Texas ranks second in the country for successful book bans

The study, which was released Sept. 21 and compiled by free expression nonprofit PEN America, shows that over the 2022–23 school year, 625 titles were banned by public school districts in the state, including titles by Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, and John Green. That's second in the country, behind only Florida, which banned a whopping 1,406 titles.

The study also shows that book bans are becoming more common throughout the country, with 33 percent more bans happening in the 22–23 academic

Judge issues order barring Texas’ book rating law

Nearly three weeks after issuing an oral ruling temporarily pausing enforcement of HB 900, also known as the Reader Act, U.S. A District Court Judge Alan D. Albright has issued a formal written order barring implementation of the law, writing that it "violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”

Meanwhile, the state has indicated its intention to appeal the ruling by Albright. Prior to the release of Albright's written order, the state also asked Albright to allow the law to go into

City of Houston drops lawsuit against Galleria nightclub Tabu

The City of Houston has dropped its lawsuit against the owners of Galleria-area nightclub Tabu, the site of multiple shootings and other disturbances, including one on June 11 that injured five people and killed a sixth.

The city initially sued the owners of the club a week after that shooting, calling the venue a "common nuisance" and citing a string of violent incidents going back to January 2022, including multiple aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon. The city also accused Tabu of opera

Judge pauses enforcement of Texas book rating law

A judge has paused enforcement of a new law that would require any book vendor who sells to Texas public schools to rate every publication in their stock on the basis of sexual content.

The law, Texas House Bill 900, also known as the Readers Act, was passed this spring during the state's biannual legislative session, and was set to go into effect Sept. 1. During a Zoom status call on Aug. 31, U.S. District Court Judge Alan D. Albright indicated that he would also issue a written order in the n

2nd suspect identified in deadly Texas nightclub shooting

A second suspect has been named in the June shooting at an Houston nightclub that left five people injured and one dead.

Calvin Rashad Williams, 32, is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of aggravated assault against a public servant, according to the Houston Police Department. As of Monday he had not yet been arrested.

Police believe that Williams was the main gunman in the June 11 shooting at Tabu, a Galleria-area nightclub that was the site of

Autopsy shows rapper Big Pokey died of ‘massive’ heart attack

Jefferson County officials have released the results of an autopsy in the death of Houston rapper Big Pokey, which show the musician died of a heart attack while performing at a Juneteenth festival in Beaumont earlier this summer.

Pokey, whose given name was Milton Powell, collapsed on stage during the late night show at Pour09 Bar on June 18. Several bystanders and a Beaumont police officer who was working security at the venue were able to render aid immediately before paramedics arrived to t

'Emily Takes Notes' is simplifying Houston city council meetings

It's been three years since Emily Hynds started documenting Houston City Council meetings on social media. Now, as as a citywide election looms—including the chance for Houstonians to choose a new mayor in November—she has some advice for Bayou City voters: This is the time to keep an eye on city council meetings.

This year marks the end of Sylvester Turner's second four-year term as Houston mayor, and six members of city council, as well as city comptroller Chris Brown, are all facing term lim

Paramore singer calls out Texas governor at Houston show

In October 2022, while performing at the Austin City Limits Festival, Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams called on Texans to turn their back on Republican Governor Greg Abbott and instead vote for former Democratic congressman Beto O'Rourke in the following month's state gubernatorial election.

From stages in Austin, Fort Worth and San Antonio, Williams has dedicated the song "Big Man, Little Dignity" to Abbott, who is serving his third term as governor. The lyrics to the song address patriar

Texas woman fights off would-be armed mugger in parking lot

The video, released by Houston Police on Monday, shows the woman as she is unloading items from the passenger side of her car after arriving at work near 6900 Alabonson Road early on the morning of June 29. She has a cell phone wedged between her left ear and shoulder while she juggles multiple items in both hands, including a tote bag, a water bottle, a can of soda and what appears to be an accordion folder.

A man dressed in all black approaches her from behind, brandishes a gun, and demands h

World's oldest living giraffe in captivity dies at Texas zoo

A 31-year-old giraffe, believed to be the oldest in captivity, has died at a zoo in Lufkin, Texas, according to zoo owners.

The East Texas town shared the news in a Facebook post on July 8. The post was re-shared by the Lufkin's Ellen Trout Zoo. The female Masai giraffe, named Twiga, had apparently been found dead by caretakers that morning.

