2:03 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

NRA Lawsuit To Lower Age For Guns Is Dismissed

A federal district judge in Lubbock dismissed a lawsuit brought forth by the NRA challenging the federal laws that bans people younger than 21 years old from purchasing handguns.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

A federal judge in Lubbock has blocked a National Rifle Association suit that claimed an age requirement on gun purchases was unconstitutional. The judge ruled that federal restrictions barring people younger than 21 from buying a gun do not violate the Second Amendment.

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4:07 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Incoming Cold Front Prompts Wildfire Worries

From this past year, NASA showing high winds spurring fire.
Photo by Nasa Goddard Photo and Video http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/5632231268/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Gusty winds, dry air and vegetation, high chance of thunderstorms and warm weather are all contributing factors to the critical fire forecast released today by the Texas Forest Service (TFS). Pretty much everything south of the Texas Panhandle is considered to be at risk. 

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5:26 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Insurance Companies to Pay $250 Million To Bastrop Fire Victims

The remnants of a home in the Tahitian Village neighborhood of Bastrop.
Photo by Raymond Thompson for KUT News and ReportingTexas.com

Insured losses from a 34,000 acre wildfire that tore across Bastrop County will total $250 million, according to the Insurance Council of Texas. Bastrop home and business owners have collectively filed about 1,500 claims so far.

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3:33 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Bastrop Homeowners Sue Bluebonnet Electric Co-Op

Photo by Linnea Nasman

The first suit has been filed against Bluebonnet Electric Co-op over the Bastrop County Complex wildfire.  The Texas Forest Service has isolated two of the fire's origin points to trees that knocked Bluebonnet power lines into dry brush.

Attorney Bill Rossick is representing three homeowners who lost their houses in the wildfire. He claims that Co-op management knew the danger of downed power lines in these conditions as early as their annual meeting in May.

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1:56 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Did You Buy This Pork Product?

Photo courtesy of US Department of Agriculture

If so, you may want to send it back.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a recall for some of Imperial Sysco's "Puree Shaped Meats Country Style Pork and Binder Product" because it might contain metal shavings.

As you might guess from the product's label and name, it is mainly for institutional use. The recall affects 4.5 pound boxes with the code EST. 9379 and the production date of 6/16/11.

1:21 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Texas Turns Down Cook's Offer Of Free 'Last Meals'

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 4:42 pm

Last week the state of Texas said it would no longer let condemned prisoners order practically anything they want for their last meals before execution.

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1:04 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

If Government Shuts Down, So Does FEMA Aid in Bastrop

At the height of the wildfires that left around 34,000 acres scorched, smoke billows behind an American Flag.
Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News.

The current budget standoff in D.C. has some serious implications for disaster relief efforts here  in Central Texas. As lawmakers scramble to find a short term fix, one thing is becoming clear:  If FEMA doesn't receive new funding, aid work will cease.

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11:21 am
Mon September 26, 2011

Creator Of Doritos To Be Buried With His Chips

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 9:20 am

Word is just reaching the rest of the nation that Arch West, the man credited with creating Doritos, died last week in Texas. He was 97, the Dallas Morning News says.

At a graveside service next Saturday, the newspaper adds, "his family plans to sprinkle Doritos." A daughter says they will be "tossing Doritos chips in before they put the dirt over the urn."

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News Brief
7:39 am
Mon September 26, 2011

Top Morning Stories September 26, 2011

Texas A&M has officially left the Big 12. On Sunday the SEC announced A&M would join the conference beginning in fall 2012.
Photo courtesy of AggieAthletics.com

Tar Sand Pipeline Hearings

The U.S. Department of State will hold the first two of nine public hearings today to discuss the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. This afternoon there will be a hearing in Port Arthur from 4:30 - 10:00 p.m.  More information on the pipeline can be found here.

Texas A&M Officially Joins SEC

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6:31 pm
Sat September 24, 2011

Hays Co. wildfire threatens subdivision

A smoke plume from a wildfire north of San Marcos was visible from I-35 late Saturday afternoon.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News

UPDATE: 7:55 p.m.:  Authorities on the wildfire burning north of San Marcos are optimistic that rising humidity and dropping temperatures overnight will halt the fire's progress. The fire is about 50 percent contained, but air crews and firefighers will remain on the scene overnight to make sure the blaze doesn't spread. Sunday's forecast is for temperatures over 100 degrees again, with southwesterly winds between 10 and 20 mph.

UPDATE 6:35 p.m.:  The Hays County Sheriff's Department issued this update on the wildfire on Post Road:

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2:48 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Study Shows New Texas Jobs Going to Immigrants

Immigrants wait to hop a train heading towards the U.S./Mexico boarder.
KUT News

About 80 percent of all jobs created in Texas since 2007 have been filled by legal and illegal immigrants. That's according to the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that wants to limit immigration.

The group's new study cites census data that claims that, of the 279,000 jobs created in the last 5 years, 225,000 jobs were taken by immigrants. 93 percent of those workers were not U.S. citizens. 

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1:32 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

TDCJ Will End Final Feasts Before Executions

The Walls Unit at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, where the state conducts executions.
Image courtesy flickr.com/BizarreRecords

The long-standing tradition of allowing death row inmates one last special meal of their choosing before they enter the execution chamber ends today, said Brad Livingston, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

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4:19 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Cleve Foster Execution

Cleve Foster was scheduled to be executed tonight for the rape and murder of a Fort Worth woman in 2002.
Photo by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

For the second time in a week, the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily stayed an execution in Texas.

Cleve Foster, a former Army recruiter, was scheduled to die this evening for the 2002 rape and murder of 28 year-old Nyanuer Pal, of Fort Worth. Foster's co-defendant died in prison last year.

This is the third time the high court has halted Foster's execution. Lawyers have argued he received ineffective counsel during his trial and earlier appeals.

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10:54 am
Tue September 20, 2011

Cause of Bastrop Fire "Likely Electrical"

Photo by KUT

UPDATED 1:55 pm: The full Texas Forest Service report on the cause of the Bastrop Fire is available here.

Earlier: The 34,000-acre Bastrop Fire was "most likely electrical" in nature.  The Texas Forest Service has concluded its investigation into the blaze that destroyed more than 1,500 homes and claimed two lives.

The fire began on Labor Day, when wind speeds were gusting to 40 miles an hour and relative humidity was down to 10 percent.

TFS released the cause of the blaze but not a copy of the investigation report. KUT News has filed an Open Records Request to obtain the information. TFS has up to ten business days to respond. 

The Texas Forest Service says the Bastrop the fire is 95 percent contained.

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2:06 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Biologists Set To Rescue Fish From Drying Texas Rivers

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 11:34 am

This news story from the Associated Press gives you an idea of just how bad drought conditions are in Texas:

Wildlife biologists on Friday will evacuate two species of minnows from the shrinking waters of a West Texas river in the first of what could be several rescue operations involving fish affected by the state's worst drought in decades.

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