5 things to know: Thursday

5 things to know: Thursday

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Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue commits to One Federal Decision, potentially expediting Ports-to-Plains

TAHOKA, Texas - A quick drive through Tahoka, Texas and you will see it is no different than most small communities. 

"We have several old things and just struggle with what we've got because there's just a limited amount of dollars," said Tahoka John Baker. "When you're agriculturally based, there's only a certain number of jobs," he said. "Farming has gotten larger, it takes fewer and few farmers. So there are people that are needing those jobs."

Over the years the number of jobs have dwindled, but those jobs could be arriving soon though. 

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance is working to extend I-27 from Mexico to Canada. It would allow an alternate route allowing truckers to by-pass I-35 and go straight up from the border. 

Along with jobs come dollars that small communities would not usually see.

"This presents an opportunity for those natural resources to get to the marketplace that they need such that our entire U.S. economy can thrive," Osborne said.

There is not a timetable on when construction will begin. President Trump's "One Federal Decision" Executive Order requires each infrastructure project to have ahead federal agency tat will take it though the process. The goal is to cut down on conflicting answers on permits from the federal government.

In order to help speed up the process of constructing the corridor, the Alliance is holding a Washington D.C. Call-in project. It urges residents to call law makers and express support for increased federal investment in core infrastructure. 


Social Media experts say Facebook users need to be responsible

LUBBOCK, Texas - Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of congress for the second day over Facebook users' privacy. The hearing follows private company Cambridge Analytica using data of 87 million users to plant right wing ads during the 2016 election.

Zuckerberg says he believes deeply in what Facebook is doing. Facebook is a free platform but comes with costs users may not be aware of.

"We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake," claimed Zuckerberg.  "It was my mistake and I'm sorry."

Lisa Low, a social media expert at Texas Tech, said everything you click, like or view on the site is data collected by the platform.

"Facebook isn't in the business of providing us a joyous network for nothing," Low said. "Obviously their intent was always to monitize and boy have they monitized. You're leaving your front door open and saying not only come in and," Low said, "steal my stuff but take all my friends stuff as well."

While you may not have clicked on the 'my digital life' app, where the data for Cambridge Analytica was collected, your friends may have and your data is consequently connected.

Texas Tech professor Phil Terrigno said, "remember when you downloaded the app on your phone you just indiscriminately went through clicking yes. You've given away all the rights you thought you had in terms of privacy."

According to Low, it is the users responsibility to use the platform safely.


Technical issues cause panic for STAAR testing students

LUBBOCK, Texas - STAAR testing is underway across Texas. There were some technical problems reported that blocked students from taking or finishing the online test.

"We were thinking it was maybe a problem with our own equipment or our own internet service," said Dr. Macey Satterwhite, deputy superintendent for Lubbock-Cooper ISD. "We soon ruled that out, that, that was not the case at all and so we were waiting and waiting to hear a response from either E.T.S or from T.E.A." 

The Texas Education Agency reported that students were logged out and blocked from logging back in. Database errors bogged down the system for about 20 minutes right in the middle of test time. School districts received this notice from the Texas education agency. 

E.T.S., the testing agency in charge of the online exam, faced similar issues a few years back when it implemented the online version. 

"The online system I think was just bigger than what they were prepared for," said Pam Leftwich, executive director for research assessment and accountability for Lubbock ISD. "They didn't have staff to answer our calls when we had issues it was just a mess." 

School district administrators said there needs to be more accountability from both the T.E.A. and E.T.S. to assure that these technical issues don't happen again. According to the T.E.A., there were about 104,000 students testing at the time of the errors. The agency is looking into how many students were actually affected.


Four people from Lubbock killed in I-20 wreck

LUBBOCK, Texas - The DPS has identified four people from Lubbock killed in a crash on Interstate 20 between Putnam and Cisco.

They are Johnathan Patrick Pena, 18; Manuel Martinez, 24; Ruben Licon, 17; and Treqweishium Kevondrick Williams, 19. They were ejected from a pick-up that was mangled and charred when it crashed head-on into a gas tanker.

Investigators say the victims were traveling westbound on I-20 when their vehicle swerved off the highway, through the median, and wrecked with an eastbound tractor-trailer.

The driver of the semi was not hurt. 


McCarthy, Scalise are likely contenders for House speaker
  
WASHINGTON (AP) - California Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise are the likely chief contenders to succeed Paul Ryan as House speaker.
  
McCarthy, the House majority leader, is known for being a strong fundraiser. Scalise, the majority whip, is viewed as the more conservative of the two.
  
Ryan announced Wednesday he wouldn't seek re-election in November, implicitly starting the race to replace him. Disconcertingly for the GOP, President Donald Trump's unpopularity and early Democratic momentum leave it unclear whether Ryan's replacement will be speaker or minority leader.
  
Those close to Scalise say he is unlikely to directly challenge McCarthy, but he doesn't need to. By offering himself as an alternative, ready in case McCarthy fails to muster support, he is essentially making an indirect bid for the top post.

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