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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4:33 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Personal Information of 4,900 State Workers Compromised

As many as 4,900 current and former employees of the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) may have had their personal information exposed in the latest data security breach involving state workers. The news comes two months after the Texas Comptroller announced that the personal information of 3.5 million employees was potentially compromised.

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1:48 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

DPS: Officers Fired Upon By Gangs in Mexico

Photo by Todd Wiseman

U.S. law enforcement officers in Hidalgo County today received heavy weapons fire from Mexico, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The exchange happened when law enforcement officers participating in a multi-agency Texas Ranger Recon operation attempted to interdict a load of drugs. Three law enforcement patrol boats were notified of a suspicious vehicle and two recovery boats on the U.S. side of the border. They were fired on when they arrived at the scene.

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1:37 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Arizona Wildfires Threaten Electric Grid Supplying West Texas

Smoke from the Arizona wildfire is visible from almost 200 miles away, as shown in this picture from the Albuquerque, NM region.
Photo by bobthemtnbike http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobthemtnbiker/

The second largest wildfire in Arizona’s recorded history could cause cascading power outages that would leave El Paso and other parts of West Texas in the dark. NPR reports that the 600-square mile fire is expected to reach large electrical transmission lines by Friday.

The fire prompted Texas-based El Paso Electric to issue warnings of possible power interruptions for its customers in southern New Mexico and West Texas.

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6:10 am
Thu June 9, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 9, 2011

The Texas House has given preliminary approval to a broad health care bill during this special legislative session.
Photo by KUT News.

House Health Care Bill Gets Initial Approval

The Texas House has given preliminary approval to a wide-ranging health care bill.  It would save the state more than $400 million over the next two years.  Among other things, the bill would allow doctors, hospitals and other providers to work together to lower costs. One of the amendments to the bill would allow Texas to join a compact of states trying to get more control of how federal Medicaid and Medicare dollars are spent. 

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2:17 pm
Wed June 8, 2011

Feds Sue State Agency for Unpaid Overtime

The Labor Department claims the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services and a Child Protective Services office owes some employees over $1 million in unpaid overtime.
Photo by Ian Crawford for KUT News

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit in federal court in Austin, claiming that the state's Department of Family and Protective Services and the Child Protective Services Division in Austin owes some employees overtime pay. Over $1 million, to be specific.

The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit, filed today, alleges that about 800 current and former investigators and case workers were told not to record all the hours they worked.

Labor Department investigators conducted a three-year investigation after a complaint was filed.


11:44 am
Tue June 7, 2011

DPS Fires Top Official After Criminal Investigation Into Homeland Security Grants

The Texas Department of Public Safety has started a process to fire a top official who used to be in charge of administering Homeland Security Grants in the state. DPS said in a statement that the move follows a five-month investigation of Janice Bruno and alleged criminal misconduct involving a grant issued to the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

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6:22 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Fire Crews Battle SW Travis Co. Fire

An aerial view of April's 100-acre Oak Hill Fire. Firefighters in Southwest Travis County are working to keep a blaze near Reimers Ranch from growing past 60 acres.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

A fire kindled by an arcing power transformer near Reimers Ranch Sunday rekindled this afternoon.

Asst. Chief John Durham with Lake Travis Fire & Rescue says no structures have been threatened by the 60-acre blaze. Some horses had to be moved out of the fire's path, but no injuries have been reported.

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4:15 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Ron Paul Raises $1 Million In “Money Bomb” Attacking Romney

Photo by Jayel Aheram http://www.flickr.com/photos/aheram/

Texas Congressman Ron Paul (R-Lake Jackson), hoping to nab the Republican presidential nomination, raked in more than $1 million yesterday by targeting the perceived GOP front runner, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

A "money bomb" is a term used to describe an effort to raise a lot of cash over a specific time span, often over the internet.

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11:14 am
Wed June 1, 2011

Fort Worth Public Transit Cracks Down On Low Riding Pants

Images such as this one have already been splashed on public buses in Fort Worth. Now, a ban on the practice gives riders the option of pulling up their pants or not getting on the bus.
Photo by Fort Worth Transportation Authority

A style popularized by hip hop artists in the 90's is now banned on public transit in Fort Worth. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on the city’s transportation authority enforcing a new dress code on buses and trains.

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12:57 pm
Tue May 31, 2011

Perry Vetoes Bill that Would Have Boosted Online Tax Collection

Governor Rick Perry opposes a bill to boost collection of sales tax on goods sold online, in the state of Texas.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed legislation aimed at collecting more tax from online sales in Texas. The bill would have tightened rules on when online vendors must charge sales tax in the state. Under the proposed rules, retailers who maintain distribution centers in Texas would have had to charge sales tax on goods sold in Texas. In a statement Perry said:

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1:14 pm
Mon May 30, 2011

Wildfires Destroy Homes In Texas Panhandle

The evacuation orders that sent hundreds of people fleeing their homes in the Amarillo area have been lifted, but almost a dozen homes have been destroyed by flames. Here’s the AP story fresh off the wire.

