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Latest from Andrea Ball

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Texas special education chief fired after questioning no-bid contract
 The state’s new director of special education was fired Wednesday, one day after she filed a federal complaint claiming the Texas Education Agency wrongly entered into a $4.4 million, no-bid contract with a Georgia company to analyze private records for children with disabilities. Laurie Kash asked the U.S. Department of Education&rsquo...

Posted: 16 hours ago

The state’s new director of special education was fired Wednesday, one day after she filed a federal complaint claiming the Texas Education Agency wrongly entered into a $4.4 million, no-bid contract with a Georgia company to analyze private records for children with disabilities. Laurie Kash asked the U.S. Department of Education&rsquo...
Texas fires special education director, citing civil suit in Oregon
 The Texas Education Agency has fired its special education director. Laurie Kash, who started work in August, was recently accused in a lawsuit of trying to cover up child abuse allegations while she worked as a special education director at Rainier School District in Oregon. The $1.85 million suit claims that Kash ordered several employees...

Posted: 19 hours ago

The Texas Education Agency has fired its special education director. Laurie Kash, who started work in August, was recently accused in a lawsuit of trying to cover up child abuse allegations while she worked as a special education director at Rainier School District in Oregon. The $1.85 million suit claims that Kash ordered several employees...
Lyric Wardlow: Once-homeless teen needs help getting education
 Lyric Wardlow was 9 years old when she became homeless. After she and her mother were evicted from their South Bend, Ind., house, the pair spent years couch surfing, living in homeless shelters, staying in hotels and using temporary housing programs to keep a roof over their heads. They moved to Austin when Wardlow was in high school, but...

Posted: a day ago

Lyric Wardlow was 9 years old when she became homeless. After she and her mother were evicted from their South Bend, Ind., house, the pair spent years couch surfing, living in homeless shelters, staying in hotels and using temporary housing programs to keep a roof over their heads. They moved to Austin when Wardlow was in high school, but...
TEXAS HOMES FOR DISABLED: After $269M in reforms, a glint of hope
 It was supposed to be over by now. In 2009, the State of Texas promised the U.S. Department of Justice that it would clean up its 13 institutions for people with developmental disabilities. Those homes — called state supported living centers — would have quality medical care, offer ample social activities, help residents become...

Posted: 6 days ago

It was supposed to be over by now. In 2009, the State of Texas promised the U.S. Department of Justice that it would clean up its 13 institutions for people with developmental disabilities. Those homes — called state supported living centers — would have quality medical care, offer ample social activities, help residents become...
After $269M in reforms, a glint of hope at Texas homes for disabled
 It was supposed to be over by now. In 2009, the State of Texas promised the U.S. Department of Justice that it would clean up its 13 institutions for people with developmental disabilities. Those homes — called state supported living centers — would have quality medical care, offer ample social activities, help residents...

Posted: 6 days ago

It was supposed to be over by now. In 2009, the State of Texas promised the U.S. Department of Justice that it would clean up its 13 institutions for people with developmental disabilities. Those homes — called state supported living centers — would have quality medical care, offer ample social activities, help residents...
Gov. Abbott asks Congress for $61 billion for Harvey damage
 Fifteen million dollars to repair and replace damaged Port Aransas schools. About $12 billion to build a storm surge barrier in Galveston Bay. More than $21 million to replace 170 trailer homes destroyed in La Grange. Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday delivered a $61 billion, 282-project wish list to congressional leaders, asking for federal aid...

Posted: 22 days ago

Fifteen million dollars to repair and replace damaged Port Aransas schools. About $12 billion to build a storm surge barrier in Galveston Bay. More than $21 million to replace 170 trailer homes destroyed in La Grange. Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday delivered a $61 billion, 282-project wish list to congressional leaders, asking for federal aid...
Gov. Abbott asks Congress for $61 billion for Harvey damage
 Fifteen million dollars to repair and replace damaged Port Aransas schools. About $12 billion to build a coastal barrier to protect the Galveston Bay from hurricane storm surge. More than $21 million to replace 170 trailer homes that were destroyed in La Grange. Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday delivered a $61 billion, 282-project wish list to...

