4 Texas cities among 10 unsafest for women, according to study

A new list, which ranks American cities in order of how safe they are for women, does not reflect well on Texas. Four Texas cities ranked among the top 10 unsafest for women, with a total of 23 Texas cities ranking in the lower half of the 261 cities considered, according to analysis conducted by ValuePenguin.

OCTOBER 22, 2015 - State officials from the Office of Inspector General Office enter the Planned Parenthood South Texas Surgical Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Thursday, October 22, 2015. Texas announced earlier in the week that it was kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state Medicaid program on Monday claiming "acts of misconduct" by Planned Parenthood revealed in a undercover films edited and produced by Pro-Life advocate Center for Medical Progress. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

In defining what constitutes a “safe” city, the personal finance site considered 31 different factors categorized under crime; health care; public policy and representation; or education and wealth. The list considered things like rape and robbery rates, how easily accessible healthcare is to women, cancer rates, the percentage of women with a college education and the availability of work accommodations like pregnancy leave.

While Miami was ranked as the least safe city, Houston came in at No. 2. The three other Texas cities to rank in the top 10 were Amarillo, Beaumont and Lubbock.

MAP: Abortion laws throughout the United States

As the study notes, the majority of the cities that ranked as “safe” had a population of under 300,000. In response, ValuePenguin did a second list considering only cities with a population more than 500,000. Houston ranked as the least safe city, while Dallas came in at No. 4 and San Antonio at No. 5.

Also of note: another sub-list that ranked the safety of cities based solely on their health score (arrived at by analyzing cancer rates, the female uninsured rate and access to clinics). A Texas city, Pasadena, took the No. 1 spot as the least safe.

READ: Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion regulations

Find where more Texas cities landed on the list here.

Rival Texas high schools spend more than $60 million on new stadiums

Everyone knows Texas is big on its high school football — there’s even a whole series dedicated to just that. But there are two rival schools that have taken it to another level.

An artist’s rendition of the planned football stadium in McKinney, Tex. Credit McKinney Independent School District
An artist’s rendition of the planned football stadium in McKinney, Tex. Credit McKinney Independent School District

Allen High School, home of the Eagles, is the proud owner of a $60-million stadium complete with a high-definition video screen, a three-tier press box and a capacity of 18,000 seats that nearly matches the Staples Center. Could a high school football stadium really be any bigger?

Explore: Texas High School Football & Sports

Yes. The answer in Texas is always yes. The LA Times reports that Allen’s neighboring school district in McKinney has plans to outdo the Eagles’ stadium with a nearly $70-million one. It will be outfitted with a 55-foot-wide, high-def video screen, an artificial grass field, seating for 12,000 and an adjacent 500-seat event center.

To read more on how McKinney is funding the stadium and what students have to say about it, click here.

Dallas news station weighs in on taco war, says San Antonio beats Austin

The aftermath of war is never easy — especially when troublemakers abound.

Taco Joint is now open at 134 E. Riverside Drive. Matthew Odam/American-Statesman
Taco Joint is now open at 134 E. Riverside Drive. Matthew Odam/American-Statesman

WFAA, a news station in Dallas, decided this week to insert themselves into the often-heated feud between Austin and San Antonio over which is the real Breakfast Taco Capitol of Texas. Though the mayors of both cities called a cease-fire a few months back, it seems like we’re always just on the edge of war.

Start of taco war: Petition wants writer ousted from Texas over breakfast taco article

WFAA’s reporter David Schechter and viewer Olivia Gonzalez tested multiple Austin and San Antonio breakfast tacos in order to make their decision on which city is better, saying “it’s time to stir up this hornet’s nest once more.”

Read: Did this 1977 ‘Texas Monthly’ article declare Austin the breakfast taco war winner before it even began?

Here are the rules for how they conducted their test:

“Each city’s convention and visitor’s bureau nominated three restaurants and provided us with one spokesperson.  We ordered the same three breakfast tacos, everywhere (bean and bacon, potato and egg, barbacoa) with each owner choosing one wildcard taco.  Then, we scored for things like taste, authenticity and the quality of the tortilla.”

