Texas

Texas
8:59 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Is Private Space Flight Coming to Texas?

SpaceX may begin launching rockets in Texas. This launch, from 2010, was at Cape Canaveral.
Chris Thompson/ SpaceX

A 50-acre section of land near Brownsville is subject to speculation as a potential location of a new rocket launch site, to be built by private space exploration firm SpaceX

Three recent property purchases near the proposed site in Cameron County by SpaceX could mean that the company has, in fact, picked Texas over Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico to be home to its launch site.

The Brownsville Herald reports that public records in Cameron County show that SpaceX bought three pieces of property between June and September near the proposed site, under the name of Dogleg Park, LLC. The address listed for Dogleg Park on the deeds for these properties is the address of SpaceX’s Hawthorne, Calif. headquarters.

SpaceX has not yet commented on or released any statements about the purchased land.

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Texas
2:06 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

That's A Lot of Cat: North Texas Tabby Weighs In at 41 Pounds

Skinny's size has attracted notice - and a plethora of potential adoptive families.
Richardson Animal Shelter

Cats love attention, but a feline at the Richardson Animal Shelter outside of Dallas is positively gobbling it up.

Skinny the Cat is a five year-old tabby. So far, so normal. But there’s more to this cat – a lot more. Skinny weighs in at 41 pounds.

Skinny’s size attracted the notice of the Associated Press, which reported on the North Texas tabby.  And thankfully, now the animal center is deluged with calls from folk looking to care for the cat.

“We have fielded a lot of calls,” says Dennis Wooten, manager of the Richardson Animal Center.  “The challenge now is sorting throw all those calls to find out what’s best for Skinny.”

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Texas
10:00 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Houston Wants to Follow Austin's Food Truck Lead

Food trucks are a popular stop along South Congress. Houston food truck owners want more lenient rules for operation.
flickr.com/Matt Peoples

While food trucks have been embraced in Austin and can be found clustered throughout the city, Houston food truck owners are struggling to change city ordinances that impose limits on their operations. 

Yesterday, dozens of food truck operators and enthusiasts came before the Houston City Council to petition for changes in mobile food unit ordinance, which bans food trucks that use propane stoves and grills from operating in the busy downtown area.

The Houston Mobile Food Unit Collective has proposed that the mobile food unit ordinances be amended to allow trucks with propane tanks under 40 pounds to operate downtown, eliminate the required 60 feet of space between trucks and permit food trucks to provide up to three tables and six chairs for patrons.

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Texas
1:22 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Experts: Something's Fishy with Texas' Seafood Imports

The Texas Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs heard testimony this morning about concerns on imported seafood.
flickr.com/charlenesimmons

Fish is routinely held up as a healthy alternative to other meats. But some experts might urge you to rethink the catch-of-the-day,  because of what else might be lurking on the plate. 

The Texas Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs heard testimony this morning about the condition of the state’s seafood industry. The Catfish Institute's Jeff McCord testified that he was concerned about importing fish to Texas.

Most of the catfish found in restaurants is imported from China. McCord says China doesn’t have the same kind of regulations the U.S. does, so banned substances can easily enter the food supply. A group of chemicals called nitrofurans is on this list. Fish farmers use them to rid the water of certain microbes, but they’re mostly banned by the FDA. “It’s been shown to cause cancer,” McCord says, “and it also disrupts human cell reproduction.”

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Texas
10:26 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Texas Pol Bob Gammage, Member of the Famed 'Dirty 30,' Dies

Robert "Bob" Gammage served in all three branches of government.
Texas State Cemetery

Longtime Texas politician Bob Gammage has died. He was 74. A family member told the Associated Press that he died of an apparent heart attack.

Gammage was a Houston native and represented the area in both the Texas House and Senate before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976.

Gammage fought corruption as part of a group of Texas legislators known as the “Dirty 30,” which led a rebellion against scandal-ensnared Texas House speaker Gus Mutscher in 1971. 

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Texas
4:09 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Attorneys Claim Hasan Offered Guilty Plea in Fort Hood Shooting Trial

Maj. Nidal Hasan stands accused of multiple murders in 2009's Fort Hood shooting.
courtesy Bell County Sheriff's Department

What looked like another increasingly routine hearing of Maj. Nidal Hasan – the accused gunman behind the 2009 shooting spree at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas – now appears to be less so, as Hasan’s lawyers claim he offered to enter a guilty plea.

Hasan’s trial has been slow to start, as legal wrangling over whether or not the Army can shave Hasan’s beard has taken center stage. Hasan claims the beard is an expression of her Muslim faith, but Army codes dictate a soldier must be clean-shaven at his court martial. Today, Judge Col. Gregory Gross ordered that Hasan’s beard by shaved, reports The New York Times.

