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Fri July 20, 2012
Texas Jobless Rate Hits 7 Percent in June
The Texas unemployment rate has risen slightly to 7 percent in June but remains well below the 8.2 percent national jobless rate.
Texas Workforce Commission figures released Friday say the state's jobless rate rose from 6.9 percent in May.
Commissioner Ronny Congleton says "people are flocking to Texas" for jobs because the state's labor force continues to grow.
Six of the 11 major industries in Texas gained jobs in June. Construction led the way with 9,600 more positions.
The hardest hit industry was information, which lost 3,700 jobs.
Unemployment rates are adjusted for seasonal trends in hiring and firing to give a more accurate job market picture.
Midland again had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.3 percent. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission had the highest at 12.
AA Flight Attendants To Vote On Company Offer
American Airlines flight attendants will vote on the company’s “best and final offer.”
President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Laura Glading told members this is not a tentative agreement, but it does represent progress.
The upcoming flight attendants vote puts the company’s new offers before all unionized American Airlines employees.
American pilots, mechanics and maintenance stock clerks are to vote next month. No date set yet for the flight attendants. Five Transport Workers Union groups approved new deals in May.
August 15th is the date for the judge in American’s bankruptcy case to rule on the company’s motion to reject its current labor contracts. If new contracts are approved, the motion becomes moot.
BJ Austin, KERA News
Closings begin in Air Force base sex abuse trial
A prosecutor says a Texas Air Force base instructor on trial in a broad military sex abuse scandal posed as a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
Closing arguments were being held Friday in the court-martial of Staff Sgt. Luis Walker at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Walker is charged with 28 counts including rape and aggravated sexual assault involving at least 10 female trainees.
Lackland is where every American airman receives basic training. Prosecutor Maj. Patricia Gruen on Friday accused Walker of taking advantage of female trainees already terrified of their instructors. Gruen called Walker the "consummate predator."
Walker's defense team will present closing arguments later Friday.
Walker faces the most serious charges and prosecutors call his trial a cornerstone of the larger investigation.
Senate candidates add another debate in Houston
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and appellate attorney Ted Cruz will face off in another televised debate next week as part of their race for the U.S. Senate.
The debate is sponsored by a tea party group called the King Street Patriots and televised live by the Houston Fox Television affiliate, KRIV.
Dewhurst and Cruz will debate for the third time since they entered into a runoff for the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Early voting begins Monday, with the runoff election held on July 31. The two candidates are locked in a fierce battle for the nomination, with each side accusing the other of trying to deceive voters. Dewhurst questions whether Cruz has the necessary experience, while Cruz accuses Dewhurst of being too moderate.
Not enough cash to dry dock leaky Battleship Texas
Authorities say the 100-year-old Battleship Texas will not be dry-docked due to a lack of money.
State officials said Thursday they will continue to patch the leaky vessel in its San Jacinto Battleground mooring.
Officials initially planned to dry dock the last remaining dreadnaught that fought in World Wars I and II rather than continue to repair the leak discovered June 9.
In 2007, Texas voters approved a $25 million bond issue for the project. Officials now estimate the cost could reach $75 million. The Houston Chronicle reports that state and federal officials decided Wednesday against the dry-dock plan.
The battleship is open for visitors Friday.
Neil Thomas with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife says nearly $1.5 million has been spent to repair leaks.