"At 31 years, 9 months, and 7 days old, Twiga held the record for the oldest living giraffe in human care. Giraffes typically live about 25 years," the po

Cyclosporiasis outbreak hits Harris and Fort Bend counties

Health officials are warning Houstonians about an outbreak of an intestinal parasite that can cause severe cases of diarrhea.

Doctors have seen a rise in gastrointestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite in recent weeks in both Fort Bend and Harris counties. The parasite, called Cyclospora cayetanensis, can cause flu-like symptoms, including watery diarrhea, bloating, fever, stomach cramps, and muscle aches. Cyclospora lives in feces and feces-contaminated foods and waters and is often

Texas now one of the worst states for anti-gay harassment

Texas is now considered of the worst states in the country when it comes to anti-gay hate crimes, according to a study released late last month by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and queer advocacy group GLAAD.

The interactive study found 356 incidents of anti-LGBTQ+ violence and extremism in the United States between June 2022 and April 2023, and determined that Texas ranked third worst in the country with 30 incidents tallied. Only California and New York had more, with 42 and 35 incidents r

Houston road buckles due to extreme heat affecting region

How bad has the Houston heat been this June? So bad that portions of the I-10 East Freeway feeder road have buckled under the intense temperatures.

TxDOT posted photos of the damage on Twitter Monday, noting that crews were working to repair the eastbound frontage road at Wayside. Repairs are ongoing today, and the frontage road and Wayside onramp are currently closed.

A representative from TxDOT told the Houston Chronicle that the entire section of the feeder road would have to be ripped out

Shelter in place lifted after Galveston facility incident

As of 2:46 p.m., an all-clear has been issued for residents of Texas City, according to the municipality's Twitter account.

"Multiple agencies have been conducting air monitoring, and all readings in the affected areas and throughout the city are normal," the municipality tweeted.

A shelter-in-place has been issued for residents of Texas City due to an incident at Marathon's Galveston Bay refinery. Details on the incident are scant, but Texas City officials posted on Facebook that the shelter-

Missing West U father found safe overnight, HPD says

Brett Detamore was last seen leaving West University on Wednesday, June 21. His vehicle was found later that morning burning at the park roughly 20 miles from his home. All identifying details of the truck had been removed prior to the blaze, police said.

Authorities from multiple jurisdictions spent Thursday and Friday searching the park, to no avail. At a press conference on Monday, June 26, police said they did not believe foul play was involved in the disappearance.

Detamore was found Mond

Missing Texas man's truck found torched at Houston-area park

A West University father of three has been missing since Wednesday, and his family is now asking the public for help finding him.

Brett Detamore, 38, was last seen June 21 at around 4:20 a.m. near his home in West University. According to numerous social media posts, his truck, a distinctive bright yellow Dodge Ram with personalized plates, was later found on fire at Bear Creek Park in far west Houston, nearly 20 miles from where he was last seen. A bystander called 911 at around 6:30 Wednesday

City of Houston sues Galleria nightclub after series of shootings, assaults

The city of Houston has sued a Galleria-area nightclub that has been the location of several violent incidents recently, including a shooting last week that injured six people.

The suit comes after the city has made several attempts to tamp down on violence at late-night drinking spots. The lawsuit alleges that Tabu, at 6002 Richmond Avenue, has been operating without fire or occupancy inspections, has refused to take reasonable measures to abate criminal activity including multiple aggravated

Dr. Peter Hotez confronted outside Houston home by anti-vax activists

Dr. Peter Hotez, a prominent vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine, was accosted outside his Houston home this weekend by an anti-vaccine activist spurred on by controversial podcaster Joe Rogan and politician Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Hotez, the dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, has made several appearances on news shows throughout the pandemic, advocating for the COVID-19 vaccine

Queer neighborhood watch returns to protect Houston's streets

In the early 1990s, following a series of violent gay-bashing incidents in Montrose—and the fact that HPD wasn't taking reports of gay-bashing seriously—a group of queer Houstonians and allies teamed up to form a neighborhood watch organization known as Q Patrol. The group walked the Montrose streets, focusing especially on the many gay bars dotting the neighborhood and acting as a visible presence to deter harassment and crime.

Q Patrol's relationship with the police improved after an undercov

'Mutilated' sharks found on Texas beach spur investigation

TPWD began investigating the incident last week after a woman reported finding more than a dozen dead sharks on the beach in early June. According to the woman's report, several of the sharks had been decapitated or had their fins cut off.

Speaking with the Galveston Daily News, Morgann Gericke said she and her husband were driving on the beach on June 3 when they came across "probably 17 sharks" lying dead in the sand. In a separate interview with MySA, Gerincke said she counted about "about 2
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