicans on the November general election ballot. 


Area schools and universities have begun workouts for the new football season. Concussions resulting from contact sports like football are treatable — but the approach has changed over the years.