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Hays County: 2020 Primary Elections Voter Guide

Hays County: 2020 primary elections voter guide

Federal: U.S. Senate Every state in the U.S. elects two people to represent them in the U.S. Senate, which is the upper chamber of Congress. They are elected statewide for six-year terms. Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s term is up for re-election this year. About a dozen Democrats are vying to challenge him in the November election. REPUBLICANS: Dwayne Stovall, John Cornyn*, Mark Yancey, Virgil Bierschwale, John Anthony Castro DEMOCRATS: Chris Bell, Royce West, Annie “Mama” Garcia, Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, Amanda…

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Judge: Pipeline Through Hill Country Can Move Forward

Judge: Pipeline through Hill Country can move forward

A federal judge has rejected an effort to halt construction of a pipeline that would carry natural gas from West Texas to refineries on the Texas coast. Officials from the city of Austin, Travis and Hays counties, and other local governments joined private landowners in arguing that the Permian Highway Pipeline would harm a rare species of bird and therefore violates the Endangered Species Act. U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, however, ruled Friday that the plaintiffs had not shown that…

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Aquifer District Names New General Manager

Aquifer district names new general manager

The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District is pleased to announce Vanessa Escobar has been named General Manager. As a water resource professional in Texas, she has focused her work over the last 15 years in water conservation, water resources planning, groundwater management, regulatory compliance, and project management. “When I joined the District almost 7 years ago, I quickly developed an appreciation for the District’s reputable science and policy and for the challenges that this organization faces in the world of…

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Texas Needs To Tackle Water Scarcity Before It Gets Worse 

Texas needs to tackle water scarcity before it gets worse 

Texas is no stranger to water scarcity. In every decade of the twentieth century, Texas has experienced a serious drought. However, Texas’ ability to outmaneuver its water crisis has a limit. A deepening drought is now affecting a large part of Texas. On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration due to a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall in Central Texas. The parched lands spanning from the Rio Grande Valley toward central and east Texas are only a…

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Today, 30th Anniversary Of The Pale Blue Dot

Today, 30th anniversary of the Pale Blue Dot

February 14, 1990. Today is the 30th anniversary of an iconic image of Earth, seen from Saturn, taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. It turned out to be one of the most memorable images ever taken from space. The image came to be known as the Pale Blue Dot, and to be associated with the words of astronomer Carl Sagan who wrote in his 1994 book “Pale Blue Dot”: Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.…

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Preserving the night sky in Austin

Most evenings in Central Texas, the sky transforms into the legendary violet crown before falling into darkness. Although humans wait for the beauty of the sunset, it is the darkness that animals need, according to Cliff Kaplan of the Hill Country Alliance. “All of the creatures of Central Texas rely on dark nights. That’s what they evolved for,” he told the Environmental Commission at its Feb. 5 meeting. Golden-cheeked warblers navigate by starlight and fireflies communicate in darkness. Darker skies…

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Resilience Along A River

Resilience along a river

It’s a crisp November after-noon and landowner Suzanne Davis is admiring native bald cypress seedlings while cutting back invasive Brazilian verbena along her stretch of the Blanco River. Davis and her husband, Edward, live in Wimberley, where, four years ago, the Blanco River rose more than 20 feet in an hour — over 40 feet at its peak — causing extensive devastation to property and life. “The destruction all around was incomprehensible,” she said. While the couple had to start…

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Taking On Wildlife Disease

Taking on wildlife disease

The Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program, a collaboration between the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, will leverage Penn Vet’s expertise to address wildlife health problems. When wildlife biologist Matthew Schnupp began his career, the emphasis was on conserving habitat. “The paradigm of wildlife management for the last 20 years has been habitat management,” he says, aiming to conserve the land and ecosystems animals require to thrive. And while protecting habitat in the face of an expanding human…

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Taking A Look At Trends For Our Land

Taking a look at trends for our land

It should be no surprise that our growing population has put pressure on the land in Comal County. As the second fastest growing county in the nation, we have witnessed the conversion of many acres from open land to developed land. Our experience has been put into the state context with Texas A&M's Natural Resources Institute's release of the latest edition of their Texas Land Trends. The report deals with the entire state, but it notes that 74% of the state population lives in…

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Texas Can’t Quit The Aoudad

Texas Can’t Quit the Aoudad

Allen Smith decided long ago what to do about the aoudads that wander onto his family’s land. “The first four I saw, I shot,” he tells me. From 5,000 feet up, in Smith’s Cessna Skymaster, the choices other Texans have made for their land roll out below—the network of oil and gas wells, the reflective surfaces of solar farms, the sleepaway camps, rodeo arenas, and dried-up, gutter-like creek beds. Smith’s family acreage, once dedicated to cattle, is now a refuge…

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