Texas

News, policy discussions, and major events happening in or related to Texas, told from an Austin perspective

Picture by KUT News

Make sure to get outside today.  Sure it's a little cold this morning.  But yesterday's strong winds are gone and we'll get into the lower 70's today.  But before you head out...here's some info on what's been going on in Texas to start your day:

Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

Texas flags paraded up Congress Avenue Saturday morning to celebrate the state's independence. The Texian Legacy  Association hosted the parade and 5K run.

On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico just a few days before the Mexican army under Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna advanced on the Alamo in San Antonio.  On March 5, Col. William Travis leading the Alamo defenders made his famous "line in the sand."

Sketch by Pat Lopez

Brigade commander Col. Morgan Lamb has recommended a court-martial and the death penalty for the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shootings. Maj. Nidal Hasan has been charged on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. Lamb's recommendation comes after a similar one made last fall by another colonel who presided over Hasan's evidentiary hearing.

Google Maps

Like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano...the middle of March in Texas sees the migration of college students to the coast for some fun,  sun and relaxation during spring break.  One other yearly tradition is the Department of Public Safety warning the young partiers to keep it all north of the boarder border.

Photo by KUT News

Breezy, dry conditions are setting up increased fire danger across Central Texas.  The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the region through 4:00 p.m. today.

Sunday, windswept wildfires in West Texas scorched a total of 120,000 acres, destroyed at least 80 homes and resulted in the death of one person.

Image Courtesy of Jason Lawrence http://www.flickr.com/photos/27665395@N05/3559722809/

A 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student residing in Lubbock was arrested late Wednesday and charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

The Justice Department says Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a student at South Plains College, was accused of purchasing chemicals to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and conducting online research of potential targets inside the United States.

Photo Courtesy of KUT News

The House State Affairs Committee is taking invited testimony on a bill that would require women considering an abortion to receive a sonogram and have a doctor explain what they're seeing.

The bill, authored by Rep. Sid Miller (R-Stephenville), is similar to a bill already passed by the Senate. 

Becky Turner, a woman who had an abortion over 25 years ago, agrees with the bill.

"I'm hoping that you guys also consider it important and valuable enough to tell others, what's inside the womb. Because we can't see it," Turner said.

Image by KUT News

State Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), filed today an bill that takes aim at double-dipping by  Texas politicians.

Courtesy the Texas Tribune.

TT/UT Poll: Texans Want Budget Cuts, But Unsure Where to Cut

A new poll from the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas finds that most Texas voters back spending cuts as a way to balance the state's budget in the next biennium. But voters are divided when it comes to identifying what specific programs they would cut.

From the Tribune's write-up:

Image courtesy of the US Census Bureau

Our good friends and political reporting partners, The Texas Tribune, have started breaking down the U.S. Census data released today.  

The new numbers show the Hispanic population in Texas increased by 42 percent since 2000, and the group now makes up 38 percent of the population.

Texas’ population is now 25,145,561. That's a 4,293,741 increase from 2000’s figure, a 20.6 percent change.

Courtest of Texas DPS

Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety are looking for three "persons of interest" and one suspect in their ongoing investigation into the 2008 the Governor's Mansion arson.  A sketch of a potential suspect and new video has been released.

Image by KUT News

Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas continue to identify more power plants that went offline during the power emergency that struck the state two weeks ago. Normally, details on plant failures would be confidential for 60 days, because of market rules set up by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.  But ERCOT has asked power generators to agree to a waiver of that period. 

Image courtesy of Pen Waggener on flickr.com

Texas state game wardens are concerned that some ultralight airplanes have been flying too close to a nest of bald eagles in a pecan tree along the Llano River, about eight miles east of Llano.

Mike Cox, a spokesman with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), says wardens think photographers on the planes are trying to get close-up pictures of the two bald eagles and the eaglet that live in the nest.  But planes buzzing that close to the nest could do serious harm to the birds.

Photo courtesy of the FDA.

A frozen food company baed in McAllen is voluntarily recalling its breaded okra because the food may contain whey, a milk ingredient. Magic Valley Fresh Frozen Inc. makes okra under the HEB label and sells in Texas grocery stories.

The 24-ounce and five-pound breaded okra bags under the HEB brand label were made from July 1, 2010 to Jan. 31 of this year.

No one has reported an allergic reaction because of the okra.

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The state's power grid regulator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), says Texas set a new record for winter peak demand. Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., the state was consuming 57,282 megawatts. That's almost 1,000 megawatts higher than the previous record from February 2nd.

At the same time, ERCOT is cancelling its request to consumers to reduce their energy consumption during peak hours.

Photo courtesy of Miranda Martin/via Flickr

The state's electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), says it's expecting to set a winter record for power demand Thursday morning between 7 and 8 a.m. ERCOT is asking people to conserve power to help minimize the risk of rolling blackouts like the ones that swept across Texas last week.

Image Courtesy Cath in Dorset http://www.flickr.com/photos/cathwalker-hillygroundphotography/

Freezing weather is returning tonight and tomorrow morning. ERCOT, the agency that runs the state's power grid, is asking consumers to cut back on electricity usage, to avoid another round of rolling blackouts. Officials say the peak times for usage are 6:00-9:00 am and 4:00-8:00 pm, and that's when they need the help most.

Photo by Nasha Lee/KUT.

It's been reported that last week's rolling blackouts that left parts of the state in the dark for 15 minutes or more--in some cases, a lot more)--made for sky-high wholesale electric prices.

Sunday Morning Brief

Feb 6, 2011
picture courtesy of The Texas Tribune

You know what they say, if you don't like the weather in Texas...just wait a minute.  After 72-hours below freezing in Austin, we got into the upper 60's Saturday with another nice day ahead today.  BUT, we've got freezing temperatures and rain (or sleet or whatever) in the forecast this week.  So, don't pack your heavy coats yet.

On to the news of the day:

Image by KUT News

A new report issued today by two US Senators says the FBI and military officials repeatedly ignored signs that Nidal Hasan was a "ticking time bomb".  Hasan is facing court martial over the November 2009 shootings at Fort Hood, an army post

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