Borderlands

AM Update 7/25/12
8:13 am
Wed July 25, 2012

AM Update: The Future of The Colorado, TaxMasters Client Information, Border Fences Get Green Light

Austin Youth River Watch found low levels of Oxygen in the Colorado River.
Austin Youth River Watch

Stakeholders Consider Colorado River's Future

A public meeting today will focus on the future of the Colorado River in Travis and Bastrop Counties.

Data released by Austin Youth River Watch earlier this month suggests that the health of the river’s ecosystem might be in jeopardy. The group discovered low levels of oxygen in the water and that could be bad for fish and other wildlife.

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AM Update 7/11/2012
7:37 am
Wed July 11, 2012

AM Update: Travis County Tax Exemptions, Texas Tops for Business, Border Patrol Relocates Agents

A historic property on San Gabriel Street in Austin.

Tax Cap Added for Historic Homes; Exemption Increased for Elderly, Disabled

Travis County Commissioners voted to add a cap on historical tax exemptions. The new policy matches the City of Austin’s cap of $2,500 a year.

Historic home owners argued that a higher exemption is necessary for them to maintain the facades of their homes. County Judge Sam Biscoe says the county will continue to look at the impact of the historical tax exemptions.

Commissioners also voted to increase the tax exemption for Travis County homeowners who are 65 and older and for those with disabilities. The amount of value that had been taken off a home for taxing purposes had been $65,000 a year. They raised it to $70,000 annually.

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AM Update 6/20/12
7:50 am
Wed June 20, 2012

AM Update: Unemployment Benefits Ending for Some, Border Patrol Changes, Summer Solstice Arrives

A job search center at Austin's Carver Branch Library.
Texas State Library and Archives, flickr.com/tslac

Unemployment Benefits Changing for Some Texans

The Texas Workforce Commission announced on Tuesday that certain groups of unemployed Texans won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits after 60 weeks starting in July.

Previously, claimants could receive benefits for up to 73 weeks. Those already receiving benefits based on the older criteria will continue to be eligible. The commission estimates that about 22,453 individuals may be affected going forward.

The changes come due to Texas’ improving unemployment rate, resulting in revisions to the length of Emergency Unemployment Compensation offered to job searchers.

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AM Update
8:04 am
Wed May 9, 2012

AM Update: Border Patrol Overhaul, Radioactive Texas Dump Questioned, Austin Budget Talks Continue

A Texas judge has called for a hearing over a radioactive waste site in West Texas.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/kmart

New Border Patrol Strategy Focuses on Intelligence

The U.S. Border Patrol unveiled a new plan for tightening America’s borders yesterday.

The 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic Plan includes tactics and technologies developed over the past few years like unmanned aircraft systems – aka, drones – but also more focus on preventing risk.

The past few years have been a period of unprecedented growth in resources for the Border Patrol. Right now, there are more law enforcement officers on the border – more than 21,000 – than at any time in Border Patrol history.

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News brief
8:49 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Top Morning Stories 01/17/12

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell shown at a 2011 City Council Meeting. The mayor said Monday that he has problems with a proposed rate hike by Austin Energy.
Photo by Daniel Reese/KUT News

D.C. Court  Reviews Redistricting Case

A three-judge panel in Washington will hear arguments today to determine whether to give “preclearance” to election maps originally drawn by the Texas Legislature last year. Texas must get federal approval before altering voting districts, according to the Voting Rights Act. New maps are drawn every decade to reflect the population growth in Texas.

The federal trial in DC comes little more than a week after the Supreme Court heard arguments about which maps Texas should use for the upcoming primary elections. There are two sets of maps at play:  The maps drawn by the Legislature and a set of alternate maps drawn by District Court judges in San Antonio. The Texas primary elections have already been delayed from March 6th to April 3rd. And the April date is by no means set in stone. It’s been suggested that the election date could be pushed back as far as June, because of the legal wrangling.

Border Patrol to Toughen Policy

The AP reports the U.S. Border Patrol is moving to halt a revolving-door policy of sending migrants back to Mexico without any punishment.

The “Consequence Delivery System,” a key part of the Border Patrol’s new national strategy, divides border crossers into seven categories, ranging from first-time offenders to people with criminal records. Punishments vary by region, and children and the medically ill will still be released at the nearest border crossing.

