Recent Articles

DPS Highlights School Bus Safety Efforts

Texas – In conjunction with National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 16-20), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging Texans to comply with laws prohibiting drivers from passing school buses. During this period, DPS Highway Patrol Troopers will be looking for drivers who violate the law. It is illegal to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign. “Motorists should always be alert and practice safe driving habits when traveling near school buses or anywhere school children gather, including bus stops,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. Continue Reading →

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Will The Alamo Fall Twice?

During the Presidential election of 1960, then-Senator John F. Kennedy while campaigning in Texas, made a brief visit to the Alamo. His speech, given in front of the historic mission yielded an iconic photo. Having completed his remarks and pressed for time, JFK reportedly asked San Antonio attorney Maury Maverick, Jr. if there was an exit in the back of the Alamo, to which Maverick replied, “there is no back door, that’s why they were all heroes.”

And so it is, that the Alamo and its remarkable history have been seared into the consciousness of our national character. It is the 19th century’s version of the Spartan 300, who stood defiantly against an overwhelming Persian army. The Alamo story is, in essence, our American Thermopylae, and the lodestar and standard of courage to which our fighting men and women aspire to till this day. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana, Texas Presents During National Webinar

TEXARKANA, TX- City of Texarkana, Texas’ Planning and Community Development Department presented during a Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) webinar on Thursday, September 21, 2017 along with representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. The city was asked to present by CDFA to share best practices learned through the City’s work on the Hotel Grim development project. The webinar was entitled Maximizing the HUD Section 108 Loan Program, and allowed participants to hear from HUD officials and experienced users of the Section 108 program on how the program has been used around the country, and how it can be layered with other development finance tools to support community development. The city shared its expertise with other development professionals across the nation in this webinar. David Orr, Director of the Planning and Community Development Department, was pleased to partake. Continue Reading →

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Motel 6, You Might Try Leaving the Light Off

You may remember a commercial where Tom Bodett would proudly announce “We’ll leave the light on for you” to make customers feel at home, but apparently leaving the light on invites another unwanted guest in Livingston, Texas as well.  Imagine slipping into the only room left in town while you’re tired, stressed, and just ready to unwind with your evening meal and catch some reruns of an old television show.  You roll your bag in, set your dinner on the table and flip on the light.  What greets you could easily be a scene from a horror movie for most people.  The room is filled with creatures of an unknown type in the windows, floor, walls, and light fixtures.  You pause just a moment and brace yourself for the onslaught that you are certain will end your life through an unexpected heart attack. Does it all sound like a horror movie?  Well it should because it seemed that way on September 18 as I strolled into the last room of Motel 6 in Livingston, Texas.  The only saving grace, and perhaps the reason I did not succumb to an unexpected heart attack, was the fact that all these little creatures…these bugs…were dead.  They were dead in the window sills, dead behind the door, dead along the edge of the floors and even dead hanging from the walls. I began checking the rest of the room and found a microwave spattered with food on the inside top, a light fixture in the bathroom full of dead bugs, and even a water bottle cap stuck between the mattress and wall which indicated the bed must not have been moved much.  The worst part was that I am confident that the cleaning crews must have seen these bugs since the window curtain was pulled back and clearly revealed a sill covered with bugs. Once I determined there was no bed bugs and there were no other rooms within a fifty-mile radius, I resigned myself that I was going to sleep in the car or the room.  I ended up pulling the sheets down, and sleeping on top of the fitted sheet in my clothing.  I had to leave my shoes on as well since the floor was dotted with little dead bugs. One thing I have learned in the age of the Internet and social media is that major chains look for their hashtag and at symbol’s mentioned.  These chains are especially conscious of Twitter.   I took to my own Twitter account at https://twitter.com/ClintonSThomas and started posting pictures.  By the time I was finished, I had posted twenty-five pictures of the room, and made several comments @motel6 to get their attention or with the #motel6 to get their attention.  Within a short time, I received a tweet back from the fine folks who have assured me they leave the light on for me – that’s apparent by the dead bugs who must have been attracted to the light.  Motel 6 wanted me to contact their customer service number at 1-855-303-0045 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time.  It was now 10:30 p.m. Central time. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana, AR/TX –  On October 7, 2017, Main Street Texarkana will hold its third annual fundraising dinner and street party, Dine on the Line. Celebrating the state line that makes historic downtown Texarkana a unique two-state downtown, the street will be closed for the evening so that guests can enjoy dinner and revelry “on the line.”

