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Photos: Texas storms cause widespread damage in Houston area

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by By Marie D. De Jesús and Antranik Tavitian, Houston Landing, The – 2024-05-17 14:45:42

SUMMARY: Severe storms hit the Houston area on Thursday evening, resulting in widespread damage, four fatalities, and power outages affecting nearly 900,000 homes and businesses. The Houston Office of Emergency Management is beginning recovery efforts, while officials discourage unnecessary travel. Reports from Houston Landing detail the extent of the destruction, which includes knocked-down power lines and damaged buildings, such as the Wells Fargo Plaza and the CenterPoint Energy Plaza. Photos provided by Antranik Tavitian and Marie D. De Jesús illustrate the damage seen across the region.

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The Muncy family looks at damaged buildings in downtown after a storm broke windows in many of the skyscrapers on Louisiana Street, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Houston. (Antranik Tavitian / Houston Landing)

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A car roof is flattened after bricks from a partially collapsed wall of Conejo Malo fell on it in downtown, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Houston. (Antranik Tavitian / Houston Landing)

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The damaged Well Fargo Plaza building in downtown, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Houston. (Antranik Tavitian / Houston Landing)

A worker clears damaged windows in the CenterPoint Energy Plaza building in downtown, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Houston. (Antranik Tavitian / Houston Landing)

Debris after the storm on Louisiana Street in downtown, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Houston. (Antranik Tavitian / Houston Landing)

From left, Luke, 8, Ryan, 6, Jaqueline, and Tanner Muncy, 6, look at the damage and debris on Louisiana Street the morning after a storm in downtown, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Houston. (Antranik Tavitian / Houston Landing)

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Thursday evening, storms smashed several transmission power lines near Highway 99 on May 16, 2024, in Cypress. (Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Landing)

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A man stands by a fallen branch blocks TC Jester Blvd. heading south because a large tree is impeding the roadway after a storm, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Houston. (Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Landing)

Thursday evening storms smashed several transmission power lines near Highway 99 on May 16, 2024, in Cypress. (Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Landing)

Thursday storms brought in gusts of winds up to 80 mph, damaging homes in Cypress on May 16, 2024. (Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Landing)

Street signs down on the corner of Bridge Creek Terrace Drive and Westgreen Blvd. in Cypress, Friday, May 17, 2024. (Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Landing)

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Anastasia Gill, 38, takes a call in the darkness of her backyard after losing electricity on May 16, 2024, in Houston. The roof of her house sustained damages after a tree fell on it during the storm on Thursday. (Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Landing)

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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.

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Texas Tribune

Former Southern Baptist leader Paul Pressler dead at 94

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by By Robert Downen, The – 2024-06-15 18:40:13

SUMMARY: Paul Pressler, a prominent Southern Baptist leader and Republican activist, passed away on June 7 at 94. Pressler played a key role in the Southern Baptist Convention's conservative resurgence, opposing homosexuality and aligning with the Republican Party. He faced numerous sexual abuse allegations, resulting in a confidential lawsuit settlement six months before his death. Pressler's contributions included influencing GOP politics, notably supporting figures like Ted Cruz. Despite his significant impact, his death received muted attention. Pressler's legacy was marred by the scandal that contributed to a broader investigation and reforms within the Southern Baptist Convention regarding sex abuse.

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Texas STAAR test: Student math and science scores plummet

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by By Sneha Dey, The – 2024-06-14 12:47:49

SUMMARY: State testing data reveals significant declines in Texas students' math and science scores post-pandemic. Only 26% of fifth graders met science standards, a 21-point drop since 2019. Math scores also fell, with 41% of students demonstrating adequate understanding. The data underscores COVID-19's severe impact on learning, with concerns about lasting workforce implications. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath noted that disruptions have hindered students' math proficiency. However, bilingual students showed notable gains, surpassing pre-pandemic levels in reading and social studies. The story is developing, with upcoming appearances by political figures at The Texas Tribune Festival in Austin.

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Austin gun shop owner wins fight to overturn bump stock ban

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by By Dante Motley, The – 2024-06-14 11:20:58

SUMMARY: An Austin gun shop owner, Michael Cargill, won a Supreme Court case overturning a federal ban on bump stocks. The court's 6-3 decision ruled that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) wrongly classified bump stocks as machine guns under legislation banning such weapons. Bump stocks enable semi-automatic rifles to fire rapidly. Cargill's case, supported by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, argued that ATF overstepped its authority. Justice Clarence Thomas stated that bump stocks do not make a semi-automatic rifle a machine gun. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, asserting bump stocks fit the machine gun definition.

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