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News Brief
6:09 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Top Morning Stories October 26, 2011

A second unmanned drone is being sent to patrol Texas' 1, 254-mile border with Mexico.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

2nd Drone to Patrol Texas-Mexico Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon have second drone to patrol the Texas-Mexico border. The Associated Press reports the Predator drone is scheduled to arrive in Corpus Christi next week. Officials had announced in July that the state would be getting another drone. Here are more details from the AP:

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border security
3:04 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Generals' Report Calls for Tighter Border Security

Retired Major General Robert Scales speaks to reporters about a border security report he co-authored with retired General Barry McCaffrey (right). U.S. Rep Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Ag Commissioner Todd Staples (left) also spoke at the news conference
Photo by Jessica Mahoney for KUT News.

A report released today by two retired generals highlights what they see as federal negligence toward drug cartel violence on American soil. The report was jointly commissioned by the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Public Safety. retired Army Major General Robert Scales, one of the co-authors, calls federal resources "anemic."

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texas
10:48 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Gun Rights Groups Sue Feds Over Rifle Rule Aimed At Cartels

A new federal rule requires gun shops to report purchases of two or more of some semiautomatic rifles within five days.
Photo by Keary O. http://www.flickr.com/photos/barjack/

Two major gun rights groups filed lawsuits against the United States yesterday to stop a new federal firearms reporting requirement. The new rules affect 8,500 retailers in the four border states.

The lawsuits were not unexpected against the controversial rules. The Obama Administration announced the rulings two weeks ago.

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News Brief
6:13 am
Tue July 19, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 19, 2011

Texas border patrol agents are on alert for suspected illegal immigrants who may become overheated by the sun.
Photo by KUT News.

Border Patrol Helping Heat Distressed Immigrants

Border Patrol agents in South Texas have stepped up efforts to search for and rescue suspected illegal immigrants who may be under heat stress.  The Associated Press reports the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector has launched "Operation Heat Wave." 

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TEXAS
2:42 pm
Fri July 8, 2011

Brutal Cartels Make Crossing Texas Border Even Riskier

Undocumented Mexican immigrants walk through the Sonoran Desert after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants attempting to cross are at risk of being kidnapped, extorted or even killed by drug gangs.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 20, 2011 2:52 pm

Last in a three-part series.

For many migrants trying to reach the U.S. from Mexico, the border region is a terrifying, lawless place, and their fear is often justified. Things are so bad in Matamoros, a border city just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, that last month the city's police were stripped of their weapons, ordered off the streets and replaced by soldiers.

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Texas
2:10 pm
Fri June 24, 2011

Mexico Replaces Police With Soldiers Near Texas Border

Mexican soldiers have taken control of the police department in downtown Matamoros, in the border state of Tamaulipas.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Fri June 24, 2011 2:00 pm

In Mexico, one controversial part of President Felipe Calderon's war against the drug cartels has been the use of the military to fight organized crime. Now in the border state of Tamaulipas, the Mexican army is taking over full control of the police departments in some of the state's most troubled cities.

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Texas
1:48 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

DPS: Officers Fired Upon By Gangs in Mexico

Photo by Todd Wiseman

U.S. law enforcement officers in Hidalgo County today received heavy weapons fire from Mexico, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The exchange happened when law enforcement officers participating in a multi-agency Texas Ranger Recon operation attempted to interdict a load of drugs. Three law enforcement patrol boats were notified of a suspicious vehicle and two recovery boats on the U.S. side of the border. They were fired on when they arrived at the scene.

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Politics
2:38 pm
Tue May 24, 2011

Southbound Checkpoints Given New Life in Senate

U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing at Eagle Pass, TX.
Photo by Mose Buchele/KUT News

Legislation that would grant the state authority to erect southbound checkpoints near the Texas-Mexico border was successfully revived today after lawmakers attached it as an amendment to a bill concerning record sharing by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Texas
4:04 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

Avoid at Christmas: Fruitcake, Family Drama and Mexico

State officials say stay away from Mexico over the holidays
Picture by KUT

In a move that seems to be becoming a holiday tradition, the Texas Department of Public Safety released it's annual call for Texans to avoid Mexico over the holidays.  DPS sighted increased violence, kidnappings, assault and rape along the boarder as reasons Texans should stay away.

In a press release today, DPS Director Steven C. McCraw says that while the department knows people safely travel and vacation in Mexico on a daily basis, the increase in violence is also a reality.

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