Schechter and Gonzalez started in Austin at Juan in a Million and

gave it an 82.5 out of 100 possible points. They gave Vera Cruz Taco Truck an 83.5 and Maria’s Taco Xpress a 78.5. Not too shabby, right?

Read: Dear San Antonio: Let’s not fight. Love, Austin

Well, when they get to San Antonio’s El Milagrito, they gave the restaurant a 91.5. Taco Haven received a 90 and Taco Taco got an 85.5. They also spoke to San Antonio Express-News’ food writer Edmund Tijerina who had something to say about Austin.

Explore: 35 Austin places for breakfast tacos

“San Antonians are pretty laid back and pretty forgiving but when, you know, Austin is trying to take credit for this, then that’s when San Antonio says okay. Hey, wait a minute, enough now,” he said.

Taco journalist Jared Neece said Austin is more like the city that’s bringing breakfast tacos to the world because so many people visit. “Austin’s unique. Austin does unique food. And whether doing that is taking it away from the traditional and making it something else and it’s losing its roots or if you just think it’s the evolution of the breakfast taco, I guess that’s up to you to decide,” he said.

When all was said and done, the final scores were in: Austin got an 81.5 and San Antonio got 89.

But does anything Dallas says about our tacos really matter? Our neighbors to the north should just mind their own business.

Texas Walmart to open State Fair of Texas treats restaurant

Texans, let us all take a moment of silence to honor this joyous occasion: Gone are the days when cookie fries and funnel cakes were just an annual treat at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. And it’s because of Walmart.

OCTOBER 10, 2015 - Texas fans, Mark Jacobs, Jennifer Bowland, Billy Jacobs, behind, and Ryan Jacobs, left to right, enjoy a famous Fletcher's corndog in front "Big Texas" at the State Fair of Texas before the start of the Big 12 conference game between Texas and Oklahoma held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Tx., on Saturday, October 10, 2015. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
OCTOBER 10, 2015 – Texas fans, Mark Jacobs, Jennifer Bowland, Billy Jacobs, behind, and Ryan Jacobs, left to right, enjoy a famous Fletcher’s corndog in front “Big Texas” at the State Fair of Texas before the start of the Big 12 conference game between Texas and Oklahoma held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Tx., on Saturday, October 10, 2015. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Read: And the State Fair of Texas’ food winners are…

The Dallas Morning News reported this week that a Walmart in Plano will open a year-long restaurant inside the store called State Fair Treats on Sept. 20. The first in a region-wide expansion, the restaurant will be run by State Fair fixture Isaac Rousso.

Related: What fried creations might you see at the State Fair of Texas?

The Big Tex Choice Award winner’s new diner will feature a 45-item menu “celebrating the treats families enjoy ever year when they make an annual pilgrimage to the fair.” Rousso plans to serve fair foods like cookie fries, funnel cake fries, corn dogs, deep-fried hash browns stuffed with bacon and cheddar cheese and more.

Read the full story of how Walmart and Rousso’s new relationship got its start.

Tonight: Here’s how to catch this year’s harvest moon

The Harvest Moon rises over the Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Monday Sept. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner)
The Harvest Moon rises over the Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Monday Sept. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner)

Another night, another moon — but tonight’s promises to be especially worth the effort it takes to crane your neck.

Tonight’s full moon is 2016’s harvest moon. The harvest moon is the full moon to fall closest to the autumnal equinox, which is on Sept. 22 this year. According to the Weather Channel, the harvest moon usually coincides with crop harvesting in the Northern Hemisphere and allows farmer to work late into the night.

In some places around the world, although not North or South America, moongazers will get the added bonus of a lunar eclipse.

