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State resumes requiring job searches to get benefits

AUSTIN - Texans receiving unemployment benefits will need to show an active effort to find a job starting Nov. 1. The Texas Workforce Commission suspended the requirement in March as the pandemic started. More than 3.6 million have filed for unemployment relief since then, according to Texas Tribune research. Workforce Executive Director Ed Serna said the state continues to suffer from the pandemic, “but we’re seeing employment opportunities begin to bounce back in Texas as our economy restarts. There are opportunities out there, and getting Texans back to work and businesses up and running again will create even more.” Abhi Rahman, Texas Democratic Party communications director, called the action “wrong and emblem atic of Republicans who will do the most cruel thing imaginable every chance they get.” “These are Texans who are struggling to put food on the table or fighting off evictions,” Rahman said. “These are Texans who have lost everything due to no fault of their own.” Workforce officials report 695,000 jobs are available at, the state’s online portal. Texas Workforce also reported the state’s unemployment rate jumped to 8.3% in September, up from 7% in August. Big-time advocate in small town A small-town Texas librarian is making big waves as an advocate for universal broadband access. Dianne Connery, director of the Pottsboro Area Library, is spotlighted in Arizona State University’s ShapingEDU’s blog for her efforts to make high-speed internet available in her town of 2,000. Pottsboro is about 75 miles north of Dallas. The article notes she helps library users with their online medical appointments, works to create wifi hotspots around Pottsboro for students during the pandemic, and teaches people how to use Google Drive. She also drives around town testing to show where broadband coverage has been exaggerated by service providers. “Working in a rural library, I talk to people every day who struggle with not having access to broadband,” Connery said. “Their stories inspired me to work to improve conditions. In particular, I saw how young people do not have the same experiences and opportunities as kids in the suburbs and urban environments.” Burning like a heat wave La Niña conditions threaten to make this a dangerously dry and warm winter and spring in much of Texas. A La Niña event could lead to a drought and a summer heat wave similar to the weather pattern that smacked the state in 2010-11, according to Nelun Fernando with the Texas Water Development Board. Other factors might affect the ...

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