Overshadowed by the beard aspect was an announcement from Hasan’s attorneys that he had offered to enter a guilty plea, but as the Associated Press reports,  he’s prevented from doing so in the Fort Hood case:

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Texas
3:42 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Cell Phone Blockers Coming to Two Texas Prisons

Two Texas prisons will soon block most cell phone calls.
flickr.com/jonjon_2k8

Some Texas prisons will soon be equipped with technology that blocks most cell phone calls.

Inmates are not supposed to have cell phones. But officials at the Stiles Prison Unit in Beaumont and the McConnell Unit outside of Corpus Christi say it’s been a challenge to keep them out.

Brad Livingston is the Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He explains the technology limits which calls can be made.

“It allows cell phone signals to be sent successfully only to the extent that the number is pre-programmed in," Livingston says. "All other cell phones are defeated and the call is not connected.”

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Texas
11:57 am
Wed September 5, 2012

USDA: One in Five Texas Households At Risk of Hunger

Food benefits are at stake as the U.S. Congress debates the nation's farm bill.
KUT News

Almost one out of five Texas households is at risk of hunger, according to a new report by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The USDA says 18.5 percent of Texans households experienced “low or very low food security” from 2009 to 2011. The Texas rate exceeds the national average by almost four percent and is the third highest rate of “food insecurity” in the country.

The USDA considers a family “food secure” if it has enough nutritious food to eat without having to rely on emergency food supplies, scavenging or stealing food. The USDA has used food insecurity as a measure since 2006 because it says “hunger is an individual-level physiological condition” which is more difficult to track.

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Texas
10:54 am
Wed September 5, 2012

More Turnover, Turmoil at Lackland Air Base

Col. Eric Axelbank has been transferred from Lackland Air Force Base.
U.S. Air Force

A colonel has stepped down and a sergeant’s court martial begins, all against the backdrop of an ongoing sex and sexual abuse scandal at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base.

Col. Eric Axelbank, who oversaw the 37th Training Wing at Lackland, stepped down yesterday. Col. Mark Camerer now takes his place. The San Antonio Express-News notes that while the Axelbank’s departure was officially described as routine, the transition ceremony was “uncharacteristically closed to the media.”

It’s the second upper-echelon personnel change in as many months, following the August dismissal of Col. Glenn E. Palmer, who served as commander of Air Force Basic Military Training at the 737th Training Group at Lackland, the base that oversees training for all new Air Force recruits. The Express-News describes Palmer as having “led efforts to raise awareness about the problem” of sexual abuse and sex between recruits and instructors on the base.

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Formula One
3:00 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Governor Perry Revs Up For Italian Grand Prix

A racer seen at Austin's recent Formula 1 expo.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

As the Austin forecast calls for more 100 degree days, Governor Rick Perry and his wife Anita left this morning for eight days in Italy, where money and motorsports are in the wind.

On the agenda are various economic development meetings, a speaking engagement at Lake Como, and Sunday's Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, in Milan.

With Austin's United States Grand Prix only a few weeks away, the Perrys will be watching a sport that's followed, often obsessively, around the world, but that has had about as much traction in the United States as professional soccer. (see Esquire: "Will America Ever Catch The Formula 1 Bug?") The United States has hosted 41 Formula 1 races in the past, at seven different locations, but the sport has not gained ground on American motorsports like NASCAR and IndyCar racing.

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Media
10:16 am
Mon September 3, 2012

Trailblazing Broadcaster Ann Arnold Passes Away

Ann Arnold was the first female press secretary for a Texas governor,
Texas Association of Broadcasters

Texas Association of Broadcasters President Ann Arnold passed away over the weekend following a fight with leukemia. Colleagues refer to Arnold as a groundbreaking journalist and tenacious leader.

The 67-year-old journalist served as TAB president for 25 years. Arnold also served as the first female press secretary to a Texas Governor – Gov. Mark White in the 1980s. And that’s in addition to stints  heading the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's capitol bureau, and serving as a capitol correspondent for United Press International.

"She was an extraordinary woman brimming with passion for the broadcast industry and American democracy. Her advocacy in Austin and Washington made a profound difference for broadcasters and we are all better for it," TAB Vice President Oscar Rodriguez says in a statement about Arnold’s death.

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Texas
6:19 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Whittington Loses (Again), But Says He's Not Done

austinconventioncenter.com; c-span.org

There's tough, and then there's Texas tough.

Dick Cheney shot him, accidently, and he got back up.

He says the City of Austin took some land that belonged to him, and he fought back. And fought. And fought some more.