If you’re planning on looking up tonight, the weather is in your favor. Austinites can expect a clear night with a low of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re planning on catching the harvest moon by howling at it from the waters of Barton Springs, keep in mind that the pool capped its attendance for full moon events at 750 swimmers earlier this summer. That was after 2,500 people came out a full moon swim, so arriving early is advised.

Happy birthday, UT! Here are 105 things we love about you

A Texas sunset frames the UT Tower in brilliant colors Tuesday evening November 17, 2015. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
A Texas sunset frames the UT Tower in brilliant colors Tuesday evening November 17, 2015.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Today the University of Texas at Austin celebrates its 133rd “birthday.” In 1883, with just eight professors and little over 200 students, the university opened to the public. What started there so many years ago continues to live up to the motto, and change the world. This might not even start to cover it, but here, with help from Maribel Molina and the American-Statesman staff (plus a few snide comments courtesy of a TCU-grad), are 105 things we love about the school:

Top 10

1. The Tower. A beacon that serves to center the campus and all who wander it.

2. The “Hook ’em horns” hand sign. Horns up!

3. Burnt orange. The most important shade of orange. Pairs well with white.

4. “The Eyes of Texas.” Even after Gabriel blows his horn, they’re upon you.

5. Bevo. Who knew you could love a steer this much?

6. Rankings. UT repeatedly tops college lists (and is always No. 1 in our hearts).

7. Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. Home.

8. “Texas Fight.” Our favorite form of Longhorn celebration is singing along — “Give ’em hell!”

9. Texas Exes. No matter where you wind up, UT has one of the strongest and widest spread alumni organizations in the country.

10. It’s 133 years old.

Campus

11. Bowling underground. It’s just more fun.

12. The Forty Acres. Every. Single. One of them.

13. The Blanton Museum. It’s free the third Thursday of every month — and always for students!

14. The turtle pond. For when you just need to get away from it all and, you know, look at turtles. Beloved by turtles and people alike.

15. When leaves cover the paths of the “Six Pack” in fall.

16. Pre-class sunbathing on the main lawn. A backpack is the perfect pillow.

17. Lofted beds in the dorms. So much room for activities.

18. Keeping what is rumored to be the most profitable Wendy’s in the country in business.

19. You’d be hard-pressed to find an interest that doesn’t have a corresponding student organization. Yeah, we’re looking at you, Quidditch team.

20. Campus is right in the heart of Austin. The burnt orange heart.

21. Really, really brave squirrels.

22. And lucky albino squirrels. (The luck only works if you pet it.)

23. Cactus Cafe. Not many schools have a popular music venue (and bar) on campus.

24. The bonus workout you get just by walking to class. Not so much about the back sweat, though.

25. The UT shuttle — because you should never have to walk up a hill you don’t want to walk up.

26. When the PCL goes into 24-hour mode, and you know you won’t be seeing your bed for a few days.

27. “Mooov-In.” So many excited young faces! Way too many storage containers.

28. Hearing the bells as you walk through campus.

29. The different “free speech areas” on campus where amplified sound is allowed during the week, so that you can speak (or yell) your piece.

30. The smell when the mountain laurels bloom.

31. Littlefield House. It doesn’t even matter that we didn’t actually live in it.

Sports

32. “What time is it?” It doesn’t matter what time it is. You know the answer.

33. The Texas A&M rivalry. May it RIP. And may the Aggies forever know who really came out on top.

34. Smokey the cannon. Never fails to both frighten and excite us.

35. When the cheerleaders line up to count out points with back-flips during football games.

36. “The World’s Largest Texas Flag” and watching Alpha Phi Omega run it across the field.

