Texas

Texas
11:55 am
Mon July 18, 2011

Chance of Tropical Rain Looks Slim

The exceptional drought could get worse with no chance of significant rainfall in the near term.
Photo by KUT News

In case you haven't noticed, it is hot, hot, hot outside and Central Texas is in need of some showers. Late July and early August are normally the driest and hottest parts of the summer, so the chance of rain is slim.

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NASA
10:20 am
Mon July 18, 2011

Crafting Shuttles: Labor Of Love, Vanishing Art

A worker tests components on a model of the space shuttle before wind tunnel testing.
NASA

Originally published on Mon July 18, 2011 12:01 am

As space shuttle Atlantis orbits the Earth on NASA's last shuttle mission, it's worth remembering that key parts of this high-tech spaceship were handmade by people back here on Earth.

Five years ago, NPR profiled a few of the workers who make pieces of NASA's shuttles, using everyday tools like sewing needles and X-ACTO knives. With the shuttle program ending, NPR revisited those people to see how their lives are changing now that the shuttles will no longer need them.

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Fort Hood
12:31 pm
Fri July 15, 2011

Hasan Arraignment Date Set

Army Major Nidal Hasan will enter pleas to 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in a Fort Hood courtroom next week.
Sketch courtesy of Pat Lopez

An arraignment date has been set for the accused Fort Hood shooter.  Major Nidal Hasan’s will hear the charges filed against him for his general court-martial on Wednesday afternoon on post. At the proceeding Hasan will be asked to enter a plea.

Texas
1:32 pm
Thu July 14, 2011

Stakeholders Pass Water Plan to LCRA

As Texas faces one of the driest years on record, a team of people with a stake in water from the Highland Lakes have agreed on a plan for Lower Colorado River Authority's water management over the next 10 years.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Farmers, business owners, environmentalists, power plant developers and homeowners have agreed on a set of changes for the next Lower Colorado River Authority Water Management Plan.

The committee finalized its suggested plan Tuesday. The LCRA board will vote on it at their August 24 meeting. Their approval would send it to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a final decision.

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Texas
11:23 am
Thu July 14, 2011

Power Grid Operator Asks Customers to Reduce Use This Afternoon

The state's power grid operator is asking consumers to cut back on power use again this afternoon.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is asking consumers to reduce energy use from 3:00-7:00 pm today.

Unexpected power generating unit outages and high temperatures will lead to a shortage of power supply, ERCOT officials said in a news release this morning.

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Texas
9:58 am
Thu July 14, 2011

Texas Communities Struggle to Fund Public Safety

By Todd Wiseman for the Texas Tribune

The tiny East Texas town of Alto made national headlines this summer when it furloughed its five-man police department in an effort to save money in this ailing economy.

But Alto is hardly the only Texas community struggling to fund public safety amid falling tax revenues and shrinking state and federal aid. Most cities aren't taking the drastic measures Alto did, but they're finding other ways to scale back costs, said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League.

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Texas
3:58 pm
Tue July 12, 2011

Beaches Safe after Shark Bite Incident

A 12-year-old boy was bitten by a shark in Galveston Bay last week, but Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials say such incidents are rare in Texas.
Photo courtesy Stormy Dog at http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-lees/

A 12-year-old boy was bitten on the foot by a shark near Port O’Conner Thursday. It is the second shark bite incident in Texas year, according to the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.

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Texas
5:23 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

Texas Obesity Ranking Ticks Higher

Photo by Foshydog http://www.flickr.com/photos/foshydog/

Texas is the 12th most obese state in the U.S., according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011. The report is from the non-profit research group Trust for America’s Health.

Texas has been slowly creeping up the list for the past two years, ranking 14th in 2009, and 13th in 2010. The obesity rate in Texas for adults is 30 percent.  Fifteen years ago that number was 16 percent. 

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Texas
3:57 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

Proof of Legal Status Now Required for State IDs

Photo by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Many Democrats are crowing that the 82nd Legislature will go down as one in which, despite the "emergency" push for sanctuary cities legislation, nothing emerged from the Capitol that waill substantially alter the way immigration laws are enforced.

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NASA
3:54 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

A 'Faceful Of Earth': Astronauts Recall Shuttle Highs

American astronaut Leroy Chiao gives a thumbs up during the ride from a suit-up facility in Kazakhstan in 2004. The mission took Chiao to the International Space Station and was his last trip into space before retiring in 2005.
Bill Ingalls AP

Originally published on Fri July 8, 2011 8:42 am

There are 30 years between the bookends of the first and last NASA space shuttle flights. In those three decades, the shuttles Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour flew well over 100 missions.

But this summer, the program draws to a close to allow the space agency to dedicate more funding and energy to exploring the farther reaches of space. In the process, NASA hands over greater responsibility to private space companies.

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Texas
12:16 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

What Do Stage Four Water Restrictions Mean For Fredricksburg?