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - At least 11 homes in the Texas Panhandle town of Amarillo have been destroyed as two wildfires burned on the city's outskirts.

Texas Forest Service spokesman Marq Webb says the fires began burning in the early evening hours Sunday. He says low humidity, temperatures in the 100s and high winds created favorable conditions for fires.

He says firefighters were battling wildfires Monday across Texas, where about 2.8 million acres have burned since November.

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10:04 am
Mon May 30, 2011

Video of Burnet County Fire

Here's some video of yesterday's fire in Burnet County, shot by YouTube user fibes1. The blaze scorched about 300 acres and forced the evacuation of several homes.  Two firefighters were slightly hurt while combating the flames.

9:32 am
Sun May 29, 2011

Top Stories May 29, 2011

With a budget passed, lawmakers turn to SB 1811 to find out how to pay for it.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News.


Legislators passed a new, very tight state budget Saturday night – one that conservatives hail as a fiscally responsible victory that shows the state can make tough choices in hard times and which democrats decried as a long list of poor choices that will hurt students from Pre-K through college, families and those with disabilities.

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4:55 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

Texas Soldier Killed in Afghan IED Attack

Andrew Krippner died May 23, 2011 from wounds sustained in an IED attack in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.
U.S. Army

A Texas soldier died this week in Kunar Province, Afghanistan during in his first deployment overseas. Private Andrew M. Krippner was an infantryman from Garland, Texas. He was 20. A family friend told KUT he had enlisted in the Army last July. Krippner had been in Afghanistan for about a month and a half when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device. He and three other soldiers died of wounds they suffered in the attack. 

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4:12 pm
Wed May 25, 2011

People Still Stuck At DFW, Three Austin-Dallas Flights Canceled

This is what the sky looked like in Red Oak, Texas last night just outside Dallas. An intense storm dumped large hail and spawned tornadoes.
Photo by pedroesteban86 http://www.flickr.com/photos/56243206@N06/

Travel may be slowly returning to normal at Dallas' largest airport, but many people are still stranded after hail storms suspended service last night. NBC Dallas-Fort Worth says about 10,000 people got stuck when airport officials took tornado precautions and pulled passengers off planes.

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11:51 am
Wed May 25, 2011

Perry Signs Human Trafficking Bills

Stricter penalties for human trafficking take effect in Texas September 1.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Governor Rick Perry signed legislation today that toughens penalties for people convicted of human trafficking. House Bill 3000 creates a first-degree felony charge for people convicted two or more times of illegally transporting people into the U.S. Another conviction on the Continuous Trafficking of Persons charge would result in a life sentence in prison.

Developing: Amber Alert
8:12 pm
Tue May 24, 2011

Amber Alert for Hays Toddlers

Jasmine and Mariana Pinales were last seen in Kyle on Friday.
Photo courtesy Hays Co. Sheriff's Office

The Hays County Sheriff’s office has issued an Amber Alert for two missing children last seen on Windy Hill Road in Kyle on Friday.

Mariana Lynn Pinales is a year old, 2’5”, 30lbs, with brown eyes and black hair. She was last seen wearing a pink faded “onesie” and a diaper and pink diamond earrings. Jasmine Marie Pinales is two years old, 2’5”, 40lbs with brown eyes and black hair. Jasmine was last seen wearing a long-sleeved gray shirt with a heart on the front of the shirt and pull ups.

2:18 pm
Mon May 23, 2011

Crime Rate Drops Across Texas

The overall number of major crimes was down in Austin in 2010, despite 16 more murders than in 2009.
Photo by Nasha Lee for KUT News.

New statistics released today show a drop in the number of crimes committed in Texas last year.

The Uniform Crime Report issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety found that the crime rate dropped 6% between 2009 and 2010.  The crime rate measures crimes committed per 100,000 people in the state. Violent crime was down 8.3% and property crimes fell by 5.7%.  The number of crimes committed statewide was also down.

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Amber Alert
8:55 am
Mon May 23, 2011

Hays Teen Found Safe in Madisonville, TX

Dakota Shane Thompson, 13, was found in Madisonville,Texas.
Image courtesy Hays County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.  An Amber Alert for a missing 13-year-old boy was canceled Monday, after the Wimberley teen was found safe in Madisonville, Texas.  He was reportedly in the company of a family friend.

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