Texas

West Plant Explosion
6:52 am
Mon April 22, 2013

After Fertilizer Explosion, Concern Over Safety, Regulation & Zoning

Candlelight vigil in West.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The investigation into what caused the fire at the West Fertilizer Plant that led to Wednesday's explosion is still ongoing. But officials say they’ve found no sign of criminal activity.

Listen to the Radio Story: Issues of Safety and Regulation Come to Light

Investigators will also look into any safety or regulatory issues at the plant. But even at this early stage, there are signs that not all was right with the plant. The disaster has also brought up questions about how well regulation of facilities like these works in Texas.

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West Plant Explosion
2:52 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Officials: 15 Dead, 200 Injured in West, Texas Explosion

An aerial shot of the site of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
facebook.com/TexasAttorneyGeneral

Update (Saturday): As of 3 p.m. today, some residents of West, the site of a major explosion at a fertilizer plant Wednesday, will be allowed back into their homes in part of the severely damaged neighborhood in the north section of town. 

Residents 18 and over living in the area from Walnut street southward will be allowed to enter until 7 p.m. From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the city will have a curfew, and residents will need to either stay in their homes or leave the neighborhood. North of that area, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek said at a press conference this afternoon that the city will work "as quickly as possible"to allow people back to their homes. More information for residents is available at the City of West's website.

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Texas
11:28 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Why This Austin Divorce Attorney Works on Death Row, Pro Bono

Mary Felps guides reporter Joy Diaz through a visit at the Huntsville Cemetery. At this point, Felps' doctors had not OKd her to go back to death row.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News.

Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

Getting married nowadays can be really pricey. But getting divorced can be just as expensive.

In Austin, a good divorce attorney can charge anywhere between $150 and $500 an hour. When parties disagree, cases can drag on, and raise costs into the thousands of dollars. But there is one divorce attorney in Austin who offers her services for free – to a very exclusive clientele.

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Texas
12:24 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Photos: West, Texas Comes Together for a Candlelight Vigil

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

St Mary’s Church in West, Texas was packed with hundreds of residents grieving for those who were injured or killed by the explosion Wednesday evening.

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Texas
8:23 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Ex-Justice Of The Peace Charged With Killings In North Texas

Texas authorities have charged Eric Williams, former justice of the peace, with the murders of the Kaufman County district attorney and his assistant.
Kaufman County Sheriff's Office AP

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 3:05 pm

"A former justice of the peace has been charged with murder in the slayings of a North Texas district attorney and his assistant who prosecuted him for theft, officials announced Thursday," The Associated Press reports. Eric Williams is also charged with the murder of the district attorney's wife.

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Texas
12:42 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Map: Where Are Fertilizer Plants in the U.S.?


View Larger Map

If the astounding explosion in West caught most Texans off-guard, it might be because they weren't aware that a chemical facility holding tremendous amounts of a deadly explosive fuel could operate within the confines of a town, incredibly close to homes and schools.

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Texas
4:09 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Perry Goes After Illinois Businesses With Radio Campaign

Gov. Rick Perry is trying to get companies to move to Texas.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry is trying to convince more businesses to move to Texas. Now he’s targeting Illinois with aggressive print ads comparing the business climate in that state to a “burning building on the verge of collapse.”

Today, Perry also launched a 30-second radio ad on four stations in Chicago.

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Texas
10:02 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Texas Prosecutor Murder: Wife Of Jailed Ex-Justice Arrested

A wreath of flowers in honor of slain District Attorney Mike McClelland at the Kaufman County [Texas] Courthouse in early April.
Richard Rodriguez Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:44 pm

"The wife of a former justice of the peace is being held on a capital murder charge in the killings of the Kaufman County District Attorney, his wife and a top prosecutor," The Dallas Morning News reports.

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Texas
5:25 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Amazon Gives Texans Their Wine Online

Now the close to 300 vineyards in Texas can ship wine in and out of state on Amazon's massive online marketplace.
flickr.com/dionnehartnett

Ordering the most recent Jodi Picoult novel or maybe a nice throw blanket on Amazon?

Now you can get a robust, full-bodied cabernet to complement them both.

Today, Amazon opened up their wine delivery service up to the Lone Star state, offering over 350 wines and 2,200 labels from across the world.

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Borderlands
1:14 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Border Crossing Reopens – Connecting People and Commerce

Lorne Matalon, Marfa Public Radio
The gate leading to the river crossing into northern Mexico near the village of Boquillas, Mexico.

Marfa Public Radio Reporter Lorne Matalon explains why this border opening is significant.

