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Newspapers often are called the first draft of history. That's a wonderful way to consider what we try to do every day for our community. A newspaper documents life in our little corner of the world in a way that no other media source can or does. That's why we're excited to celebrate with you our upcoming 175th birthday. That big anniversary will be next year, commemorating the inaugural May 8, 1946, edition of the Victoria Texan Advocate. The Victoria area and the Advocate share a rich and deep history almost unrivaled west of the Mississippi River. We will present a decade-by-decade recap of this unique history every month through May 2021.

This is a special investigation into how and why Victoria County circumvented standard business practices in spending Hurricane Harvey recovery money. One step county commissioners took was to indefinitely exempt themselves from following the state law requiring bidding projects of more than $50,000. They did this even though their insurance company representative told them the emergency had ended within two weeks after the hurricane struck.

Significant disparities exist between the health of rural Americans versus those living in urban areas. Rural Americans tend to be older and sicker and have a greater risk of death from the five leading causes: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke. Our special series, "Rural Rx," produced with the support of Report for America, examines these gaps and possible solutions.

We grow as a community together. With that in mind, we are planting the seeds of hope through a new series called "Act Locally." This monthly series from the Victoria Advocate features a person, cause, or organization that works to make our community stronger.

After Hurricane Harvey, obstacles to rebuilding are often hidden from those who aren't facing them: “The mentality is ‘I’m OK, so everybody else must be OK,’” said Kim Pickens, a case manger helping people recover. Hidden in Plain Sight will explore inequality – and how Harvey exposed the gap between the people who could afford to rebuild and everyone else. This project was produced for the USC Center for Health Journalism’s National Fellowship. It was also made possible by the nonprofit Report for America, which deploys emerging journalists in local newsrooms like the Victoria Advocate. This project will be available in both English and Spanish through a partnership with Revista de Victora.

When disgraced former Congressman Blake Farenthold resurfaced as the Calhoun Port Authority's first full-time lobbyist at annual salary of $160,000, the public was outraged. Farenthold later said in a deposition that he and the port board thought they could weather this initial storm and continue to do business as they always had outside the public view. All other state and national media quickly moved on from the story, but the Victoria Advocate kept digging, learning that Farenthold's hiring was done during an illegal secret meeting. From there, the Advocate, although only a small, family-owned newspaper, filed a Texas Open Meetings Act lawsuit on behalf of the public. And kept reporting ...

After a slow start to the season, the Cuero Gobblers football team found itself with a 1-1 record and dealing with injuries to some key players. Things would get better. A lot better. The Gobblers started winning and didn’t lose again, capturing a district title, regional title — and that elusive state title that Cuero hadn’t won since 1987. Find the story of the Gobblers’ Glory on this special page, starting with fall practice and ending with the state title.

Alcoa, a now-idled aluminum refinery, used to discharge tons of mercury into the Lavaca Bay, leading to a Superfund designation. More than two decades later, residents’ memories have faded, but the latest EPA report shows the danger remains: The average mercury concentration in red drum there is twice what state health officials consider safe to eat over a sustained period.

Reporter Jon Wilcox continues to cover the arson of the Victoria Islamic Center, reporting from the scene of the burning mosque to the courtroom — and everything in between.

A special series by the Victoria Advocate documenting Tony Geryk from when he learned his transplanted heart was failing at 21, through his bucket list journeys and as the family prepares for the end of his life.

A series of stories that examines Hurricane Harvey and its effects on residents and the community.

Ongoing coverage of Hurricane Harvey and its after effects in the Crossroads.

21 Victoria families don’t know who killed their loved one.

Without treatment, the mentally ill become tangled in the criminal justice system. Almost half of the estimated 500 people booked in Crossroads jails every month are mentally ill. 

Read along with this harrowing four-part story of a local woman's internment in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines during World War II.

Follow along with the journey of Burmese immigrants and refugees as they attempt to settle in to their new home along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Follow along in this three-part series as the Advocate examines Texas Gulf Coast shrimpers as their way of life is threatened.

10 years ago Sharon Burdette's sister died in a fire. She believed it was murder. Few would listen. This is her story.

I've always known I've worked for a special newspaper. As a journalist and someone who's familiar with other newsrooms I knew my experience at the Advocate would be apart from previous experiences.

A six-month Victoria Advocate investigation reveals a program started to promote economic development has instead been riddled with poor record-keeping, questionable loan practices, missing documents and virtually no accountability.

A look at the murder of Wendy Adams, the sentence of life in prison for her convicted killer and the case that shook Cuero to its core.

The Crossroads Top 10 Most Powerful, a project aimed at learning more about the region's most influential people, was a 10-part series that ran in 2009. This series pulled back the curtains and let you inside to meet the people who, for better or worse, made decisions that affected us all.

Unraveling autism's mystery proves to be a never-ending jigsaw puzzle for the families coping with the disorder.

Once-quiet towns have become hives of activity as oil companies lease land and oil field workers swarm into the area. The cause of the activity? The Eagle Ford Shale play, as those in the business call it. In a comprehensive, seven-part series, the Advocate examines "The Play" and how drilling in this area is changing the land and the lives in the Crossroads.

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