The Lead
9:05 am
Wed February 6, 2013

The Lead: Ft. Hood Fire Response, Feds Won’t Arraign Armstrong

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s due for a high near 70, along with scattered clouds and maybe a stray thunderstorm.

Lead Story: Federal prosecutors say Lance Armstrong won’t face criminal charges, despite the cycling star’s confession last month to Oprah Winfrey that he did use performance-enhancing drugs.  

The U.S. Attorney in the case says the decision was made last year not to press charges, and Armstrong’s recent televised comments haven’t convinced prosecutors to re-open the case.

That may not be the end of Armstrong’s legal troubles however: NPR lists several additional suits Armstrong needs to address post-confession

Faster Fire Response at Fort Hood: The Texas A&M Forest Service and Fort Hood are joining forces to make wildfire response quicker and more effective.

Wildfires burned 19,000 acres at the military base in Killeen back in 2011. April Saginor from the Forest Service says that when Fort Hood has asked the state for firefighting help, the process has been cumbersome: “We would have to go through the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and they in turn would work with FEMA, and the Department of Defense got involved — but this kind of streamlines it a little better,” she says.

The entire process should now take a single phone call. Fort Hood will also store firefighting equipment at the base.

County Warns of Tax Lien Loans: Travis County is warning people who missed the property tax payment deadline to avoid taking loans from property tax lien transfer companies.

These companies may already be sending letters to people who missed the deadline. Some of those letters could be misleading and intimidating. But Travis County warns that those loans often come with very high interest rates.

Instead, the county says those who owe property taxes should contact the tax office to set up a payment plan.