16 years ago, @JeffBezos announced @BlueOrigin would use a tiny West Texas town to launch people into space. Today, the quiet community of Van Horn is again the center of global attention as Bezos heads to the stars.
✏️ @a_leinfelder
📷 @jonjshapley
➡️ houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-t…
@blueorigin's logo, a feather, represents freedom, perfect flight design & gentle landings. Around town, the silver feathers the company handed out has come to represent all the ways Bezos has changed their community - for good and bad.
📷 @jonjshapley
Like @SpaceX, Bezos' company has brought money to the town it occupies. Workers eat at local restaurants, buy houses and have become involved in Van Horn's school and museum. houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-t…
Once quiet neighbors, locals have now seen employees getting more involved in the community, whether it's listening to "trop rock" artists at house concerts or joining the board of the local museum.
📷 @jonjshapley
➡️ houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-t…
But new demographics have also illuminated Van Horn's existing problems: Agriculture has diminished and infrastructure is deteriorating. The town's current water system suffers from burst pipes and frequent boil water notices ... houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-t…
With higher-income residents moving in, the town no longer qualifies for grant funding they would use to fix those problems. Mayor Becky Brewster noted the winning bid for a seat on Bezos' rocket was $28M - an amount that could have solved everything.
Still, people are excited to see what comes next, including local students. Arely Zamudio, 18, is pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering at @UTAustin thanks to a @BlueOrigin employee.
@BlueOrigin is targeting 9 a.m. ET for liftoff. Follow @a_leinfelder for today's launch and check out parts 1 and 2 of "Battle of the Billionaires" - our series on @JeffBezos' and @ElonMusk's race to dominate commercial space.
1⃣ twitter.com/i/events/14157…
2⃣ twitter.com/i/events/14171…

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More from @HoustonChron

19 Jul
When @elonmusk tweeted his legions of fans (and haters) to move to/and or near Starbase in South Texas, no one was really prepared for what came next. Not local officials and certainly not residents.
✏️ @a_leinfelder
📷 @jonjshapley
Musk's company, @spacex, has about 1,400 employees working to launch humans to Mars. His efforts have rocketed (I'm sorry) investment in Greater Brownsville, including real estate and boosting local businesses ...
➡️ houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-t…
Downtown Brownsville received $10M from Musk, which the city hopes to use to spur even more investment. Real estate prices have also skyrocketed: The average home in Brownsville is now $212K, up 47 percent from last year.
📷 @jonjshapley
➡️ houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-t…
Read 6 tweets
8 Mar
All three parts of our latest investigation, In Crisis, are now available to read. Reporter Alex Stuckey spent more than a year looking into Texas' secretive mental health care system: chrn.cl/3brIK2N
Part 1: Texas' 10 mental hospitals are stretched beyond capacity, with shocking lack of oversight and waitlists for hospital beds that stretch on for as long as a year.
Part 2: The state's mental health system has failed for decades to break away from the criminalization of the mentally ill - as hospital beds decrease, more people find themselves on the street and in trouble. houstonchronicle.com/news/investiga…
Read 5 tweets
22 Jun 20
Hey y'all. This is @JeremySWallace from the Austin Bureau for the Chronicle. Gov. Greg Abbott is about to hold a press briefing about COVID-19. I'll be live tweeting during it to keep everyone up to date on what's happening.
The briefing comes a day after Texas reported a new record for hospitalizations. Texas has 3,409 people hospitalized with lab-confirmed COVID-19. Abbott has repeatedly stressed that despite the rising hospitalizations, Texas still has plenty of hospital bed capacity.
Gov. Abbott has been steadily re-opening the state's economy since May 1. Here is a timeline of some key reopening dates.
Read 17 tweets
27 Apr 20
Hi there! This is Austin bureau reporter @taygoldenstein.
@GovAbbott is about to make an announcement about his plans to reopen the Texas economy in just a minute. Follow along here.

Here's our early story➡️ houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas…
Abbott thanks Texans for their social distancing efforts + health care workers on the frontline. Says infection/hospitalization rate slowing down.

"Every life lost is tragic. The fact is the tragedies in Texas have been far fewer than most states in the United States."
Abbott says Texas has the third-most recoveries from COVID-19 in America.

Says the number of people recovered from COVID-19 will soon exceed the number of active cases.
Read 24 tweets
17 Apr 20
.@GovAbbott is set to make an announcement shortly regarding his plans for reopening the economy in Texas. Follow here for updates! (Tweets from @taygoldenstein)
Abbott starts by thanking Texans for following social distancing guidelines, health care workers, “unsung heroes,” like child care and grocery store workers, as well as @realDonaldTrump and local leaders.
Abbott says he has created new statewide “strike force” to help him decide how to reopen the Texas economy. Team includes @DanPatrick, House Speaker @RepDennisBonnen, AG @KenPaxtonTX & comptroller @Glenn_Hegar
Read 16 tweets
10 Feb 19
1/ In the past 20 years, a disturbing number of Southern Baptists with formal church roles have engaged in sexual misconduct, according to an investigation by @HoustonChron and @ExpressNews: bit.ly/2GtEiRW
@ExpressNews 2/ We analyzed thousands of pages of news reports and court docs to find sexual abuse/misconduct allegations against Southern Baptist church leaders/volunteers. We interviewed hundreds of victims, church leaders, offenders & law enforcement officials.

Here’s what we found:
@ExpressNews 3/ Since 2008, when leaders rejected reforms meant to curb sexual abuse, 250+ people who worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches have been charged with sex crimes. Nearly all were convicted, took plea deals or have pending cases. #churchtoo bit.ly/2GzkvR9
Read 15 tweets

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