Posted: 22 days ago

Fifteen million dollars to repair and replace damaged Port Aransas schools. About $12 billion to build a coastal barrier to protect the Galveston Bay from hurricane storm surge. More than $21 million to replace 170 trailer homes that were destroyed in La Grange. Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday delivered a $61 billion, 282-project wish list to...
Greg Kelley case fuels DA’s push for more scrutiny of felony charges
 With his about-to-be unveiled presentation beaming onto a big screen behind him, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick stood before two dozen police investigators for a candid conversation. The focus of the discussion was what Dick views as his office’s responsibility to thoroughly vet a police investigation before proceeding...

8:15 PM Thursday, Oct. 05, 2017

With his about-to-be unveiled presentation beaming onto a big screen behind him, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick stood before two dozen police investigators for a candid conversation. The focus of the discussion was what Dick views as his office’s responsibility to thoroughly vet a police investigation before proceeding...
Greg Kelley case fuels DA’s push for more scrutiny of felony charges
 With his about-to-be unveiled presentation beaming onto a big screen behind him, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick stood before two dozen police investigators for a candid conversation. The focus of the discussion was what Dick views as his office’s responsibility to thoroughly vet a police investigation before proceeding...

8:07 PM Thursday, Oct. 05, 2017

With his about-to-be unveiled presentation beaming onto a big screen behind him, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick stood before two dozen police investigators for a candid conversation. The focus of the discussion was what Dick views as his office’s responsibility to thoroughly vet a police investigation before proceeding...
Hundreds of true believers drawn to Greg Kelley sex assault case
 Each year, tens of thousands of child sexual assault abuse cases quietly churn through Texas courts, and sometimes, they also lead to appeals similar to that of Greg Kelley, who is seeking to have his conviction and mandatory 25-year prison sentence overturned. But in the four years since his arrest, Kelley’s case has sparked endless...

7:40 PM Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017

Each year, tens of thousands of child sexual assault abuse cases quietly churn through Texas courts, and sometimes, they also lead to appeals similar to that of Greg Kelley, who is seeking to have his conviction and mandatory 25-year prison sentence overturned. But in the four years since his arrest, Kelley’s case has sparked endless...
Hundreds of true believers drawn to Greg Kelley sex assault case
 Standing on the back of a pickup at Leander High School with a Radio Shack megaphone in his hand and hundreds of people staring at him, Jake Brydon realized he had just done something either really good or really, really bad. It was the summer of 2014, and the Williamson County construction company owner had kick-started an effort to help...

7:37 PM Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017

Standing on the back of a pickup at Leander High School with a Radio Shack megaphone in his hand and hundreds of people staring at him, Jake Brydon realized he had just done something either really good or really, really bad. It was the summer of 2014, and the Williamson County construction company owner had kick-started an effort to help...
Judge seeks extension in Greg Kelley sex assault case
 A state district judge will ask the state’s highest court for more time before she gives it her recommendations in the Greg Kelley case, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick said Wednesday. Dick said Judge Donna King could need several more weeks, but possibly as long as December, before providing written recommendations about...

10:55 PM Wednesday, Sep. 13, 2017

A state district judge will ask the state’s highest court for more time before she gives it her recommendations in the Greg Kelley case, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick said Wednesday. Dick said Judge Donna King could need several more weeks, but possibly as long as December, before providing written recommendations about...
Harvey’s wrath takes psychological toll on survivors
 As Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters recede, it leaves behind at least 43 deaths, fires at a Crosby chemical plant, 185,000 destroyed or damaged homes and tens of thousands of people in shelters. But it also leaves emotional wreckage that will take time to heal. Experts say it can take weeks to months, even years, to regain some sense...

8:42 PM Saturday, Sep. 02, 2017

As Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters recede, it leaves behind at least 43 deaths, fires at a Crosby chemical plant, 185,000 destroyed or damaged homes and tens of thousands of people in shelters. But it also leaves emotional wreckage that will take time to heal. Experts say it can take weeks to months, even years, to regain some sense...
Harvey’s wrath takes psychological toll on survivors
 Jimmy Caraway was safe. It had been a week since he was evacuated from his east Houston apartment, a week since rescuers had plucked him from the rising waters he couldn’t escape on his own because of his debilitating arthritis. Now he was 12 miles away at the George R. Brown Convention Center, physically removed from the dangers that...