37. Gear. There’s probably a UT version of any item you can imagine. Put a longhorn on it.

38. We have a swim team full of Olympians.

39. Anna Hiss Gym. Who doesn’t want to play basketball here?

40. The Red River Showdown. See you in Dallas, Sooners.

41. Hearing “Big Bertha” at a football game. Did you think we’d have a regular-sized drum?

42. That one Augie Garrido speech, and everything else he accomplished during his time at UT.

43. UT has a really awesome super-fan. His name is Scott.

44. The DKR attendance record was recently broken. Again.

45. The story of Longhorn Freddie Steinmark inspired the movie “My All American.”

46. UT holds 44 team national championships, 19 of which are in swimming.

47. The inspiring women’s volleyball team.

48. Charlie Strong. Mock turtlenecks and all, we have a feeling this is going to be a Strong season. Maybe he’ll even win us a national championship.

49. Mack Brown. He won us a national championship.

50. Derrell K. Royal. He won us three national championships.

51. Game-day wear. Another reason to wear boots.

Academics

52. All the different libraries on campus. You’re never at a loss for a place to crack open a book. If you can’t choose, the Life Science Library refers to itself as “the most beautiful library on campus.”

53. Choices. There are more than 170 fields of study at UT, and more than 100 fields of graduate study.

54. There are 13 colleges and schools all within UT.

55. McCombs School of Business is regularly recognized as being one of the top in the country.

56. As is the Moody College of Communications.

57. UT’s law school is currently ranked No. 15 in the country, on the U.S. News and World Report’s list.

58. Those guides in your educational journey: UT professors. Read about some of the notables here.

59. And, of course, their trusty TAs. No one can hand out/collect papers like you guys!

60. Your degree. Nothing like taking a long look at the piece of paper you worked so hard for.

61. Anytime you got to attend a class held in Hogg Auditorium.

62. From your first day till you walk the stage in robes, you are bombarded with resources.

63. Dell Medical School is the first medical school in Central Texas.

History

64. The first photograph ever taken is housed on campus. Yeah, that’s right. We have that.

65. And a Gutenberg Bible. One of the 49 in the world. Both the Bible and the photograph are stored at the Harry Ransom Center.

66. The LBJ Museum. Not only are we lucky enough to claim a presidential library, but we’re lucky to have gotten the most Texan of them all.

67. The different legends surrounding the story of how Bevo got his name.

68. The dinosaur tracks that are permanently on display outside of the Texas Memorial Museum.

69. Garrison Hall is decorated with different cattle brands. Look up the next time you walk by.

Famous Longhorns

70. Matthew McConaughey. If we didn’t already have a mascot…

71. Ricky Williams. He’s very endearing.

72. Kevin Durant.

73. Wes Anderson. The director developed his eye for symmetry on the Forty Acres, where he wrote undergraduate fiction.

74. Walter Cronkite. The legendary journalist got his start at The Daily Texan.

75. Owen Wilson. Wow.

76. Richard Linklater. Famous for encapsulating the “Slacker” culture, Linklater is a renowned filmmaker who still calls Austin home.

77. Michael Dell. Dell originally studied pre-med at UT, which could serve to explain the new Dell Medical School.

78. Laura Bush. The former first lady studied library sciences in 1973.

79. Lady Bird Johnson. Johnson first fell in love with wildflowers while attending UT.

80. Greg Abbott. The Governor of Texas studied finance during his time at UT.

81. Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The famed astrophysicist went to UT (although he claims none of his success had to do with his time there).

82. Ann Richards. The former Governor of Texas earned her teaching certificate from UT.

83. The guys who created ACL, SXSW, Waterloo Records and Armadillo World Headquarters all graduated from UT. The “Live Music Capital of the World” had to get its start somewhere.

Random

84. The Drag. There isn’t another street of random businesses out there we’d rather neighbor.

85. Mysterious hairballs. In Jester, of course.

86. The Daily Texan. One of the longest-running daily school newspapers, The Daily Texan keeps Longhorns informed and has regularly been recognized as an outstanding student publication. They do a lot in that little basement.

