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Hundreds visit South Texas town for annual vegan festival

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by By Berenice Garcia, The – 2024-05-16 11:00:00

SUMMARY: The Rio Grande Valley recently hosted its third annual Vegan Fest in Elsa, a testament to the growing demand for plant-based cuisine among Texans. The event various local vendors serving popular dishes like barbecue, bistec tacos, and discada—all vegan. Initially, the festival, which started in 2022, understated the local appetite for vegan options. Organized by Canda LePage, a retired teacher, and other enthusiasts, the event has quickly expanded, doubling in size and attendance within a year. Despite challenges, such as labeling restrictions for alternative meat products and the higher costs of vegan goods, the festival exemplifies a broader acceptance of vegan cuisine, even among meat-eaters. Veganism remains niche but finds patrons in unexpected places, including plant-based restaurants using transitional dishes to entice carnivores and pop-up businesses at music festivals. The vegan movement in Texas mirrors a gradual shift in culinary habits and environmental consciousness.

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Vegan Fest co-founders Canda LePage, 49, and her husband Jim LePage, 48, pose for ap photo in Elsa, Texas on May 11, 2024.
Verónica Gabriela Cárdenas for The Texas Tribune

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Gerardo Elizondo, 51, prepares vegan food at Vegan Fest in Elsa, Texas on May 11, 2024.
Verónica Gabriela Cárdenas for The Texas Tribune

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Clarissa Morales, 26, poses for a photo with her daughter Mía Vásquez, 6, at Vegan Fest in Elsa, Texas on May 11, 2024. “We don't eat red meat. We like vegan food, but I'm not vegan. If it was more affordable I would be.”
Verónica Gabriela Cárdenas for The Texas Tribune

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Ingrid Monserrat, 35, owner of María Cruz Cuisine, poses for a photo at Vegan Fest in Elsa, Texas on May 11, 2024. “When I became a vegan there wasn't any restaurants open. So mine was a juice bar and vegan restaurant. I did it [becoming a vegan] because of my own personal health, for the environment, and for the animals.”
Verónica Gabriela Cárdenas for The Texas Tribune

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Vegan dishes are displayed at Vegan Fest in Elsa, Texas on May 11, 2024.
Verónica Gabriela Cárdenas for The Texas Tribune

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The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Texas Tribune

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Texas challenge to abortion pill

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by By Eleanor Klibanoff and Karen Brooks Harper, The – 2024-06-13 09:28:47

SUMMARY: The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the legality of mifepristone, a common abortion-inducing drug, rejecting an anti-abortion group's challenge. In its first abortion-related ruling since overturning Roe v. Wade, the court maintained the drug's market status, rebuking a prior judgment by the 5th Circuit and District Judge Kacsmaryk. Mifepristone, approved in 2000 and often used with misoprostol, is shown to be safe and effective. The ruling is a relief to abortion providers and pharmaceutical companies concerned about judicial overreach on drug approvals. The court noted the plaintiffs lacked standing as they neither use nor prescribe mifepristone.

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The mifepristone challenge from Texas

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The ruling

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The post U.S. Supreme Court rejects Texas challenge to abortion pill appeared first on TexasTribune.org.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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Texas Dems to target GOP’s record on education this November

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by By Jasper Scherer, The – 2024-06-13 05:00:00

SUMMARY: Texas Democrats are focusing on education in their campaign to gain state House seats, criticizing GOP lawmakers for teacher shortages and school closures while opposing Governor Greg Abbott's school voucher policy. The strategy was underscored at the Texas Democratic Convention, with leaders like Gina Hinojosa emphasizing the need to elect more Democrats to prevent vouchers. Abbott's supporters argue that vouchers offer parental choice, while Republicans blame Democrats for obstructing education funding. The education debate contrasts Democrats' push for improved school funding with GOP efforts to control school curricula and support vouchers, framing public education as a crucial election issue.

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An LGBTQ+ center opens its doors in West Texas

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by By Carlos Nogueras Ramos, The – 2024-06-13 05:00:00

SUMMARY: At West Texas Pride Festival, Patty Reeves addressed the audience following the tragic suicide of Luna Harris, a 19-year-old gender-nonconforming community member. The events cast a shadow over what was to be a celebratory week, including the opening of the permanent Pride Center West Texas. Co-founded by Bryan and Clint Wilson, who moved to Midland in 2020, the center has relocated several times due to growth and eviction, now operating in a strip mall. The center and events like Bingo Night, which help fund it, are vital in a state where LGBTQ+ rights are under legislative threat. Despite challenges, the community remains resilient.

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PFLAG President, Peggy Reeves, discusses the intense need to help trans children in Texas during the Pride Festival hosted by Basin Pride at The Vine in Odessa, Texas.

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Youth Administrator, Zero Galindo pick board games with Bryson Beaman (14) and Michael Eayon during Youth Drop In and Group at Pride Center West Texas in Odessa on May 28, 2024.

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Pride Center Board President, Emily Parks answers interview questions from Texas Pride Impact Funds  members Ron Guillard and Míchél Macklin at Pride Center West Texas in Odessa on May 28,2024.

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Pride Center founder Bryan Wilson holds meeting with board members at Pride Center West Texas in Odessa on May 28, 2024.

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Eddie Almendariz, long time Bingo player participates in the first night of Bingo hosted by Pride Center West Texas at VFW Post 4372 in Odessa on May 20, 2024.

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