A border crossing opened yesterday for the first time since 9/11 – reconnecting Big Bend National Park with Boquillas, Mexico. The opening reunited families and friends and restarted the tourism-driven commerce that once flowed across the border.

Before the border was closed, 300 people lived in Boquillas. Now, just 90 live there.

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Texas
1:45 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Five Smaller, Stranger Events That Tapped Texas' Events Trust Fund

The Texas Events Fund draws events to Texas every year, like the American Miniature Horse Association Championship in Fort Worth.
flickr.com/bsterling

Texas’ official motto is “friendship.” And the state’s long drawn on its welcoming ways to attract tourism and convention crowds from all over.

One example of Texas hospitality is its event trust funds: the Major Events Trust Fund and the Events Trust Fund. (And that’s not counting the Motor Sports Events Trust Fund and the Special Events Trust Fund.)

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Texas
8:21 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Students Stopped The Stabbing Suspect At Texas College

Dylan Quick, who is accused in the stabbings at Lone Star College, in a photo supplied to the news media Wednesday by the Harris County (Texas) Sheriff's Office.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 12:19 pm

"My first thought was I need to go catch him."

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
9:38 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Bill Would Limit Non-Transferable Tickets

HB 3041 would prohibit sellers and venues from restricting the resale of event tickets.
Todd Wiseman / Stephen Johnson, Texas Tribune

Professional sports and live events are big business in Texas, and a bill before state legislators today aims to ensure fans who buy tickets can resell them or give them away without interference from venues or ticket brokers. But opponents of the measure say it actually protects scalpers and the secondary ticket market — not consumers.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
3:25 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Perry, Cruz, Castro Bros. Face Off Over Medicaid Expansion (Update)

From left: U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry argued against expanding Texas Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The biggest Republicans in Texas stood side-by-side today and argued against expanding Texas Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said it doesn’t matter if the federal government has offered to cover the full cost of the expansion for the first three years and 90 percent thereafter.

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Crime
2:17 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Expert: Recent Attacks On Justice Community 'Really Unprecedented'

The home of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland is surrounded by police tape in Forney, Texas, on Monday. Authorities launched a massive investigation into the weekend killings of McLelland and his wife.
Tim Sharp Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 2:32 pm

Two county prosecutors fatally shot in Texas. Colorado's top prison official gunned down. And a dozen more members of the U.S. justice community — ranging from police to judges — victims of targeted killings since the beginning of the decade.

What's going on?

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Texas
9:59 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Texas on 'High Alert' Following District Attorney's Killing

In Forney, Texas, Kaufman County Sheriff's deputies are on the lookout after the killings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife in their Forney home.
Mike Fuentes AP

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 11:51 am

  • From the NPR Newscast early Monday

"Security is high this morning for both elected officials and employees" in Kaufman County, Texas, after the shooting deaths of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthina, KERA reports.

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Texas
4:51 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Freeze May Have Hurt Peach Crop

Peach growers around Fredericksburg are waiting to see what the recent cold did to their orchards.
courtesy flickr.com/photos/46523905@N00/

After predictions of a bumper crop, freezing temperatures hit Fredericksburg this week, forcing peach growers to use drastic measures to protect the fragile blooms.

Some lit hay bale fires and paid for helicopters to push warmer air down onto their crops.

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Texas
7:42 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The Voice of Big Tex Gets the Boot

flickr.com/branditressler

For more than a decade, Bill Bragg’s voice greeted visitors to the Texas State Fair in Dallas.

“Howdy, folks! Welcome," was one of the classic catch phrases. But Bragg would also provide other information, such as details on events happening at the Fair that day.  Then, in October, Big Tex burned. “We’ve got a rather tall cowboy with all his clothes burned off," a Dallas Fire Rescue dispatcher said in this recording.  

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Texas
5:34 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Where Are All the Texas Bluebonnets?

flickr.com/thecrazysquirrel

Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

If you are one of those parents who drag your kids all over town to find the picture-perfect patch of Texas bluebonnets in the spring, then brace yourself: There aren’t as many flowers this year.

That’s, in part, because 2012 was the hottest year on record and the long drought continues. That has many native species feeling the heat.

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2013 Legislative Session
1:32 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Lawmaker Pushes for More Funds to Address Domestic Violence

Thousands of postcards from Texans across the state in support of family violence programs funding made their way to lawmakers at the Capitol Wednesday. Purple is a color usually used for family violence awareness.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

State Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) wants to restore some state funding of domestic violence-related services.

Last legislative session, lawmakers cut funding for Batterer Intervention and Prevention Programs or "BIPP" in half. It went from $2.5 million to $1.25 million.

General funding for main domestic violence services like shelters is at about $51 million.

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