Texas

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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Texas
1:54 pm
Tue June 28, 2011

Judge Orders Comptroller to Testify Under Oath on Data Breach

Susan Combs is the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

A Travis County judge has ruled that Texas Comptroller Susan Combs must submit to a three-hour deposition to answer questions related to the largest data leak in Texas history. Combs issued a statement this afternoon saying she will appeal.

The comptroller revealed in April that the personal information of 3.5 million current and former state employees was stored on a publicly accessible computer server for about a year.

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Texas
10:54 am
Tue June 28, 2011

Austinite Could Become First Openly Gay US Attorney in Texas

The US Courts, Western District of Texas includes Austin, Waco, El Paso, San Antonio and many other cities.
Image courtesy of US Justice Dept.

Texas may get its first openly gay U.S. attorney. The San Antonio Express-News reports President Obama is set to nominate U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Lee Pitman of Austin as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, an area that stretches from El Paso to Austin.  

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Texas
9:02 am
Tue June 28, 2011

Top Morning Stories for June 28, 2011

The Legislative Special Session is nearing an end.
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

Special Session Nearing an End

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Texas
4:30 pm
Mon June 27, 2011

Texas Grid Operator Urges Power Conservation to Avoid Outages

Photo by dan_a http://www.flickr.com/photos/dan_a/

Remember last month when the state’s electric grid operator said it would have adequate power supplies for the summer? Scratch that. It's too hot.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is now asking people to conserve energy after several power plants were tripped offline today amid unusually sweltering weather.

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Texas
8:16 am
Sun June 26, 2011

Sunday Morning Round-Up: June 26, 2011

Your round up of the day's news from KUT. (Now with Coffee!)
Photo by KUT News

Another hot day ahead in Central Texas. Not that you needed me to tell you that. The forecast will remain pretty much the same until....hmmm....maybe October?

So why not sit back, stay cool and read this round up of the day's news.

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Texas
3:25 pm
Fri June 24, 2011

Round Rock Cancels Fourth of July Fireworks

Photo by KUT

With no fireworks in Austin this Independence Day, some patriots may have been planning the trek up to Williamson County to catch the rocket’s red glare. Those plans will have to be canceled. You can count Round Rock’s fireworks display as another victim of the Texas drought.

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Texas
2:10 pm
Fri June 24, 2011

Mexico Replaces Police With Soldiers Near Texas Border

Mexican soldiers have taken control of the police department in downtown Matamoros, in the border state of Tamaulipas.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Fri June 24, 2011 2:00 pm

In Mexico, one controversial part of President Felipe Calderon's war against the drug cartels has been the use of the military to fight organized crime. Now in the border state of Tamaulipas, the Mexican army is taking over full control of the police departments in some of the state's most troubled cities.

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Texas
1:30 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Fires Eat Up Texas Timber

Air tankers, like this one, are being used for fire retardant drops on a pair of East Texas fires.
Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

First, it was West and North Texas being scorched by wildfire. Now, it's East Texas's turn. Two large fires there have burned a combined total of 22,200 acres since last weekend. Eight smaller fires are also burning in the eastern part of the states.

The Bearing fire, southwest of Lufkin has burned 18,200 acres. The Dyer Mill fire, southeast of Navasota has consumed 4,000 acres and has prompted the evacuation of 1,800 homes and businesses in the area.

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Texas
4:48 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

Evacuations in Leander as Brush Fire Spreads

The blaze is located in this part of Leander. View Larger Map

Williamson County is urging some Leander residents to evacuate after a fire broke out near their homes today around noon.

The fire is near the Highlands subdivision, which affects approximately 200 homes. Several area fire departments have been dispatched to the area.

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Texas
3:17 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

Two Texas Soldiers Die in IED Attacks

Seargent Glenn M. Sewell
Photo courtesy Department of Defense

Army Staff Sergeant Nicholas P. Ballard of El Paso, Texas and Sergeant Glenn M. Sewell of Live Oak, Texas were killed after their unit was hit by an I-E-D attack in eastern Iraq on Monday.

Twenty-six year old Nicholas Bellard leaves behind his 2-year-old daughter, Eva, and wife Victoria. Bellard’s aunt, Susan Ohlenforst of Rayne, Louisiana, says they meant the world to him. 

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