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Texas has most reported child hot car deaths in the nation

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Texas has most reported child hot car deaths in the nation


A few minutes could be the difference between life and death. As we head into the summer months, a nonprofit is warning Texans about the dangers of hot cars.

Extreme summer heat can turn a parked car into a greenhouse, and it’s a recipe for disaster if a child is left inside it. 

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Since 1990, more than 1,000 children have died in hot cars. Texas has the most reported deaths with more than 150.

“They can overheat in a matter of minutes,” Director of Kids and Car Safety Amber Rollins said.

A child’s body heat rises three to five times faster than an adult, meaning they can suffer fatal heat stroke at 104 degrees. Kids and Car Safety reported two children have already died in hot cars this year in South Carolina and West Virginia.

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“We really believe there’s absolutely no way that we could ever lose awareness that they’re with us,” Rollins said.

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Rollins said it happens, though.

“It’s very easy when you’re in autopilot mode, and you’ve got a million things going on, to lose awareness,” Rollins said.

More than half of the deaths of children in a hot car are from someone unknowingly leaving them in the vehicle.

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“Open that back door, check the back seat every single time you leave your vehicle,” Rollins said. “Grab a reminder item like a large stuffed animal, put it in the back seat, any time you buckle a child in the car, you bring that reminder item up to the front seat with you as a visual cue that your child is with you.”

The report revealed 25 percent of the deaths in hot cars are from children getting into a vehicle on their own and not being able to get out.

“Keep your cars locked 100 percent of the time, keep your keys out of reach,” Rollins said.

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Rollins fought for preventative legislation. In 2021, a law was passed that required all new vehicles to have technology that detects if someone is still inside when the engine is off and alerts the driver. It hasn’t been implemented though. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not written the regulation yet.

“Any delay for something like this is unacceptable. We’re talking about children’s lives here,” Rollins said.

Rollins said they will continue to fight until the technology is in every vehicle.

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If you see a child in a hot car, call 911 immediately.



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Texas

Sid Miller: Wichita Falls plant will catapult Texas to top of industrial hemp production

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Sid Miller: Wichita Falls plant will catapult Texas to top of industrial hemp production


Many of Panda Biotech’s top workers and executives joined local leaders and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller to celebrate the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of a new 500,000-square-foot hemp processing plant in Wichita Falls. 

Miller said the single plant will also put the Lone Star State at the top of the country for industrial hemp production.

The plant puts Wichita Falls at the top of the list for industrial hemp production in North and South America, and it is the second-largest industrial hemp production facility in the world.

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“Texas will be a leader, the leader in the Americas as far as hemp production,” Miller said. “We’ll be number one because of this one plant.”

Panda Biotech President Dixie Carter said the company chose Wichita Falls because of a good facility and family ties.

“We have a ranch, for more than 20 years, down the road in Seymour,” Carter said. “We spent so much time in Wichita Falls. This city, this region, it means so much to my family personally.”

The combination of a great building that just needed to be brought back to life and the city made the plant’s location an easy decision, she said.

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Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce President Ron Kitchens said Wichita Falls is now home to an industry leader in industrial hemp production.

“It means creating an entire new industry here. And not just a new industry for Texas. This is the largest facility in all of the Americas,” Kitchens said.

The plant began production in recent months and will eventually conclude staffing with longterm hires. 

Kitchens said the plant will receive financial gains for creating local jobs.

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“It’s just about how many jobs they produce over a year, and they get an incentive based on job creation,” Kitchens said.

The facility is already fully operational and is expected to be at full capacity for staffing and production by early 2025.

“Right now we are 100% operational and running every single bit of fiber we can get our hands on,” Carter said.

Miller said he anticipates more industrial hemp production to follow in Panda’s footsteps.

“I think the demand will continue to grow. With this plant opening, I expect more plants to open around the state, so this is a great day for Texas farmers,” he said. 

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Although initial plans for the plant called for a 2021 opening date, the pandemic pushed things back. 

Kitchens said finally getting the equipment needed from Europe, where hemp processing is an established industry, has allowed Panda to prepare for the future.

“We don’t do this in the United States, so the equipment was all manufactured in Europe,” Kitchens said. “COVID killed it, we’re now on track. The past no longer matters. It’s all about always going forward.”

More: Panda Biotech teams with Ute tribe on Wichita Falls plant

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More: JCPenney says store closing due to lease terms at Sikes Senter



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World’s largest Buc-ee’s opens: Here’s where

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World’s largest Buc-ee’s opens: Here’s where


LULING, Texas (KXAN) — Travelers and residents can now visit the largest Buc-ee’s travel center in the world.