87. Buying a breakfast taco at Taco Cabana in the Student Activity Center. Exactly $1.09.

88. Baby raccoons in Waller Creek.

89. The amazing view of the Texas Capitol from the South Mall.

90. When the tower has your graduation year on it.

91. Fireworks shot off the Main Building.

92. What all the different tower lighting configurations represent. We all know what that giant “1” means!

93. When seeing the Tower from far away lets you know you’re headed in the right direction.

94. KUT. The on-campus recording studio continues to produce excellent content year, after year.

95. When Holi brightens up the main lawn.

96. “Gone to Texas.” The extravagant ceremony does more than welcome incoming freshmen. It reminds us all why it’s great to be a part of the UT community.

97. Tortilla soup day in Kinsolving Hall.

98. The Alcalde. The alumni magazine does a great job of tracking the great things Longhorns are accomplishing everywhere.

99. Putting two chairs together to take a nap in the Student Union.

100. The James Turrell “Skyscape.” Never has a hole in a roof looked more beautiful.

101. The “Texas Travesty.” They’ve got jokes.

102. The Co-op. Books, books, books and gear.

103. The fountain. When it freezes over, when you watch a brave soul step right over the barrier and the soothing sound the water makes throughout the day.

104. That Longhorn band. The Showband of the Southwest!

105. It only gets better with age. Hook ’em, y’all!

Need a laugh? These Austin parody accounts on Twitter should do the trick

If you’ve ever been scrolling through Twitter, seen a ridiculous tweet from Charlie Strong that says “if I want to be surrounded by vomit I’ll visit a and m’s campus” and thought that couldn’t possibly be the real Longhorn Football coach speaking — well, you’re right. It’s actually a parody account that goes by the name Chuck F’n Strong.

jwj-ut-baylor-0343
UT head coach Charlie Strong watches his team warm up before the Baylor game at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday December 5, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

But Chuck F’n Strong isn’t by any means the only parody account assuming the identity of Austin’s popular figures. As far as we could find, there are a few more accounts. For your comedic pleasure, check these out:

@ChuckFnStrong: In January of 2014, Chuck F’n Strong made his debut. He markets himself as the “unfettered and unfiltered fake Charlie Strong and Malik’s dad.” He almost never gets a name right, has no idea when the games are and responds to trolls. He also tweets regularly and is probably the most exciting source of news on game day. Follow him and you won’t be disappointed. There’s also @UT_mockturtle which claims to be Strong’s turtleneck that pairs nicely with Chuck F’n Strong.

@EvilMoPacATX: Evil MoPac is one of the newer trolls on the block, having joined Twitter in February, but it definitely gives Chuck F’n Strong a run for his money.  Evil MoPac is “the ATX road that’s prematurely aging you.” It also really loves Bon Jovi. Not only does the account tweet out snarky updates about MoPac construction and Austin traffic, it also interacts often with Austin media’s social accounts, including the American-Statesman.

https://twitter.com/EvilMopacATX/status/773883232714489856

@ViciousI35: Following Evil MoPac’s suit, Vicious I-35 joined the social media game in August. It identifies as “the clogged artery to Austin, Texas’ heart.” Right now, the account has a measly 39 followers but we’ll be looking to see if it achieves the same popularity as it’s counterpart to the west.

https://twitter.com/ViciousI35/status/771789336857554944

https://twitter.com/ViciousI35/status/769945497536696320

@Austin_Cobra: The story of the Austin Cobra is a bit difficult to tell. The parody account’s inception began with a tragedy where an 18-year-old man died of a snake bite from his monocled cobra that got loose. It showed up in a parking lot in North Austin before meeting its death on I-35. But one day later, Austin Cobra — a monocled cobra sporting a literal monocle — appeared on Twitter.

Austin Cobra’s jokes usually center around subtly-threatening remarks about showing up in Austin locations, snake boots and ending snake stereotypes. The account even had an enemy named the Austin Mongoose, but he doesn’t seem to be active on Twitter anymore.