The centerpiece of the evening is the extra long dining table stretching down the center of State Line, so that half of the diners are in Texas and half are in Arkansas. Dinner this year will be a culmination of efforts between downtown restaurants. “Our guests will get a three-course dinner from Pecan Point Gastropub & Brewery and Verona Italian Restaurant,” said Main Street Executive Director Ina McDowell. “Another downtown restaurant, Johnny B’s, is making a plate just for kids with chicken strips, mac n’cheese and a cookie. Continue Reading →

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Statement by DPS Director McCraw on 9/11 Anniversary

AUSTIN – Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today issued the following statement regarding the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks:

“On this day 16 years ago, terrorists launched cowardly attacks against our nation on Sept. 11, 2001. Today we honor and remember those who lost their lives as a result of the attack, including valiant first responders. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. The families and friends of those who lost loved ones remain in our thoughts and prayers. Continue Reading →

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HCSO Tweet Shows America is Alive and Well

Texas, USA- A little over three hours ago the Harris County Sheriff’s Office tweeted the picture seen here.  Along with regular updates on the status of 911 calls, evacuations, and areas of need, the sheriff’s office is using social media to update the world and the people of Texas on Harris County, Texas.  The picture tweeted came with the reassurance “HCSO deputies are out in the Blackhorse subdivision still working high water rescues. #Harvey”

As the picture was being tweeted, out in California newscasters were tweeting a different type of picture.  They were busy tweeting the “faceless,” masked participates of ANTIFA as they took over a park.  They chanted “This is our park” and attacked several people.   Their hate-filled and fueled propaganda routine continued to blast across the twitter feeds.  Fortunately, those tweets do not represent who we are as Americans.  They do not represent what we do as Americans.   They do not represent how we as Americans act.   There are pictures of African Americans helping Caucasians, of Caucasians helping Hispanics, and so on.  People of all races, backgrounds, sexual orientations, sex and religions are coming together to help with the disaster in Texas. Surrounding states, like Arkansas and others, have governors sending aide and supplies – not because the Texas problem is an Arkansas problem, but because the Texas problem America’s problem.  We are America.  The people going into the flood areas and bringing others out, the people giving blood, the people helping with evacuees across the state, and the service people already on the ground wading through water to carry out children, elderly and others are the true representations of America. Continue Reading →

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Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall Dedication Ceremony Saturday

Texarkana, TX-Ask around and you are bound to find someone that knows a motorcycle rider.  Ask a little further, and you will likely find someone affected by the death of a motorcycle rider.  Whether it was a rider’s fault, a careless motorist not paying attention, or just an unavoidable accident, the fact is motorcycles and their riders do not always do well in crashes.  In fact, too many times the rider of the bike ends up severely injured, or even dead. Unfortunately, drivers of cars are more likely to not see a motorcycle than a car.  In many cases after an accident, the distraught driver of the car has stated simply, “I did not see the bike.”  When this happens, the driver, the biker’s family and friends, and others are changed forever in many instances.  A friend, husband, brother, son, daughter, etc. is lost.  Those people, many our friends, become “Fallen Bikers”. The Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall became a mission of local bikers to remember their fallen friends and family.  It also became a mission to help educate drivers about the need to pay attention, watch for bikes, and “share the road.” Sometime ago the group came together and started fundraising, developing a mission and finding the land.  Once the land was found, the need to increase funding became a priority.  Donations have been made, hats, shirts, yard signs, and other materials have lead the way as donations methods to help raise the money. Soon, thanks to citizens of the area and around the country, Texarkana will have a Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall.  This Saturday (August 19) at 10:30 a.m. the dedication will be made.  City leaders will be present and the land will be dedicated to the Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall.   The wall’s location will be 1600 South Stateline Avenue.  Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall President Mike Thacker has noted that the area was once a paintball game range.   It will be mowed, cleared, and a design for the wall, a walking path, and meditation areas will be put in soon.  People are expected to attend the dedication from across the country. Continue Reading →

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Intellectual Disabilities and Openings in the ICF/IID Programs in Texas

Despite efforts in Texas to move forward with services for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, the state still lingers far behind most others in the nation.  United Cerebral Palsy conducts surveys on Inclusion of the states, and Texas is always near the bottom.  In 2012, out of 51 states and districts surveyed, Texas ranked number 50 at the bottom of the list.  In 2016, that ranking had not changed and the only state lower than Texas was Mississippi.  While the inclusion survey covers several areas such as employment, housing, services, treatment, etc. of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, the disheartening fact is that one of the largest, wealthiest states in the union is unable to raise its level of services in a four-year period.  This shows either a lack of concern on the part of the state, a lack of effort, or a combination of both. The state currently operates thirteen “State Supported Living Centers” or SSLCs.  These are the large institutions were once called “State Schools” prior to the reorganization a few years ago.  According to the DADS website, which is currently transitioning into the HHSC website, all thirteen of these facilities have vacancies, or openings to serve people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.  There are currently 376 openings in these facilities according the latest update at the DADS website completed on August 5, 2017. There are 796 facilities in the state of Texas offering Intermediate Care Facilities services for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID).  These facilities unlike the SSLCs are usually smaller six or twelve bed styled facilities in the community.  Many are operated privately by organizations or small corporations.  Some are considered non-profit and some are considered for profit. Out of the 796 facilities, 199 of them have openings of one or more vacancies.  There is currently a total of 415 open beds in ICF/IID programs across the state of Texas. Continue Reading →

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TEXARKANA, TX- The City of Texarkana, Texas will host two open house sessions regarding the city’s budget on Monday, August 7 at City Hall. Residents are invited to come provide input regarding the proposed budget at each meeting. The first open house is scheduled from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., followed by the second open house from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Lisa Thompson at lisa.thompson@txkusa.org or 903-798-1743. Continue Reading →

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