Daily Roundup
12:20 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Recent Twisters Spawn Claims Topping $300 Million

An insurance industry group estimates the tornadoes and hailstorms that caused scattered devastation in North Texas last week has prompted damage claims topping $300 million so far and could top $500 million.

The Austin-based Southwestern Insurance Information Service said in a statement that the estimates are based on homeowner and auto claims filed so far by its member companies.

President Sandra Helin says more than 350 homes were destroyed and as many as 1,000 were damaged - and that doesn't include commercial business losses.

No deaths were reported from the April 3 storms, which did their worst damage in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

AP

Homeless FW Man Charged In Firebombing Of Senator’s Office

The Tarrant County District Attorney has filed formal charges against the homeless man arrested for tossing a bag of Molotov cocktails at the office door of State Senator Wendy Davis.

Cedric Carmond Steele is charged with arson of a building. That’s a second degree felony punishable up to 20 years in prison. The matter will go next to a Tarrant County grand jury.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Reward Offered For Puppy Burning

The SPCA of Texas is offering a $5000 reward for arrest and conviction of those responsible for setting a four month old puppy on fire a week ago.

Domanick Munoz, with Dallas Animal Services, says police got the call about a group of boys pouring lighter fluid on a dog and setting it on fire at an apartment complex on Masters Drive in Pleasant Grove.

Munoz says the pup was in bad shape.

Munoz: Hopefully we can catch the people, or persons that are responsible for this because this dog was in a great amount of pain and it was a sad sight to see.

Munoz says the dog is perking up and behaving more like a typical puppy. But he says recovery will take a long time.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 214-373-8477.

BJ Austin, KERA News

DART Talks About Fare Hikes

DART is discussing a fare hike. The basic, one-way trip would go up 75 cents to $2.50.

A Day Pass would increase a dollar. And monthly passes would jump from $65 to $80 dollars.

DART expects a 3% reduction in passengers because of the increase, but revenues would go up by 15%.

Board members took a first look at the proposal Tuesday. A vote comes later.

BJ Austin, KERA News

ERCOT doesn't foresee rolling summer power outages

The state's electric grid operator is predicting that Texas will make it through the summer without rolling outages after the system was pushed to the brink last year.

Trip Doggett, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, told lawmakers Tuesday there should be enough power since forecasters are not anticipating the same extreme temperatures seen during last summer's record drought.

Yet Doggett said the reserve power supply will nonetheless be tight and predicted that lesser emergency measures will again be needed. Those steps include asking consumers to voluntarily conserve energy and buying power from other grids.

ast summer's sweltering heat pushed the Texas power grid to full capacity. ERCOT escaped resorting to rotating residential outages by shedding large industrial and commercial users and buying power from Mexico.

AP

Man to get DNA tests in 1977 E Texas stabbing case

A man twice sentenced to death - but later freed - over the 1977 rape and murder of an East Texas woman will get new DNA testing that he says will demonstrate his innocence.

A judge on Monday granted Kerry Max Cook's request to have more testing. Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham says he doesn't know yet what Cook will want tested or re-tested, but that he doesn't oppose it.

Cook was twice convicted of killing Linda Jo Edwards. Courts overturned both convictions. In 1999, Cook agreed to plead no contest to murder for a sentence of time served.

Judge John Ovard of Dallas denied the request of Cook's attorneys to have a Smith County judge recuse herself and to have the case moved elsewhere.

AP

14-year-old burglary suspect shot dead in break-in

A 14-year-old boy is dead and two other teen suspects are in custody after a break-in at a house in a blue-collar neighborhood of southeast Dallas.

A Dallas police statement says Luis Avila was shot dead about 11 a.m. Monday when he broke into a house in a quiet, wooded neighborhood in the Pleasant Grove section of Dallas.

Two other boys, ages 13 and 14, fled on foot but were quickly rounded up by police. Police Sgt. Warren Mitchell says they will be charged with burglary, but their identities are being withheld because of their ages.

Mitchell says no charges have been filed against the homeowner, but the case will be referred to a grand jury.

AP

Racing greyhounds at Galveston-area track ill

An undiagnosed illness has left six racing dogs dead and scores of others ill at a Galveston-area greyhound track, forcing cancellation of an entire weekend of racing cards.

The Houston Chronicle reports the illness was first noticed late last month in the kennels at the Gulf Greyhound Park in LaMarque.

Track General manager Sally Brigs says veterinarians have tried to keep the illness from spreading. She says that, as of Monday, about 80 dogs were still coughing but none registered fever.

Texas Racing Commission spokeswoman Jean Cook says a necropsy at Texas A&M University's vet school provided no diagnosis.

AP