Harry Whittington lost his Texas Supreme Court case today.  But he says he’s not done, telling KUT News that he’ll likely file a motion for a rehearing of the case.

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Wildfires
3:11 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Forged in Flames: Watch the Trailer for KUT's Wildfire Special

Scenes from the wildfire response in Bastrop.
KUT News

September 4 marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating Central Texas wildfires which claimed over a thousand homes and altered countless lives. 

The KUT News staff has taken the reporting it did at the time and built upon it, compiling hundreds of interviews, photos, videos and more. The results can be heard in “Forged in Flames: An Oral History of the Labor Day Wildfires,” a one-hour special airing Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 3p.m. and  Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. A website featuring an interactive timeline, interviews and much more is also launching on kut.org Sept. 4.

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Wildfires
4:20 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Forged in Flames: KUT's History of the Labor Day Wildfires

Clockwise, from top left: The wildfire that burned Bastrop; volunteer firefighter Rick Chafey; charred trees in the Lost Pines forest; and Spicewood resident Melvin Pulver.
KUT News; Filipa Rodrigues; flickr.com/eschipul; Reshma Kirpalani

The one-year anniversary of the Central Texas wildfires is fast approaching – Sept. 4. And with high winds from Hurricane Isaac currently prompting the same fire warnings seen before the outbreak of the blazes, the lessons learned from the fire couldn’t be more timely.

On Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 3 p.m., KUT News premieres “Forged in Flames: An Oral History of the Labor Day Wildfires,” an hour-long program featuring first-person accounts from people who were there.

Also on Sept. 4, KUT is launching the “Forged in Flames” website, which features an interactive timeline, audio interviews, photos, videos, maps and more. A living history of the Labor Day wildfires, the website will continue to be updated with survivors’ stories.

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Texas
11:03 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Should Texans be Able to Cross State Lines for Health Insurance?

Interstate insurance purchasing is being taken up by a Texas Senate committee today.
Flickr user Images_Of_Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

State lawmakers want to know what would happen if Texans were allowed to go across state lines to buy health insurance. It’s an idea some politicians say could reduce healthcare costs.

Today, the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs looks at the feasibility and fiscal impact of changing the insurance code to allow that.

Senators will also talk about whether volunteer firefighters should be protected from being fired for missing work because they were responding to an emergency.

Military
11:08 am
Wed August 29, 2012

San Antonio Troops Responding to Hurricane Isaac

An emergency response vehicle unloads in San Antonio during a training exercise. Several San Antonio-based soldiers are currently responding to Hurricane Isaac.
U.S. Army

Approximately 80 members of U.S. Army North have been dispatched from San Antonio to four states in the path of Hurricane Isaac.

Army North supports FEMA and local first responders during disasters, providing services ranging from flood rescue to fire control.

Sixty soldiers were deployed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands when then-Tropical Storm Isaac moved through. They have now been redeployed to the Gulf Coast states.

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NASA
5:31 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, First Man To Walk On The Moon, Dies

Armstrong in the lunar module after the historic moonwalk.
AP NASA

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 4:28 pm

Former astronaut Neil Armstrong, known for his words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," has died. The first man ever to walk on the moon was 82.

Update at 5:15 p.m. ET:

Armstrong's family has released a statement, saying he died following cardiovascular procedures. NASA published it here. They say, "Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job."

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Wildfires
12:47 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Wildfires Have Burned Nearly 7 Million Acres So Far, Up 6 Percent From Last Year

A photograph from June 8, 2002 shows flames from the Hayman wildfire, which burned in in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver.
Bryan Dahlberg/FEMA Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 4:08 pm

There's word this morning of another wildfire, this time outside the community of Manton in Northern California, where "dozens of buildings, many of them likely homes, have been destroyed," as The Associated Press reports.

Wildfires out West have been a constant topic this summer, it seems, on The Two-Way and other news outlets.

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Texas
8:05 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Texas Sheriff: Sacred White Buffalo Was Not Slaughtered

Lightning Medicine Cloud, a sacred white buffalo, last June.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:51 am

The mystery surrounding the death of a rare white buffalo and the claim by some Lakota Sioux in Texas that it had been killed by other Native Americans deepened Tuesday. A local sheriff announced that investigators believe the animal died of a bacterial disease and said the case is now closed.

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weather
5:37 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac Forms In Atlantic, Puerto Rico Under Storm Watch

The National Hurricane Center's five-day forecast of Tropical Storm Isaac.
NWS

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 5:02 pm

The National Hurricane Center says we have a new named tropical storm in the Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Isaac has winds of 40 mph, but it is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday afternoon.

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