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UT’s Davis statue becomes a class act


Sterling,Ed             Ed Sterling

A BRONZE statue of Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederate States Of America, is to be moved from the main mall of the University Of Texas’ Austin campus to UT’s Center For American History after a decision last week by college president Gregory Fenves.
The decision followed a study by a task force that reported its findings to Fenves on August 10.
Fenves said in a news release that he appointed the task force in June, shortly after he became university president, “to identify options for the statues along the main mall that have long been a source of discussion, debate and more recently, controversy”.
He added: “While every historical figure leaves a mixed legacy, I believe Jefferson Davis is in a separate category and that it is not in the university’s best interest to continue commemorating him on our main mall.
“Davis had few ties to Texas; he played a unique role in the history of the American south that is best explained and understood through an educational exhibit.”
The release continued: “Briscoe Center is the logical location for the Davis statue and can provide a well-curated scholarly context for its permanent display.
“As the home of one of the nation’s largest collections of southern history and as the keeper of UT Austin’s own history – including the papers of George Littlefield, a former regent and major benefactor responsible for the statues and fountain and sculptor Pompeo Coppini – the center will bring a scholarly depth that enhances the educational value of the Davis statue.”
Fenves said: “The center has long planned a renovation of its facility, including new exhibit space, and my office will help raise the remaining funds needed for its completion.”
The Sons Of Confederate Veterans filed a request for a restraining order ahead of the statue’s move date last Saturday. A Travis County state district court is expected to review the matter this week.

‘Vital’ records forms to change

THE STATE is to send out new forms for the certification of births and deaths following two federal court decisions requiring state and local governments to recognize same-sex marriage.
The revised “vital event” forms include birth and death certificates, including supplementary birth certificates for adoptions and certificates recording births by surrogate mothers.
The department of state health services said on Thursday that it has completed a review of the forms in the wake of rulings this summer by the US supreme court and a US district court.
“As a result, DSHS is implementing revised policies and procedures and also will amend certain vital-events forms and records related to vital-events records to recognize married same-sex couples,” the agency said.
Local registrars or entities such as hospitals and funeral homes that file vital-event information will receive revised forms and instructions when they become available.

Boost in sales tax revenue

TEXAS public-accounts comptroller Glenn Hegar is to send an estimated $760m in sales-tax revenue to the state’s local-government entities this month.
Local sales-tax allocations for the month represent an increase of 7.6 per cent from the figure for August 2014, Hegar’s office said Thursday.
The allocations come from state sales-tax revenue in July, which was $2.4 billion, up by 2.7 per cent from July 2014.
“July’s modest growth in sales-tax revenue is in line with the biennial revenue estimate issued in January,” Hegar said.
“Stronger growth in receipts from consumer-driven sectors, including retail trade, restaurants and services, offset declining receipts from oil- and gas-related sectors.”

Capitol suspect arrested in Iowa

ON THURSDAY, the Texas department of public safety published a bulletin announcing the arrest of a suspect in Iowa who was being sought in connection with arson of a vehicle in the Texas capitol’s parking lot on August 7.
The suspect, Michael Patrick Wagner, 38, is being held in the Linn County, Iowa, jail and extradition proceedings have begun and are pending.
The arrest warrant is for second-degree felony arson, an offense that carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years in state prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.
“Thanks to great police and investigative work by local, state and federal law enforcement in Texas as well as our partners in Iowa, we are pleased to announce that the suspect in this case has been arrested,” DPS director Steven McCraw said.

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