Monday, March 6, 2017

History Of The State Flower Of Texas


Bluebonnets have been loved since man first trod the vast prairies of Texas. Indians wove fascinating folk tales around them. The early-day Spanish priests gathered the seeds and grew them around their missions. This practice gave rise to the myth that the padres had brought the plant from Spain, but this cannot be true since the two predominant species of bluebonnets are found growing naturally only in Texas and at no other location in the world.

As historian Jack Maguire so aptly wrote, "It's not only the state flower but also a kind of floral trademark almost as well known to outsiders as cowboy boots and the Stetson hat." He goes on to affirm that "The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland."

The ballad of our singing governor, the late W. Lee O'Daniel, goes, "you may be on the plains or the mountains or down where the sea breezes blow, but bluebonnets are one of the prime factors that make the state the most beautiful land that we know.

As our state flower, bluebonnets have a most interesting history. Texas actually has five state flowers, more or less, and they are all bluebonnets. Here is how it happened.

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In the spring of 1901, the Texas Legislature got down to the serious business of selecting a state floral emblem and the ensuing battle was hot and heavy. One legislator spoke emotionally in favor of the cotton boll since cotton was king in Texas in those days. Another, a young man from Uvalde, extolled the virtues of the cactus so eloquently, noting the hardy durability of the plant and the orchid-like beauty of its flowers, that he earned the nickname of "Cactus Jack" which stuck with him for the rest of his life. He was John Nance Garner and later became vice president of the United States.

But the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Texas won the day. Their choice was Lupinus subcarnosus ("generally known as buffalo clover or bluebonnet," stated the resolution) and it was passed into law on March 7 without any recorded opposition.

And that's when the polite bluebonnet war was started.

Lupinus subcarnosus is a dainty little plant which paints the sandy, rolling hills of coastal and southern Texas with sheets of royal-blue in the early spring. But some folks thought it was the least attractive of the Texas bluebonnets. They wanted Lupinus texensis, the showier, bolder blue beauty which covers most of Texas and gives inspiration to many an artist.

So, off and on for 70 years, the Legislature was encouraged to correct its oversight. But the wise Solons of Capital Hill weren't about to get caught in another botanical trap, nor did they want to offend the supporters of Lupinus subcarnosus. They solved the problem with typical political maneuvering.

In 1971, the Legislature handled the dilemma by adding the two species together, plus "any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded", and lumped them all into one state flower.

Among the many things the Legislature did not know then was that the big state of Texas is home to three other species of Lupines and the umbrella clause makes all five of them the state flower. And, if any new species are discovered, they automatically will assume the mantle of state flower as well.

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Source: AGGIE-HORTICULTURE

Should Texas Abolish Daylight Savings Time?


Texans may not have to worry about “springing forward” and “falling back” for daylight saving time. Three bills filed this legislative session aim to abolish the bi-annual time change altogether.

“There’s really no good reason why we should spring our clocks forward an hour,” State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs said. “It doesn’t change the amount of daylight, it doesn’t change the amount of daytime, it just leaves us at the same time.”

Isaac filed House Bill 2400 to get rid of daylight saving time. He said numerous studies suggest the changes lead to an increase in car accidents and heart attacks because of losing an hour of sleep, and said simply put it “has become an annoyance” and “burden” to the state.

“I know it does sound kind of funny, but it is a big deal to a lot of people that I serve,” Isaac said. “We want to unify the state of Texas to be in the same time zone.”

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Isaac said it’s a safety concern. He said fatal car crashes jump nearly 6 percent over the week following the time change.

“For a lot of people, that one week when they lose that extra hour of sleep causes some physical issues,” State Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, said. “Obviously we have all heard of the people getting late to work, getting late to school, but I think it also adds stress unnecessarily.”

Menendez said he agrees with Isaac. He filed Senate Bill 238, an identical bill to be heard in the upper chamber this session.

“Children having more safety at their bus stop in the morning, drivers not being drowsy, drivers having daylight, all of these things,” Menendez said. “When you are having the most people on the road on the way to school on the way to work, to me it makes the most sense to have that daylight going, to have people well rested.”

Critics of the bills said ending daylight saving time would mean it would get darker earlier in the evening, resulting in Texans using more energy and electricity year-round.

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Source: KXAN

The Alamo Fell 181 Years Ago, Today


It has been 181 years since the Alamo fell to Mexican forces.

In honor of the 1836 siege and the battle, for the last 13 days, the staff at the Alamo has presented interactive history programming and special events to commemorate the 181st anniversary. On Monday, the defenders will be remembered in public ceremonies to mark the anniversary.

On February 23, 1836, a Mexican force of 1,800 to 6,000 men commanded by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna began a siege of the fort, according to History.com. The Alamo held out for 13 days, but on the morning of March 6, the Mexican forces broke through the outer wall of the courtyard and overpowered them.

On March 6, 2017, Alamo Living Historians will present historical readings at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. of what was happening at the Alamo in 1836. These presentations will take place in front of the Alamo Church and last between 10 and 15 minutes.

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Throughout the day guests can learn more about the history of the Alamo through live demonstrations across the grounds from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dusk at the Alamo is the final event to commemorate the 181st anniversary.

On the evening of March 6, 1836, General Antonio López de Santa Anna ordered soldiers to light three funeral pyres on which rested the bodies of the Alamo’s defenders, according to the Alamo’s website. These fires burned through the night and into the following day, reducing the men of the Alamo’s garrison to ashes.

A year later on February 25, 1837, Colonel Juan N. Seguín and his battalion returned to San Antonio where the Tejano leader instructed his men to gather the ashes of their fallen comrades and ordered a memorial service held in their honor, according to the Alamo’s website.

Dusk at the Alamo is a brief ceremony to commemorate the lighting of the funeral pyres. It will take place in front of the Alamo Church at 6 p.m.

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Source: KENS5

Bird Flu Outbreak At Tyson's Breeder Farm


Tens of thousands of chickens have been destroyed at a Tennessee chicken farm due to a bird flu outbreak, and 30 other farms within a six-mile radius have being quarantined.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 73,500 chickens were destroyed and will not enter the food system. The highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza, or HPAI, can be deadly to chickens and turkeys.

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The breeder supplies Tyson Foods Inc. The company said that it doesn’t expect its chicken business to be disrupted, but shares of the Springdale, Arkansas, food producer slid 3 percent in early trading Monday.

Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture declined to name the breeder and would only say it is located in the state’s Lincoln County, just west of Chattanooga.

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Source: DFWCBSLOCAL

Man Used Machete To Steal Front-End Loader


A man has been arrested, accused of stealing a pick-up truck and then using a machete to steal a front-end loader before leading deputies on a chase in far Northwest Bexar County, officials said Monday.

Rosanne Hughes, a spokesperson for the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, said the incident began around 7:15 a.m. when the suspect jumped out of his vehicle and stole a pick-up truck that was running in the 9600 block of Dewberry Path.

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That's when roughly an hour later the suspect, while brandishing a machete, stole a front-end loader from a construction site near Interstate 10 and Ralph Fair Road.

The suspect then led SAPD and deputies on a short vehicle chase along the access road that finally ended in the 100 block of 2nd street in Boerne. The suspect is now in custody, Hughes said.

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Source: KSAT