Fredericksburg starts enforcing Stage Four water restrictions Thursday.
Photo by KUT News

Extreme drought conditions and continued high water usage have prompted the City of Fredericksburg to implement Stage Four water restrictions. They take effect tomorrow.

If you were wondering what that means, here are the details:

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Texas
11:33 am
Wed July 6, 2011

Hasan Referred to Court-Martial

A soldier drops to one knee during a memorial service for the victims of the 2009 Ft. Hood shootings attended by President Obama. The accused gunman in the shooting will face a court-martial trial.
Photo by KUT News

Army Major Nidal Hasan, the psychiatrist accused in the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, will face trial before a general court-martial.

The post's commander, Lieutenant General Donald Campbell, officially announced his decision this morning. In the order for court-martial trial, Campbell authorized the death penalty as a potential punishment.

Hasan is accused of opening fire at Fort Hood on the afternoon of November 5, 2009. 13 people were killed in the gunfire. 31 others were wounded. Hasan was shot and wounded by police officers. He was paralyzed from the waist down.

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Texas
2:54 pm
Tue July 5, 2011

State Board Declines to Stop Execution of Mexican National

Photo of Humberto Leal, courtesy the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Updated 4:40 pm: The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has voted to deny a request for reprieve from death row inmate Humberto Leal.

From the AP:

The panel voted 4-1 Tuesday to deny a reprieve request for 38-year-old Humberto. The same board refused by a 5-0 vote to commute Leal's death sentence to life in prison.

Leal's attorney issued a statement on the denial this afternoon. 

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles’ recommendation against a reprieve for Humberto Leal ignores the views of the U.S. government and Solicitor General, former diplomats, military leaders, judges and prosecutors, and organizations representing Americans abroad who believe that Mr. Leal’s execution would threaten the safety of Americans overseas and undermine the international interests of the United States. 

Earlier: State lawyers are asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to stop the execution of Mexican national Humberto Leal. The 38-year-old is scheduled to be killed on Thursday in Huntsville for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old San Antonio girl in 1994.

As KUT reported last week, Leal’s lawyers are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court on the basis that Leal’s execution would violate an international treaty.

That’s because Leal was not made aware of his right to contact the Mexican consulate when he was arrested, a right guaranteed by the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. His lawyers argue he may never have been convicted, or sentenced to death, if he had access to legal help.

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Texas Fireworks
10:38 am
Mon July 4, 2011

July 4th Fireworks Re-Cap

Won't be seeing these in Austin.
Photo by KUT News

It’s pretty well-known by now that burn bans across the state caused bans on personal fireworks and canceled numerous public fireworks shows. But that hasn’t stopped some towns from still putting on public fireworks displays.

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Texas
3:05 pm
Fri July 1, 2011

Drought predicted to worsen

Lake Travis' diminishing shoreline. Lake Travis is a popular recreational water source for swimmers, boaters and water sports of all kinds.
KUT News

Fireworks displays have been banned, lakes drying up and crops scorched. It's safe to say the drought in Central Texas is bad. And it's not over yet.

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Texas
3:03 pm
Fri July 1, 2011

Obama Signs Texas Disaster Declaration

The Texas Forest Service says it's getting a break from the wildfires that have been burning across the state.
Photo courtesy of the Austin Fire Department

Updated

President Obama has declared 45 Texas counties to be federally recognized disaster areas, following the wildfires that scorched millions of acres of land from April 6 to May 3, 2011. The president had previously denied the declaration, angering Texas Governor Rick Perry, who criticized the decision.

The declaration means that the counties can now avail themselves of federal aid.

The declaration comes as Texans endure a continuing drought and brace for the possibility of more fires from outdoor cooking and fireworks this 4th of July weekend.

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Texas
4:39 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Anthony Graves Receives Compensation for Wrongful Imprisonment

Anthony Graves was awarded $1.45 million after being wrongly imprisoned for 18 years.
Erika Aguilar for KUT News

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs paid Anthony Graves $1.45 million today, to compensate for his 18 years of wrongful imprisonment. Graves was originally convicted of the 1992 killing a 45-year-old grandmother and five children. He served 12 years of his sentence on death row.

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Texas
1:58 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Where the Fireworks Are... and Where They're Not

Fireworks shows will be more difficult to see this 4th of July.
Courtesy of KUT News.

As most of us may know by now, it's going to be hard to find a place to watch fireworks in Central Texas this Independence Day.

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Texas
9:04 am
Thu June 30, 2011

Top Morning Stories for June 30, 2011

The other shoe could drop any day...or not.
Picture by KUT News

THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS OVER!!! (Sorry just had to get that out of my system)

On to the news of the day (so far):

Watching and Waiting for Gov. Perry

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Texas
10:12 am
Wed June 29, 2011

Cedar Park Cancels Fourth of July Fireworks

Photo by scottnj http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottod/

The number of places where you can catch Independence Day fireworks in Central Texas is quickly shrinking. Cedar Park is the latest municipality to announce it is canceling its patriotic pyrotechnics display because of dry conditions and the potential for high winds.

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