8:34 PM Saturday, Sep. 02, 2017

Jimmy Caraway was safe. It had been a week since he was evacuated from his east Houston apartment, a week since rescuers had plucked him from the rising waters he couldn’t escape on his own because of his debilitating arthritis. Now he was 12 miles away at the George R. Brown Convention Center, physically removed from the dangers that...
How do you find treasures in a thrift store? Follow our tips
 Mountains of clothes. Boxes of vintage glassware. Rooms stuffed with shoes, shirts, dresses, electronics, games and housewares. That’s what life behind the scenes of a thrift store looks like. When I started volunteering for Austin Pets Alive’s thrift store in May, I didn’t know what to expect at the new shop. Then I became...

5:00 AM Friday, Sep. 01, 2017

Mountains of clothes. Boxes of vintage glassware. Rooms stuffed with shoes, shirts, dresses, electronics, games and housewares. That’s what life behind the scenes of a thrift store looks like. When I started volunteering for Austin Pets Alive’s thrift store in May, I didn’t know what to expect at the new shop. Then I became...
HURRICANE HARVEY: Grim homecoming is the first step in recovery
 Two decades. That’s how long the Gomez family spent fixing up their Talton Street house just the way they liked it. The privacy gate, the garden benches, the treadmill in the back room. The flat-screen TV on the living room wall, the blue pictures of fish in the bathroom, the brand new cream-colored dining room chairs. On Thursday,...

1:19 AM Friday, Sep. 01, 2017

Two decades. That’s how long the Gomez family spent fixing up their Talton Street house just the way they liked it. The privacy gate, the garden benches, the treadmill in the back room. The flat-screen TV on the living room wall, the blue pictures of fish in the bathroom, the brand new cream-colored dining room chairs. On Thursday,...
HURRICANE HARVEY: Grim homecoming is the first step in recovery
 Two decades. That’s how long the Gomez family spent fixing up their Talton Street house just the way they liked it. The privacy gate, the garden benches, the treadmill in the back room. The flat-screen TV on the living room wall, the blue pictures of fish in the bathroom, the brand new cream-colored dining room chairs. On Thursday,...

11:20 PM Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017

Two decades. That’s how long the Gomez family spent fixing up their Talton Street house just the way they liked it. The privacy gate, the garden benches, the treadmill in the back room. The flat-screen TV on the living room wall, the blue pictures of fish in the bathroom, the brand new cream-colored dining room chairs. On Thursday,...
Houston Chief Acevedo looked to time in Austin to prepare for Harvey
 As Hurricane Harvey took aim, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo immediately thought of the Onion Creek flood that struck Southeast Austin in 2013. The former Austin police chief remembered that flood gauges that could have alerted thousands of residents to grave danger failed in the storm, which wound up damaging about 600 homes and killing...

8:06 PM Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017

As Hurricane Harvey took aim, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo immediately thought of the Onion Creek flood that struck Southeast Austin in 2013. The former Austin police chief remembered that flood gauges that could have alerted thousands of residents to grave danger failed in the storm, which wound up damaging about 600 homes and killing...
HURRICANE HARVEY: First sunny day brings hint of optimism after flood
 For Priscilla Hernandez and her eight children, the worst is over. Just days earlier, the family from northern Houston barely survived an ill-fated attempt to escape their trailer by wading through waist-high water in the middle of one of the worst storms to hit this city. Now they are safe. Sitting at a large round table at the George R...

11:15 PM Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017

For Priscilla Hernandez and her eight children, the worst is over. Just days earlier, the family from northern Houston barely survived an ill-fated attempt to escape their trailer by wading through waist-high water in the middle of one of the worst storms to hit this city. Now they are safe. Sitting at a large round table at the George R...
HURRICANE HARVEY EVACUEE: ‘We are blessed in spite of this’
 Outside the George R. Brown Convention Center, survivors of Hurricane Harvey’s wrath on this city are already expressing a hint of optimism on the city’s first full rain-free day and as they consider how they will rebuild their lives. Scores of people stood outside under a cloudy sky that showed no signs of rain. Among them...

6:31 PM Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017

Outside the George R. Brown Convention Center, survivors of Hurricane Harvey’s wrath on this city are already expressing a hint of optimism on the city’s first full rain-free day and as they consider how they will rebuild their lives. Scores of people stood outside under a cloudy sky that showed no signs of rain. Among them...
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