The new convenience store is located in Luling, Texas, and opened its doors to the public Monday morning, according to a news release from the company.

  • Ribbon cutting held for the new Buc-ee's travel center in Luling, Texas, on June 10, 2024. (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)
  • Gov. Greg Abbott attends the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new Buc-ee's travel center in Luling, Texas, on June 10, 2024. (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)
  • Ribbon cutting held for the new Buc-ee's travel center in Luling, Texas, on June 10, 2024. (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)
  • Ribbon cutting held for the new Buc-ee's travel center in Luling, Texas, on June 10, 2024. (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)

The new 75,000-square-foot center is symbolic for the Luling community, replacing the city’s current Buc-ee’s store, the first one built in 2003.

“We are thrilled to open the doors to the world’s largest Buc-ee’s travel center right here in the Great State of Texas,” Stan Beard, of Buc-ee’s, said in a statement. “It’s particularly exciting, considering this is the Buc-ee’s that started it all, so we are really looking forward to celebrating with the incredible people of Luling.” 

Before the opening of the Luling store, the largest Buc-ee’s was in Tennessee.

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The new travel center was expected to add at least 200 jobs to the Luling area. Now that the center is open, Buc-ee’s has 50 stores across Texas and the South.

“This store provides 250 full-time jobs; minimum wage is $18 an hour, so it’s a great wage, it’s a great place to work,” said Josh Smith, the Southeast director of operations, “and then we get to turn around and put that money back into Caldwell County and Luling, and, you know, it’s just a win-win for everybody.”

The new Buc-ee’s can be found along I-10 in Luling. Local leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Buc-ee’s, which has set records for the world’s largest convenience store and the world’s longest car wash, is open 24 hours, seven days a week. It also boasts having the cleanest restrooms in America, winning a Cintas nationwide restroom contest in 2012.

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Texas House Republican Caucus censures 4 members

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Texas House Republican Caucus censures 4 members


AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott went after Republican incumbents who voted against his educational voucher plan during this year’s primary elections. Attorney General Ken Paton campaigned against incumbents who voted for his impeachment. And four members of the Legislature joined the governor and AG in trying to unseat incumbents.


What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton targeted Republicans who opposed them in this year’s primary elections 
  • Several Republicans campaigned against Republican incumbents, resulting in them being censured by the Texas House Republican Caucus
  • They were censured due to bylaws that were adopted in 2019
  • Analysts say Republican infighting is likely to continue in Texas and could result in Democrats gaining power 

“I knocked on doors with Gov. Greg Abbott for Helen Kirwan. I campaigned with Sen. Ted Cruz for Brent Money. I stood on stage with Attorney General Ken Paxton for Andy Hopper. And you know what? I would do it all over again,” said Rep. Brian Harrison, R-Midlothian.

The campaigning against incumbent Republican representatives by Reps. Brian Harrison of Midlothian, Nate Schatzline of Fort Worth, Tony Tinderholt of Arlington and Steve Toth of The Woodlands violated caucus bylaws and resulted in them being censured.

“The Texas House Republican Caucus is an impotent organization that is fighting for liberals. And I am not going to stand it. And if they want to censure me, all I got to say to them is bring it on. This whole thing’s a joke. I’m fighting for the future,” Harrison said.

The four violated bylaws adopted in 2019 after a previous incumbent was campaigned against. The caucus chair explained their bylaws are clear but could be changed before the end of this year.

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“In order to do that, we require a quorum of members. And so the most likely time that we will achieve that is at our member caucus retreat in October. And so that’s probably where it’ll most likely happen,” said Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Northwest Harris County.

Oliverson isn’t worried about the censorship. He’s eager to turn the page on this chapter.

“And move on,” he said. “We have a lot of important work to do. Republicans are uniting across this state.”

But analysts say there’s no prospect of unity in the near future for the Republican Party.

“These members of the Texas House who were sanctioned said unity comes after victory. One side or the other if going to win this fight and until that fight is won there is going to be division,” said Cal Jillson, a Southern Methodist University professor. 

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Republican analysts believe the fighting won’t hurt the party.

“Naturally disagreements are going to be on the Republican side, being the party in power,” said Andy Hogue with Travis County GOP.

Paxton also weighed in on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying, “the establishment Republicans in the Texas House have not learned their lesson even after 15 incumbents were sent packing.”

Some believe the continued GOP turmoil will give Democrats more power.



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