Trifecta of drought, late freeze, hail decimate Hill Country peach crop
Picking up Fredericksburg peaches at the grocery store or a roadside stand is a tradition of the warmer months in Austin, as much as finding a patch of bluebonnets in which to take a photo. But this year, finding Fredericksburg peaches in Austin isn’t likely:
“Ricky Priess, owner of Gold Orchards in Stonewall, whose family has been growing peaches since 1940, said that he has lost has entire crop for the year. … Over the past 10 years, he’s had five years with very small crops or no crops at all. He’s only had a bumper crop in 2010. In the past four years, he’s lost 20 acres of peach trees.”
About 40 percent of Texas’ peach crop comes from the Hill Country:
“Texas typically produces 23 million pounds of peaches a year, with an annual production value of about $33 million, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Gillespie County has about 1,400 acres of commercial peach orchards, and 40 percent of the state’s peaches come from the area, according to the Hill Country Fruit Council.”
(Photos: DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)
The satellite images above provided by DigitalGlobe show the destructive force of the fertilizer plant explosion that rocked the small town of West, Texas, with the force of a magnitude-2.1 earthquake last Wednesday evening.
My uncle taught and then was principal at the high school in West in the late 80s/early 90s. So I feel like I know West slightly better than just the Czech Stop (plus, we used to stop at the Dairy Queen far more often).
Thinking of you, West!
When the NAACP began challenging Jim Crow laws across the South, it knew that, in the battle for public opinion, the particular plaintiffs mattered as much as the facts of the case. The group meticulously selected the people who would elicit both sympathy and outrage, who were pristine in form and character. And they had to be ready to step forward at the exact moment when both public sentiment and the legal system might be swayed.
That’s how Oliver Brown, a hard-working welder and assistant pastor in Topeka, Kan., became the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that would obliterate the separate but equal doctrine. His daughter, whose third-grade innocence posed a searing rebuff to legal segregation, became its face.
Read more. [Image: AP]
This segment from this week’s On The Media is pretty wonderful (and not just because of the Texas connection).
Today is Day Two in the court of inquiry that will determine whether Williamson County state district Judge Ken Anderson faces criminal charges in the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton. Starting the day off is the airing of an eight-hour deposition of the former prosecutor that was taken last year by the Innocence Project.
Stay updated on the day’s events with this liveblog from Brandi Grissom.
This ad played (in limited markets) last night during the Superbowl and someone at the party commented, “I wish people outside of Texas could see this.”
So here you go.
A bill filed Thursday in the Texas House would give religiously based businesses, such as Hobby Lobby, a state tax break if the businesses were forced to comply with the federal government’s mandate that employers provide contraception coverage.
Should such businesses get tax relief because of the contraception rule? Read Becca Aaronson’s story and tell us what you think.
December 4, 1966. LBJ speaks with John Steinbeck, who is soon to travel to Vietnam. He will stay for five months, until April 1967. As you can tell from this conversation, the President and Steinbeck were very friendly—Lady Bird and Elaine Steinbeck, John’s wife, both attended the University of Texas, and LBJ and John had taken to each other at their first meeting in 1963. The Steinbecks also appear in at least two of Mrs. Johnson’s home movies of the Johnson family and their friends at Camp David, one from 1965 and one from 1967. John Steinbeck, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.
Steinbeck was a staunch supporter of LBJ’s Vietnam policies. Both of Steinbeck’s sons served there, Thom and John, pictured above with his father and LBJ in the Oval Office. The Steinbecks visited the White House in May 1966, shortly before John’s deployment.
While in Vietnam, the elder Steinbeck worked as a war correspondent for Newsday. Some of his columns from 1966-1967 were recently republished by the University of Virginia Press: you can listen to an interview with the book’s editor here. More on Steinbeck and LBJ here, via NARA’s Teaching with Documents.
LBJ Presidential Library photo #A2439-4, 5/16/1966. Public domain.
In this morning’s Brief: If money’s a show of strength, George P. Bush — who’s angling for statewide office — just came out swinging. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, raised more than $1.3 million from Nov. 7 to Dec. 31.
yeesh. He was in my friend’s class at UT law school. The ladies loved him.