@TexasAlbino: Everyone who’s been a UT student knows the superstition surrounding the albino squirrel. Legend has it that if you see it on campus the day of an exam, you’re bound to have good luck. Three years ago, everyone’s furry friend joined the Twitterverse. Catch him if you can.

https://twitter.com/andrea_barrick/status/531865120532856832

@atxhipstersThis account is less of a parody and more of a strange gimmick. The Twitter bio says it’s “a team of fake hipsters that stalk Austin bloggers” — and that’s a pretty spot on description. The account almost religiously re-tweets articles from various publications all around Austin. It might not be teeming with jokes, but it’ll keep you updated on what’s happening around the city.

@MayorAdlerGNRNot Mayor Adler embodies what none of us can quite get past — Mayor Steve Adler totally shares the same name as the former drummer of Guns N’ Roses. Since December, Not Mayor Adler has simultaneously pretended to be the Austin mayor and the drummer. Here’s Austin’s Adler on his connection to the ’80s rock band.

@FartAcevedoAustin Police Chief Art Acevedo’s got his own gassy counterpart on Twitter named Fart Acevedo. Whether the name is pure genius or excruciatingly juvenile, the account’s bio says “Not to be confused with the Art Acevedo. But I’m Cuban, I’m police and I have gas. Really, really bad gas. Excuse me.” And that about sums up the whole account. Nearly every tweet is related to Acevedo and farting. Honestly, it’s a bit weak.

Correction: This list originally contained a link to the @atxhipsters account, which is not a parody account. It is an automated, aggregated Twitter feed.

Will drone-delivered burritos revive the Great Breakfast Taco War?

Taco trucks on every corner? More like tacos from every cloud.

Breakfast tacos from Phil's Icehouse. Photo by Ralph Barrera.
Breakfast tacos from Phil’s Icehouse. Photo by Ralph Barrera.

We’re one day closer to that glorious moment where we can have Chipotle delivered to our front doors at the push of a button.

That’s right, those beautiful tacos, burritos and bowls are coming soon to a doorstep near you, courtesy of a friendly neighborhood drone.

If that sort of thing doesn’t scare you in an Orwellian way, the “Roanoke Times”‘ video of a drone from X’s Project Wing (formerly Google) test-delivering a Chipotle burrito.

A drone was spotted at a testing ground near Virginia Tech Monday, lowering test burritos on the campus.

Granted, the food was only carried about a tenth of a mile, but that’s a big step forward for food delivery.

This has big implications for the way we consume Mexican food and for the way technology is becoming an inescapable presence in our lives.

But what does it mean for the Great Breakfast Taco War of 2016?

When he leaned of the new development in food delivery Tuesday, he jokingly tweeted that it might violate the cease-fire agreement he came to with San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor back in March:

https://twitter.com/dblanchard/status/775823922201698305

 

Will we have peace (and guac) in our times? Hopefully so. May we always be peaceful and never let burrito drones come between us, San Antonio.

Texas farm reveals Clinton and Trump-themed corn maze

Hasn’t it felt like a maze you couldn’t find your way out of all along?

Texas’ Dewberry Farm in Brookshire has introduced something else you can struggle to navigate through this election cycle — a Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton-themed corn maze. A quick glance at an overhead picture tells us Trump’s hair is just as confusing to make sense of when it’s made of corn.

Between the two corn-candidates, capturing most voters confusion, are three large question marks and “#Nooo!”

READ: Texas woman’s obit cites ‘2016 election’ as cause of death

The owner of the farm, Mary Emerson, told Click2Houston that her and her husband design a political-themed maze every four years. The maze, which is set to open for the season Sept. 24, is about 8 acres and should take about an hour to complete. But if it’s anything like this election — you’ll be stuck in it infinitely.

READ: Here’s how to register to vote in Texas

Follow live: Opening statements being made in Norwood capital murder trial

The capital murder case against Mark Norwood, accused of the 1988 killing of Debra Baker, is set to begin Tuesday morning.

rbb-mark-norwood-2
RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL Mark Norwood speaks on the witness stand during a court hearing last week.

Follow our live coverage below, and read more about the trial here.