Saturday, April 30, 2016

On Texas Turf

"Texas schools spare no expense for huge football stadiums" by David Warren Associated Press  April 29, 2016

DALLAS — A suburban Dallas school district grabbed national attention in 2012 when it opened an eye-popping $60 million high school football stadium.

Not to be outdone, school officials near Houston next year plan to unveil a $62 million stadium plan. And a district north of Dallas is considering spending more than $50 million on its own football arena.

Are such exorbitant price tags for high school stadiums the new normal? Only in Texas, it seems. Football fields in other states are far less expensive, often in the range of $5 million to $10 million. One Southern California district built four stadiums for about $72 million.

Texas school officials say their districts are teeming with new students and that the stadiums reflect their communities’ need for larger, more modern facilities. Many of the facilities are designed to serve multiple schools and multiple sports and host special events. And they should last for generations.

A big-league sports stadium can easily cost hundreds of millions of dollars, with some surpassing $1 billion. So a $50 million or $60 million project seems modest by comparison. But it’s an extraordinary amount to spend on teen athletes. The result is a high school stadium that resembles a professional facility, with gleaming digital scoreboards, turf fields, and expansive press boxes.

Ross Kecseg, with the Austin-based fiscal watchdog group Empower Texans, calls the money being spent on high school stadiums ‘‘excessive.’’ The larger problem, he said, is school officials who combine outsize expenditures in one large bond package, leaving voters with no option to approve or reject one project over another. New school construction, building renovations, requests for more buses, and other needs may be wrapped into a single request.

‘‘When they put these propositions on the ballot, they put a whole lot of other things with them,’’ Kecseg said. ‘‘By law they’re allowed to separate the different requests. . . but they lump them all together in an all-or-nothing proposition.’’

The Allen stadium, with 18,000 seats, stands out even in Texas, where high school football has been mythologized in print and on television....


Also see: SEC Charges Texas AG


"Woman, 4 grandchildren killed in East Texas flooding" by Associated Press  April 30, 2016

PALESTINE, Texas — A 64-year-old woman and four grandchildren were killed early Saturday after a creek overflowed its banks, flooding an East Texas neighborhood as many residents slept.

Captaine James Muniz of the Palestine Police Department told The Associated Press that six to 10 homes in a Palestine cul-de-sac were severely damaged following heavy rainfall over the course of just a few minutes after midnight. All other residents of the cul-de-sac were accounted for, he said.

Between 20 and 30 people were displaced by the floods....


Also see6th body found after Texas flash floods

While Obama yuks it up (ha-ha!!) with the ma$$ media.